The ISSUES list

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"ISSUES" is an email discussion list for Northfield, MN area citizens to discuss local civic and public policy issues. It's a focused, moderated list. Civil discourse is rigidly enforced and a spirit of inquiry is valued. Many community leaders are on the list and therefore, it can be a forum for community problem-solving.

To get a feel for what's currently being discussed on the list, visit the ISSUES archives.

We do have a few guidelines regarding participation.


Our email discussion guidelines are intended to foster the development of an online environment where ideas, information, and opinions are exchanged in an atmosphere of civility, trust, fun, and respect. It is best if you bring your spirit and language of inquiry with you when you visit and leave behind your desire to promote a point of view that is already formed.

Be responsible, be respectful, and be within the law. We assume you do not need a laundry list of no-nos to know what is covered by "be responsible, be respectful." However, we do have two unusual guidelines in this area.

1) Avoid sarcasm.
2) Avoid addressing a person indirectly when disagreeing with them.

Here is an example of both: "John seems to think that all our problems would be solved if we would only embrace his wisdom."

These two behaviors are probably more responsible for online discussions degenerating into nasty places than outright flaming or namecalling. You may think this is overkill, but you will just have to live with it if you want to participate here.

Be who you are IRL "In Real Life." Do not impersonate anyone else. It may be cyberspace, but in this instance, it is just like the neighborhood or community where you live, or the organization where you work. When you post, please make sure your real first name and last name (separated with a space) appear in the header or footer of your email. For example, George Washington or Mary Poppins. Turn off your sig file if it's lengthy, as it's a little annoying for everyone else to have to read your mini-bio over and over again.

Do not engage in them here. Nuff said.

Post only what you own. 99.99% of the time, what we want is not your formal publication-type writing but the conversational writing from your brain that travels through your keyboard and computer to our servers. Conversation, please, not lectures.

We might highlight your comment on the weblog on our web site. Or put it in a newsletter. Or package it up with the comments of others into a document for others to review. Local reporters/bloggers might quote you. All posts to the lists are archived on the web so anyone can read them and search engines can index them. (The software we use, Mailman, uses a trick to prevent your email address from being harvested by spambots.)

This email discussion list is civic in nature, the opposite of a mall or flea-market. If you might financially benefit from your post, it is probably inappropriate. When in doubt, ask.

ISSUES is a DISCUSSION list, not a place to announce civic events or news or promote any cause, no matter how helpful or beneficial to the community you might think it to be.

We have a virtual dungeon full of tools, tricks, and techniques at our disposal to mete out to offenders. We will try to find the punishment to fit the offense, but this is not a court of law, nor high school, so do not expect perfect consistency.

That's it.

We look forward to your contributions.  Join the Northfield ISSUES email discussion list!

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