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Subject: Welcome to soc.religion.bahai
This article was archived around: 4 Mar 1997 06:46:03 -0700
Several people receiving soc.religion.bahai via the bahai-faith mailing
list have complained that they are unable to correctly identify the
original sender of articles. Please provide a signature with your name
and correct e-mail address (preferably in Internet format) at the end of
your article; do not rely on the article header's From: field to
identify you, as this will not necessarily contain your correct e-mail
Welcome! to the soc.religion.bahai newsgroup and its equivalent
mailing list, bahai-faith. This article is one of several that shall
be posted periodically. The current list of periodically posted
Introduction to the Baha'i Faith
Baha'i Resources on the Internet
[Up to date versions of these postings can be obtained via anonymous
ftp (give Name as "anonymous" and your login name as your password)
from rtfm.mit.edu in the directory /pub/usenet/soc.religion.bahai]
The newsgroup will act as a non-threatening forum for discussing and
sharing information about the tenets, history, and texts of the Baha'i
Faith. Prior to its formation there was a good amount of traffic on
this topic in other newsgroups; this group provides a "single point of
contact" for such discussion.
Examples of posts that fall within the group's scope are:
* The Baha'i Faith's relation to other religions
* Relevance of Baha'i principles to current world events/problems
* Analysis of particular scriptural passages or themes
* General Q & A
o The newsgroup will be subject to standards of Baha'i consultation, a
decision-making process whose salient features include frank yet
respectful statement of views and the concerted, open-minded search
for truth. In practice, the moderators will reject personal attacks
(flames) directed at individual posters, similarly inflammatory
attacks directed at religious institutions, and articles which use
offensive language. These guidelines are intended to regulate only
the tone of the discussions, and not their contents.
o The moderators will weigh the guidance available from the Baha'i
Institutions such as the Universal House of Justice, National Spiritual
Assemblies, Continental Counselors, and Auxiliary Board members in
determining the appropriateness of postings to the newsgroup.
o To avoid confusion, articles should not contain unpublished,
unauthorized translations of Baha'i texts. Instead, authors should
paraphrase untranslated materials. A good model can be found in Adib
Taherzadeh's 4-volume work, "The Revelation of Baha'u'llah."
o Posts which argue for or promote a succession of authority
outside the Covenant of Baha'u'llah will not be posted. This
does NOT preclude posts which ask about, explain or elucidate
the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.
o Repetitive postings (such as multiple responses to one request for a
book reference) may also be rejected.
o The moderators will not intentionally accept posts from individuals who
can not be reached by email. Note that this policy does not preclude
anonymous mailers, but a back-channel must exist.
o Any rejected article will be returned to the sender with an explanation.
The moderators may also, when it appears helpful, insert clarifying
remarks in posts, with the intent of maintaining a good signal/noise
At USENET sites, one is subscribed to all available newsgroups,
including soc.religion.bahai, by default. If soc.religion.bahai does
not appear on your system, request that your news administrator make
The soc.religion.bahai newsgroup is gatewayed to USENET from the
moderated Internet mailing list, bahai-faith, which shares
soc.religion.bahai's policies. Those without USENET access should
address subscription and unsubscription requests to
If you have access to both USENET and Internet email, the former
medium is generally preferable, as it requires fewer network resources
per additional subscriber.
Readers of bahai-faith submit articles to the moderators by mailing
Please note that the distinction between the bahai-faith and
bahai-faith-request addresses is that administrivia is handled at the
latter. (This distinction applies to most other mailing lists as
well.) The distinction is significant in that the moderators do not
administer bahai-faith; the two addresses denote entirely distinct
At USENET sites that provide automatic mailing in support of moderated
newsgroups, posting to soc.religion.bahai will transparently mail the
article to the moderators. At other sites articles will need to be
mailed explicitly to the moderators, by means of the mailing list
The moderators attempt to handle each incoming article in a timely
manner, either posting it publicly or responding to its author
privately within four days of receipt. If a post has resulted in
neither of these actions after four days, it should be assumed that
one's site is not configured to support submissions to moderated
groups, and the article should be resubmitted by mail to the above
Please provide a signature with your name and correct e-mail address
(preferably in Internet format) at the end of your article; do not
rely on the article header's From: field to identify you, as this will
not necessarily contain your correct e-mail address.
Please bear in mind that, because of the gatewayed nature of
soc.religion.bahai and bahai-faith, each posted article will appear in
both a USENET newsgroup and an Internet mailing list. The combined
technical limitations of these forums require that a "least common
denominator" approach be used in posting articles.
Specifically, authors should be aware that:
* USENET news has a massive readership, as articles are replicated on
literally thousands of hosts; mailing list readerships are generally
much less extensive
* except for the Subject: header, mailing list articles have no
built-in way of referencing previous articles
* whereas news facilitates the direction of responses to either the
entire readership (via a "Follow-up") or an individual author (via a
"Reply"), a mailing list requires that the user explicitly rewrite
an address for one of these tasks (depending on the list's
configuration) by altering the default To: header or possibly just
adding a Cc: header in a mail reply
* a mailing list subscriber's host may have quite limited mail
storage, so article length is a concern
* many readers' terminals are limited to 80 character lines
Therefore, the following suggestions are offered for your
consideration before posting.
An option in requests for specific information (how do I reach
someone, where is this quotation to be found, etc.) is to ask
explicitly that all replies be mailed directly to the poster, who may
then post a summary if it is of general interest. This would result
in only 2 messages (or perhaps just one) being seen by all
subscribers, which could be desirable in some contexts. Likewise,
responses to such requests may, in some cases, be most appropriately
addressed just to the original poster.
Please use line lengths of no more than 75. This keeps your text
within the 80 character per line limit of most terminals, in both your
initial article and in any followup articles, where it is customary to
prefix each line of quotation from another article with a few
additional characters to indicate the material is quoted.
Please be merciful to small mail systems by limiting articles to 50
KiloBytes in length. Posts that exceed this limit should either be
pared down or subdivided; or one could submit an announcement of the
item instead, asking that readers respond via private mail in order to
obtain the actual item.
If you quote a previously posted article, please limit the amount of
quoted text that you include. One may generally assume that readers
have already seen an article to which one is responding. Therefore,
you need only quote as much as required for establishing a context.
Please choose your Subject: heading carefully!
In the spirit of sharing ideas rather than wrangling over same, please
consider the following two contrasting quotations and the questions
that appear after them.
The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of
`Abdu'l-Baha, in Baha'i Administration, p. 21
If two souls quarrel and contend about a question of the Divine
questions, differing and disputing, _both are wrong_. The wisdom of
this incontrovertible law of God is this: That between two souls
from amongst the believers of God, no contention and dispute might
arise; that they may speak with each other with infinite amity and
love. Should there appear the least trace of controversy, they must
remain silent, and both parties must continue their discussions no
`Abdu'l-Baha, in Baha'i World Faith, pp. 428-429
(Emphasis as in the original)
a. In my article, is an idea being offered, expanded or clarified, or
its implications being explored? Has it been stated previously?
Or is it mostly being reiterated and/or defended?
b. Have others indicated a desire to move on to another topic?
c. If responding to an earlier article, is it best in this case to
respond to each paragraph therein? Or is there one statement that
succinctly summarizes the earlier viewpoint? Or should a
paraphrase be attempted?
d. Does the article express facts, or opinions? More important, is it
easy to discern which is which?
Our thanks for your help in maintaining a good "signal to noise"
With best wishes,
firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Detweiler)
email@example.com (Rick Boatright)