(last modified 11-Aug-95
* additional material
These rules are not meant to suppress good, honest, and healthy discussions and questions. Rather, they are here to promote harmony and unity among all Christians. If a discussion deviates outside one or more of these guidelines then the parties involved should move that discussion off this list.
Occasionally, the mail volume on Christia gets to be very high, and can be difficult for many people to keep up with. I, personally, believe that it is a matter of courtesy for each person who posts to Christia on a regular basis to do what they can to keep the volume of mail on christia down to a reasonable level.
There are several things that we should keep in mind before posting:
1. Does your post represent an issue about practical Christian living?
While most of us don't mind occasional off topic threads, when the volume is really high we do get tired of them quickly. Please pause to think before continuing an off topic thread. Ask yourself if it has gone on too long, or if it makes up too much of the volume of the list. If you answer yes, please don't post.
2. Are you monopolizing the conversation by posting too much?
Stephen Kingston (among others) thinks that we should all maintain a voluntary limit of two posts a day, with no carry-over of unused messages. Not only will this reduce the volume, but I think that it will also improve the content. Instead of replying at length to each message in a thread, compile your replies into one post. This forces you to think about such things as structure and reasoned argument as you pull together the many lines of thought in a thread. It is also much more pleasant to read.
3. Are you writing to the list, or just agreeing with the sender?
If the main message of your post is to say "Amen!" or "I agree totally," please send the post privately. Readers don't usually do a tally to see how many people agree with a particular point of view. The point of posting to CHRISTIA is to add to discussion. Sending a post that quotes someone else at length and then just saying "Amen" at the bottom does not add to the discussion. It merely adds volume to the list. If you want the person to know you support them, tell them so in private mail.
4. Has someone else already said what you want to say?
Read all the posts from CHRISTIA (at least with the subject you want to reply to) before you reply. I've seen many replies lately to a single post that all say the same thing. It's nice to be the first to offer a suggestion, or make a reply, or ask a question in response to a post, but because we are all from different parts of the world and we don't all get mail at the same time it is impossible to always be first. Make sure someone hasn't beaten you to the punch, and if they have, keep quiet and just follow along in the thread until you CAN add something unique.
5. Are you posting an opinion on a topic, or have you become the topic?
6. Are you being disruptive?
7 Has the discussion ground to a halt?
Many times, a discussion reaches the point where it is clear that neither person is going to convince the other. It is often best, in these circumstances, to bow out gracefully.
Finally, do not subscribe to the theory that "some things just demand a reply!" Nothing demands a reply. Sometimes it requires restraint to keep from replying, but there's nothing wrong with remaining silent. I only know of one time that Jesus got angry and started shouting, even though there were many provocations. And when he did, he wasn't defending himself, he was defending the sanctity of the house of God
Thank you from those of us who think that 100 messages a day is like sitting in front of a tv all day with nothing but snow and static on the screen!
(This has been turned into a rant section. Do you have an email pet peeve that you see on christia involving netiquette? Send it in.)
1. Have you captured more of the original post than is necessary?
If the first original word of your response isn't on the first page of your post, you've got a problem. Don't quote someone else's entire post to reply to it. Simply copy the relevant parts. Many mailers have a function that will automatically copy the entire post putting in the ">"s for you. Use this function with caution, and if you do use it, delete the irrelevant lines. It's annoying to have to page down about 4 times before you can read any fresh material. It also takes up precious disk space because it makes your post larger.
2. Is the title of your post consistent with the subject therein?
3. Is your signature file longer than four (4) lines long?
4. Would you say it to the person's Face?
If not, don't say it on Christia.
5. Are you angry?
If the primary motivation for the post is vindication or revenge, cool off first. Go kick a file cabinet before you reply.
6. Is the other guy flaunting his ignorance?
Even when someone else's argument is stupid, to tell them so rarely causes them to change their mind. Instead, they can often become defensive and flood the list with even more stupid arguments. So don't inflict that on the rest of us. The only thing worse than a stupid argument is the defense of a stupid argument.
7. Is the subject line relevant?
Subject lines like "What?" are cute, but not very helpful to those who have to sort their mail by subject.
8. Keep subject lines up-to-date.
One problem that arises here is a matter of taste. Some people want Subject: lines to change as fast as the topic drifts; others complain that when Subject: lines change, they can't follow the discussion.
One good way to handle this is to change the Subject: line when the topic has drifted significantly, but to include a reference to the old Subject: line. This is an old Usenet tradition, and it might look like this:
>Subject: Let's bash Seventh-Day Adventists instead! (was: Re: Mormon errors)
9. Does your posting mention Hitler? Nazis?
Godwin's Law: When Hitler or Nazis are brought up in a thread, it has been going on too long. If someone compares you to Nazis, Satanists, or some other repulsive form of human being, you've won the argument, because they have nothing rational left to say. Leave it at that