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Men's BBS Newsgroup Guidelines

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Join in on lively discussions of issues that affect men's lives. Here's a place for MenWeb readers to meet other people and talk about what's on their minds. Read posts about stuff you're interested in, and post a reply. Check back later and see who has responded. Or post to start a new thread on a topic you're interested, and see what responses you get. Or just "lurk" and enjoy the conversations.

For a pleasant and enjoyable experience for all, the MenWeb Men's BBS newsgroups and chats are subject to the AnnexCafe "Terms of Use" and tp the community guidelines listed on this page. These gludelines apply to all participants, those who post and those who simply come to check it out and "lurk." Your participation (by browsing or by posting) signifies acceptance of these guidelines.

The Community Guidelines are a long way of saying that basic rules of civility, courtesy and respect make the Men's BBS a more pleasant place for everyone.

This community is about men speaking their truths, not just to each other, but to women as well. It's about encouraging positive gender dialogue. It is a place to express thoughts and ideas without fear of judgement or ridicule.

There are guidelines—expectations for participation in this community. There is no room for profanity, sexual explicitness, or rude personal insults. If the discussion gets "hot," please keep your posts to a doiscussion of the issues, not what you think is "wrong" with the other person. There's no room for flaming, trolling, stalking and harassing here.

Similarly, there is not room for "bashing" any group, through racist or such remarks. This includes the "bashing" of women in general. There is also no room here for misandrist remarks.

Misandry, as defined by Patrick Arnold in Wildmen, Warriors and Kings, is the "hatred of men. 1: the attribution of negative qualities to the entire male gender. 2: the claim that masculinity is the source of human vices such as domination, violence, oppression and racism. 3: a sexist assumption that (a) male genes, hormones and physiology, or (b) male cultural conditioning produces war, rape, and physical abuse. 4: the assignment of blame solely to men for humanity's historic evils without including women's responsibility or giving men credit for civilization's achievements. 5: the assumption that any male person is probably dominating, oppressive, violent, sexually abusive, and spiritually immature." In other words: this is a male-positive Bulletin Board. No "male-bashing" is allowed.

Another issue that comes up from time to time is the use of other people's posts without their permission. Of course, taking someone else's posts and using them outside of the AnnexCafe newsgroups without their express permission is a violation of that participant's copyright and privacy. The Men's BBS and other ANnexCafe communities are "NNTP-compliant," that is, anybody with a newsreader can read and post. But they are not part of the Usenet hierarchy. Posting to the Men's BBS or other AnnexCafe newsgroup is not "implied consent" to their publication on Usenet or a waiver of US or international copyright rights. Posting someone's posts to Usenet is also not "fair use." Posting of posts from here on Usenet is not only a violation of "netiquette," it's a violation of copyright.

But taking someone's post from another AnnexCafe community and posting it on the Men's BBS, or taking someone's post in Men's and posting it elsewhere is also inappropriate. Similarly, it's not appropriate to use the Men's BBS to criticize other AnnexCafe communities, or for Men's BBS participants to go to other AnnexCafe communities to criticize the Men's BBS.

Yet another issue is multiple identities. People may, of course, decide to post under "screen names" hiding personal information. But the Men's BBS is a community of people, that depends on recognizable screen personae. The participants on the Men's BBS want to know who they are talking to. In our experience, people who continually change their screen names or e-mail addresses do so not for discussion or community-building, but to avoid killfiles and to flame and troll. They also tend to take posts from the middle of threads, or discussions, and begin a whole series of new threads, usually as a form of self-aggrandizement or flooding the Board with their topics, or disruption of ongoing discussions. In short, they are imposing themselves on other membres of the community, whether the other membees like it or not. These practices are actively discouraged.

If you feel that these expectations have not been met, I’d appreciate it if you sent me an email at berthoff@comcast.net. These expectations extend to emails sent in response to posts, as well. If you receive any offensive, threatening or harassing email in response to one of your posts, please forward a copy to me and I will take care of the situation.

Most of the time, posts or emails that run afoul of the above guides are unintentional. I send the person an email. If behavior outside these guidelines persists, a member could be temporarily or permanently barred from this Forum, or from MSN. I actually don’t expect this to happen, but it will… if needed.

I would throw out one caution for women, based on my own experience in men's groups and men's retreats, and on what I have heard from virtually every facilitator of groups and retreats. The dynamics of a conversation changes dramatically when a woman enters the room. Men who have difficulty in telling their stories or talking about feelings and emotions tend to "clam up" or to "posture." Sometimes men need to talk just to other men. If a particular thread about an issue that touches the hearts of men turns into a discussion of whether men and women are different, many more-reticent men will withdraw from the discussion. I ask women members to be aware of when men in a particular thread need "men's space" to talk about what's really on their minds. If you sit and watch, you might "hear" something you wouldn't otherwise hear.


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