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Thread: Netiquette and Cyburbia

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Netiquette and Cyburbia

    As the Cyburbia community has grown, it has acquired a wider variety of personalities and cultures. With that growth, misunderstandings and conflicts may occur between users. While the thoughts on Cyburbia internet etiquette (netiquette) is not a black & white forum rule, it does offer guidance on how Cyburbia can be a positive experience for all and can provide some insight into how forum rules are interpreted. "Cyburbia Thoughts on Netiquette" may be used as a moderation reference from time to time.

    Link to Forum Rules and Guidelines

    Though the following is not a hard & fast rule, you may discuss it in the Rules Discussion Thread

    Cyburbia thoughts on Netiquette:

    "Netiquette" is a term for online etiquette, and performing an online search for the term will provide much useful information for users new to the Internet forum world (or veterans that have selective memory). Not everyone is familiar with the challenges of communicating using nothing more than words on a screen. Tones of voice, subtlety, and facial expressions are quite difficult to ascertain, although the use of "smileys" helps. If this concept is new, please do yourself and your online friends a favor and take advantage of the opportunity for further research.

    In general, etiquette is not difficult. The most important thing to remember is that every opinion expressed is from a real live person with real feelings, and deserves respect just like yours does. Even more than in real life, persuasion and constructive comments will go farther than putdowns or criticism. A bulletin board should be an open environment to share information, and can be a wonderful opportunity to remember that varying viewpoints exist.

    Misunderstandings can happen, and if necessary, a quick and timely apology can easily prevent a more serious war. Just remember that if someone writes something that can be taken in two different ways, and one of those ways makes you sad, angry or unhappy, chances are he/she meant the other one.

    If you believe someone has violated netiquette, send them a private message; do not post a follow-up to the offending post. Be polite. The offending author may not have realized their mistake, or may be a beginner. We are all adults here... If you work in a planning office, you probably don't appreciate feuding neighbors trying to use Code Enforcement to fight their war--the same holds true for the forum rules and administrator/moderator staff. Try to solve it yourself first, then if unsuccessful contact an administrator/moderator. Please remember the admins and moderators are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, not for profit or power. We do not play favorites--that would just make it more work for us.

    Furthermore, a person who breaks netiquette over and over, may be doing it intentionally to disrupt the group (see trolling & one trick ponies in the forum rules), in which case public flaming over the violation would amount to what is termed "feeding the troll". When you feed a troll, you risk further derailing what might otherwise be an excellent discussion, frustrating other participants as they try to cipher through the thread for whatever useful tidbits might remain. Frequent flaming and trolling hurts the perception of Cyburbia and discourages others from participating in the forums.

    Rules of Thumb:
    • Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive (no, we are not talking about political affiliations). Choose your words carefully and give people the benefit of the doubt.
    • Remember the world is a big place full of very different people.
    • Never put in a message anything you would not put on a postcard.
    • Check your ego at the door.
    • If you find a topic that offends you, then don't join it.
    • If you find yourself in a thread that becomes offensive to you, leave it.
    • Don't assume that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.
    • If all else fails, contact an admin/moderator for assistance.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Addendum 1:

    Please remember that posters on Cyburbia come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Cyburbians include professional "grunt" planners, planning directors, city managers, elected officials, planning & zoning commissioners, and interested John/Jane Q. Citizens. What may seem like a stupid question to someone with 20 years of planning experience may actually be a freshly elected city councilmember with no planning experience that is trying to educate him/herself on issues. Please keep in mind the following excerpts from the AICP Code of Ethics:

    3. Our Responsibility to Our Profession and Colleagues

    We shall contribute to the development of, and respect for, our profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities.

    b) We shall educate the public about planning issues and their relevance to our everyday lives.

    d) We shall share the results of experience and research that contribute to the body of planning knowledge.

    f) We shall contribute time and resources to the professional development of students, interns, beginning professionals, and other colleagues.

    j) We shall contribute time and effort to groups lacking in adequate planning resources and to voluntary professional activities.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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