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Author Topic: Netiquette: Guidelines for participation  (Read 4610 times)

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Netiquette: Guidelines for participation
« on: February 02, 2009, 10:54:12 AM »
Pacific Northwest Flying Netiquette

There are not many rules here, but we do have a few.  Most of them are common sense things that you probably don't need to be told (after all, we're confident that your mama raised you right, and aviation generally attracts great people).  But a few of them might not be so obvious, especially if you're a veteran of other online discussion venues.  So here are our guidelines for "netiquette" (internet etiquette).

1. Please keep all the discussions civil.
Banging on your keyboard, it can be easy to forget that the person you're directing your thoughts (or rants) toward is a live, human being, with emotions and other stuff going on in their lives, just like you.  Text-only communications is an imperfect medium, without the benefit of tone of voice, body language, and other non-verbal cues that we ordinarily rely on for everyday communications.  It's easy to misinterpret things (and it's easy to come across in ways that you had not intended).  Remember: the pilot community being relatively small and quite mobile, there's a very good chance that sooner or later you are going to find yourself face to face with many of the people on this forum.  When you do, you will want to be able to greet them as a friend rather than that jerk that you exchanged flames with online.

2. Please keep the discussions limited to things related to aviation.
It's fine to enjoy some general chit-chat and friendly back-and-forth (up to a point) that's not exclusively focused on airplanes and aviation -- some of us have become good friends here, and it's only natural to engage each other in the same ways we would if we ran into each other out at the airport.  But there are some non-aviation-related subjects that often spark angry, divisive arguments (more on that below); please do not go there.  There are other, more appropriate venues for such discussions, please take them there.

3. Some things are not appropriate here. Please don't discuss them here.
There are some subjects that inevitably lead to bitter, acrimonious arguments and hurt feelings.  You can guess most of them:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Sexually explicit or risque subjects
  • Things that are racist, sexist, hateful or otherwise derogatory

Please note that just because you might think something is a joke, that does not legitimize any of these things.

Discussion of these subjects is not appropriate here.

An Important Note About Political Discussions - READ THIS.

This is not the place to discuss politics in general, your opinion of elected officials or political parties, economic theories, tax policies, controversial topics in the news, or similar subjects. There's nothing wrong with having opinions on these subjects - we all do.  We just don't all have the same opinions on them, and taking a shot at someone or something that you think may be perfectly justified or even humorous based on your own world view is very likely to offend others here who hold different views, and that will inevitably lead to arguments, bad feelings, and worse. There are plenty of other venues better suited for pushing people's buttons and you know where to find them. Please take those discussions elsewhere.

Pilots usually have strong opinions on most topics -- it must be something about the kind of people who are attracted to flying (after all, you need to be confident, self-reliant and yes, courageous to be good at flying).  But the pilot community is a diverse group, with people who hold widely divergant opinions on many subjects.  I have plenty of strongly-held views myself, and I know for a fact that some of my good friends in the flying community hold views that are polar opposites of mine.  I genuinely like these folks, and value their friendship, even if I might disagree with them (sometimes passionately) on an issue or two.  I respect that they have strong opinions, and hope that they would repect that I do, too.  I don't want to jeopardize their fellowship because we might find ourselves on different sides in an argument over some non-aviation issue.  I like to think I'm wise enough to know that I'm not going to change their mind, and I suspect they feel the same way.  So I ask us all to please skip the divisive stuff here and talk airplanes, where the biggest disagreements might be high wing or low, Continental or Lycoming, AOPA or EAA, slips with flaps or not.

Does that mean that you can't discuss political aviation issues here?  No.  This is a discussion forum about aviation, and there are political issues that impact us.  Reasonable, civil discussion of aviation issues - including those that are "political" - is fine.  But those discussions need to be limited to those aspects that are relevant to aviation issues.  For example, it's fine to discuss strategies to thwart the Washington state aircraft excise tax proposal (or, if you support such a proposal, it's fine to discuss that, too).  Discussing issues that directly relate to aviation are fair game.  Be careful, though, not to stretch the definition of "issues related to aviation" too far.

Examples of topics that are perfectly acceptable include:
"I believe that a tax on aircraft is bad/good policy, because... (insert your rational point here).
"Congressman Blowhard voted for/against (some legislation pertaining specifically to aviation), so we should help elect/defeat him."

Examples of topics that are NOT appropriate include:
"Congressman Blowhard is a corrupt, lazy, lying sack of crap."
"Congressman Blowhard is an honest, sincere, hardworking man of the people."
"Taxes are just too high, and we should vote out all the crooks who got us into this mess."
"Taxes are too low to fund necessary government services, and we need to elect politicians who have the courage to find new sources of revenue."
"The damn government is our enemy - the feds/state/county/city/locals should just leave us alone."
"The damn government should be our advocate - the feds/state/county/city/locals should do more to protect our interests."

Partisan political talking points, or general attacks against groups (e.g. government employees).

The goal is not to stifle discussions or prohibit opinions.  The goal is to keep the discussions on aviation, and/or friendly, by avoiding topics that can be divisive.

