USER’S GUIDE AND CODE OF PRACTICE

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A USER’S GUIDE
A CONTRIBUTOR’S ROUGH GUIDE
CODE OF PRACTICE
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

A USER’S GUIDE

The FMRSI is set up as a hybrid combining aspects of the website and of the blog, in the spirit of Web 2.0 and in line with W3C criteria. Whilst being the-blog-that-isn’t-one. WordPress was chosen for its fine touches on even the smallest things that make the greatest difference: user-friendliness (for all involved), flexibility and freedom (crucial for the bricks-and-mortar end), and – as just one example of its general humanity – the nicest and cuddliest “page error” message on the Web.

The tabs at the top of the page work like a traditional website’s menu bar, leading to static pages. MAIN MENU performs the same function. These are mainly for informative purposes.

SEARCH, appropriately enough, searches this Forum for any words occurring in text (including names) and in tags (tagging will be evolving gradually). There is one issue about which you should be warned: the search engine doesn’t always recognise <o’> and <ó>, for instance in O’Brien, but substituting <o>should produce the right result. We’ve tried to fix this as best we can with cunning tags. Searching is not case-sensitive, and other diacritical marks seem not to be affected. If you are looking for a Forum member here and can’t find them, please use the PEOPLE page and accept our humble apologies on behalf of computer programmers’ disdain for diacritical marks; in fairness if not forgiveness, it is often through their linguistic and historical ignorance.

DISPATCHES CATEGORISED, THE LATEST DISPATCHES, and DISPATCHES CHRONOLOGISED: Much material  on the site is dynamic, with pages and other areas changing whenever they are updated to take account of new posts and comments; appearing in reverse chronological order, newest first (except for MEMBERS’ PROFILES, tweaked to appear in alphabetical order). Posts can be multiply tagged and be in multiple categories, and more categories will be appearing along the way. We hope this manages to be as comfortable as possible, and not just user-friendly but writer-friendly. The idea is that contributions – posts and comments – should resemble threads in a traditional online discussion forum. Repliques in a conversation combined with virtual commentary and glossing: a mode ideally suited to Medievalists and Renaissanceurs.

  • DISPATCHES CATEGORISED has a drop-down menu, wherein posts are grouped by category: calls for papers, employment, and so on.
  • LATEST DISPATCHES shows some of the very newest posts in reverse chronological order, latest first (not categorised).
  • DISPATCHES CHRONOLOGISED collects all discussion forum posts and sorts them by month and year, again in reverse chronological order (except, again, MEMBERS’ PROFILES). This can be useful as an expanded version of THE LATEST DISPATCHES: in DISPATCHES CHRONOLOGISED, click on the current month to see all recent posts (again, uncategorised).

Further down on your right is a long list of links to sites providing potentially useful information.

Please do tell us about other websites you think it would be appropriate to list – there is always room for more.

NB: Information on the site is as provided by advertisers, although the Administratrix does a certain amount of checking and cross-checking, but within the limits of time available, dans la mesure du possible. Please do bear in mind that she is a full-time lecturer at one university (in a field with a heavy teaching load) and attached to another; has to fit research in somewhere along the way, research that involves a lot of reading – time-consuming – before one may even start to consider thinking and writing; and, of course, like anyone elese (most females, anyway…) has to dedicate some part of her week to the basics of everyday life (food-shopping, cleaning, cooking, eating, at least 6 hours’ sleep) – let alone some semblance of a minimally human existence.

META (right at the bottom): We offer several rapid, frequent, automated ways of keeping up to date with the Forum by subscribing to RSS feeds:

  • ENTRIES RSS (posts – the more immediately useful feed, for information),
  • COMMENTS RSS (just comments – more useful for following any heated debates here… ), and
  • EMAIL UPDATES. This latter is daily, whereas the former two are immediate, and so would be the fastest way of keeping up to the minute with announcements of forthcoming events, calls for papers, etc.

We hope this is useful as a traditional “passive” website for providing resources, but also intend this to be a Web 2.0-style active and interactive site. A continuation of noble and ancient traditions of debate and glossing, translated into this new virtual environment. Please start participating, writing, commenting, and discussing! Contributions may be of any length and style – a brief code of practice follows below.

We are especially keen to hear from organizers of Medieval and Renaissance events around the island of Ireland, one of the Forum’s main purposes being the collection and dissemination of such information.

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A CONTRIBUTOR’S ROUGH GUIDE

When you first compose and submit a comment/gloss/reply to a post, please brace yourself for the ignominy of awaiting moderation. Comments and commentators are moderated, especially in these early days as we sort out our settings. This is principally to avoid spam: our filters are set high, so less spam slips through the net, but the sad consequence is an apparent aloof distrust of fellow Medievalists and Renaissanceurs.

PLEASE NOTE  AND NOTE YE WELL: SPAM IS UNWELCOME AND WILL BE MERCILESSLY DELETED.
The Administratrix WILL swear and MAY OFTEN curse the perpetrator. (Admin is a redhead, which carries some weight, occasionally, in cursing circles.)
The Forum is NOT a place for any sort of commercial activity, or advertising of anything irrelevant. It is not a sorting-house and liaison for people wanting to come to Ireland, nor is it a travel agency, nor a visa facilitator. Nor is it an appropriate place to introduce people to the joys of assorted stimulants, chemical and sensual. Though these matters may be of academic interest to us in the form of the Medieval and Renaissance history, archaeology, artistic and literary representation, history of medical usage, etc. for the latter; and political, social, and economic history for the former matters. Which is why some more cleverly-worded spam may creep in from time to time (e.g. “I want to attend your conference…”), why our spam filters are set high, spam sorted through at least twice a day, and a State of Constant Vigilance maintained.

