The Beginning of Infinity Discussion List Guidelines
- The list is for people to rationally discuss ideas from The Beginning of Infinity (BoI) including loosely related topics.
- Minimize meta discussion (discussion about the discussion), especially in adversarial contexts. That means minimizing statements about other posters, yourself, the list itself, how people should discuss, and so on. If meta discussion is posted, try not to reply to it. And bear in mind that the list is intended primarily for impersonal discussion of ideas.
- Use these style and formatting guidelines (violators may have their posts rejected):
- Do not top post. That means do not quote text and reply above what you quote. If you are replying to something, write your reply below it. If you are not replying to something, do not include it in your post. Click here for more information.
- Every post should contain an idea which someone could perhaps learn from. Don't post one sentence fluff like "cool!" or "I agree" for an entire post. If you want to say something is cool, include a reason it is cool. If you agree with something, say why.
- Quote any text that you are replying to, so people know what you are commenting on. All posts should make sense if read individually — they should be standalone and self-contained.
- Do not quote any text you are not replying to. Just delete it. Emails should end with your own text, with no extraneous quotes below.
- Attribute any quotations (above not below), e.g. with "May 14, 2011, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:". Attribute once at the top, not once per quote. You should use email software which supports email quoting for you, which involves one > per level of quoting (which is hidden with good software like gmail or Apple Mail, and replaced with a nicer graphical representation). The way levels of quoting work is the post you are replying to is quoted once, and anything it quotes from the previous post is quoted twice, and anything from the post before that quoted three times, and so on. See list posts for examples, and my example at the bottom of this page.
This is an example of correct email quoting:
On Jul 3, 2011, at 11:40 AM, Parent wrote:
> On Jul 2, 2011, at 8:11 AM, Grandparent wrote:
>> On Jul 1, 2011, at 5:30 PM, Great Grandparent wrote:
>>> This is the triple quoted great grandparent post.
>> This is the double quoted grandparent post. It was a reply to the great grandparent.
> This is the single quoted parent post. It's the one you're replying to. It was a reply to the grandparent.
This is your text. It's not quoted. By the way, some email software can color text based on quoting. But you could still read it even without colors!
>> This is a second part of the grandparent post.
> And a second parent of the parent post. (By the way, "Great Grandparent wrote" is double quoted because it was first written by Grandparent, and everything Grandparent writes is in double quotes.)
And this is you replying to a second topic. There's no need to put your own name here because all quoted text is differentiated from regular text. Regular text means you.
> This is the parent post's third topic of interest.
> Notice how you don't name who is talking. The quoting level indicates it every time.
This is your reply to the third topic. By the way, if you quote something with line breaks in it then you need to quote each individual paragraph.
- Write plain text emails (find the setting in your email software and choose plain text, not rich text). Do formatting like this: *italic*, _underline_, **bold**, SECTION HEADING. Do not write many words in capital letters for emphasis, that indicates yelling.
- Long paragraphs are discouraged. Use plenty of whitespace. Include a full blank line between paragraphs.
- Use a subject line appropriate to your post. If you change the topic or discuss a tangent, change the subject line to match. When you change a subject line, leave the old subject line marked with "was:" so people can see the connection. e.g. "Morality (was: Philosophy of Science)"
- It is completely fine to reply in someone else's thread, change the topic on any thread (just change the subject line, too), reply to questions directed to someone else, and not reply to questions or comments directed to you.
- If you don't like someone's posts, don't read them and don't reply to them. If someone violates the style guidelines and writes messy, badly formatted posts, just ignore them (if you do reply, post in the correct style yourself).
- This list is not neutral ground and should always be friendly and welcoming to people in favor of ideas in BoI. Criticism and outsiders are welcome too, especially if they are respectful and write high quality posts. Remember that in order to criticize an idea in BoI one first needs to understand it well. Otherwise the appropriate type of post would be a question.
- No spam is allowed. The first post of all members is moderated purely to keep spam bots away. The list is otherwise unmoderated.
- Because the list is unmoderated, do your best to regulate your own posting. If you're angry, take a break. The list is for intelligent discussion, not fighting. Keep all hostility out of your posts.
- The best way to maintain a good list atmosphere is not to give attention to people who do it wrong, and to give extra attention to people who do a good job. Try to reply to posts you like, and consider not replying to posts you dislike.
- Posters, especially new members, are encouraged to limit themselves to a couple posts per day. Make every post count and focus on quality over quantity.
- People whose posts do not positively contribute to the list, but make it worse, will be banned from posting but still able to read the posts.
- The more good posters ignore bad posters, instead of getting caught up in detailed arguments with them, the more harmless bad posters are, and the less possibility of needing to ban anyone. If you want to help them, a good approach is to explain a topic from the beginning instead of repeatedly replying directly to all their mistakes.