Forum Usage Rules

Considerations for Civilized Discourse on the Forum

This guide will walk through the general do’s and dont’s for using the discuss.go-isop Discussion forum. These guidelines are in line with other public discussion forums.

Not Allowed

  1. Signatures
    • Questions or responses do not require and should not have personal signatures. Please update your user profile if you want people to look at your profile and want to contact you.
  2. Advertisements
    • Absolutely no commercial advertisements of any sort in the free public forum
  3. Job postings
    • Absolutely no job postings of any sort in the free public forum
  4. Paid Workshop-related postings
    • If you are posting information regarding a commercial workshop, it is considered an advertisement. Non-commercial paid workshops (i.e. those charging fees to cover costs only) are acceptable
    • ISoP related workshops, ACoP, PAGE, WCoP, local or regional organization meeting announcements are allowed
  5. New products/services launch
    • No advertisements related to commercial services provided are allowed
  6. Announcements for open source products are allowed
    • Only if complete source code is publicly available and freely downloadable

Asking questions

  1. Choice of category
    • Choose appropriate category
    • How to request new category
  2. Use meaningful, specific subject headers
  3. Requesting replies
    • Do not ask for replies by direct e-mail, unless you believe the information may be sensitive (in which case you maybe should not be posting here)
  4. Be clear, concise and coherent
  5. Describe the goal first and then the steps
  6. When asking about code
    • use reproducible code / data examples whenever possible
    • Requests for code help should be accompanied by code snippets for already been tried, along with a description of ultimate objective. For example, instead of posting “How do I create a transit compartment model” a response should be along the lines of: “I tried the following code to create a transit compartment model <code snippet> however am getting the following error <error snippet>”.
  7. Avoid pointless or ambiguous queries
    • This is a forum, and you are posting because you are expecting replies. So questions like “Can someone help?” are superfluous.
  8. Follow-up with solutions
    • When the community is helping you with a collective response, please be courteous enough to summarize all responses and post a follow-up solution

Responding to questions

  1. Be gentle
    • This is not a platform for name calling, people come to the forum to learn and will make mistakes, so please provide help
  2. Reply to first offender offline
    • There will be newbies and folks who want to stay newbies. Differentiate between them and help out the real newbies when they first join the forum. This is how the community will grow
  3. If you don’t know for sure, say so
    • Even if you’re not completely sure of your answer, it is encouraged to share your thoughts on the forum. However if you are not sure of your response make sure you say so.
  4. Ask probing questions to elicit more details
    • If you don’t understand the question, make sure to ask questions back to the OP such that they can provide more details rather than showing them down
  5. Reframe the question
    • If you think you understand the question well, but it is not in general clear for the audience, feel free to reframe the question
  6. Declare conflicts of interests / disclaimers
    • It is perfectly fine to mention a specific software or library that you (co-)developed as solution to the respective problem, but please add a disclaimer.

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