Thursday and Tuesday are switching places this week, (vids on Thursday, blog today) so that we can have a little discussion about Netiquette. In fact, this discussion will be the template for the new forum rules being put into place to govern the use of our comment section below. I have never been explicit about this before, trusting everyone to police themselves, but as has been pointed out to me, this is not terribly realistic, and some folks just can’t seem to help it.
I am sorry in advance. I have tried to make this as invisible and non-onerous as I could. 95% of you should never even have to know that this is here.
- Number One: Act online as you would in person. If you wouldn’t walk up to two people having a conversation about cake recipes and start yelling at them about deficit spending in real life, don’t do it here. We are relatively anonymous here, but our feelings are not, nor should be our courtesy. Be respectful. Be ethical.
- Number Two: Treat others as you would have them treat you. This rolls hand in hand with Number One, but it bears saying. If you don’t appreciate people being a dick to you, why would you think it’s different when you’re doing it?
- Number Three: Not everyone is going to agree with you. Learn to be okay with that. Your argument may be the most beautifully worded, elegantly thought out, obviously logical statement of fact ever considered by a human being anywhere, but that hardly means that people are going to agree with it. If someone doesn’t agree with you, fine. They’re entitled to their opinions too.
- Number Four: Swearing is not offensive, trolling is. So let’s define what we mean by it. Trolling is flame-baiting. Trolling is being deliberately confrontational, especially when not necessary. Trolling is thread-hijacking. Trolling is insulting other posters. Reasonable, respectful debate is not trolling. Calling someone an idiot for their point of view is.
- Number Five: Don’t feed the trolls. Troll-sponsored threads, along with their comments, will be deleted in any case.
- Number Six: Be forgiving. This one is for me, though I suppose it can apply to all of us. This is obviously being written because individuals in the recent past have been trying my patience on the message boards. For me Number Six means (among other things) a fresh start at square one. If we all use the guidelines here to create a positive community we can all be happy with, then job done.
So, here’s the way it will work. While it is certainly possible to be a huge enough ass to get banned with one post, I can’t imagine anyone being that rude without it being deliberate. In general, everyone gets two warnings, and the third time is the boot. If you get a warning, it will be very explicit. Comments that do not expressly say “This is a warning.” do not count — though you might consider it advice. You can always discuss your warning with me. Where possible all warnings will happen privately. If I am not certain I am getting in touch with you, I may have to deliver it publicly.
Please post any comments, additions, or feelings about this below. After I have taken the pulse here and amended the list, I’ll be posting it to the FAQ. Thanks for taking a look at it, and your input is encouraged!