Short version of the Forum rules (for explanations, see the detailed version below):
- Keep all posts friendly, civil and courteous at all times (friendly debate is encouraged).
- Try to not feel offended when another person uses wording that may sound offensive but was most likely not meant to be.
- Do not make “one liner” or short “half sentence” posts, as they are usually quite pointless.
- Do not write a post just containing the words “Thank you”, as this is also usually quite pointless and not very interesting for the other readers.
- Do add some basic information (such as location, employer, website) to your personal forum profile. Some introductory sentences about yourself at the beginning of your first post are also highly recommended.
- Do not resort to “thread bumping”, which is the act of posting in a thread with the sole goal of getting it back to the top of the thread list.
- Do not post the same post to multiple categories of the forum.
- Do not write “off-topic” posts, i.e. posts with insufficient relationship to sustainable sanitation. In the case of borderline topics, please explain the relevance to sustainable sanitation.
- Do not post on the same topic too frequently if there is no reaction whatsoever from others.
- Do not attach documents to your posts if their copyright is not owned by you or if you have not been granted permission by the copyright owner. This applies in particular to journal articles except for those that are open access.
- Do not post content that is plain commercial advertising. Do not link to any site that contains adult content, sexually oriented material or might otherwise be considered offensive.
- Do take a look at this advice for writing good forum posts that others will enjoy reading (click here).
More detailed version of the forum rules, with additional explanations:
- Keep all posts friendly, civil and courteous at all times. Constructive criticism is welcome, but do keep in mind that the forum is a meeting place of many cultures. Especially in many developing countries the cultural norm is often one of avoiding direct criticism. We encourage all users to keep this in mind with their posts and to be as culturally sensitive as possible. Also keep in mind that English is not the first language of many Forum users. Therefore, sarcasm and irony may not be easily understood by all and should generally be avoided.
- At the same time, we encourage all users to try to not feel offended when another person uses wording that may sound offensive but was most likely not meant to be. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt that they didn't mean it in a negative way.
- Please refrain from making “one liner” or short “half sentence” posts, such as providing only a URL link to a website or paper but without saying why you recommend this particular website or paper. Such posts will be deleted by the moderators and their authors will be contacted.
- Please refrain from making a post just containing the words “Thank you”. Instead, click on the “I like this post” button below the other person’s post (visible after logging in). Or, even better: If you want to thank someone for their post, explain why their post deserves thanks in one or two sentences. A third alternative is to thank someone personally by using the contact button to the left of the person’s post.
- Please add some basic information (such as location, employer, website) to your personal forum profile, which is useful for the following reasons: establishing rapport, finding out about new members, identifying possibilities for links with other members. When community members know more about each other, it helps them communicate and collaborate more effectively. Some introductory sentences about yourself at the beginning of your first post are also highly recommended. This is explained further here. Should you wish to remain anonymous, we would respect that right to anonymity, although we do not encourage it.
- Do not resort to “thread bumping”, which is the act of posting in a thread with the sole goal of getting it back to the top of the thread list. Such posts may get deleted by the moderators.
- Do not post the same post to multiple categories of the forum (e.g. under “New publications” and then again under “Biogas systems” for a publication on biogas systems). Choose only one category.
- Do not write “off-topic” posts, i.e. posts with insufficient relationship to sustainable sanitation. In the case of borderline topics, please explain the relevance to sustainable sanitation. The moderators are entitled to reject (and ultimately delete) posts regarded as off-topic. For example, posts on whether childhood immunisations could cause autism or whether genetically modified crops are good or bad are regarded as off topic. On the other hand, discussions on water supply topics are allowed if you make it clear what the connection with sanitation is. If in doubt whether your post might be considered off-topic, please send an e-mail to the secretariat prior to posting to avoid disappointment (email@example.com).
- Do not post on the same topic too frequently if there is no reaction whatsoever from others. Rather take it as a signal that people are not interested in the topic you have raised and therefore please refrain from posting on the same topic again for at least several months.
If you think that a post violates any of these rules, or you want to bring it to the attention of the moderators for whatever reason, please use the ‘report to moderator’ button, which you can see as a small button below a post to the right when you are logged in (directly above the “reply” button). This sends an e-mail message to the moderators, who will then take appropriate action. Please do not hesitate to use this function, as it helps to maintain a high quality of posts on the forum. Only the moderators receive your e-mail in this case and will treat it as confidential information.
