EEF HOME NOTES

(version Sept 15, 2002)

CONTENTS
* Administrative matters:
(1) EEF: organisation
(2) EEF: subscription options
(3) EEF NEWS
(4) AEL-L
* Additional posting suggestions:
(5) Etiquette: headers, signing, contents
(6) Etiquette: address inquiries
(7) Etiquette: quoting others
(8) Etiquette: lecture reports
(9) Etiquette: factual debate only
(10) Etiquette: a scholarly post?
(11) Internet conventions

While the EEF Charter is required reading and lists the rules of etiquette which participants are responsible for following, the present file simply means to give practical additional information which could help you to make optimal use of the EEF mailing list. So please find below administrative notifications, some clarifying examples to certain Charter issues, and general posting suggestions (which are particularly aimed at those who have little experience with mailing lists and/or university seminars).


(1) EEF: ORGANISATION

List founder:
The EEF was founded by Geoffrey Graham, at the time a graduate student in Egyptology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The EEF List was officially announced by him on February 23, 1998 (after a week of experimental activity starting February 17). Till March 1999, Geoffrey Graham ran the list fully manually, and was the moderator. Since March 1999, when membership had well passed 450 subscribers, the EEF runs via a list server (CREN Listproc) at Yale University, with a new moderator.

Current moderator:
A.K. Eyma (co-owner since Nov.'98, moderator since March '99).
A moderator is the person who takes care of the daily operation of the forum (subscription matters, screening and forwarding of mail, etc.).

List Advisors:
An EEF Advisory Board (cf. Charter VII.3) was convened in order to assist the moderator in policy decisions necessary for the list's long term (i.e. non-daily) maintenance; it is made up of about 15 professionals and laymen to reflect the membership of the list.
Places that open up are filled after (off-list) invitation by the list owners. Prospective Advisors should in general be reasonably active on EEF, should actively respond to advisory messages, and should signal suggestions for improvement.

Website:
The website has two "floors". The first floor, with the Main Page, the Charter and the Application Form, are hosted by Christina Paul (one of the Advisors). The "front door" picture on the Main Page was designed by Marc Line (former Advisor).
The second floor called "Archives & Links" runs at Geocities and is maintained by A. K. Eyma. As the archives need a lot of space, and Geocities is freely supplying that, we hope you can understand that their slightly annoying "pop-up" advertisements are the "price" for that.

Addresses:
a) post for the EEF list goes to this address, with an appropriate header.
b) post for the moderator goes to this address, with (for quicker sorting and handling) as header:
"(UN)SUBSCRIBE" for unsubscribing or changing subscription options, for address changes
"NOMAIL" for temporarily unsubscribing
"PRIVATE" for private list matters, general remarks and for EEF BBS or EEF Archives matters
"NEWS" for EEF NEWS


(2) EEF: SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

* Application:

People can apply for membership at the EEF website (cf. Charter VIII.1). The processing of applications is handled by the moderator, who alone adds addresses to the mailing list. The whole process may take one or two days.

* Digests:

Subscription to the EEF is available in three different options (cf. Charter VIII.2):

(a) Regular Subscription: member receives individual postings as they come in. This type of subscription is recommended for those who wish to participate actively in discussions. This is the default option; every subscriber will be on it after application, until (s)he requests to be switched to one of the following options.
This option runs via the Yale University list server software.

(b) Weekly Digest Subscription: member receives one bundle, on Sundays, a recap of all traffic on the list for the preceding week. The bundles are sorted on topic and made by the moderator. Only EEF NEWS will be forwarded to you separately, on the date it appears.
This option runs via Yahoo!Groups, a free email distribution service (but at a price in the form of a small advertisement automatically inserted at the beginning of the Digest - so that is not EEF related).

(c) Daily Digest Subscription: member receives a single bundle of postings daily. Unlike the Weekly Digest, this bundle is not sorted on topic. This type of subscription is a compromise between the other two options, and notably useful for those whoes accounts allow only a limited amount of e-mail messages each day.
This option is still fully manual, sent out by the moderator, as the amount of subscribers to it is relatively small.

