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 Post subject: Forum guidelines - Please read before posting
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2007, 14:30 
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Location: M√ľnster, Germany
The guidelines for the Ancient Mesopotamia Forum are very simple.

Stay on topic and behave youself.

Conduct:

The internet has a strange characteristic: when writing emails and posting on forums, sometimes perfectly agreeable and well mannered people can unintentionally - and without realizing it - exhibit surprisingly antagonistic and rude behavior; the so-called 'keyboard Rambos.' Some forums are plagued with what are called "flame wars," in which members fight and bicker - often enough over totally inconsequential trivia - saying things they would never dream of uttering, or perhaps even thinking, if they were speaking to each other face to face.

If left unchecked, such conduct can actually do great harm to a scientific community, instead of having the forum expedite communication and cooperation amongst its members.

This will not be allowed to happen on the Ancient Mesopotamia Forum.

The basic rule of thumb all members should follow is: when posting on the forum, members should always write in basically the same manner in which they would speak at a symposium when asking a question or making a comment during the discussion after a lecture, or when talking to colleagues in the hallway outside the lecture room. Members should always refrain from making condescending, overly argumentative, opinionated, rude, or ad hominem comments.

It is fine to disagree with another member. Debates over issues can be very fruitful and educational. However, this should always be done in a polite, respectful, well mannered tone. Bad conduct by a few can quickly make the forum unattractive to the majority.

If necessary, the forum admins and editors will intervene. Members who, despite warnings, prove themselves to be overly agrumentative, rude, or disruptive in any way will have their membership revoked.

Topics:

While most subject matter is open for discussion and a scholarly board needn't be bothered with overstrung proactive reverse-cultural political correctness, to maintain peace on the forum a few topics are absolutely off-limits; therefore:

No politics - No religion.

This includes Near-Eastern politics. There are enough forums on the internet where members can express their views - the Ancient Mesopotamia Forum is not the place. Furthermore, insensitive remarks about life-styles and cultural intolerance are not welcome.

Posting:

If a member has a useful question to ask or comment to make, then he/she should by all means do so, and should not feel intimiated. However, it can happen that a member feels himself obliged to comment on every other post made and to participate in almost every discussion on the forum (usually in an argumentative fashion), quickly becoming ubiquitous. This, again, can make the board very unattractive to a majority of members and, if disruptive, will not be tolerated.

As a saying goes: "there are no stupid questions, just stupid answers." On this board there should be none of the latter.

Board language:

The Ancient Mesopotamia Forum should mirror the habits of the Ancient Mesopotamian scholars' community. Consequently, the 'official' forum languages are English, German, Italian, and French, including mixed language threads in which members respond in their own language, or the forum language they speak best.

However, in the practice of online communication, members will probably have better reception if they communicate in English.

Since this is an international forum, posts are written ad hoc, and English is not everybody's native language, the phrase "please excuse my poor English" is a given and should never have to be written. Nevertheless, when writing in their own language, members should pay attention to proper grammar and spelling. This is a common courtesy that should be extended to fellow members and is sadly often disregarded on internet forums.

Quoting:

Full quotes of previous posts can lead to excessive blocks of quoted material which, in turn, can make a thread tiresome to read. Therefore, to make threads more readable, please stick to the following rules of thumb:

1. When responding to an immediately proceeding post, instead of quoting that post, just write ^^^^^ at the beginning of the new post (= 'arrows' pointing up).

2. When responding to a post further back in a thread, it is often enough to write "@NAME" at the beginning of the new post (= "response to NAME") instead of quoting.

3. If quoting a previous post is necessary for clarity, it is often enough to quote only parts of that post.

For details, please see the tutorial "Posting."


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