These guidelines apply to all posts both to our main email discussion list and to the comments on this blog. It is our hope to moderate with a very light hand, but we will certainly intervene if we feel it necessary.

Remember the human. Simply put in the words of our Lord, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember there is a human being on the other end of the line, someone who has feelings and ideas just as you do. Before you speak, think of how you would feel in the other person’s shoes. In short, stand up for yourself, but try not to hurt people’s feelings.

Communication over the Internet is very impersonal as you cannot use or see facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice to communicate your meaning. This makes it easy to misinterpret another person’s words as well as forget the person corresponding with you has feelings as well. Shea writes: “Humans exchanging e-mail often behave the way some people behind the wheel of a car do: They curse at other drivers, make obscene gestures, and generally behave like savages. Most of them would never act that way at work or at home. But the interposition of the machine seems to make it acceptable.” Before you post, ask yourself, “Would I say this to this person’s face?”

Behave online as you would in real life. In real life, most of us are God-fearing individuals who wouldn’t jump down another person’s throat for disagreements or misunderstandings. We seem to be this way mostly because there are others around who would catch us in the act. Online, the chances of getting caught and being humiliated are a bit slimmer. Because Internet communication is impersonal—even with smilies or “emoticons”—people sometimes forget there’s a living, breathing person on the other side. Still others believe a lower standard of ethics or personal behavior is acceptable online.

In short, if you encounter an ethical dilemma on the list, consult the code you follow in real life, including the Holy Bible. With some guidance from God’s Word, you’ll surely find the answer. Also, such nefarious or illegal activities such as invasion of privacy, pyramid schemes, spamming and “spoofing” (posing as another member of the list) are patently offensive and will be dealt with as per the Guild’s abuse code.

Be pleasant and polite, even if it kills you. Usage of offensive language is frowned upon here. Some members of the list are still living at home and are younger than you. Additionally, other list members don’t care for seeing a continual string of obscenities in posts. Some words and expressions may be socially acceptable where you’re from or in your church, but may be patently offensive to others. Try not to use colloquialism or questionable terms. Also, don’t be confrontational for the sake of confrontation. By doing so, you simply make yourself look worse in the eyes of others on the list. A good rule of thumb is; would Mother Teresa talk like that? Jesus MAY use that language, but He is perfect, we are NOT!

Keep the flames under control. Occasionally a list member or even several list members will get into a heated discussion about church doctrine or other issues related to Christianity and gaming. In most cases, the heat is relatively low, but in the past there have been several devastating flame wars in which members unsubscribed and feelings were hurt. Neither netiquette nor Christianity forbid flaming and sometimes the recipients deserve the heat, but there are limits. Follow the processes in Matthew 18 and Galatians 6 for confrontation and reconciliation. Send a private e-mail if you’ve been “flamed.” If that does not resolve it, bring a board member into the confrontation process. If that fails, the board member will follow the Abuse Policy. We as Christians do things differently… we forgive and restore just as we have been forgiven and restored. Also, if you have wronged someone, send them a private e-mail and ask for forgiveness. If it warrants a public apology, then do so, but only after a private conversation has taken place.Perpetuation of flame wars on the list will be dealt with as abuse as it is a waste of bandwidth and time for other list users.

Be forgiving of others’ mistakes. Not everyone is a theologian or pastor. Some of us might even have trouble getting through a normal bible study. Remember—you were once a newcomer as well. Whether it’s a wrong belief, a misquotation of scripture, or even a spelling error, be kind about it. If it’s a truly minor item, you may not need to say anything. If you feel strongly about it, think twice before replying. To quote Shea: “Having good manners yourself doesn’t give you license to correct everyone else.”

Do not post strictly for the purpose of selling something. If you have or know of a product you think we would enjoy, feel free to engage us in conversation about it, but it’s impolite to just drop a link and run. If you do not have something substantive to say, it is unlikely your post or comment will make it through the moderators.