The Culture of comp.dsp

As best anybody can tell, the comp.dsp newsgroup doesn't have a charter which describes what it is supposed to be. But if you think of a newsgroup as a "cocktail party", what really matters is not its "charter" but its "personality", that is, its "culture". In that vein, this document is intended to characterize the prevailing culture of the comp.dsp newsgroup.

Purpose

The Usenet newsgroup "comp.dsp" is devoted to discussing all aspects of Digital Signal Processing, as well as related areas of engineering, science and mathematics. (This is similar to what the comp.dsp FAQ says, but a little more specific.) This sentence defines "on topic".

Threads

Good Threads:

  1. Interesting DSP-related questions of all kinds.
  2. Tasteful announcements of DSP-related products or services. (Please mark with "announce:" or similar.)
  3. Off-topic things which might be of general interest to the people who are involved in comp.dsp. (Please mark with "OT:" or similar.)

Acceptable Threads:

  1. Questions which have been asked a million times before. (As a courtesy, please read the comp.dsp FAQ first and search the comp.dsp archives before you ask a question that may have been asked a million times before.)
  2. DSP-related job ads. (Please mark with "job:" or similar, and also include the geographic region in the subject.)

Bad Threads:

  1. "Inflamatory" topics involving religion, politics, nationality, ethnicity, etc.
  2. Off-topic not of general interest (a.k.a. spam).
  3. Questions or statements designed to be controversial (even if DSP-related).
  4. Broad cross-postings (posting to a large number of news groups at once).
  5. Resumes.

Post Content

Good Post Content:

  1. Intelligent DSP questions.
  2. Intelligent DSP answers.
  3. Well-intended quotes or humor stemming from the discussion.
  4. Entertaining digressions of all kinds. (When digressing, please change the subject line accordingly.)

Acceptable Post Content:

  1. Tasteful plugs of a product or service which are a valid answer to a question. (If you are connected with the plug, please make your connection clear.)
  2. Flames, when somebody deserves it. (When digressing into a flame, please change the subject line accordingly.)
  3. Test posts, when you are a newbie and you don't already know about the "misc.test" newsgroup, which is what you really should use for that, which you would know if you weren't a newbie.

Unacceptable Post Content:

  1. Newbie bashing. (A large part of what comp.dsp does is help newbies.)
  2. Deliberate misleading, inaccurate, or false statements.
  3. Deliberate trolls.
  4. Racist or nationalist remarks which may offend any of comp.dsp's reader's worldwide.
  5. Posts which slander someone, violate their privacy, or otherwise go beyond ordinary flaming.
  6. Shunnings. (How can you post a shunning, silly? ;-)

A Few Post Content Guidelines:

  1. Please read up on the general rules of netiquette before you post anything.
  2. Please read comp.dsp for awhile to get the "flavor" of it before you post anything.
  3. Try to accurately describe the post's content in the "subject" field so people who don't want to read your post can easily skip it.
  4. When changing the subject line of a thread, include the previous subject, e.g., "new subject: (was: old subject)".
  5. Please do not use any darn curse words.
  6. Please spell out all the words u use.
  7. capitalization is Optional.
  8. Speeling mistakes are acceptable
  9. Please do not nitpick the speeling or grammar of others (at least without a clever literary purpose); if you understand what somebody is trying to say, that's good enough.
  10. Please do not make fun of people who don't speak English very goodly; they probably speak _your_ language much better than you speak theirs.
  11. When replying, quote just enough of the previous post to provide adequate context, but no more. Put in "[snip]" or similar wherever you delete significant segments of a previous post.
  12. When providing URL's, please include "http://" so the URL can be clicked-on in the newsreader. Also, please leave spaces around URL's to help newsreaders which are too stupid to figure out where the URL begins and ends.

Miscellaneous

Names: A cocktail party should be friendly. In the interest of "friendliness", please provide a first and last name. (If using your real name makes you uncomfortable, simply make one up and we'll never know the difference.) If you wish instead to use a "handle", please at least provide us with a first name (again, for friendliness).

Business use of comp.dsp: Use of comp.dsp for business purposes is acceptable, and, in fact, many of the comp.dsp regulars have a DSP-related business interest of some kind. However, please disclose your business interest. Also, if you regularly use comp.dsp to promote your business, please "pay" for that by answering unrelated DSP questions (which is only fair.)

Discipline on comp.dsp: comp.dsp is an unmoderated newsgroup. No person or group is in charge of it, and no one has any "official" status. At all times, comp.dsp simply reflects the tastes and personalities of the people who participate in it. As an unmoderated newsgroup, anyone can say anything they like in comp.dsp. However, participants use "discipline" to discourage violations of comp.dsp's culture. The only forms of discipline that are acceptable are "flaming" (responding with hot words or making them look stupid) and "shunning" (ignoring somebody, a.k.a. "putting them into the killfile"). Of these, shunning is more mature, but flaming is more fun. ;-)

If you *do* feel the need to impose discipline on someone, first resist the feeling. Next, please limit discipline to one of these two forms. However, if it turns out that you aren't mature enough to shun, and you aren't clever enough to flame, you simply shouldn't be in the discipline business: having failed at flaming and shunning, please DO NOT step "outside the box" by using other forms of "discipline" such as reporting people to their ISP's, creating slanderous web pages, "outing" their personal information, etc. This sort of bad behavior will INSTANTLY make you a pariah, and it will be a long time, if ever, before you become rehabilitated in the eyes of the group.

Although no single person or group is in charge, if a general concensus develops concerning your behavior on comp.dsp, please respect the concensus by either improving your behavior or going elsewhere.