Sharing experiences, training, aptitudes, skills, ideas and information requires active participation in the forums. The more people participate, the greater this collection of forums shall function as a resource for everyone. So I'm quite big on encouraging participation. There are three aspects to encouraging participation:
- Worry free membership: To participate requires membership in the forums. Becoming a member is simple, and worry free. When joining the forums we ask for very little information: name, email address and location. That little bit of information helps us keep the spammers and trouble makers out, so that the community shall not be bothered by ill-intentioned members. We also respect member privacy. Member information remains private, members shall not be spammed or inundated with unwanted email as a result of joining. Pantera International has never shared its membership database with any person or business. We do not sell member information.
- Affordable membership: Membership is free, there are no financial barriers to membership outside of the need for a computing device and a connection to the internet. Nobody is making a cent from our members. These forums are a situation wherein members get MORE than what they pay for. All we hope for is their participation, but we don't demand it.
- An environment conducive to public expression: Sharing experiences, training, aptitudes, skills, ideas or information means expressing oneself on the internet, in a public forum, and trusting other members to be respectful of that expression. The forums are moderated to cultivate a mood which encourages participation from a wide range of personalities and emotional needs. We expect a high degree of mutual respect between members and we try to keep the material family friendly.
We ask all members to help us make everyone feel welcome to contribute without fear of public attack or public embarrassment.
Here are some guidelines:
- The forums are not the place to vent feelings regarding modification of Pantera's verses keeping them original; nor politics; nor religion.
- For most people ownership of a De Tomaso automobile is the fulfillment of a dream, Debbie and I strongly believe each person's dream should be allowed to unfold as they have imagined it; even if realizing that dream is contrary to another member's ideals. We have come together here in these forums to keep both the passion and the dreams alive ... never to stifle the passion or the dreams.
- Behave as though the people of this community are more valuable than the cars. Because they are.
- People come to the forums for assistance and information. Sometimes they come seeking a little camaraderie or encouragement. Finally people come seeking entertainment of the De Tomaso variety (a fix for their De Tomaso addiction). It’s good to stay focused on these needs.
- If you have nothing kind, friendly, helpful or positive to say please choose to say nothing at all.
- Everybody is empowered to be a forum "Goodwill Ambassador". Nobody is authorized to act as the forum "enforcer", the forum "critic", the forum "editor", or the forum "judge". We are all equals here, nobody is above another, or better than another. Everybody's opinion has the same weight. Express your truth without criticizing another member or their post.
- Address your replies to the original poster (aka the OP) and the topic at hand. Staying on topic is one way to respect not only the OP, but everyone. If you have an off-topic question start a new post, or contact the poster privately. Staying "on-topic" and "addressing the OP" also means avoiding criticizing other members or their contributions.
- The ability to express differing opinions or differing advice without disrespecting those having opposing opinions is an art. Few of us have perfected that art. I am not perfect, and I don't expect perfection from anyone. But we must all be well meaning, intending to help others, intending to avoid insulting or embarrassing others, seeking to improve our writing skills and responses, ready to lend support, ready to forgive, ready to be patient, ready to laugh about our differences and ready to laugh about our imperfections.
If somebody asks you to post something on the forums for them, please politely ask them to join the forums and post that information (or question) themselves. We value what they have to say, we want them to join and participate! If they firmly refuse to join then go ahead and post that information for them, if it will help someone. I'm not trying to be hard nosed about this.
If someone claims they are having trouble joining or logging-in, ask them to email me or telephone me, I'll gladly help them sort-out the problems. You're welcome to contact me on behalf of someone having membership problems too. We help people with membership problems on a regular basis.
If a suspended or banned member asks you to post something on their behalf, please refuse to do so. When a suspended or banned member attempts to "get a word in" in spite of their suspended privileges it is tantamount to the behavior of a teenager with a bad attitude towards authority. The attitude displayed by a person attempting to sneak back into the forums, getting around the rules, out-smarting authority, should be a clue to you as to why they were suspended or banned in the first place; they feel the rules don't apply to them, and/or they're smarter than everyone else. They don't believe they have a problem, they'll point out somebody else's problem but never admit to their own. I'm the usual target. To post something on behalf of a suspended or banned member is tantamount to being an accomplice in their teenage mentality and behavior. There is an adult way to regain membership privileges. Instead of posting on behalf of a suspended or banned member, please politely suggest to them they should contact me via telephone or email and discuss the issues which resulted in their membership privileges being put on hold or terminated.
Debbie and I conduct ourselves with calm and impartial professionalism in issues such as forum membership, running the club, etc. Regardless of what you may have been told, I have never banned a person for disagreeing with me. Member privileges are only suspended or banned for significant reasons. Never for trivial reasons, never for personal reasons, the reason is always based on the specific behavior (and attitude) of the person in question. I have always made it clear to each person what that problem was. But I doubt they are capable of admitting that to you or themselves.
Our goal is to provide the best quality resource possible to the community of De Tomaso owners and enthusiasts, and to see the forums prosper for the continued benefit of all. Your consideration of the guidelines, and the time you've taken to read this, is appreciated.
Thanks, and bless you all.