The two digests are seperately sent out by the moderator (so are not sent from the list's Yale address). Requests for changing between options must all be directed to the moderator (with "SUBSCRIBE" in header). Please indicate both your old and new subscription option.

* No Mail:

If you want to unsubscribe only temporarily (for the time of holidays, trips to Egypt, etc.), then please contact the moderator ("NOMAIL" in header) and indicate that you want to interrupt mail and whether you are normally subscribed or on a digest; you will be removed from the relevant mailing list option (until you indicate you want to be on again), but not from the Members List. Should you decide not to return, then please formally Unsubscribe.

* Change address:

When you change e-mail addresses, please do not just let your old address remain subscribed (so mail to it will continuously "bounce"), and do not re-apply with your new e-mail address as if you were a new member. Instead, write to the moderator ("SUBSCRIBE") and indicate your name, your old e-mail address, your new e-mail address, and whether you are on a Weekly/Daily Digest option, and your data will be changed on the Members List and on the relevant mailing list.

* Unsubscribe:

To formally Unsubscribe, send a note to the moderator with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in header. If you are sending from an email address which differs from the email address with which you are subscribed to EEF, please indicate the subscription address. If you are on a digest, please indicate so too.
The server is configured to automatically unsubscribe addresses that show permanent errors (host not found, user unknown, etc) and that bounce back EEF mail to the Yale server. Normally the moderator will contact you over this, but if you do not receive list mail from EEF for about a week, then it might be a good idea to check with the moderator.


(3) EEF NEWS

EEF NEWS is a weekly news feature, in which the moderator collects and bundles news items to be sent out in a single posting (cf. Charter II.4-5).

* Major news items which are of clear interest for the list as a whole, like announcements of discoveries and excavation reports, are best posted directly on EEF. Reports on past lectures and symposiums likewise.

* Smaller news bits, like announcements of local lectures, web site updates, e-mail address changes etc., are good candidates for being bundled in EEF NEWS. Job announcements, being only relevant to some list members, usually also will be put in the NEWS.

* (Quasi-)commercial advertisements, like announcements of new publications, courses, hieroglyphic fonts, Egyptological software, CD-Roms, etc., may be submitted to EEF NEWS. The NEWS further heartily welcomes reviews of such products.
Advertisements for the sale of antiquities will not be accepted.
Book sellers will normally not be mentioned (unless there is only one distributor of a new publication); the rules for used books are a bit more lenient, as are the rules for very special actions (in which the benefits for the subscribers are felt to outweight the benefits of the bookseller).

* Calls of a personal nature (e.g. looking for travel companions or room mates for conferences, where can I buy this book or find good book stores in this area, etc.) are to be put in the "Personals" section of EEF NEWS, not on the EEF list.
Also bare "Thank you!" notes for any assistance offered on EEF will be redirected to this "Personals" section, as they are very commendable but do not contribute to list debate.
Even "borderline" questions may be put in the "Personals" section, i.e. short inquiries which are too basic or less suited topic-wise to appear as separate posts on the list. In this way they do not contribute to the height of traffic (i.e. amount of messages), while the questioner still has a chance to get (off-list) responses.

* The moderator may at any time decide to redirect mail to EEF NEWS instead of forwarding it to the list separately. The newsletter editor reserves the right to shorten and rephrase submissions at his discretion.


(4) AEL MAILINGLIST

The EEF is a companion list to the Ancient Egyptian Language List (Charter II.2).
AEL has firstly - but not exclusively - an instructional aim, and therefore basic questions on hieroglyphs, beginning through intermediate level language instruction, and readings of standard Egyptian texts should be directed to the AEL rather than to the EEF. However, more advanced subjects in the Egyptian language (e.g. phases other than Middle Egyptian, like Demotic or Coptic) are very welcome on EEF.


