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Guidelines for participating in the forum
Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1326
Location: Wales
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Suggestions are invited for guidelines for membership of the forum
which all contributors would need to follow.


Of late there have been many occasions when members stray from what
could be called acceptable language. We need not only to agree what these
guidelines should be but to ensure that they are observed.

Please supply a list, not just a a generalisation.

Thank you.

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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 923
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Alan,

I hope your guidelines work out, but from me it is a very public farewell.

Thanks to those who left messages of support.

Regards & best wishes,

John Y.
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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John

Please reconsider. This forum will be poorer without your knowledge. I could go on but that says it all.

Peter
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John Young
HARMAN
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John Young

John I personally feel itís because of me that you have decided to leave this forum.
I have my own way of impressing myself if I feel someone is having a dig I will retaliate its just the way I am.

However this forum needs you in order to maintain the high standard it is giving to its members.
We have had our ups and downs going back years however it appears to most on this forum that I have over stepped the mark. I cannot offer this forum the knowledge you can. So it order for you to stay I offer two solutions.

1) I will be more careful in what I post and the wording I used and be more professional in my approach to this subject as not to up-set yourself and other forum members.
2) The only other option left is for me to leave the forum, which Iím willing to do whole heartily if it prevents you or others from leaving.

Alan and Peter have work very hard and thatís why this forum is the best when discussing this subject and when someone of your standing decides to leave then action must be taken to prevent it. Itís not fair to put Alan and Peter in this situation.

This Message also goes out to Mike Snook. This is a sincere message from me to both of you and to the entire forum members.

Please consider this and let Alan and Peter know your decision if you wish to post your reply on the forum then please do so.

Yours Sincerely

HARMAN. P
Alan
Site Admin

Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1326
Location: Wales
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Peter (Harman),

I must now be frank. There are in existance on this forum, initial guidelines for conduct in posting.
These are:

Discussion Forum Rules

We're sure that you'll appreciate that, in order to be able to provide you with this valuable way of reaching other people of the same interest, there need to be some ground rules. Hopefully you will find them fair, but if you have any questions, please contact us. These rules are not up for discussion!

1. No profanity, slander, threats or otherwise anti-social language will be accepted. Offending messages will be deleted or responded to, but either way WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

2. Xenophobia is not acceptable - We all have a responsibility to respect each others opinions. If you have a point to make, make it - but DO NOT use someones country as an excuse to insult their comments.

3. Complaints about postings should be made to the webmaster directly, and they will be dealt with immediately. Please do not take matters into your own hands.

4. Advertising will be removed, unless you are advertising a free service, charitable organisation or otherwise non-profit group.

5. If you wish to use HTML code, please note that it wont work, and will probably end up being deleted. Simply type in any URL's you wish to use, and let people do the rest.

6. Please supply an email address, this makes it easier if people want to contact you directly. Any contributors who wishes to remain anonymous can send their contributions via the website author. A pseudonym can be used but must be contactable by us on email. If no email address is supplied, and authenticity cannot be verified we will assume that there may be some hidden agenda. Any non verifiable entries will be deleted.

7. We reserve the right to remove any message, for any reason.

8. The operators of this website accept absolutely no responsibility for the content within this discussion forum, and any disputes with any individuals will need to be addressed outside of this website. It is purely for the discussion of historical information surrounding Rorke's Drift, Isandhlwana and the Zulu War in general.

9. If you wish to have clarification on any of these points, please contact us.

10. By leaving a message in the discussion forum you accept and agree to these terms.


These are at present being revised, but in the meantime, I will ask you to be very careful in your responses and the perceived tone in which they are made. I will monitor your entries very carefully from now on and will not hesitate to immediately suspend you or anyone that I feel is in danger of making valued contributors leave this forum or brings the tone of discussion to a level which is not acceptable. It is more important than any one individual.

Please take this as a final notice.

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dodgermuk


Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 37
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From reading alot of the posts in the various different rooms, it would appear to me the biggest problem this forum has is related to members asking questions that have been posted before and those that contributed to the original topics get frustrated and sometimes angry with the person who asked the repeated question because a) they've asked a repeated question and b) they never bothered to do a search.

Would it not be possible to 'sticky' some of the discussions that have gone on here and then as and addition to the rules you could add something like

a) Posting asking for specific AZW related information (maps,people, equipment, uniforms).

Members requesting information related to AZW are asked to look at the 'sticky' topics in the revelant room. If these do not have the answer then please use the search facility before posting your message. If a post is submitted asking a repeated question it will be deleted and the originator warned.

