Code of Conduct for Sangha

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sangha/

(Revised May 14, 2009)

This document describes what is expected of group members. We send it out on the first of the month as a "Special Notice" (see Section I. B. 3. for a description of this term). Please note the revision date, and reread it if there have been changes.

Section I - SUBSCRIPTION MECHANICS: How to manage your subscription, your Yahoo! profile--if you have one--and what to expect from your moderators.

A. E-MAIL SETTINGS: Preferences for all members must be set to one of the three choices outlined below. Please note, all these options allow members with Yahoo! profiles to post to the group by either e-mail or the web (see "B." below for more on profiles). All new members are automatically put on moderation until they've demonstrated with a few posts that they can comply with group rules and mechanics.

1. INDIVIDUAL E-MAILS: You will receive an e-mail of each message to the group.

2. DAILY DIGEST: A single message containing the messages from that day will be sent to you. On high-volume days, more than one digest may be sent. If no messages are posted on a particular day, no digest will be sent. The recommended setting for digest mode is "Fully Featured."

3. SPECIAL NOTICES ONLY: You will only receive special notices from the moderators in e-mail (the Code of Conduct mailing once a month and an average of five other special notices in a year).

4. PLEASE NOTE: The "No E-mail/Web Only" setting is currently not allowed without advance permission. If there is a reason you can't receive Yahoogroups e-mail, please contact to request the "No E-mail/Web Only" setting. We will generally allow it for established members with Yahoo! profiles who have proven they can participate appropriately within the group, as long as the change is requested in advance. We will periodically scan the membership roster, and when we find members using this option without permission, we will reset "No E-mail/Web Only" subscriptions to "Special Notices."

B. PROFILES: It is possible to be an e-mail only member without having a Yahoo! Profile. However, you do need a Yahoo! profile to read or post messages on the web, access files or images, see the databases, participate in polls, and use any group feature other than e-mail messages.

Section II - GROUP BEHAVIOR and NETIQUETTE

A. PLAY NICE: We expect all members to do their part to maintain group harmony.

1. No flames, fighting, name calling, baiting, personal attacks, gratuitous profanity, or vulgarity.

2. Unmarked sarcasm is frowned on. We have many members whose first language is not English and/or to whom sarcasm is not culturally familiar. If you must be sarcastic, please mark your comments as sarcasm, and don't direct it at anyone; hostility is not an endearing trait.

3. No proselytizing or sermonizing. (This includes any sort of "talking down" to other members.) This is a discussion group, not a pulpit, lecture hall, or a place to win converts to your viewpoint. If your posting style creates the impression of preaching or trying to convert other members to your beliefs, you will be put on moderation. You will stay on moderation until you can show the ability to adopt a more conversational, peer-to-peer style of posting. This provision will be applied equally to all members, whether they are ordained, lay, or scholars.

B. TOPICALITY: The topic of the group is the Buddha-Dharma. Any discussions of Buddhism are welcome here, particularly discussions related to specific Dharma teachings.

1. Debating the merits of one teaching or tradition over another, or disparagement of other traditions, is not allowed; there are no winners or losers here.

2. ABORTION IS ALWAYS OFF TOPIC. NO DISCUSSION OF THIS TOPIC IS ALLOWED. If you believe this is incongruous or unfair, please feel free to start your own group or join another one where the topic is allowed. If you still think this is wrong, please write to the moderation team at , so we can address your concerns.

3. Topics other than Buddhism are generally discouraged. We recognize that off-topic messages occasionally occur; therefore, only if an off-topic discussion threatens to take over the group and suppress other discussions will the moderators request that it be stopped. This group should hit the middle ground between a Sutra study class and a purely social gathering. After all, it is a "Sangha," and socializing is to be expected.

C. CONTACTING THE MANAGEMENT (And why you may want to): Ours is not a perfect setup, so we welcome suggestions to improve how we do things. Suggestions can be e-mailed to us at: . However, keep in mind, we are all unpaid volunteers with other things to do, so give us some time to respond to your e-mail before deciding we aren't listening.

1. Complaints about member misconduct must be sent by e-mail to with a citation of the offensive message, by URL or message number. Please, never criticize or attempt to correct perceived misconduct by sending a message to the group. Also, please do not contact the offender via private means without his or her consent. He or she may consider such unsolicited contact a form of harassment. If there are complaints about such contact (either to us or to Yahoo!), you also run the risk of being banned from the group.

2. Discussions of moderator decisions are always off topic in group messages. If a moderator asks that a discussion be stopped, it must be. If you have a problem with that, or any other decision, you may discuss it by e-mailing instead of in the group.

Section III - MESSAGE CONSTRUCTION: How to construct a good message, and why we need to.

A. LANGUAGE: The official language of this group is English. Other languages are allowed in small doses for illustrative purposes and must be accompanied by English translations. In any case, the majority of any message or thread must be in English. If your foreign language text requires a non-Western font and text encoding, please alert us to this in the subject line of your message.

B. HTML: No HTML messages are allowed. The message format for the group is plain text. Please make sure your e-mail program or provider is sending plain text. Please write to the moderators if you need help with your settings.