(5) ETIQUETTE: HEADERS, SIGNING, CONTENTS

* The header of your post should reflect its contents (Charter IV.3). This means that the header must be descriptive enough to enable a person with a limited amount of time to determine what the message is about and whether or not (s)he wants to open and read it. It also means that if your post is a response but the topic shifts in your answer, then please change the header to reflect the changes, in this way:       Subject = "new topic (was: old topic)"

* To reply off-list to a poster, you must consciously put his/her address into the 'To:' header. It's always wise to mark such a post with "Off-list" in the subject header; in that case the one addressed will not by mistake reply to you on-list, and if you mistakenly send a private message to the list, then the moderator will hopefully be able to intercept it before it reaches the subscribers.

* Always sign your post with your full name - initials or first name are not enough (Charter IV.15).
If your e-mail provider or program does not provide your complete e-mail address in the "From:" header, then please sign with both your full name and your e-mail address.
But please, don't overdo signatures and "tags" either; keep them short.

* Avoid posting one-liners (Charter IV.6) which do not contribute anything substantial to list debate, for example:
- Do not repost a statement just to indicate that you agree or disagree with it.
- Avoid "Me too" and "I agree" posts unless you add something to the debate.
- Also avoid bare "What do you mean?" statements. Suggestion: write off-list, and give the other member permission to quote you in his/her onlist clarifying post.
- Bare "Thank you!" notes are best submitted to EEF NEWS, as are any bare statements about the quality of the list.

* Sometimes people will answer you off-list. If you think their messages contain vital information, you could (after asking their permission) consider bundling their data into one post with which you report back to the list. Best wait at least a week with that, so you can take into account reactions by Weekly Digest subscribers. Notably off-list literature references come into consideration for being bundled in such a report at the end of a thread generated by your inquiry.

* Avoid cross-posting (of your own material or of material of others who have given you permission to crosspost) whenever possible (Charter IV.9). Many people are also subscribed to related lists and will not necessarily be grateful to you for cluttering their mailbox with duplicates.

* Some additional (i.e. personal) list rulings of the present moderator:
- Subjects discouraged or disallowed: topics already covered in the past (see archives); some often debated Amarna topics that are known to be fruitless; the topic of so called 'Alternative Chronologies' (which are, like overall orthodox chronology matters, too broad to debate on a list); non-mainstream theories about Pyramids and Sphinxes; hyperdiffusionistic theories (e.g. the so-called Cocaine Mummies); the Exodus and Biblical historicity; ethnic and racial matters (Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, race and color of the ancient Egyptians).
- There is a conscious policy to keep the total amount of forwarded EEF posts per day below 10 (a ceiling sometimes reached, although since long the average traffic of EEF is 3-5 messages per day); if the traffic volume is steep, the moderator might postpone forwarding messages or bundle messages.
- Please try to keep the size of your posts below 10 kB, and be hesitant to send more than one post per day.
- If threads have run for two weeks, they tend to be ripe for closure (as, among other things, there's the increased risk that repetitions and speculations kick in, or the risk that a 'trench fight' develops).


(6) ETIQUETTE: ADDRESS INQUIRIES

Requests for e-mail addresses or normal addresses of private persons, institutes, journals, et al. are allowed on the list. However please follow these guidelines if you wish to make such an inquiry:

* First and formost, please consult the following resources on the Net:
- the e-mail address lists for Egyptologists
- web pages providing information about journals
- web pages providing information about societies, institutions and museums
You can find them (or links to them) at the EEF website.

* Option 1: you could contemplate placing such calls in the weekly "Personals" of EEF NEWS if you do not need an immediate answer (doing so saves list traffic and will result in off-list responses).

* Option 2: if you need an immediate response to your inquiry, then you may forward it to EEF list; but please end your post with "Please respond off-list".

* You are invited to post in EEF NEWS a summary of the information you received off-list, if you judge this would be of service to the other members. Information about journals, institutes, publishers, et al., does qualify for this, information about private persons does not.

NB To anyone who wants to respond to such queries: please answer off-list to the questioner and not to EEF. The moderator reserves the right to delete any responses that are sent to EEF itself; you hopefully will understand that a flood of one-liners, with more or less the same contents, can seriously disrupt the normal administration of the list. And the bottomline is: the privacy of non-subscribers is not served by placing their email address on a public forum.


