Indo-Eurasian_Research List: Rules of Posting

Below are General Posting Rules for the Indo-Eurasian_Research List:

The group is mainly intended for professional researchers in premodern studies. Areas covered include India, Iran, Central Asia, the Near East, China, SE Asia, Korea, Japan, and Europe. Discussions of other global regions including Africa and Mesoamerica and cross-cultural studies are encouraged. Members include archaeologists, historians, linguists, anthropologists, art historians, specialists in premodern religions, comparativists, cognitive scientists, population geneticists, and researchers in many other fields. Active members are located in S. Asia, Iran, China, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, Australia, Japan, and the United States.

The List is open to the public, but professionals get priority in discussions. The List is moderated by Steve Farmer (Comparative History), Michael Witzel and Lars Martin Fosse (South Asian Studies and Linguistics) and Benjamin Fleming (South Asian Studies and Comparative Religion).

The List was especially designed for discussion of major unresolved issues in premodern history. Postings of pre-prints, research inquiries, and announcements are welcome in low-traffic periods. On weekends we actively encourage discussion of global politics and lighter issues (e.g., pseudo-archaeology) of interest in our research areas.

The List's outlook is secular, international, and progressive: we don't post messages that reflect nationalistic or fundamentalist religious views; all posts are subject to editing to clarify meaning, to improve formatting, or to remove disruptive remarks.

The List is loosely modeled on the annual Harvard University Roundtable on the Ethnogenesis of South and Central Asia, run by Michael Witzel, Wales Professor of Sanskrit and Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Oriental Series. The 2005 Roundtable was held in Kyoto, Japan. The 2006 Roundtable (devoted to comparative mythology) was held in Beijing, China, on 11-13 May 2006, in collaboration with Harvard and Peking Universities. The 2007 meeting was held in Edinburgh. The 2008 meeting is planned for the Netherlands.

Please note that reposting messages elsewhere without permission violates List rules. Violators may be banned from making any future posts on the List.

Please sign your name at the end of each post: the List does not allow anonymous postings.

More Detailed Posting Rules are provided below:

1. Who can post and what can be posted? Any researcher can submit posts on any topic to the List, including research inquiries. All posts must be signed. Posting of new articles for List comment, including PDF preprints, is encouraged. (Send the PDFs first to the Moderators for to get a link, if you don't have one: for security reasons, Yahoo strips attachments away from posts.) The public is also invited to propose messages, but none will be passed on to the List that are amateurish or are not likely to be of general interest to the List's core members. We don't normally accept posts forwarded to the List on behalf of non-members, especially when those posts criticize positions currently being discussed on the List: The point is to ensure that critics stick around long enough to defend their critiques if challenged. (On postings reflecting religious or nationalistic perspectives, see rule #3.) Key fields of List members currently include over 30 areas in premodern Eurasian studies, including Indology, Iranology, Near Eastern and Central Asian studies, Sinology and East Asian Studies, Comparative History, and related fields.

2. Major topics of controversial nature. Topics of special importance to the advance of premodern Eurasian studies may from time to time be introduced to the List by core List members. These high priority topics will be introduced with double asterisks (Example: **Stratification: Panini and the Astadhyayi). Frequently discussions of this sort may be extended over many months. Priority in discussion of these specialized topics will be given to researchers doing advanced research in the fields under discussion. The moderators will step in as needed to ensure that these discussions keep on track and don't get diverted (e.g., through 'splitting' of threads) in tangental directions. The idea is to bring these high-priority discussions to resolution in an orderly way.

3. Scientific, international, and humanistic aims of the List. The aims of the Indo-Eurasian_Research List are secular, progressive, and humanistic. List discussions of political-religious issues are encouraged (especially on weekends) insofar as those issues affect research or matters of humanistic concern in the regions studied by core List members. Messages that in the judgment of the moderators are driven by nationalistic or religious views will not be forwarded to the List. If reading the opinions of researchers who approach religion and politics from non-religious and global perspectives offends you, this isn't the List for you.

4. No arguments from 'authority' or disruptive comments aimed at other researchers or the List. While routine research inquiries are always welcome on the List, the List's main goal is to encourage discussion of major unsettled issues in premodern studies. As a result, all posts must focus exclusively on ideas and evidence, and not on the persons proposing those ideas. No posts are allowed that claim anything on the 'authority' of past researchers or speak ex cathedra; nor will messages be posted that include rude comments, 'flames', or ad hominem remarks aimed at other posters.

All messages are subject to editing to improve formatting or to remove disruptive comments; no changes will ever be made in the editing process to any evidential claims. Questioning of standard views of history are encouraged, not discouraged, on the List, so long as this questioning is backed by plausible and ultimately verifiable evidence.

5. Timing your posts. Time your posts to maximize the effectiveness of group discussions; don't add a long message on a major topic when several other long messages on that topic have just been posted; when traffic is heavy on one issue, don't try to introduce another major thread on an unrelated topic. Save discussion of lighter matters or political issues (satire of pseudo-archaeology and nationalistic absurdities are welcome) for the weekends, unless those matters are of exceptional importance. Weekdays are normally reserved for discussion of serious research matters, although we remain flexible on this depending on circumstances.

6. Message formatting. Pay close attention to the way you format messages. Only quote previous posts insofar as the citations are needed to understand the context of your message (don't quote a long string of old posts without a reason). When quoting earlier messages, make sure that your readers can clearly identify who said what. Quoted materials must be reformatted to avoid 'jaggies', which undermine the value of whatever you are quoting. (Please take care of this yourself: reformatting in the Moderators' window is a tedious task.)

7. Thread 'splitting' and 'omniposts'. Avoid gratuitous 'splitting' of threads and try in your posts to cover only one key point at a time. If you want to start a new topic, the place to do so is in a new thread; don't sabotage ongoing discussions by taking off on tangential issues or by trying to discuss so many ideas in one message that no one can reasonably respond to your post. 'Omniposts' are themselves an invitation to disruptive 'splitting' of threads; together, these two problems are perhaps the biggest impediments to sustaining useful Internet discussions, and we'd like to eliminate these problems as much as possible on the List.

Updated 6 January 2008