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A community

This website was created for you, the resident or curious outsider, to communicate on a variety of self-interested topics and for a variety of self-induced motivations.

We are all in this together and with restraint, passion and caring attention to each others feelings, hopes and dreams, we can all enjoy each other’s company and have a good time learning from one another.

However, in the past there have, of course, been occurances of abherrant behaviour which warrants some attention. Please do not consider what you are about to read to pertain to you specifically: it is included here simply to set a standard to which the owner / operator of this website wishes to hold all participants of this website. This is behavior which one would expect to be society’s norm, but unfortunately needs to be spelled out here in black and white.

Your rights as a user on this system

On this website you have the right to post messages, announcements and other information as long as it is not abusive, inflamatory, racial, hateful, belligerant, etc. If the general community standards of respect and thoughtfulness are repeatedly broken and disregarded, your right to post to the website will be revoked.

To reiterate: Only messages written with full respect of the readers of the website in mind will be tolerated.

Remember that people all have different views and different experiences. If you disagree, do so with a tone of calm understanding. You may want to try to convince them to change their minds, but you will never do it by screaming at them, badgering them, or devolving into immature ranting and rambling.

With the right to post to this website does NOT come the right to post single-minded hourly screes. You may hate something about our government or a new band recording or a TV show or the change of a soft-beverage recipe -- but you will only turn people away if you consistently pound the topic into the ground.  Yes, people have personalities and can always share their opinions, but railing on a daily basis will make you appear to be an obsessed freak, and will simply not be tolerated by the site moderator.

Also remember, there are people coming from all over the world to read what is written here. It does not behoove our community well if there appears screen after screen of nonsensical, vitriolic, demoralizing spew. We are all adults here and can communicate in a mature, respectful fashion.

And then there’s our property values to consider. If for no other reason, making Montague appear friendly and moderately educated will help convince people to buy houses here, raising everyone’s property values!  At the very least, think of that.

Here is an excellent article on how online communities succeed and fail on the behaviour of its members: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/kollock/papers/design.htm

In addition -- a User Policy change

As of January 12, 2007, users must now provide their real name and a zip code in their user accounts or they will not be able to submit any content, including corkboard messages, calendar items, pictures or videos. The owner / operator of this website feels that in a small community everyone knows each other and should not have anything to hide from each other when online either. Trust is the glue that holds us together. If you don’t know who you’re talking to and they refuse to let you know their identity, the trust starts to break down, as does the community.

Rights of the webites host and moderator

This website is run by one person with the occasional help of a few others. As the sole proprietor of this webite the owner reserves the right to revoke the posting rights of any user deemed problematic, devisive, abusive, or just plain clueless.

It may take a village to create community, but it only takes one person to ruin it. Like the human body, every community needs anti-bodies or white blood cells. Consider the moderator / owner of this website as that immuno response.

Any user deemed abusive or otherwise invasive to the website community can expect one or two warnings for their particular issues. If the issues continue to occur their rights to post may be revoked for an unspecified duration of time.

This right, on the part of the owner / moderator, is not taken lightly and will only be used in the most severe of examples.

For an excellent article on the role of a moderator and how personalities work in an online community, read this excellent article at Salon: http://archive.salon.com/21st/books/1998/10/19books.html

Issues of posting style

As with all types of communication, there are rules of etiquette and recommendations for maintaining efficient levels of interchange.

With the written word these rules are simpler but more important, as all you have is the word and the appearance of words grouped into paragraphs.

To make your posts more readable it is advised that you make frequent use of the enter/return button to create paragraphs. To create a new paragraph it is suggested you hit the enter/return key TWICE to create a full blank line between your paragraphs. White space between paragraphs increases the legibility of your post and avoids the readers perception that your post is just one long 1000 word paragraph — essentially making it look like a long, thick, undecipherable pile of mush.

Another technique is to ensure your paragraphs aren’t too lengthy. Perhaps three or four sentences, maximum.

Keep all thoughts in one paragraph, then initiate a new paragraph for a new thought, or tangent thought, or a new point or addendum to the previous thought. Each paragraph should be succinct, and homogenous, to express a single point.

USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN A SENTENCE IS CONSIDERED SHOUTING AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED UNLESS YOU ACTUALLY INTEND TO SHOUT. Also, using all capital letters increases the amount of "ink" on the page and makes the text harder to read. An occasional single word all capitalized can, however, be used to EMPHASIZE that word or thought. To further increase legibility, you should put a space after each period and comma.

It is suggested that you avoid using too many made-up words or "keeoot" or "kewl" language, as people have to stop their normal pace of reading to translate your text. Occasional use is ok, but getting overly creative in every sentence to show off that you know how to use the english alphabet to make up words that sound like regular words, even inserting puns, becomes tiresome after a very short while and many users will skip the remainder of your post. Eventually they will be trained to simply ignore your posts altogether just by seeing your name at the top.

These are all suggestions. If you want to communicate effectively, you may want to take them under consideration.

Multiple Postings

Lastly, do not multiple post your messages. You may want to post the same corkboard message under different topics or subjects. This is not allowed. Choose one topic and post your message once.

If you post the same message multiple times by accident learn from your mistake and try not to do it again. We have done our best to write the website code so accidental multiple-posts cannot happen, but sometimes these things magically happen anyway.

If a user consistently manages to post the same message multiple times, over and over, that user is obviously not in control of their keyboard and cannot use the website. The other readers should not have to suffer just because one person doesn’t know how to use the technology. While this is not the same as operating an automobile, people who have multiple car crashes over and over eventually have their licenses revoked.

The bottom line...

This website is not public access. It is not a federal, state, city, town or village funded / controlled / sponsored website. It is owned by one person who is hosting it on their own time, for the good of the community, and hopefully the world (as in "It’s good for the world"). As such you are all guests on this website interacting with other guests, as if you were at a party in someone's house.

The bar for entrance to this website is very low. There is no license or test required, as you would need to drive a car. If, in the normal usage of this website, a user cannot handle the technology or behave to the community’s acceptance, or the owner / moderator has to exert anything more than the normal amount of effort to manage the website due to the actions of one user, that user will lose their posting priveleges.

We all have other things to do in life. It is not the intended hope or purpose of the owner / moderator of this website to live by the keyboard and manage, cleanup or police the actions of anyone.

We’re all in this together. Patience is a virtue. Life is short. Live and love and communicate freely, as long as no one pokes an eye out.

You have been informed. Have a nice day.


Disclaimers / Notice:

1. All corkboard posts, once submitted, become the property of this website. Consider it a record of the voice of the people of Montague.

2. In addition, the software this site runs on is constantly under development and at times may produce errors or exhibit unexpected behavior. We apologize in advance for any such episodes and are doing our absolute best to ensure a smooth experience for everyone.

3. Also, despite our very best efforts, email delivery of postings from this site are subject to the receiving mailserver’s peculiarities. Notably, Yahoo.com and Earthlink.com are quite ardent in their blocking of many small provider emails. Your milage may vary.

4. Lastly, this website is private property, and your rights and priveleges may change, without notice, based on the needs of the owner of this website... the same as if you were in his / her household.