(7) ETIQUETTE: QUOTING OTHERS

The Prime Directive of quoting is to only quote what is absolutely necessary of previous EEF posts to which you are responding (cf. Charter IV.5). Some suggestions in general:

* Copying a full previous post and then pasting your remarks somewhere at the bottom, will not invite reading. Pasting a full previous post at the end of your own remarks is quite annoying too, as it unnecessarily adds to traffic volume (and not all people have fast modems or fast providers or large hard disks). Please, only quote what is really needed.

* If you quote, do include the name of the one you quote, via a line like
    "John Doe wrote:"
or by including the sender subject line of the previous post in the quote. Make sure the whole quotation is clearly marked as such via >'s. Example:

>From: John Doe, xx@xxx
>This is a quote
>quote quote quote
>more quote

And in addition indicate clearly where your own remarks begin, via at least a blank line after the quote. In short, make always quite clear who is speaking or being quoted when and where.

* If you are not quoting anything, which may be a very good option, then an opening line like
   "ref.: post of John Doe, d.d. ...."
will help readers refind the post to which you are responding. If you bundle responses to more than one person (cf. Charter IV.13), then you can likewise indicate via a "ref.:" or "to:" statement to whom you are responding in each section.

* As first names are generally not unique, using them alone is not enough and can be very confusing. So if your note says "Dear John, " then make clear whom you are addressing by opening your note with either a "John Doe wrote:" quote or (if you do not use a quote) a "to: John Doe" statement. It is best not to put such "to: John Doe" in the subject header of your post, as many people think that looks aggressive.


(8) ETIQUETTE: LECTURE REPORTS

You are heartily invited to send to EEF reports of lectures or conferences which you have attended. Such reports are greatly appreciated by the members. However, please do also keep in mind the interests of the person giving the lecture:

* When possible, always ask the speaker after the lecture whether it is okay to publish a written report on EEF. In some cases the speaker might want to give the lecture a second time at another occassion in the future (e.g. as part of a "tour"), and then it is not appropriate to publish a report in advance. At times the lecture may contain not yet published research, and then pre-publishing it in a report may be unwanted.

* Consider that it is always possible that you may have misunderstood the speaker at a certain point. Do explictly indicate in your report any uncertainties on your part, so that your readers are aware that any obscurities (or even errors) must be attributed to you, and not to the speaker.

* To decrease the risk of misrepresenting the speaker, you may want to ask him/her whether (s)he wants to have the opportunity to review your report off-list first, via e-mail.

* If you have no opportunity to contact the speaker directly after the lecture, you can at least try to get his/her "overall fiat" by contacting him/her by email. (Drop a "PRIVATE" note to the moderator, who can check for you whether the speaker is an EEF member, and/or consult the email address lists present on the Web)


(9) ETIQUETTE: FACTUAL DEBATE ONLY

Most of you will know what abstaining from "ad hominem" attacks (Charter IV.2) entails. For the few who don't, some examples and thoughts:

* Postings that impugn individuals' religion, philosophy, ethnicity, political views, intelligence, gender, behavior, or any other personal characteristics, will not be distributed to the list.

* Remember that personal matters and disputes are not a topic of discussion whether they are the poster's own, or pertain to any other individual, present on the list or not. This certainly goes for matters that are judicial in nature.

* When you are annoyed/upset about something, give yourself some time to calm down before you start typing. And after typing, let your mail rest a bit and read (and edit) it again before sending it out.

* If you think a poster should do his/her homework - don't say so, but politely recommend some literature in a neutral manner. If the ideas of writer X (present or nor) are stupid/silly/insane - don't say so, but either mercifully ignore him/her or show in a 'clean' factual argumentation why his/her ideas are less than sound. Remember that negative labelling, aggression, lack of basic respect, playing the (wo)man and not the ball, grumpiness and snippiness, etc., will nearly always reflect far worse on the user of such methods than on his/her victim.

