New DWJ List Guidelines: important

deborah deborah at
Sat Aug 2 03:52:33 EDT 2003

Hullo, all.  It's been a long time since I've updated the list
guidelines (since August 1999!) because there wasn't much of a need for
them in the past.  Sometimes, though, sunspots happen, and people get
moody.  I think our list has been going through an iffy patch lately (not
in the immediate past, just the more general "lately") and I want to
make sure that we return to our usual sunny selves.  I've updated the
list guidelines; these new ones are sent out to all new subscribers.  I
will be enforcing these if necessary, though I strongly suspect there
will be no such need -- we are, after all, the Coolest People On The
Internet.  Please read, and kibbitz to me if you feel that's necessary.
My most important goal is that eveyone feel welcome here (except
DWJ-haters.  They can go somewhere else.  They smell).

-The Happiness Patrol.  Er, I mean, deborah.

******* New Guidelines *******

1) This list is for discussion of all things related to Diana Wynne
Jones and her works.  We try to keep discussions relatively on-topic.
In general, discussions about literature, particularly children's
literature or fantasy, tend to get a free pass to count as on-topic,
although bring those discussions around to DWJ periodically.  Anything
else, try to relate to DWJ as much as possible.  You may see messages
containing the phrase "ObDWJ"; this stands for "obligatory DWJ
reference", a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "I know this post is
completely off-topic, but look, I can bring it back!  See?"  For
example, one might post one's grandfather's favorite French toast
recipe, followed by "ObDWJ: I wonder how much French toast tastes like a
Time City butter pie.  Has anyone ever tried to make a butter pie

Political discussions are banned completely.  This is in order to keep
the tone of the list (see point (4) below).  There are very rare
exceptions, namely stating DWJ's written or spoken opinions on politics,
or a critic's or reviewer's political analysis of her works.
Discussions of political or social mores (as opposed to specific
parties, individuals and laws) are welcome if they're on topic, phrased
respectfully, and open to the possibility that people on the list may
disagree.  (Be careful about other potential flamebait.  We've had some
excellent religious discussions on the list, and we'd like to be able to
keep it that way, so be respectful.  As of last polling in late 2001 we
had atheists, agnostics, Pagans, Jews, Eastern orthodox, Catholics,
Quakers, Mormons, Methodists, Episcopalians... anyway, we represent a
reasonably wide band.)

2) Everybody is welcome!  Some people have been around here for a while
and might seem cliquey, but we always welcome new voices.  Feel free to
introduce yourself or just lurk for a while.  Don't worry about asking
newbie questions.  We don't bite, we won't tell you to read the FAQ
(there isn't one!), and we're nice.

3) Flaming and trolling are strictly forbidden.  Follow the basic rules
of netiquette (the old Usenet netiquette guidelines at have aged

4) On the DWJ mailing list, we are very respectful of one another.
Behavior which might be considered standard operating procedure in other
parts of the Internet is considered flaming here.  We have teenagers and
university professors, and not a single person here is smarter or more
valuable than any other.  You may be Diana Wynne Jones, Wizard Howl, and
Albert Einstein rolled into one, but on this list, you are just as smart
and no smarter than anyone else.  That is to say, your opinions are very
welcome, and so are other people's.  Some people contribute to our
discussions with years of literary theory under their belts, some bring
knowledge from DWJ's own words, and some bring only their own personal
experiences.  All of these contributions are equally welcome.

This isn't to say that we don't disagree.  Of course we disagree, and
frequently!  But our disagreements are respectful.  We do not assume
here that other people have different opinions out of malice, stupidity,
laziness, or ignorance.  Moreover, nobody has the last word of
authority.  It's fine to adjucate questions of fact ("No, the cover art
for the Mammoth edition of Charmed Life is by Sarah Govia, not Jos
Smith."  "In a speech given in a convention in 1996, DWJ's exact words
were..."), but nobody here has the last word on a question of opinion.
Whether DWJ herself, or your high school librarian, or Jacques Derrida
tattooed the idea on your skin with blessed ink, your opinion is still
just as interesting and valid as everybody else's, and no more.

5) If someone seems to be taking offense at something you said, please
don't respond with snark, sarcasm, defensiveness, or patronizing
comments.  Step back and try to figure out what you said that might have
been misinterpreted, and see what you can do to fix the problem.  If you
think the discussion has gotten out of control, feel free to bring it to
the attention of the list moderator (owner-dwj @, who will
do what she can to fix the situation.

We're very proud of our discussions and active membership on this list,
and we want to keep you as an active participant.  If anything inside
the list is driving you away from reading or contributing, let the list
moderator knew what she can do to help.

6) The moderator reserves the right to remove people from the list at
her discretion.  This has never had to happen, because Diana Wynne Jones
fans are a pretty smart and good group of people.  In fact, many people
have made lasting friends here.  Let's keep it that way!

7) Now dive in, and have fun!

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