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Raoul F. Duke

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« on: July 26, 2009, 09:19:03 PM »
As those of us who have been around The Saloon for a while can all too readily attest, sometimes it's really hard for everyone to get along with each other. Sometimes people say things we take offense to, and sometimes people just rub us the wrong way in general. These things are inevitable. They're part of human nature. They're going to happen in ANY group of people.

Nevertheless, I must ask and remind that we all work extra hard to keep the peace around here. This is EXTREMELY important! Folks, if we can't maintain some level of civility and mutual respect on the Saloon, then we're going to devolve into just another slag heap like the China forums at Dave's ESL Cafe and other places. And if we reach that stage, there's really no point to having the Saloon continue to operate at all. Civility is a big part of what distinguishes us from those other places, and it's vitally important that we all do our part in maintaining it.

To that end, I most humbly request that you follow these guidelines when posting here. I know it's a long post, but the ideas are really pretty simple:

- KEEP A CIVIL AND RESPECTFUL TONGUE IN YOUR HEAD. You can make your point, or even disagree vehemently with another poster, all you want on the Saloon. We only ask that you do it nicely. Respect others and their opinions even if you disagree with's quite possible to disagree with someone and still be friendly. Guys, civil dialogue is a GOOD's kinda what forums are all about, ya know?
And I do want to clarify: It's perfectly OK to disagree with ANYONE here, even me...again, as long as you're nice about it. I've occasionally been told things like, just for example, "A long-term member told me that you'll get thrown off the Saloon if you disagree with the Australians." I can't imagine who would say such a thing here, but it's complete utter contemptible rubbish, and I would challenge anyone to cite ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE where this has happened. The reality is that no one has ever been thrown off this place simply for disagreeING with anyone. We have had to give the boot to a few for being disagreeABLE- willfully and persistently unwilling or unable to get along with others- but never simply for disagreeing.
Finally, it seems that there are a fair number of people who delight in using an aggressive, abrasive, smashmouth style when posting; they apparently suffer the false delusion that this makes them seem witty and intelligent. If this is you, the Saloon is probably not going to work out for you, because we won't stand for it here. Lighten up or head for Dave's ESL Cafe, where you'll fit right in.

- DON'T FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE. In other words, if you see a post that you think is insulting you, please try to fight off the perfectly natural impulse to return the fire. I know this ain't easy, folks, and I don't always succeed at it myself, but please at least give it your best try. The right thing to do here is to stop communicating with the offending member, and bring your case to one of the admins- Nolefan, Con, or myself. An angry direct response will only fan the flames, while letting one of us act as middleman can hopefully put the fire out while it's still small. If the grudge must continue, the best thing to so is to stay out of each other's way...don't respond to their posts. One of the main jobs of the admins is to try and keep the peace, so please give us a chance to do our job.

- LET PEOPLE HANDLE THEIR OWN AFFAIRS. I'm getting more and more e-mails and PMs informing me that "X is really becoming vicious toward Y." I'd like to assume that Y is all grown up now, and if they're offended they'll bring the matter to us themselves. Unless the situation is getting totally out of control, I'd really prefer to hear from the people directly involved.

- STAY AWAY FROM HOT-BUTTON TOPICS, ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH CHINA. This site is primarily about living and working in China. Do we really need arguments about abortion rights, gay marriage, and other such inflammatory, polarizing issues? IMHO: No, we don't. There are zillions of other sites that are devoted to such topics, so please consider taking them there.

- BE CAREFUL WHEN TEASING PEOPLE...ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE NEW HERE. You'll likely notice that I enjoy teasing people like Con, Gerge, Ericthered, and Stil, with no mercy at all. However, these guys are old and dear friends, they know I love them like brothers, and they understand that I'm teasing...and they tease me back. However, the same exact words, coming from a stranger, could lead to violence. Build the relationships first!

- GIVE PEOPLE SOME BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. In a forum such as this, all we really have are written words. We can't see facial expressions, or hear vocal inflections, or use other tools that help us convey the full meaning of our communications. Therefore, it's notoriously easy to be misunderstood in written-only media. If you see a message that looks like it might possibly bear an insult etc., don't immediately put your fist down their throat. Try sending them reply or PM- a POLITE reply or PM!- asking for clarification. You might find there has indeed only been a misunderstanding, and everything will be cool. If it actually IS an attack, send it on to an admin and we will bitch-slap them for you.

- DON'T ALWAYS INSIST ON HAVING THE LAST WORD. Ya know, sometimes it's enough to simply state your case and speak your peace, and then hand the microphone over to someone else. We've had some members who ALWAYS simply had to stomp on every whisper of disagreement until they all stopped moving. It really, really sucks.

- LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ON-TOPIC AREAS AND THE OPEN AREAS. A bit of banter and fluff can be a helluva lot of fun! But overdoing it can start to become seriously annoying- especially in threads where people are actually trying to have a real discussion. Hijacking threads (suddenly changing the subject of a thread while people are still discussing the original topic) can also be extremely obnoxious. In other words, please have some respect for the conversations people are having. If you want to lay down a bit of banter, or you want a new subject, all you have to do is take the 5 seconds needed to start a new thread.

- CHECK YOUR ARROGANCE AT THE DOOR, PLEASE. Don't try to build yourself up by putting everyone else down. Don't subject us all to excessive bragging (note the use of the word "excessive" here) about your glorious qualifications and achievements. In other words: Don't be an asshole.

- DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO UNTO YOU. 'Nuff said, really. This last one really covers all the rest of them, and more...

"Vicodin and's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)