Whilst i have no problem repeating answers to questions, others do and they can get quite annoyed about it. Remove this annoyance factor from the contributors and i feel you'd have alot more content members.

Rog
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Further Notes.
TonyJones


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 188
Location: Essex
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Dear Forum,
echoing Alan's statements it would be worthwhile referring to what is commonly know as 'netiquette' which is mostly 'self regulating'. Breach of these guidelines often triggers correction, comment or retaliation from other forum users. Netiquette dictates that the poster of any comments puts themselves in the 'shoes' of the recipient of the comments.
Such breaches include 'CAPITILISATION' which is the textual equivalent of 'shouting' at the recipient, innane, crass, innapropriate or sensationalistic comments. Successful postings depend on 'striking the right tone'. This minimises discourtesy or misunderstandings.
Failure to observe these guidelines results in 'flares' in that the response is 'flamed' to the point that the postings become openly and aggressively personal or critical. The ill-tempered exchanges that result can then become personal and need to be ignored or diffused, but such postings are rarely productive and are time consuming to sort out.
Netiquette is self-adopted principles that enable posters to engage in 'self-examination' so that no public sanction or approval of these principles are necessary at the expense of 'putting them into practice'. I gently suggest that with the recent degredation of the quality of the postings on this forum that all participants put in the word 'Netiquette' in the search engine google and familiarise themselves with the principles. Such breaches of Netiquette then surface on a self awareness basis to forum users without any further elaboration being necessary.

Tony Jones.
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HARMAN
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Dodgermuk.
I can see where you are coming from but does this not turn this discussion forum into a fact finding forum. Members like to discuss this subject if this was not the case then we all might as well research our history books or visit other web-sites.
You say members keeping asking the same question although this might appear to be the case the topics posted sometimes leads to discussions that have already been discussed.
The members on this forum get enjoyment out of the discussions posted. I certainly look forward to browsing most days.
All discussion forums are the same. The idea is members post topics and those interested post replies.
The Zulu War did not span years it was months so the discussions without doubt will always follow the same route. But it the bits of information one pick up during these discussions that makes it all worth while.

Regards
HARMAN P.
Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I quite agree with Harman that a forum by definition is a dialogue, a conversation if you will, among interested members regarding a common topic. As with any conversation, some comments will be irrelevant and some fatuous, but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and has the right to express it. Whether the validity of that opinion stands up under cross-examination is for the other listeners to decide for themselves (or in this case, the other readers).


A weakness in this forum is the prevalence of an intimidation factor-- it was mentioned in a earlier post by a contributor we don't often hear from and he's in the best position to see it. I suspect that there are many silent members who fear verbal reprisals if they ask the wrong question or state the wrong opinion-- particularly if, Heaven forbid, someone already asked the same question or expressed the same belief four years ago. We need those members to speak up! It's for this reason that a "mission statement" of sorts (as was suggested earlier) might be a useful thing. Is it the intent of this forum to be a platform for two-way dialogue or an internet soapbox? Easy there, Saw! That's way too serious LOL.
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dodgermuk


Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 37
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HARMAN wrote:
Dodgermuk.
I can see where you are coming from but does this not turn this discussion forum into a fact finding forum. Members like to discuss this subject if this was not the case then we all might as well research our history books or visit other web-sites.
You say members keeping asking the same question although this might appear to be the case the topics posted sometimes leads to discussions that have already been discussed.
The members on this forum get enjoyment out of the discussions posted. I certainly look forward to browsing most days.
All discussion forums are the same. The idea is members post topics and those interested post replies.
The Zulu War did not span years it was months so the discussions without doubt will always follow the same route. But it the bits of information one pick up during these discussions that makes it all worth while.

Regards
HARMAN P.


Having a good discussion about a subject is I'm sure what we all like to get stuck into but spare a thought for those 'experts' who contribute their free time to reply to topics they know they have relevant knowledge in. How many times do you feel it is going to take before they start to get frustrated because they see numerous topics starting based on the same subject matter?. I'm sure they are going to feel 'oh not again, i already gave a good account in x topic, now another one has appeared and another one'. The expert makes a mention of this in the topic and the originator of the topic gets a bit hurt because they feel they are being 'attacked' all be it in a small way for posting an innocent topic they was looking to have discussions on and there it slowly spirals out of control.

