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The civics research forum

This discussion forum is hosted by the civics research group, an outreach initiative of the heritage resource center at the University of Waterloo.

We greatly appreciate the assistance and support of IST at the University of Waterloo in hosting and setting up this site.

The civics research group in interested is both inquiry and civil society, and how one might contribute to the other. Our other initiatives, the civic dialogues and workshops approach this connection in different ways. Each initiative, while different, remains focused upon bringing citizens of a specific or general interest together, whatever their skills, backgrounds, and life experience. Our hope is that such meeting informs our questions, our contemplation, and our action.

We consider the civics research forum another venue, albeit a virtual one, where we can meet. We invite individuals who have an interest in civics, civics research or inquiry, and research into civil society, and would like to participate in discussion, share knowledge, or are interested in collaborating with others, to participate.

We welcome the diversity of opinions and backgrounds that public dialogues offer. We do not promulgate an ideology, and maintain that this forum is not about being right, nor about winning an argument or position.

Our principles on Civility

The civics research forum is a tool and perhaps even a technique for communicating with other individuals and - like all other communication - there are expectations regarding behavior among those doing the communicating. In our effort to ensure that participants feel comfortable expressing themselves, we've prepared the following guidelines.

We expect these norms to change as the individuals participating change. We also recognize that there are varied interpretations of civility, and that diversity often presents subjective and vexing challenges for each of us. To help each of us face those challenges with some calm we ask that you abide by the principles outlined below, until there is within this community agreement that they should be modified. If they appear unreasonable, feel free to raise issue with them.

The civics-research-forum is an unmoderated discussion forum where no one screens postings. While we have set forth guidelines, the author is handed the responsibilities associated with such an open discussion and highly public exchange. It is the author’s responsibility to consider carefully the tone and content of their post. Messages will be reviewed for their appropriateness only after receiving a complaint to owner-civics-research-forum@maillist.uwaterloo.ca from a member of the list, and not before.

Given that this forum embraces controversy, we expect that individuals will disagree, even in a spirited, heated manner. There is, we think, a significant difference between disagreeing with an idea and attacking an individual. Please refrain from posting messages containing insults, threats, and inflammatory rhetoric that is directed at other patrons. Be respectful and civil. A few other suggestions follow:

One-on-one arguments and disputes of a personal nature must be taken off list.

Participants have a reasonable expectation to not be bothered by others. Please respect their wishes.

Do not use this forum to gather addresses for unsolicited commercial email (spam).

Do not forward private messages to the list without permission of the author.

In the interest of honesty and the building of trust, we ask that you post messages using your own email address and your real name, as all or part of your signature. We feel quite strongly about this, and will take action where there is a concern that individuals are posting messages using someone's else account or aliases. We reserve the right to revoke access to patrons for posting messages with a false e-mail address.

While authors of list messages implicitly agree to share their thoughts through the list and its archive, the writers retain all the copyright privileges of their messages. Also, all content posted by the civics research group on this website is owned by the civics research group and protected by copyright. We will not re-publish whatever writing appears in the forum elsewhere without the expressed permission of the original author.

This is not intended to restrict what you might or can do with whatever you have posted. Everything that is contained in the civics-research-forum can be downloaded and copied for personal use. For something other than personal use, we ask that you obtain prior written permission from the civics research group and the author. In essence, if you didn't write it, and you want to reproduce it, ask the author.

Using this forum for illegal activity under the laws of the land is a violation of this agreement. Your use of the forum is subject to compliance with these laws - applicable local, provincial, federal and international alike, and the rules and regulations of the civics research group. We will, without prior notice, revoke access to posted items which we believe violate any applicable law, or our guidelines. We reserve the right to "hide" or delete posts that appear to be abusive and disruptive once we are aware of them. Where disruptions or disputes appear irreconcilable we may revoke the access of individuals involved in the conflict to the forum, but only as a last resort, and only after efforts to resolve these apparently irreconcilable differences have left us exhausted. Posting unauthorized copies of copyrighted items is prohibited by law. Finally, the individuals of the civics research group have no liability for or to patrons for actions taken by forum participants while using this list.

After all that, we do welcome you to the civics research forum. We hope you enjoy the dialogue!