C. ATTACHMENTS: Attachments (including HTML and Rich Text formatting) to messages are automatically stripped out and will not accompany your message text to the group. If you want to share something that's freely available on the web, like a video or animation, please just put a link in your message to the visual on the web. If a link in your message causes damage to other people's computers, the message will be deleted. If you want to share a photo, please upload it to the photos section of the Yahoogroups site . Uploaded images require moderator's approval before being available for others to view. If the moderators approve the upload, a notice will be posted to the group announcing the photo. Files other than photos, still need to be sent to moderators for consideration and inclusion.

D. MESSAGE LENGTH: Please trim quotes from previous messages to just what is needed to make your messages understandable. Restricting message length is necessary to conserve bandwidth and to make digests more manageable. Messages >30 - 50kb should not be posted directly to the group, but may be sent with a description to to be considered for inclusion to the files area. If the moderators approve the upload, a notice will be posted to the group announcing the file. If the material you would like to upload already exists somewhere else on the web, please just send the URL with a brief description of what it contains.

E. NUMBER OF MESSAGES: Please limit the number of your messages per day. We don't have a set limit, but please be mindful that monopolizing any conversation is a sure way to stifle the exchange of ideas. If several messages in a row are from you, please review your posting style to see if a change is needed. Feel free to ask the moderators if you are uncertain.

F. "ME TOO" MESSAGES: "Thank you" notes or "right on, I agree" comments, without further development of the topic, should be directed via private e-mail to the writer of original message, and not to the group. It's easy to clog the message base with a hundred messages saying "I agree."

G. CROSS-POSTING: Cross-posting of material between different groups without the authors' permission is a breach of netiquette and copyright infringement. Get permission before quoting other people's messages. Do not post material from this group to other places without the author's and group owner's permission. Incorrigible, habitual cross-posters will be banned. Grouply has been blocked.

1. If you are the originator of the message, you have a right to post whatever you've written in any forum that considers the subject matter on-topic. However, you may not send it to more than one group at a time (no cc:). Yahoo! Terms of Service (TOS) have a similar restriction. PLEASE NOTE: Even if you are the author of a piece, and you have posted that piece in more than one place, please state that it was posted elsewhere and claim your ownership.

2. Forwards of urban legends must be avoided, regardless of how plausible they seem or how reliable you think the source is, until you have checked their authenticity at: .

3. Go easy on the glurge (inspirational or humorous anecdotes replicated in a zillion locations on the web). If you think it's on topic, just post the URL, please.

H. ADVERTISING: Advertising is not allowed directly in group messages. However, we do have some other promotional options available at .

1. If your for-profit business deals in Buddhist-oriented merchandise, or associated goods or services, or if you are requesting funds for a non-profit organization or individual to accomplish Buddhist aims, you may fill out a listing form at .

2. If you have something Buddhist-related to give away (no postal or handling charges), you may fill out a listing form at .

3. Do not list commercial web sites or recruit members for other groups in the body or signature line of your message without the permission of the owner of this group .

I. COPYRIGHT: Brief attribution-only excerpts are allowed as fair use. Attribution must include author's name, title of source material, publisher and date of publication. Even if a scriptural source is in the public domain, a modern translation could be a copyrighted work. Please do not mindlessly copy cool stuff from e-mails or from the web without performing due diligence on its authorship (e.g. or "Error Haiku"). Please do not engage in any activity that would subject this group to legal action or deletion by Yahoo, including--but not limited to--defamation, intellectual property infringement, or incitement to criminal activity.

Section IV - CONSEQUENCES

A. If members fail to follow the Code of Conduct, a moderator will send a private message. If they fail to correct their behavior, if they repeat an offense, or if they commit a new offense within a short while, those members will be put on moderation (see Section I-A at the top). Whenever behavior is particularly egregious, members may be put on immediate moderation to prevent subsequent offenses.

B. Message length constraints are needed to make the digest version more readable, so we handle that consequence differently. If a member exhibits any of the following signs of poor netiquette:

1. Habitually posting overly long messages;

2. Posting content that exists elsewhere on the web directly to the group;

3. Habitually failing to edit previously quoted material (resulting in excessive message length, or confusing attribution);

then, in addition to moderation, the member's mail preference will be changed to daily digest for the duration of the moderation, and inconsiderate messages will be returned for editing before being allowed to post to the group. The purpose of the digest setting is to make sure the member understands the effect of unnecessary message length on digest readability, and to provide first-hand experience of how irritating a digest full of unedited messages can be. If the digest setting is already in use, the member will still be put on moderation until an understanding of, and compliance with, requirements is demonstrated.

Section V - CONCLUSION

We know this document is long, but there's a lot to cover. Much of it is common sense, accepted netiquette, and/or easy to remember. We ask every member to please "Play Nice" and write to the moderation team , and not to the group, if you have any problems or issues with the Code of Conduct, a message, or another member.

The Moderation Team

Bill Wilson - Group Founder, Owner (1998-2004, 2007-present)
Miriam Solon - Moderator
Andy McLellan - Moderator

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