Please read this article before posting messages on the RTH discussion.
By Ryan McGreal
Published December 14, 2004
Any communication among people requires that certain basic premises be understood and accepted by all parties, and the RTH discussion is no different. Please take a few minutes to read the following guidelines so that you are clear on the premises that underlie the RTH discussion.
Note that repeated violators will be warned first, and then have their accounts revoked if the violations don't stop. We don't want to do this, so be respectful and keep it civil.
RTH has implemented a system of community moderation via comment voting. You can read about it here:
We have disabled all HTML markup in posts to the RTH discussion. If you have created an account, you can format your comment using Markdown syntax. If you are posting anonymously, you can only post plain-text comments with no URLs.
WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS EQUIVALENT TO SHOUTING - so don't do it; no one wants to be shouted at. Also, keep in mind that it's easy to recognize irony, facetiousness, and sarcasm from a speaker, via accompanying facial expressions and tone of voice. It's a lot harder when you're reading something written (probably) by a stranger. The judicious use of emoticons (small text glyphs that indicate emotion) when writing can help to prevent misunderstandings.
Not everyone was posting to newsgroups in the mid-1980s, so don't assume readers will automatically understand what AFAIK, IMHO, or ROFLMAO mean.
The RTH discussion is no place for world-rending battles and flame wars. If you're too annoyed to write respectfully and politely, then don't write until you calm down.
Online discussions generally bring diverse people together, and misunderstandings are common when the discussion consists of casually written messages on a public forum. While we normally eschew double standards, this is one case when a double standard is exactly what everyone needs: write your messages as conservatively as possible, and read other people's messages as liberally as possible.
If the meaning or intent of a post is ambiguous, try to give the writer the benefit of the doubt. As always, write your reply with respect and sensitivity, and do not be accusatory. If you suspect a particular meaning, don't write, "How dare you suggest xxx!?" Instead, write, "I'm not sure I understand this message. Could you please explain what you meant?"
Finally, exercise tolerance. You won't agree with everything you read, but argue respectfully, and agree to disagree before taking an argument personally and attacking the one who wrote it.
If RTH readers want longevity tinctures, enlarged sex organs, university degrees or low interest mortgages, they can check their inbox like everyone else. Please do not post spam to the RTH discussion - it will be deleted.
So-called "sock puppet" accounts - multiple user accounts for the same person - that are used to abuse comment voting will be deleted without notice.
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