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I apologize for not sending this message out sooner, but I am very glad to
see that this list is beginning to serve the purposes that I had in mind
for it: ranging from Max's discussion about judging to Alex's notes on the
Binghamton tournament. As many of you can tell, this list is now "active."
Currently, there are 18 people subscribed to this list from 5 different
schools. I expect this number to continue to grow quickly, especially
after Vermont where more information will be distributed to people the "old
fashion way." :-)
I have personally "archived" the messages sent to the list, so if anyone
signed on after a discussion started send me a message to get a copy of the
"archive." Soon, I hope, the listserv will be able to automatically
perform this function.
I would like to make a number of suggestions to facilitate discussion over
* First, please keep "threads" separate. A thread is a discussion about
an issue, such as the current discussion about "Advice for Tuna." If you
want to reply to several different threads do so in different messages.
This makes it easy for people to follow threads, and reply to your replies
without "crossing threads." New messages which are part of a thread are
normally easy to identify because the subject line of the message begins
with "Re:" and continues with the old subject line. As a thread develops
and evolves people may change the subject line to reflect the tangent they
are "going off on."
* Second, quote the relevant part of the message to which you are
replying. You may already have noticed that when people reply to a
previous message they often include the text to which they are responding.
This quoted text is designated by some type of symbol, such as greater-than
signs. For example:
On January 2, 1994 Upstart Young Turk said:
>On January 1, 1967 Mr. Old Guard said:
>>Shifting the burden of proof onto the negative violates tradition.
>First of all, I do not think that relying on tradition is a good enough
>reason to justify a "rule" for debate. Furthermore, I think that
>situational factors, such as the particular resolution or even case,
>may provide more compelling guides...
In the above discussion you can distinguish two levels of quoted previous
discussion by the ">"s. It is also conventional to include a "cite" to
distinguish who wrote the quoted material. Note that this cite one level
less than the actual quoted text, thus "Old Guard" is defending tradition,
and "Young Turk" is responding.
* Third, only quote the relevant part of the previous message. When
responding to a message please take the time to delete text which is not
relevant to your message. This prevents each subsequent message from
mushrooming in size. In some cases you may feel that it is appropriate to
designate where text has been deleted, perhaps by simply including the mark
"[...]". But, make sure that you keep the correct cites, and be careful of
mixing cites. (I would hate to see someone think that Max's text was
* Fourth, please take time to think before you respond. Most of us are
not accustomed to communicating electronically, which increases the chance
of responding with more hostility that we normally would. It is also a lot
easier to misinterpret electronic messages as you do not have many normal
channels of information (such as facial expression, voice tone, etc.)
Thus, we will all be better served if people think twice about their
messages. (As you become more accustomed to electronic communication you
will learn "tricks" to help get your message across, such as the use of
smiley faces :-) )
For now I think this is enough "meta discussion" from me. Please feel free
to contribute to, or initiate any discussion as you see fit. Let's get to
work on strengthening this community. :-)
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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