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Nordic FAQ - 1 of 7 - INTRODUCTION
Section - 1.3 Welcome to soc.culture.nordic!

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  1.3.1 What sort of a group is it?
  
   If you're interested in the Nordic countries, and don't like having
   your mailbox littered up with messages from various mailing-lists,
   soc.culture. nordic is probably the best choice for a discussion forum
   you will find in the whole Internet. It is far from being perfect, of
   course; but then, few Usenet newsgroups can be described by that
   particular adjective.
   
   You may find that discussions here are not always on as profound
   topics as you might have hoped for, that certain threads never really
   die even though every imaginable argument has been presented already
   hundreds of times, that these threads may, if they coincide, suffocate
   almost all other discussion in the newsgroup.
   
   You will find that there are hotheads who preach absurd gospels and
   cynics who perceive themselves as "net vets", considering it their
   divine right to flame newcomers who happen to ask the wrong questions,
   and that there is a good deal of US-bashing, Sweden-bashing,
   Norway-bashing and Finland-bashing (but curiously no Denmark-bashing
   :-), going on most of the time. If you've believed in the "official",
   idealized picture of harmonious Nordic friendship, you may be badly
   disappointed. We don't always act sensibly, we're not always nice to
   each other, we can be tedious, nit-picky, boring, annoying,
   quarrelsome, and in general quite stupid. Sometimes. But not most of
   the time, I think. Read on.
   
   One of the purposes of this FAQ is in fact to decrease the amount of
   flaming and the frequency of the same old threads; if you're a
   newcomer, please read through at least this part of the FAQ (the rest
   is up to your tastes), and you may be able to avoid some of the most
   common mistakes made by new SCNers (e.g. posting a flamy article
   condemning Norwegian whaling, or taking part in the never ending
   arguments about the position of the Finns and their language in
   Sweden. :)
   
   
   
  1.3.2 What's all this flaming about?
  
   Sometimes the group may seem like a battle-ground, but don't be too
   alarmed by it. The Nordic countries are, in spite of everything, like
   a family; not a One Big Happy Family of Nations, no, just any old
   family with its small quarrels and fights. They just tend to grow out
   of proportion when we have no real problems or crises to fight about.
   There are no great feelings of hatred between the different
   nationalities, few historical traumas, our prejudices about each other
   are pretty harmless, and so forth. We might have some Big Brother or
   Little Brother complexes -- at least we like to accuse each other of
   suffering from them -- but mostly we just like to make some noise and
   get some attention. If the quarreling annoys you, don't hesitate to
   use your kill-file; it's simple! (If you don't know how it's done,
   check the "kill file FAQ" which used to be posted regularly to
   news.answers).
   
   Don't leap into heated discussion without seeing something of how it
   started. (It is common to have a second "wave" of people enter a flame
   war and rehash old issues, which annoys the original participants.)
   Not everyone is always saying what they mean. Some people use irony,
   which can be much more obvious from reading the context, than from a
   single post. If you're not sure, don't respond.
   
   Even as it is, however, s.c.n is in fact a very calm and flame-free
   newsgroup compared to many other groups in the soc.culture.*
   hierarchy, parts of which, unfortunately, have deteriorated into dark
   pits of rampant flamewars, hatred, and nationalism gone berserk. Among
   these, s.c.n is like an oasis of peace and harmony.
   
   
   
  1.3.3 Well, are there any positive things about this group?
  
   Absolutely. After the possible initial shock :-), I think you will
   find many. For one thing, you will no doubt find that people in s.c.n
   are very helpful; post a question, and you're likely to get several
   long, detailed and well thought out replies that will answer
   everything you asked for, and probably also a whole lot of things you
   didn't ask for and weren't really even interested in. All five
   nationalities are well (some more, some less) represented by natives
   in this newsgroup, who have first-hand information on everything that
   goes on in their countries, things that news agencies won't tell you.
   There are many people who post valuable information on their own
   initiative, just to serve the group. Many of them also have a www home
   page, which you may want to visit.
   