If you and your comment are bona fide - this would be the case, obviously, of any Forum member – your comment will be “approved” and appear, and future comments will appear straight away. If you are already a member, you will also metamorphose into what WordPress calls an “Author”; non-members will be invited to join, and may become Authors immediately thereafter. You will then be able to write, edit, and publish your own posts and comments (though if you misbehave there can be demotion to mere “Contributor” status, and … worse… ). Full control over your own material also means you’ll be able to start up discussion on new topics.

We are using posts as starting-points for discussion threads, as they provide several advantages over comments-boxes:

  • Posts provide a fuller range of  editorial tools and diacritical marks and the opportunity for some more scripting, enabling jumps to footnotes and back to the main text).
  • Posts can be password-protected; and can be published here directly by the Authors themselves. NB This is of course not a complete free-for-all, and the Forum co-ordinators reserve the right to exercise some editorial control, but – as social contracts must be bilateral – promise to do so within reason (see CODE OF PRACTICE below).
  • Authors can upload files directly (ex. PDF), and “embed” them in a post. Rather as one might attach a file from one’s own computer; and like that, this is not the file itself but a mirror-copy. Authors would be at liberty to choose whether to put the full text directly online, or to link to a file; and whether to password-protect their whole post, or to do so for the inserted file, or to do so partially (ex. prohibiting the copying of content but permitting its reading and printing).
  • If you decide to put up a whole text in your post, we can also reformat, script, style, and generally transform your posted words into beauteous post-form for you (if you include an electronic file of the document on your post, or transmit it to the Forum co-ordinators as an email attachment).

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CODE OF PRACTICE:
APPROPRIATE CONDUCT & GENERAL NETIQUETTE

This is a free forum for open discussion. In a spirit of good humour, politeness, and parity. “Courteous” conduct, if you will. Bear in mind that comments and commentators can be “unapproved” (WordPress’ term, not the Forum’s)… Contrariness to the opinions of the administrators will not be a reason for a comment or commentator being blocked from the Forum!

We will not edit comments, although we may comment on your comment: as moderators are also commentators just like any others. We might comment on matters grammatical, orthographic, or otherwise linguistic. It is possible that the use of txtspk might be mocked; other Classical, Medieval, and modern languages are of course welcomed with open arms (and we’re fairly sure most Roman AB diacritical marks are catered for – including þ and Ð – as well as Greek). Incisive argument is encouraged, as are witty one-liners.

On the other hand, any material that is insulting, defamatory, or derogatory will be removed. Jezebel and Lifehacker provide some excellent material on the ethics and jurisprudence of commentary and its moderation. (N.B. these are not Medieval, Renaissance, or scholarly sites. And, like all other external links on the Forum, these ones open in new windows.)

Moderation goes through the Forum co-ordinators. They can be contacted directly here on the site – all comments sent here go straight to all four of us posthaste – and our individual contact information (via less immediate “mail-to” links) is also on the HOME page. We will try valiantly to respond to you and our every query, as soon as practicable.

The Forum is in its infancy, so will not be entirely glitch-free for a while. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any and all useful suggestions – on such practical matters but also on more cerebral ones, such as topics for discussion. While many areas are already up and running, in a casual manner, we are in process of gently expanding them to feed into the online journal. This may involve inviting longer responses to set topics, or extensions of comments already posted here.

All images are from Wikimedia Commons and are freely usable.

This site, like many others, may be best viewed in Firefox (to ensure maximum security and freedom from cookies, tracking, and other evils). It has been set up not to allows any links to appear coming from other sites (trackbacks and pingbacks), or to show any related links from elsewhere (which, as we all know, are rarely even remotely related, and tend to be comical at best), or to accept any other such externally-inflicted and -controlled forms of advertising by third parties; as they are Repugnant and Diabolical Works and so we formally abhor them. SnapShots have been disabled as they have been known to cause allergic reactions in many people, ranging from mild irritation to apoplectic fits. All in all, we hope that this site will be a pleasure and a joy for you.

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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

Some material appearing on the site in the form of posts and comments will be password-protected. The password will only be available to Forum members; we are still in experimental stages, but it looks like Authors can set their own passwords on their own material here. We would of course appreciate passwords being communicated to the Forum co-ordinators and other members (we’d be happy to act as liaison)…

As is standard online practice, all authors (administrator, moderators, commentators, and contributors alike) retain full rights to their intellectual property, which is freely available here (under Creative Commons), and may be consulted, copied, and distributed but ONLY with credit given to its authors and NOT for commercial purposes. Work may not be reproduced, resold, or otherwise stolen.

Do bear in mind that the Forum includes professional experts on Just War Theory and its practical aspects, in combat. More to the point, so to speak, we have friends in the re-enactment business. We know men with cudgels. Experts in heavy Medieval and Renaissance weaponry. And keepers of bloodhounds.

Creative Commons License
Forum for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Ireland by FMRSI and individual contributors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

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