Remember, there are probably lots of people here who agree very strongly with your own political views (no matter what those might be).  But there are also others here who hold views that are opposite of yours.  Pick whatever controversial topic - abortion, gun rights, tax policy, environmental issues - many of us have very strong opinions on these issues, and we do not all agree on them (and trust me, you are not going to change anyone's mind by arguing about them here - all that does is alienate those who are your fellow pilots who should be your allies the next time aviation is threatened).  We should not let those differences divide us.  There are plenty of other places where people go to discuss these issues, and everyone knows where they are.  If you feel the need to express opinions on those things, great - please go do that someplace else where it's encouraged, and when you've got that out of your system, come back here to talk flying.

4. Respect others and treat them as valued friends.
Although the "pilot demographic" has often been seen as pretty monolithic and homogeneous, in fact we're not all cut from the same cloth.  The aviation community is small, and by many measures it's shrinking.  Although some of us might feel like we're lone, rugged individualists (rightly so), there is definitely strength in numbers, and it does not serve our interests to drive anyone away.  No matter what differences there may be between you and others here, we should always treat everyone in this community with the kind of respect you would like to receive.  Anything else is counter-productive, dumb, and lacking in the kind of class that pilots generally show.  Respecting others is just the right thing to do.

We have all sorts of people here, many just like you, and others less so.  It's important to many users here (including me, the guy who pays the bills) that they all feel welcome, regardless of who they are, where they're coming from, and what their views are -- as long as they play by our "rules."  We want to encourage participation in this community -- and in aviation -- by people of all ages, all genders and anyone interested in flying.  This should be the kind of place where your teenage daughter/granddaughter/niece or anyone should feel comfortable.  I get a lot of feedback (most of which others don't see) from folks here who express appreciation for the positive, inclusive, supportive atmosphere in this community, and I'm convinced that it's one of the reasons why this forum has remained viable and continues to grow.  We want to make sure that tradition continues, and we thank you for helping us keep it that way.

5. No spam.  None.  Zero.  Nada.

Nobody likes unsolicited junk email, and we don't like drive-by posts shilling non-aviation things here.

Looking for a CFI?  Trying to sell some unwanted airplane parts?  Want to let folks know about your new aviation business?  Great -- we want local aviation businesses to succeed, and we welcome members who want to sell, buy, trade or otherwise solicit aviation-related merchandise or services.  We have a sub-forum for that (Buy & Sell, Swap & Trade), and our members are welcome to take advantage of it.  All we ask is that you keep such posts limited to aviation-related items, and that you don't flog the same thing incessantly to the point that in becomes an annoyance. We trust that most members here have enough common sense to know when they might be crossing that line (and if not, the moderators will let you know).

We take a firm line against spam.  Any commercial post which appears to be in violation of our guidelines will be quickly deleted, the person who posted it may have their account removed, and their IP address may be banned.  If you're a regular member of the forum and you post something that's out of line we're not going to smite you.  However, if you drop in for the very first time just to lay an egg and then run off, we'll be inclined to nuke your account and block any subsequent use of the forum.

We all enjoy having a nice, spam-free experience here and we appreciate you helping us keep it that way.

6. One account per person, and one person per account.
Do not "share" accounts with other people - each of you should sign up for your own account.  And no more than one account per person.

7. All accounts are screened before approval.
Because we want to protect our legitimate users from creeps who abuse the internet, we do not allow account registrations from anyone who appears sketchy (sketchy from a technical standpoint - we really don't care if you appear physically sketchy, some of us do).  Accounts that appear to be associated with locations, services or individuals that have a history of being problematic are not likely to be approved.  If you attempt to hide where your account originates from, it will not be approved.

8. This is a moderated forum.
If your post is deemed abusive, obscene, a personal attack, or otherwise out-of-line, it may be edited or deleted entirely by one of the moderators, with or without notice, at the moderator's discretion.  Moderators have great discretion (and great power) to intervene in any conversation.  Moderators can (and do) edit or remove posts, and in extreme cases can close user accounts, and even permanently ban users.  We don't like applying the muscle, but will do so when we feel it's necessary to keep things friendly and appropriate here.  Fortunately, it's very rarely a problem.  People here are generally very polite, very reasonable, and great in every way, and the moderators strive to be reasonable, too.

9. Don't attack the moderators.
They are all volunteers, they have busy lives, and they're human.  They're doing their best to provide this resource to the Pacific Northwest aviation community.  They work hard to keep this place going (which can be a lot of work sometimes - more than you probably realize), and they don't appreciate being trashed.

10. You're a guest here.
Please remember, you are a guest here.  A welcome, valued guest, but a guest nonetheless.  The use of this forum is not a birthright.  It's not a public service that your taxes pay for.  You are not guaranteed access to the system nor are you entitled to dictate how it's run.  It's a private system funded by others and you are very welcome here as long as you abide by our guidelines.  Most people find the guidelines are easy to follow and do not cramp their style.  However, if you don't like the rules here you might want to find another place where the rules (or lack of rules) suits you better.  Of course, we hope you will stick around, but if you (or we) decide you'll be better off elsewhere, then we wish you well regardless.

Violation of any of these guidelines may result in disciplinary actions, up to and including being permanently banned from the forum.  We really don't like doing that but will when necessary.

We thank you in advance for reading, understanding and following these guidelines, and for helping us keep this a friendly, civil place for us all to enjoy.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2010, 08:38:56 PM by davidh »
David Herman
N6170T - 1965 Cessna 150E
Boeing Field, Seattle, WA