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Re: [DEB-USER] Re: netiquette on other lists

On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 06:20:56PM +0200, Rudy Gevaert wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 03:01:30PM +0100, Shri Shrikumar wrote:
> >
> > If they do not follow the rules, and you have warned them twice, boot
> > them. If they claim to have learnt their lesson, let them back in.
> This is fine if you don't know the people irl, but when they sit in
> you class...
> > Also, you could just mention that you will ignore all their requests for
> > help unless they follow the rules.
> They don't care, because I only follow 2 of the 6 courses.  On the
> other hand I can give the very usefull information, but they do not
> think.

Karsten actually covered all this well. I'll add this from my experience 
as the president/list admin of my LUG.

1. Put the rules down in a file. Make sure they're comprehensive, and 
allow for some leeway. Highly technical lists don't allow advocacy or 
computer humor. But for less experienced users, it can't be avoided. 
Live with it, and incorporate it into the rules. Just make sure that 
it's clear that the majority of content should be technical. Make sure 
you detail forbidden content.

2. In the rules, make sure you detail what happens when they break them. 
In our case, it's typically a private warning, a public warning, and 
then you're out. For severe cases, this can be accelerated. For example, 
if someone start spewing racist vitriol, I'm not going to go through a 
long process; they get kicked right now, with private/public notes 
explaining their infractions at the same time.

3. Post the rules to the whole list periodically. On our list, a cron 
job does this monthly. If they periodically get reminded, they have no 
excuse. And make sure they get a copy when they sign up for the list.

4. Enforce the rules. This is where it gets tricky. Several things to 
remember. First, threads have momentum, and sometimes posts appear out 
of order. This has the effect that from the time you issue a warning 
about a thread to the time it finally dies, could be a while. Realize 
this will happen and account for it. Second, apply manners. Don't just 
slam people. Most people will gladly follow clear and reasonable rules. 
Where they break them, it is often a case where they spoke before 
thinking. Keep that in mind when chastizing them. And typically people 
feel bad when they realize they've done something wrong. There's usually 
no need to slam them. However, this requires a deft touch. You have to 
match the tone and strength of your response to the magnitude of the 
infraction. But also realize that there are some people who simply can't 
stand rules and won't follow them. For that reason... Fourth, keep track 
of who's breaking the rules. Just a mental note. Your biggest offenders 
will spoil it for the rest. Kick them out early and often. They might as 
well get used to this, because for these kinds of people, they're going 
to encounter it a lot in their lives.

5. Take responsibility for being the list god. If you have to
unsubscribe people, do so. Publish the rules, warn them, and then do
what you have to do. Even if you have to sit right across from them at
lunch. Someone has to enforce the rules, or there is no point to having
them. Your actions are for the good of the list, and not aimed at
people personally. If you haven't the stomach to enforce the rules, find
someone who will. Don't be heavy handed about it. Explain that the rules 
are the rules, and exist for the good of the list. Kicking people out 
also has the therapeutic effect of letting everyone know you're not 

6. Realize that _some_ things simply can't be enforced. Like perhaps 
interleaved posting. If there's no hope, don't put them in the rules. 
You can nag people about it (nicely), but if it's not in the rules, you 
can only nag. If you must put things like this in the rules, make them 
requests or suggestions, not hard and fact rules.

7. Realize that this may be the first contact some of these people have 
with lists and netiquette. You'll do them and us a favor by ensuring 
they understand netiquette _now_ before they end up on our doorsteps.

8. Realize that college students have unusual problems with authority in 
the first place. Nothing to be done about it. But they need to grow up 
and realize that the _adults_ in the world expect them to behave 
themselves. They might as well get used to it.


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