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Perry Cuskey

Guidelines for Posting (aka "The Rules")

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We Pledge to Abide by The Two Commons.

The "rules" here aren't complicated. Basically, it's The Two Commons - common sense and common courtesy. That sums things up in a peanut shell. The information in the rest of this post falls under that heading. The Two Commons are the tenets that guide activities on this board.

Discussions and Debates

One of the staples of any discussion board is expressing opinions, and this board is no exception. The bottom line is that debates are welcome here, and you can have your say. All I ask when you do so is that you be respectful of those who may disagree with you. They will be asked to do the same for you.

The same holds true for the usual suspects - no derogatory comments about race, religion, ethnic background, etc. And no, you can't accuse someone of being a Damn Yankee. If you absolutely must though, the proper spelling is "damnyankee." (From time to time, some of you may be tempted to use this phrase to describe the board administrator. He'll try not to take it personally, even though he does seem to have Yankee tendencies.)

Also, as to language, I realize things can sometimes get a little heated when talking about a subject as emotionally charged as the Civil War. It happens. And my policy is to allow members to express their opinions, within reason, be what they may. But this is a moderated, family-friendly board (so I hope), and I'd appreciate it if we'd keep any raging cuss words to a minimum. I'm not going to be a fanatic about it, as the occasional "gosh darn it" isn't going to rattle my cage. But as before, be guided by The Two Commons.

In short, feel free to express your opinions and defend them when and where necessary, but please don't become vulgar or attack those who disagree with you. The best advice I've ever seen about online discussions put it like this - attack the argument, not the person making it. You can even attack my arguments if you want. But I wouldn't make a habit of it. (Just kidding.)

Quoting from books, magazines, and web sites

Sometimes when making a point, many of us will quote a passage from one or more authors, using a book, magazine article, or web site. It is perfectly fine to do so, but there are a few guidelines that you should always keep in mind when you quote from another source.

First, always, always, cite your source. If you're not sure of the exact source, do your absolute best to find out, or barring that, paraphrase the quote rather than posting it word-for-word. The point here is quite simple: You're borrowing someone else's words, and you have to give credit where credit is due. Always. No exceptions.

Second, long quotes from books or magazine articles that are still under copyright could infringe on that copyright. What qualifies as a "long quote?" That seems to be a bit hazy. The vast majority of the time, this isn't going to be an issue, and as long as you cite the source of your quote, it probably won't be a problem here. But, a safe approach to take is to see to it that the quote or quotes you borrow do not constitute the bulk of your post.

In other words, you want to make your point mainly using your own words, and inserting quotes here and there to add emphasis, or to back up whatever opinion your putting forth.

Quotes from books or magazines that are no longer under copyright are not an issue in that regard, and you can quote away to your heart's content, although I do still request (read: insist) that you cite the source of the quote.

Also, if you find an article on a web site somewhere that you think would be of interest, you can always post a link to the article. That's fine. You can also quote from that article, again, so long as you credit the author, and tell us the source where you found the quote.

Don't get too hung up on all this. The main point is that you want to credit whoever you're quoting. That's the main thing to keep in mind. Beyond that, just try not to quote their entire book or article in your post. :)  If you're not certain about something, you can always ask, or go ahead and post the note. If there's a problem, I'll let you know.

Web sites and books

For now at least, the forums under the "Back to the Future" heading will remain open to general posting. So if you know of a good web site on the battle and/or park, or have a book to recommend that you don't see listed among the titles, feel free to add your own entry. If the web site you recommend is of a commercial nature, please mention that in your post. We don't want folks thinking they're getting something for free that actually requires paying for to receive. Also, if you do post a link to a web site, please try to limit it to sites related to the Civil War or American history, with the exception of the Campfire Forum, which is an open forum. Speaking of which...

The Campfire Forum

The Campfire Forum is an open forum where members may post notes and hold discussions on pretty much anything. Including subjects unrelated to either Shiloh or the Civil War. All I ask is that you keep it clean. If you do that, you're probably safe with just about any subject or web site link, with the minor little exceptions outlined in the next paragraph.

I do request that there be no discussions about, or links to web sites about, modern politics, religious issues, slavery, states rights, or subjects related to the cause of the war. The reason for this is simply that these types of discussions, by their very nature, tend to heat up everyone's emotions very quickly, and they also tend to dominate board discussions. I'd rather not have a web site that's supposed to focus on Shiloh instead be known for everyone hollering about seemingly everything but Shiloh.

So that's it as far as rules. As stated above, they're pretty basic, and I do try to give folks the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. However, anyone who consistently shows that they can't abide by these simple rules will be marched away to face a cyber firing squad and be zapped from the board. Either that or suffer a visit from Braxton Bragg's ghost. Which amounts to the same thing.


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