Imposed guidelines that are too rigid will constrain discussion, causing participants to worry about he nature of their posts rather than to simply post. Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt, Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace: Effective Strategies for the Online Classroom (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999), 18.
In contrast to Palloff and Pratt, I want students to care about the nature of their posts. Email is in general sent too quickly, with no attention to the form of a message. My pedagogical objective is less to produce community and more to get list members to write well: we don't need more email, we need better email. Below are resources I use to grade email messages and for writing instruction.
Pedagogical Goals for using Email to discuss works of literature: Student Handout
Commenting on Grammar and Style: Student Handout and/or macros for professors (You can either distribute this handout to students, or you can cut and paste these comments directly into your reply to students' email responses).