Moderating Criteria for Eco-Watch Dialogues


Eco-Watch Dialogues are an attempt to encourage collaboratve stewardship in the planinng and management of national forests in the United States.
Eco-Watch Dialogues are founded on the view that it is necessary to engage stakeholders in key policy discussions if we are to have credible management of the National Forests. This view is as old as the US Forest Service itself. Founding Chief Gifford Pinchot said "National Forests are made for and owned by the people. They should also be managed by the people. ... This means that if National Forests are going to accomplish anything worthwhile the people must know all about them and must take a very active part in their management"
Moderating criteria for this dialogue are found below. We expect them to evolve over time. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

  1. RESPECT FOR THE ARGUMENTS OF OTHERS:
    Counter arguments should be directed to the best of the other persons arguments, not to straw arguments. Disparaging remarks, no matter how subtle, towards the thought of others is strongly discouraged.
  2. RELEVANCE TO ONGOING DISCUSSION:
    Copyright material is not allowed, cross-postings are discouraged unless clearly relevant, spamming and advertising are not allowed. We strongly encourage citing a URL rather than forwarding entire articles.
  3. RESPECT FOR THE SIZE OF THE FORUM:
    Messages that are intended for, or which are of interest to, just a few individuals, should be sent directly to those individuals.
  4. EVIDENCE vs BELIEFS:
    Messages need to do more than just reflect the belief of the submitter. They need to be accompanied by thoughtful reasoning or some form of evidence. Appeal to authority is a weak form of argument although it is sometimes interesting to know the authorities that stand behind a particular view. References are encouraged.
  5. MESSAGE LENGTH and QUOTING:
    When long quotes are necessary, they can often be placed at the bottom rather than at the top of the message. Selective quoting is strongly encouraged. In some parts of the world people have to pay by the byte. So please try to keep messages short. Important material that is lengthy should be put into the Eco-Watch archives -- please let us know and we will try to help with this if needed.
  6. FORMATTING and READABILITY:
    Messages with extraneous characters and poor formatting that are difficult to read may be rejected but more tolerance for poor formatting is given to infrequent posters.
  7. FREQUENCY of POSTINGS: Some attention is given to posting frequency. Submissions are encouraged from those who have posted infrequently.
  8. ENCODING: It is best to include your remarks in your message rather than adding them as an attachment since many subscribers do not use mailers that automatically decode. As moderators, we are reluctant to accept encoded messages. If you have a long message which you think is important for subscribers and which can not be hyperlinked directly, we will try to work with you to get it into our archives.
  9. FLAMING and Baiting:
    Not only are flames unacceptable, but submissions may not be accepted if a moderator feels that a message tends to be baiting or provoking someone from another side of an issue.

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