Sorry, Max - just wanted to make sure you wouldn't get bored...Seriously, we are all very lucky that Max is willing to share so much of his knowledge and skill in making this a really neat place to be!
As one of the perennial privacy advocates and etiquette noodges, I wish that all Frequent Users of Mudcat could take some of Shambles' words to heart:
"Why then should the forum be any different? It is a great place for making friends and I feel that I have made many here but are there not better ways of chatting with those friends, once made, or is it more important to be seen on the forum to have those friends and to belong?"
I would be more comfortable here if people would take more time to:
1. Read the previous posts and try to understand the questions being asked or the statements being made. Too many of the hard feelings have been roused by people making arguments against something that wasn't what the original poster said at all. Too much wasted space is taken by people who don't read the question being asked, and offer their "answers" - lyrics to the wrong song, redundant answers, etc.
2. Think your reply through before typing and posting - try not to post in anger or complete reckless abandon. Try to think of both your impact on the person to whom you're replying and whether what you're typing SHOULD be seen by everyone with access to the Web.
3. In discussion threads (as opposed to "chat" threads like the tavern), don't just post for the sake of "joining in" and getting your name on the thread. Too often threadcreep results not from an interesting digression from the topic, but from people trading joking insults and trying to "one-up" each other with clever banter.
4. Remember - what's on the Mudcat is visible to more people than just the regulars who contribute here. Everything you post can be read by anyone, anywhere in the world. Try to use private E-mails and messages for personal comments; don't post info or rumors about third parties without their knowledge or consent. One of the responsibilities that go along with the right of freedom of speech is self-governance of that speech.
If we are not going to have separate forums for chat versus discussions (and Max has convinced me it's not a good idea after all) , I would like to see the "Mudcat Regulars" (or Mudcat Irregulars - wouldn't that be a good band name!) try to keep playful banter primarily on "chat" threads, and resist the impulse to turn every thread into a silly exchange of wisecracks.
Amen, brethren and sistren, I'll get down off my pulpit now...