Nostalgic Rumblings
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7/8/2010


Acceptable Rules for the Services Here

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 12:28 am

An incident I don’t want to detail has shown I need to briefly touch on what is and is not acceptable on the OTR Digest, or for that matter here on the Nostalgic Rumblings blog and on the Nostalgia Pages Forums, too.

Honest, it isn’t terribly restrictive…I mean, any discussion can become a little heated, especially when it’s as hot as it is here in the Northeast and we northeners are all a little cranky. Heck, disagreements can make the most interesting discussions to read…the trick here is to disagree with the points, not the person making them. Don’t attack the person, attack the idea. Do it politely even while being forceful, remembering the person on the other end is, above all, a person. Here on the Blog I tend to encourage more forceful discussions, and encourage you, my readers, to disagree with me and show me where I am wrong.

But I gotta tell you, swearing at another reader or subscriber, and frankly that includes me, is really not a good idea. I’m trying to keep all of the areas around here safe for folks of all ages, since it’s only by bringing in young people can we keep this hobby alive. So civility is required, and anyone forgetting this can expect a week or two “time-out” from the services here.

Speaking of that, it’s been a reasonably successful experiment I plan to keep, that whole “time-out” thing. As the guy nominally in charge of the Blog and the OTR Digest, I get hundreds of private emails a week (not counting the spam ;) and honestly do read them all. I try to respond to every question in a timely fashion (although sometimes I get behind), and try to respond to even comments or observations with a “thanks for giving me your thoughts” note.

But sometimes, people just can’t let something alone they feel passionately about. They continue to argue their points with me long after I have explained my position, and made it clear while I understand what the writer is saying, I may neither agree nor act on their suggestions. Remember, I’m just a person like you, with a family, work, and all the other stuff we all have to do every day, so spending hours rehashing the same points gets redundant pretty quickly.

I used to keep trying until my annoyance would come through clearly in my email, and that obviously doesn’t help anything. So I started an experiment…every time someone continues pushing at me even after I’ve made it clear we’re finished with the discussion, I simply enforce a “time-out” for a week or two (depending on how serious the situation); this keeps me from becoming angry and responding inappropriately (if deservedly), and gives me back the time to deal with the hundreds of other questions/comments/requests for help I receive in a week’s time.

And it’s really important you understand, if you need help with something, changing email address, or receiving back issues, or whatever, please ask me for help. I have a bunch of form letters for some of this stuff which usually solves the problem, but if that doesn’t help be more specific and ask me again. You will get a response with detailed information and help. This whole computer thing can be intimidating for those more used to picking up a telephone, and my role is to make it easier for you to accomplish whatever you need, not harder. If you’re not sure where to send your mail, just try to remember that at the bottom of every issue of the Digest there’s a list of informational addresses, and here on the Blog there’s a “Contact the Webmaster” button over on the left sidebar, which works even if there’s an email problem between your server and mine.

Once again, please check out the “footer” (bottom) of the OTR Digest sometime, so you can see all the contact and informational addresses there. They’ll be in every issue, so you won’t need to memorize ‘em, honest.

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