Lazyness on our part the 'joe bloggs' non experienced 'just have an interest in AZW' people is i feel another problem. The 'experts' have had to work hard over the years to gain the knowledge they have and I'm sure they get very annoyed when us 'joe bloggs' fail to use the search feature to find if a topic i plan on discussing about has already been posted and i fail to add my two pennies worth to a an existing expanding discussion. If they had to work hard why cant we just put that little bit extra effort in and do a search rather than just post a new topic asking a repeated question because we was too lazy to go and search for it. If there has to be a question about a uniform, a book, a type of defense, a person, pieace of equipment, find if there is an existing topic on the subject, read it and add your question to it. Only make a new topic if what you need to ask is totally new.

The next problem i feel is the 'experts' may feel they are being disrepected at times. They have gone through life writing their books, making their documentries with a rule book right by there side. The do's and don't's of there profession. Now when 'joe blogg's turns up and starts asking questions and gets into a debate, various things might happen, facts will be put forward, quotes mentioned but us 'joe bloggs' who don't know any better will just have our say and be done with it. The 'experts' on the other hand, because of methods now becoming a matter or routine to them will point out that there are the 'correct' ways and the 'wrong' ways to put across a disscusion based on facts and quotes 'where's your evidence, where's the original article, please provide a link or remark to the owner of said works' and when we fail or seem to ignore them on these matters, it is going to annoy them and feel they are being disrespected. Thats how i see it anyway.

Maybe the forum does need to split into two sections, one purely for historical content and the other purely for discussions. At least that way both parties, the 'experts' and the 'joe bloggs' know what they are getting into once they head off into either section.

I know it looks like I'm presuming that i know how the 'experts' and 'joe bloggs' are feeling at times, I'm just putting it down to my experiences of observing how 'experts' re-act and respond to us 'joe bloggs' at times.

regards
Roger
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
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Roger

There is merit in much of what you say. I'm very much in the "Joe Bloggs" camp with the exception of medals where I am able to draw upon resources and experience.

I think we need to remember that some of our experts are holding down full-time jobs. Mike Snook, for example, is a senior serving officer of the RRW. John Young is a serving Police Officer. We don't all have the same amount of leisure time to devote to this site and our hobby.

Peter
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HARMAN
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This is speaking on a personal note. When I post a topic I want it to be open to all members and if it leads to a discussion then this forum itís doing exactly what it is designed to do.

We all contribute some of our free time to this forum not just the experts. And I expect like me most members also have a full time jobs.

To me it is simple if you not wish to reply to someoneís topic donít. No one is forcing anyone to take part if they donít want to.

The most discussed topics are Isandhlwana and Rorkeís drift why because no matter how many times these topics are discussed there are always members that will reply.

Having Experts that contribute to this forum is outstanding when they reply; well thatís the icing on the cake.

Every member that contributes to this forum deserves a pat on the back because if it was not for them then this forum would be nothing.

Example
Jamieís Topic: Coghill - His Departure from Isandlwana Battlefield
20 Replies and 926 Views. How many times as this topic been discussed and it still gets replies.


Regards
HARMAN P.
rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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Saw....

"Intimidation factor"..."verbal reprisals". If this has been noted it probably felt as if it occurred. Beats me though why it should ever rear its head around here anyway. Old Zulu proverb..."Better to keep an assegai sheathed than to ruin another's stomach".... Wink

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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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In interest of clarity, what I meant by "intimidation factor" is the occasional loss of patience with the novice to AZW study or the unlettered tyro who isn't facile with grammar or spelling. I've long been of the mind that there are many members and guests of this site who are afraid to express their opinions or proffer their input for fear of being made to look foolish. Granted that the opinion or input might BE foolish (at least in the estimation of other readers), but that doesn't excuse calling it such-- maybe not in so many words, but you get my drift. And that's what I meant by "verbal reprisals", which probably wasn't the best way to phrase it.

I don't claim to be an expert, but I've scores of books relating to the AZW and have read all of them. Yet I still preface most every observation of mine with wiggle-room phrases like "I've read..." or "It's my understanding..." because the only thing I'm absolutely sure of regarding the AZW is that little or nothing is absolutely sure. In the paraphrased words of Groucho, "That's my final opinion and if you don't like it I have another.('Wink')

OK, when I submit this post and reread it for glaring errors, I can't help but notice that "drift" automatically capitalizes itself. Curiouser and curiouser!
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Michael Boyle


Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 595
Location: Bucks County,PA,US
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I seem to have missed much during my recent absence, seems the phases of the moon, the economy, wordly travails or something else have thrown things a bit off kilter here. I'd thought the extant forum rules were sufficient but there have been some worthwhile addendum proposed and we will all hopefully take them to heart.

