A taste of early radio anoraksia netiquette

Time, as we all know, is a funny one.  As is the internet.  As is communication via the internet.  As is radio. As is radio anoraksia.

It’s funny to think that back in the early 1990s, radio ‘anoraks’, which in those days included the movers and shakers in radio, communicated via what were called ‘Majordomo’ mailing lists. Just text, and just email. Kinda email copied to a whole bunch of people.  This mutated into a number of systems that offered a supplement to the email on the web.

Some folks faffed off to use web-only ‘anorak’ services when the web was more established and Message Boards dominated.  Today, apart from a tiny few exceptions, the world of debate and discussion has been assimilated into Facebork.

Back in the 1990s I ‘owned’ a number of the mailing lists, and despite having no involvement in them, still appear to ‘own’ a couple to this day.  Most of the mailing lists mutated through different hosts and ended up being ‘Yahoogroups’. To this day a number of ‘Yahoogroups’ are still chugging away with a few posts a week.

At the start of every month a ‘netiquette’ reminder automatically gets pushed out.  I receive it every month and it reminds me that the mailing lists still function.  I just looked at one I received yesterday, and was amazed to see that it was last revised in 2003.  I’m not sure when it was originally written, but I’m guessing sometime back in the later 1990s.  Being generous, maybe it is 20 years old.  Certainly for the last 11 years it has remained exactly the same wording.

In that time people have died, retired, got a lot older, moved on, and radio is no longer the important beast it once was.

However, the words of the ‘reminder’ from ‘RadioAnoraksUK’ are still valid today. They could just as easily fit within Twitter or Facebork. What d’you think?

In order to keep the RadioAnoraksUK community as comfortable as possible for everybody, it would be nice if the following ‘ideas’ were generally adhered to, although everything is flexible and very relaxed.

Style:

To help those who receive the digest version, and those who don’t fancy wading through loads of stuff they have already read, please trim your re-quotes.

This means that if you are replying to another person’s contribution, before you post it, please delete from your reply all the bits of their contribution that are not relevant to the point you are replying to.

Ideally, you should follow the format of ‘quoting then commenting’.  This means you start off your email with something like “bla bla said:”, then you paste in the bit that he/she said (You will often find that your email program puts > at the beginning of each of their lines, which is also very useful to distinguish between what they wrote and what you are about to write).  After this, you then add your comments.  If there are further bits you wish to re-quote and then comment on, you follow this concept all the way through your posting until you’ve said all you need to say.

Remember, the natural way that we all read is by starting at the top of a page and reading down to the bottom.  It helps your contribution make more sense if you write like that, too.

There is a tendency to reply above or on top of a previous email, which is fine when writing one-to-one, but can be very confusing on a mailing list or community, where people want to read your contribution more naturally.

So, reading from top to bottom of a page, please re-quote the relevant passages first and then add your reply underneath, not on top.

Most importantly, please delete all the bits that are left over from the original email that are not relevant to your contribution or you are not commenting on.

By following this simple rule you will help make things so much more easy to read for everybody, including yourself.

Cross-posting:

Cross-posting has nothing to do with anger, but it is the growingvhabit of copying an identical contribution to a number of different Yahoogroups.  This annoys those who may be members of each of the different groups – having to read the same post over and over again is tedious.  If you must post the same type of contribution to RadioAnoraksUK that you have posted to other groups, please alter it slightly so that it appears to be specific to RadioAnoraksUK, not just another ‘cross-posting’. People are less likely to get fed up with you that way!

Content:

This is the first and only general all-purpose place for all anoraks to socialise and have a general chat about all the stations, past present or future.  It’s like a pub where everybody has met up for a beer and a chat, but pubs can get rowdy.

From time to time conversations will veer off-topic. This is only natural.  It’s worth remembering, however, that there are other forums available upon which to have extensive conversations on specific non-anorak issues.  The whole idea of a ‘community’ having a ‘brief’ (in our case, ‘anoraksia’) is that you pick only the communities you wish to belong to, so you only see conversations about that particular topic.  You wouldn’t expect a community dedicated to fishing to be dominated by complex talk about steam trains.  So, please try to avoid too many off-topic postings.  If you do stray off-topic this is fine for a post or two, but if you wish to continue your off-topic conversation please ask others to take it off-list, or to email you privately.

Most importantly, please respect the right of any other contributor to hold his or her views, and whilst discussion and debate is fun, getting rude or personal is not acceptable.

You may not agree with somebody, but you will ‘win’ your argument by carefully taking time to explain why you disagree with them and them then not finding the words to out-argue your points.

You ‘lose’ the debate and look very very stupid the moment you make it personal and insulting.  If somebody says “I like x y and z because they were fun to listen to”, the reply “If you like x y and z it’s because you are an ugly fart machine, and I know where you live you moron” isn’t explaining anything to anybody.  All it shows is your own failure to be able to debate and discuss.

Bullying in this way cannot be tolerated no matter how much you disagree with another’s point of view.  It doesn’t matter if their point of view has made you angry.  You have to explain your position calmly.

And, that’s about it.  Please never feel intimidated and unable to contribute to the conversations, although lurkers are welcome.

If you have any problems please alert one of the moderators.

This email is resent to the list on a monthly basis just as a reminder for old members, and for the first-time attention of new members it is sent out on subscription.  It’s not sent out because anybody’s been naughty!