Background for the rules – common understanding of how this discussion forum works
- The emphasis of this forum is on individuals coming together, independent of their countries of origin the organisations that they work for. Everyone is welcome who has a personal interest. A Do-it-Yourself person or “tinkerer” and a senior executive from a major international organisation are both welcome as equals. What each has to say is potentially of equal importance, and moreover each can learn from the other. Members exchange experience and expertise on sustainable sanitation priorities, activities and trends.
- This forum is moderated after posts are made by users: To ensure integrity, the forum is overseen by skilled moderators. The moderators may move posts to other categories or threads where they fit better, to break long threads into two, to rename a thread title, to temporarily or permanently delete posts and to ban abusive users. The moderators may on occasion also leave a moderator’s comment at the beginning or end of somebody’s post which is clearly marked in blue colour (for example to add the location of a conference if the user mentioned a conference but forgot to state its location or website address).
- Posts made to the forum that are in some way related to, but at the boundaries of, the topic of sustainable sanitation require careful judgement from the moderation team, based on the perceived needs and expectations of the forum’s members.
- The moderators have a responsibility not only to identify and address obvious abuse, such as inflammatory comments, but also to look out for more subtle comments that might cause offense through innuendo or hidden implication. Debate is to be encouraged; by contrast, offensive messages, insults, and personal attacks should never reach the public domain of the discussion forum and will be deleted by the moderators (and the authors will be contacted). In some rare cases, a user may be banned (temporarily or permanently) to avoid repeated problems.
- If a message is not appropriate (e.g., is not relevant, is gratuitously offensive, is nonsensical, etc.) the moderators may temporarily delete the post and may send a courteous, personal note to the author to explain the problem and suggest options on how the sender might proceed. These options may include (1) a simple ‘suggestion’ that this particular post is not suitable for the forum; (2) a suggestion that the post be revised in some way so as to make it more relevant/understandable/useful to readers; and/or (3) help and advice on how the person might proceed elsewhere.
- This forum is centred on topics related to sustainable sanitation, the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) and people/organisations who are active in the sanitation, water or hygiene sector. It is not a place to promote ideological, religious, or political matters. SuSanA is under no obligation to supply any user with space to propound highly unorthodox or scientifically unsupported views. Such posts may be deleted at the discretion of the moderators and the users notified.
- We do not allow plain commercial advertising. On the other hand, we do encourage private sector participation and therefore are open to posts by people working for companies selling sanitation related products and services. A technically sound introduction of sanitation-related products and services is in principle allowed in this category, if the author can make it clear what the relevance for sustainable sanitation is. For example: A user who regularly provides helpful advice to other forum members on composting toilets, is allowed to explain her own company’s composting toilet products and to engage with other users on discussions thereof.
- A user will be banned from using this forum if he/she makes repeated posts for which he/she is warned by the moderator. This may be case of irrelevant topics, use of inappropriate language or self-projection.
- If you disagree with any of the forum moderator’s actions regarding your own posts, please don’t hesitate to contact the moderators: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright issues for attachments
Please do not attach documents to your posts if their copyright is not owned by you or if you have not been granted permission by the copyright owner (contrary to popular belief, the author of the paper is not the copyright holder for most peer-reviewed journal articles, but the publishing company is). This applies in particular to journal articles except for those that are open access. Instead of attaching such a pdf file to your post, you can give a link to where this article is available for purchase, or a link to an online library if it is posted there. Moderators will have to remove attachments that enfringe on third parties’ copyright.
Use of posts
Each individual member retains the copyright in his/her own posts. A member can edit and erase messages that he/she has contributed. All content on the SuSanA Discussion Forum is also regulated by a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0-license, the key elements of which are that anyone is free to copy, adapt, distribute and transmit the message for non-commercial use, as long as the derivative is shared under the same license and the source is fully attributed.
Illegal and forbidden activities
- Do not discuss illegal activities. Our server is hosted in Germany and so is subject to German law. Please do not expose us to any unnecessary legal liability.
- Do not link to any site that contains adult content, sexually oriented material or might otherwise be considered offensive. Any post containing an inappropriate link will be deleted and the poster will be notified.
- Do not propose a site or link to any site that contains pirated software, copyrighted software or materials that can be downloaded illegally.
- No commercial advertising is permitted. Any posts deemed to be plain commercial advertising or spam will be deleted. Users that have posted spam will be permanently banned from the forum (if you think you have been unfairly banned, please contact the moderators: email@example.com).
The forum moderators and SuSanA secretariat are not responsible for the quality and accuracy of information posted on the forum by SuSanA members. Users should always take anything they read on this forum as “use at your own risk”.
If you have any questions or concerns about these rules or about the actions of moderators, please e-mail the secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some paragraphs on this page have been copied or adapted from this paper.
Last updated: 21 July 2014