User Guidelines

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Revision as of 09:38, 1 August 2006 by Erik Krause (talk | contribs) (PanotoolsNG)
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This is a first public draft of the user guidelines. Editing is disabled for the moment. Please use the discussion page to comment or suggest.

User Guidelines

The PanoTools List Guidelines (this document) aims to provide the List members and moderators a clear framework within which the List may operate for the benefit of our Panoramic Community.


The Panotools Community currently operates two main lists on Yahoo groups - PanotoolsNG and Panotools-List. There are more special topic lists which serve as a communication forum for planning meetings (panotools-meeting), development (panotools-devel at souceforge) etc.

PanotoolsNG was set up to provide a home for open discussion of the creation and display of panoramas, panoramic images and associated technologies. Topics range from artistic appreciation and aims to heavily technical discourses.

We have members with a wide range of experiences and the newcomer is asked not to be intimidated by the level of some discussions. There is a saying "there is no such thing as a stupid question - just occasionally stupid answers."

Panotools-List however has been set up to discuss the future of the PanoTools yahoo group - management issuess, political issues and potentially controversial issues.

Both lists have their own separate culture, characters, acceptable subjects and recommended usage Guidelines. Please review them before posting.

Joint common ground

Our goal is to make this list a fun, informative and useful place for ALL participants. In order to keep the list a good environment for learning and communication, we ask that you follow a few simple and obvious guidelines. These guidelines are based on both Internet standards and successful group guidelines for many other large email and other communities on the 'net:

  • Please use a meaningful subject. With a load of 20 to 30 messages a day it is not easy to read them all. A decent subject line helps to adress the person who can help. "Help" or "I'm frustrated" f.e. are not meaningful subjects.
  • Please mark off-topic threads. Sometimes it might be interesting to post something that is off topic. It is a nice custom to mark such subject lines with a preceding [OT]. It might be of interest to use more such tags: [CP] (critics please), [OS] (only showing) or the like...
  • Change the subject line if the subject changes. Often the subject changes during a discussion. Please mark those changes with a new subject line. It would be good to quote the old subject in order to know where the subject line comes from: "<new subject> (was: <old subject>)"
  • Please don't start an entirely NEW thread by changing the subject line. Please don't simply press "Reply" in an unrelated message if you want to start a new thread. A hidden reference in the mail header will link your post to the unrelated thread - making it invisible to someone with a threading mail client who set this thread to "ignore" or who sorts by newest threads.
  • Please use plain text for messages. Many users read the list in plain text format. No need for fancy formatting.
  • Please only quote what you are replying to This is especially necessary if you read the digest version. There is absolutely no point in quoting the whole digest only to write a sentence or two. Please quote the relevant paragraphs only. Please use quoting characters (> at the beginning of a line) and don't indent quoted paragraphs, since it might be necessary to quote several instances of a message. Also, please put your reply to the quoted text below it, it's far less confusing then replying above the quoted text.
  • Please keep in mind you are posting to a forum Your post will probably be read by a lot of users, not only the one you reply to. Read your post again before sending and check whether it is potentially useful to the whole list. If not reply privately.
  • Please limit your footers / signatures. Yahoo automatically adds footer material and brief messages may get lost in the clutter! Limit your footer to 4 lines if possible.
  • Don't rely on the sense of humour This is an international list and a non-native speaker might not spot the subtleties of the english language. Even a native speaker might have a different sense of humor. Please mark questionable paragraphs with appropriate tags or smilies: <g> for grin, :-) for smile, ;-) for irony etc...
  • Please don't feed the Trolls If you find a posting that is designed intentionally to annoy, to antagonize or to cause trouble please ignore it. Don't reply, not even "Stop this" or alike. The less replies a Troll get's the sooner he goes away. See Wikipedia:Internet Troll for details.

List specific issues


Panotools-List is the so called "political list". It's mainly for discussions about the other panotools lists future and policy. It probably will get heated. To avoid unnecessary flame wars:

  • Please always keep the purpose of this list in mind We want to make the panotoolsNG list a better place.
  • Please try to be as neutral as possible To decry unqualified doesn't help anyone - critics should be constructive.


  • Please keep the list on topic. We are here to discuss PanoTools, panoramic imaging, and techniques, technologies, and other developments that directly feed into these subjects. If a thread gets too far off topic expect the listmoms to step in to steer it back on track. Respect this action, and if you have an objection take it up with the listmoms in private.
  • All posts should have a civil tone Flamewars will not be tolerated.
  • If you have a problem with the subject, tone or content of a message, or a problem with any other members behavior, you must contact the list admins directly. No discussion on list will be tolerated - sparking entire threads about a message you believe is off-topic or inappropriate is an action that itself is off-topic, inappropriate and possibly trolling.
  • All members will get a first warning and any further misbehavior may be dealt with by moderation or banning with no further interaction.
  • Please be ethical in your postings. This means you should fully disclose all vested interests (professional, commercial or others) and your relationship to the topic you comment on - for instance, reviewing a piece of hardware that you happen to sell, or trashing software of a competitor - to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • Please do not post commercial announcments to the list without first consulting the list admins. If approved you will likely be given a blanket approval for future postings as the old list regulars already have.
  • Content warnings - If you post a message that links to content that may be controversial because of political, sexual or other themes, please note that in your message. No debates about these themes will be tolerated on the list, however if you have content - panoramas - that are relevant to the list, we welcome you linking to them even if they have controversial themes.


Both Panotools-List and PanotoolsNG have a number of moderators to spread the responsibilities and provide a democratic decision making entity. They are asked not to act unilaterally. Moderators should be familiar with the range of acceptable material, topics and culture of their lists.

Moderators Responsibilities

The Moderators should be patient and calm and rely on the groups self cleaning property in the first place. A healthy group can cope with a certain amount of trouble and rule breaches. The Moderators only should intervene,

  • in case of a flame war
  • if a member is reluctant to stop causing trouble
  • immediately in very serious cases

The main goal of a moderator should be to encourage anyone to post to the group and to do that without fear some rule could have been broken.

Moderators Authorities

List Moderators are empowered to take action where a breach of the List rules has or is likely to occur, or an issue has arisen that gives cause for concern. One or more actions, including but not limited to the list below, may be undertaken to resolve the situation:

  • Contact the group member and/or the List-admin to discuss the apparently inappropriate behavior and steps to resolve it
  • Remove posts from the discussion group list/archive
  • Temporarily moderate (ie the moderators review the messages before they are posted)
  • In extreme cases temporarily change the entire group privileges from unmoderated posting to moderated
  • Temporarily ban a specific user or users from posting to the group
  • Permanently remove a specific user or users from the group

If a serious issue arises, the moderator will first attempt to reach other moderators immediately for second opinions (a separat mailing list for the moderators exists). If this is not possible in an appropriate time frame, the moderator is empowered to take proactive action, to be followed by peer review by the whole moderators group. Where a moderator has acted in good faith and subsequently had the action overturned by the peer review no individual recriminations will be tolerated.

Related Links

  1. The official RFC 1855 Internet Netiquette
  2. Yahoo's group guidelines
  3. learn to quote
  4. to get shorter URLs for posting