* Some mailing lists show alas common forms of negative rhetoric, belittling tone and much empty & aggressive hand-waving, by people who think that trying to discredit the "adversary" as a person, or a lot of shouting down, is the way to "win" a debate. We are confident that EEF members are above such behaviour, and thus far experience has proven us right. But e-mail is a tricky medium, in the sense that things may easily come across differently from what you had meant. Perhaps this is a safe rule: Be carefull what you write, and how you write it, for your readers will take what is written in the worst possible way imaginable; in the same vein, do not too quickly take offense at what someone writes to you, it is in 99% percent of the cases not as harshly meant as it sounds.
So please contemplate for a brief moment whether you yourself would want to be on the receiving end of your post, and whether no misunderstandings or hurt feelings can arise. Never forget that the person on the other side is human (even though "face-less"), and avoid posting things which you would not say in public in a room filled with peers.


(10) ETIQUETTE: A SCHOLARLY POST?

EEF is a scholarly list - but not a list only for scholars; amateurs are more than welcome to actively partake. However, everyone should strive for a scholarly level of discourse when posting. To those who are uncertain about what a scholarly level is, we would like to give the following suggestions:

a) Posting to EEF is like standing up and addressing an (informal) graduate seminar, with many distinguished Egyptologists present. Please visualize this for a moment, and I'm sure you will realize what this requires of your posts.

b) If you claim something, please give a reference (preferably to primary sources). References are the bones of any debate, saving a post from being just a talk (if not: chat). If your post does not include any literature references - please think twice before sending it. Readers might want to be able to follow up on your sources, and will be grateful to you for giving them a lead.

c) Clearly distinguish between fact, existing theory and private opinion. So distinctly mark out the 'hard' archaeological facts (with references), sketch the current theories based on these facts (with references), and indicate when your own theorizing begins.

d) Personal theorizing in the form of making inferences based on data is of course allowed. But remember the burden of proof rests on you. EEF is aimed at the exchange of useful Egyptological information. Please use other available Internet venues for dropping or testing "wild" idiosyncratic theories. If you present an Egyptological interpretation or opinion, please provide verifiable data to support it, cite the opinions of reputable scholars, and quote generally accepted resource material.

e) Take the opportunity to re-read and re-edit your post once or twice before sending it to ensure:
* that you use factual argumentation, with due respect to others and their views,
* that your ideas are conveyed as clearly and succinctly as possible, and are backed up by verifiable references.

Remember, list members receive many messages each day, and many subscribers have busy schedules, so if you want to guarantee that your post is read, post with care, and make your posts to the point and provide solid references.


(11) INTERNET CONVENTIONS

a) Please avoid using extended characters (i.e. those with accents), only use the simplest ASCII character set. Extended characters tend to arrive fine by direct e-mail (although not with all e-mail programs), but in the case of mailing lists, servers along the way tend to garble them into something unreadable. This alas means that many foreign language accents must remain unwritten, and the German umlaut is best rendered thus: Ae for , Ue for , Oe for . This also means that the normal transliteration code for hieroglyphs and other ancient scripts cannot be used. The EEF website contains a transliteration chart for e-mail use.

b) Avoid writing in capitals and avoid an excess of exclamation marks - OTHERWISE IT WILL 'SOUND' LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!!

c) Because the Net is an informal medium, in which age and social status normally remain invisible, it is customary to address people with their first name. Please do not see this as a negative form of familiarity; people normally only want to express congeniality and collegiality with it, not disrespect. Of course on a scholarly list, it never hurts to address someone with "Dear Ms. Roe" if you have not "virtually met" the person before, and colloguialisms as "Hi Jane!" are perhaps better avoided. But it is a gray area, and everyone will have to use his/her own sound judgement - and hopefully nobody will be annoyed by such details. Still, should you be of the opinion that it is slightly awkard to be addressed in public with "Dear John" by a perfect stranger, then simply sign your posts with "Prof. Dr. J. Doe" and people will get the hint. Let us simply take into account that social customs may differ greatly among countries.

d) Some special signs and abbreviations are current on the Internet, you may find them in the Abbreviations page.



For questions and comments: A.K. Eyma
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