Netiquette Guidelines for the Concord Discussion List (11/04)

by Abe Fisher, Co-Moderator (Addendeum 4.14.08 below)

"Netiquette" is important to keeping our list a good environment to discuss and get to know each other. Some of the below is specific to our list; the rest is applicable to just about EVERY list out there. Since we all tend to forget from time to time, here are some reminders.

1. We try to stay focused on issues germane to Concord here. The definition is pretty broad, but we do try to stay within some boundaries. Should you be close to or beyond the boundaries, please put "OT" (for "Off Topic") in front of the subject line.

2. "One liner" and "me too" responses are to be discouraged. If what you're adding to the conversation amounts to agreement, and you can't find a way to elaborate more meaningful than "me too," you should refrain. Remember your message is getting sent on to nearly 400 other subscribers as well as those who read our archives on the web without subscribing. Similarly, while humor is always appreciated, any one-liners sent had better be REALLY funny.

3. If you are a current member posting on a controversial subject, you may not do so anonymously. We're all members of a community here, and the Internet is far too anonymous as it is. If your ID doesn't say who you are, you need to sign your first and last name to your posts early on in a controversial subject. It's too easy to hide behind that anonymity otherwise. (If you have a legitimate reason you want to keep your anonymity, please contact a moderator and discuss it with them:,,

4. Posts from new subscribers will be moderated until the poster identifies themselves.

5. Obviously, basic standards of decorum are required. Ad hominem arguments, flames, vendettas, etc. are not acceptable.

6. Email is a "noisy" channel when it comes to getting your point across. Personal interaction takes advantage of tones of voice, speed of speech, facial expressions, and other body language to add a lot of nuances. Be careful about what you say; it will probably be misinterpreted if you don't say it "straight." "Smileys" can help with some of this, but sarcasm, hyperbole, and other overstated rhetorical techniques will probably get you a result you didn't expect.

7. This is a relatively open forum. However, in order to keep it open, the moderators actively want to discourage the conversation from being monopolized by any one topic or any small group of people. If you find you're posting constantly, especially about the same issue, consider holding back and letting somebody else do the "talking." At a minimum, consider consolidating your posts rather than feeling obliged to respond to each post you read.

8. This is Debbie's list. She started it and she is entitled to run it as she sees fit. Jim and I support her in that, but we do it from the point of view of "what would Debbie do?" Ultimately, what Debbie wants is the way this list will be run.

These are not particularly onerous guidelines, but life here gets pretty difficult if they aren't followed.

-- Thanks for reading.

Addendum (4.14.08), as written by list member Richard Wells. These relate to our list discussion about how to constructively and civily discuss appointed and elected officials' behavior and actions should any of us wish to share their experiences:

0. Follow the published list guidelines.

1. Post only your own direct observations. If those include elected officials acting in official capacity it is fair to name them.

2. Don't post speculation. (Which isn't the same as saying how you feel about what you observed in #1. "I felt disenfranchised" is a feeling; "I just know she has an ulterior motive" is speculation.