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Gunroom Posting Guidelines

Please consider the following points when posting to the Gunroom:

  • The stated topics of the list are "Patrick O'Brian and everything else".  The only exceptions to this are that we don't discuss politics and religion.  To be more explicit: discussion of "our era's" politics and even religion in a dispassionate way is not banned. Neither is non-proselytizing mention of both religion and politics; advocacy of either, on the other hand, will bring down censure.
  • Be courteous and civil — remember that each message posted reaches a few hundred people of varying backgrounds.
  • No flaming or trolling.
  • When responding to a post, be sure to include part of the original post in your own message, so that people know exactly to what you are referring. You could also paraphrase the sentiment you are addressing.
  • Please consider editing out the previous posts to which you are not replying. If you are responding to a message that quotes the previous message, that quotes the previous message and so on, several messages deep, you are doing everybody a favor by removing the older messages, especially those who read the Gunroom in digest format.  In Gmail, to see the messages you are quoting and edit them, click on the three dots ("...") box at the bottom of the composition window.  In many mail programs, you can select the specific text you would like to quote, hit "reply" and then only the selected text will be quoted.
  • When a thread begins to stray far from its original topic, please change the subject line to reflect the new topic. You might keep the previous subject line using the word "was" (e.g. "Millers, was Haggis"), for thread continuity.
  • List traffic can be overwhelming — up to a couple of hundred messages a day has not been unexpected in the past. In fact, heavy volume is the number one reason that people leave the list. To paraphrase Smokey the Bear, you, too, can prevent list congestion. Before posting a message to the Gunroom, ask yourself if your post is...
    1. more than one line long
    2. adding something of substance to the existing discussion
    3. of interest to the members of the list as a body
    4. asking an interesting question that might lead to further discussion
    5. related to Patrick O'Brian and his work
  • If you answer "no" to most of these questions, and particularly if your post is addressed to one person specifically, I would urge you to consider sending your message off-list. 
  • The best response to an annoying or tiresome topic is silence. The thread will die out of its own accord.
  • If you are posting a message that would give away some crucial plot point, thus potentially ruining the enjoyment of a reader who has not yet read that particular book, it is considered courteous to include the word(s) "SPOILER" or "SPOILER ALERT," along with the title of the book, either in the subject line or at the very beginning of your message.
    It is also considerate to leave a page worth of "spoiler space" so those lissuns whose mail programs display the message immediately don't inadvertantly see the spoiling remark.
  • The standard copyright laws apply here. Please keep this in mind when quoting from newspaper or magazine reviews or articles, from the work of Patrick O'Brian himself, or from the private e-mails of others. When in doubt, ask permission of the rights holder.
  • For more on Gunroom netiquette, see Gibbons Burke's Articles of Mail (Wayback machine).  This is out of date in specifics, but is accurate in mood.