Recommended CS Forum Code of Conduct
I like to offer this. And in advance, this just my opinion. What I think happens here, and I've seen some of it even in the last few days, is that some members, for whatever reasons (because they think they know best, because they've played CS for a long time, because they have been on the blitz X number of years, because they own a cat named Heinrich Himmler, whatever...) feel they know best about a particular subject and do not react well, intentionally or not, when confronted by others with dissimilar opinions. I know there is a great deal of stuff out there about how people often come across as obnoxious bastards unintentionally because of the internet, because communication is in writing, and this cuts off much of the auxiliary communications pathways humans use when talking face to face (body language, facial expression, etc...), and while this likely comes into play in some regards, I think the key to much of what I have seen is that individuals seem incapable of reacting in a civilized manner when someone disagrees with them, even if that person is completely wrong. If we each simply vowed to respond without supposed sarcasm, or "inside jokes" that only the self-proclaimed "cool people" will get, or just plain mean-spiritedness, I think the forums would be a great deal more inviting.
Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Period, that's the end of it. Even if they don't respond in kind, no need to become exercised, or lower oneself to that person's level. Those that read what is happening will understand.
The death of online communities like this comes, again in my opinion, when a tiny, vociferous, minority is able to so dominate discussions that the decent majority simply gets tired of the inanity and goes elsewhere to play or find opponents (or whatever the site is dedicated to, perhaps high performance American muscle-cars say, whatever).
So, a few recommendations:
1. if you feel someone has snapped at you, or put you down, go to another thread, come back the next day and answer after some time has passed.
2. ask the opinion of someone (like a club officer who, generally, have been vetted well and can point out when you might be coming across in a manner you haven't intended). I'm sure plenty of folks would be willing to help out (and I'm not talking about your buddies, who would feel obliged, we're all human after all, to support you at least a little versus someone they don't really know) to read NOT the "bad guys" post, but your proposed response to it before you post it. This works wonders, again in my opinion.
3. if you feel that there is absolutely no way you can respond without possibly degenerating into snide remarks or whatever, chalk it up. Move on without responding. That doesn't mean "he's won and you've lost." It means saving yourself, and everyone else, the trouble of reading through a bunch of badly couched snide remarks and bickering that, quite honestly, is just juvenile. I've never seen more valid points totally destroyed than by being championed in rude, insulting manner.
We live in a civilized society, we all have to make some sacrifices for this (you can't shoot your neighbors dog (generally) just because he shat on your lawn), one of these sacrifices is to be civil to one another. I think it's quite cheap actually, and pays endless dividends.
Is what you're about to say something you'd want: your children to read? your mother to read? to be published in the local paper? This is generally a good rule of thumb, but if you're still coming across as an ass, even after taking that analysis, understand that someone else mentioning it to you is not a personal attack; it's an attempt to make sure your valid message, valid opinion, is not lost in the noise of the delivery.
Learn to let things go. If you can't, take it to e-mail or private message. Neither I, nor I would wager, most of our comrades, want to waste time trying to sift through threads of backbiting to find one that's worth reading.
I'll step off the box now, and take off my pontificating hat...
Best regards, all.
LR [Provided by Larry Reese—November, 2010]
Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. --Walt Kelly