I'm quite saddened that John Young feels he has reached the point of diminishing returns and has decided to devote his free time to pursuits other than contributing to this forum. John, you have always held yourself as an enthusiast rather than an expert but your encyclopaedic knowledge gathered over many years, especially through your vast photographic collection, is irreplaceable and will be sorely missed. Your comments, opinions and insights have been no less valuable to both the general and specific knowledge imparted through this forum and I, for one, will also miss your inimitable style in conveying that knowledge. My hope is, after the passage of some time perhaps, you may return to these pages.

For me, the same sentiment also applies to Mike Snook (who seems to have taken some of his internet endeavours to other venues), Julian Whybra whom we haven't heard from in over a year, as well as our many other, for lack of a better word, experts whose postings seem to have fallen off considerably. [Heck, I even miss Mike McCabe and Edward Bear!] On the plus side Paul Bryant-Quinn has rejoined us.

Of course not every one has something to add to each and every topic, nor should they just for the sake of it, but it is amazing that we have so many contributors with both generic and specialized expertise that offer so much of their knowledge for little or no return beyond the ideal that knowledge should be shared as widely as possible. As well the novices who often offer a unique aspect. I feel that our experts and authors are the backbone of this forum, the general membership the body, and Alan and Peter the glue that holds it all together.

That said, I can understand the frustration from those with expertise who may feel they are continually obligated to answer the same questions over and over again. I also understand that, as much as some of us would like, not everyone agrees with all the answers offered. However, there in lies the interest and challenge of history! Of course the more simplistic queries, sometimes offered as proclamations or provocations, can test one's limits of forbearance. Perhaps we can come up with a solution that could both encourage the participation of the nearly fifty percent of our members who have never posted at all as well as encourage new members (especially students) to offer questions and add to our discussions without unduly frustrating anyone.

I quite concur with the "intimidation factor". That is a given in any established forum and is confronted by anyone new to that forum. The first time I came across RDVC and read some of the topics, my first thought was "Holy Moly!" [That second part of the exclamation actually being an entirely different four-letter word.] "These guys really know their stuff!" [ibid.] I was intrigued but petrified to join in any discussion because I knew it was way over my head and, like anyone else, didn't wish to make a fool of myself. My solution was to start at the beginning and read through every topic before comitting myself. This was back in the old forum days but none the less a Herculean, though eminently rewarding, task. I quite nearly accomplished it too, if it hadn't been for that 'marathon ammo debate' then in full flower. With great trepidation I cautiously added my 'tuppence' and lo and behold was not struck down! Nor have I ever seen that happen to anyone. Despite the occasional, and seemingly more recent, close encounters of the personal kind this forum remains the paradigm of civility for the entire internet.

That said, everyone has their bad days and the best way to avoid passing them on to others is to compose one's replies in a text editor rather than on the reply page of the topic, wait an hour or so, re-read your proposed submission, edit as necessary, copy and paste it into the reply box, preview it, and only then hit the submit button. Although there is an 'edit post' function once submitted I find that using the carpenter's golden rule of 'measure twice, cut once' preferable to the alternative.

Anyway...my suggestion is to augment Peter's technical FAQ with a separate A-ZW FAQ, although, by it's nature it would pretty much have to remain a 'work in progress'. Perhaps starting with the proper spelling of "Rorke's Drift", "Coghill", "Melvill", etc.(Although some other spellings such as "Isand[h]lwana" may require some further annotation!) It could include a synopsis of such controversial perennials as the ammunition debate with all it's permutations, "Drummer Boys", VC awards, Durnford, Chelmsford, Clery, Crealock, time lines and other oft-asked questions. I realize that the home page already contains this information under various headings but the fact is most people either don't have the time or perhaps the inclination to even wade through what is already in front of them, much less wade through search engine results. Personally I love digging into stuff but that's just me and I have half the year to indulge. Perhaps even a separate heading for novices to pose their queries without fear of imposing and where those of us who are inclined can wade through the search results and point them to previous discussions that address their questions (no easy task as so many of our topics veer off to points unknown) (and I think that's a good thing!). Then, if they have further questions that aren't specifically addressed or require further elucidation they would feel more secure in posting their own topic question.

I think it's important to remember that no one's life or career is on the line here, this is not a peer reviewed journal and although as people with a shared and abiding interest in the A-ZW, with varying degrees of knowledge and abilities we're all on the same team and share the same goals.

[Even if we don't always agree on all the same plays!]

Best

Michael
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