  1.3.4 Whatever you say. So, what sort of postings are o.k. in here?
  
   Despite all our helpfulness, please keep in mind that we're not
   walking encyclopaedias; you might take the trouble to check your local
   library before posting a very basic question to the group. Any tourist
   guide will probably answer the question "Hello, I'm coming to visit
   <name of country>, what should I go and see?" better than we will, and
   a tourist guide won't get annoyed with you if you happen to be the
   23rd person to have asked the same question this week. If you ask for
   the answers to be emailed straight to you instead of being posted,
   bear in mind that the polite thing to do is to post a summary of the
   replies to the group if they might be of a general interest (of
   course, nothing prevents you from subscribing to the group, posting
   the question, following the group for as long replies are likely to be
   posted, and then unsubscribing). A quick "Hi, what's the meaning of
   life, the universe and everything? --Please email all replies to
   someone@somesite, thanks-and-bye" isn't going to get very a
   enthusiastic reception. To increase your chances of getting replies,
   try to be specific; explain your interests, and what exactly it is you
   would like to know.
   
   This applies to other types of questions as well (and after all,
   although questions about travelling are OK in soc.culture.nordic, this
   isn't a rec.travel group; travelers might consider posting to
   rec.travel.europe instead, or checking out the rec.travel archives at
   <http://www.yahoo.com/text/Recreation/Travel/Destination_Guides/Rec_Tr
   avel_Archives/>. At the very least, read through the relevant parts of
   this FAQ and see if you can find an answer here. Try to save those
   questions for the group to which you know you won't be able to
   (easily) find an answer in the books.
   
   But take our answers with a decent grain of salt. Most likely, we'll
   say both yes, and no, and maybe, and I don't know, and buzz off,
   and...
   
   When you do post, please try to keep it somehow related to Nordic
   matters. Sure, the group is unmoderated, so no one can control what
   you write. And it's not like you have to force the discussion on
   Nordic tracks if it should digress into something else. But
   nevertheless, as the name of the group implies, this is a group for
   discussing Nordic culture in all its forms; not American
   abortion-laws, Bill Clinton or Jesus. Keep this in mind when you start
   a new thread.
   
   Please don't expect us to do your school research papers or other
   home-work for you; some newbies out there might be enthusiastic enough
   to dig the information for you, but most of us will just be annoyed
   and make fun of you. Also, if you're looking for 'gender-based
   penpals', be advised that you'll most likely become a center of amused
   or annoyed (depending on the day, but it'll be embarrassing to you
   anyway) attention and you'll probably be sorry that you didn't post
   your message to soc.penpals instead, where it belongs. :-)
   For more on this favourite s.c.n topic, see section 1.4.
   
   
   
  1.3.5 What about cross-postings?
  
   If only possible, avoid them. They generate threads that immediately
   lose whatever connection to Nordic culture there may initially have
   been, and it's very difficult (read: impossible) to get the people in
   other newsgroups to remove s.c.n from their Newsgroups-lines. These
   threads have a life of their own and can go on and on for months until
   everyone in all the involved newsgroups is sick and tired of them, yet
   somehow they just keep continuing. If you want to post your message to
   several groups, an intelligent thing to do is to trim the Followup-to:
   header to direct replies to one group only. The headers of your
   article could look like this, for instance:
   
       Newsgroups: soc.culture.nordic,soc.culture.burma,soc.culture.kuwait
       Subject: What's foobar in your language?
       Followup-To: sci.lang

   Remember to mention in your post that the follow-ups have been
   redirected so that people will notice it (otherwise there'll always be
   those who don't). If you're cross-posting to only a couple of groups,
   you could also consider posting it as separate articles instead. Use
   your own judgment as to what's going to be the least annoying and/or
   bandwidth-consuming method.
   
   You should, of course, keep these things in mind when you post a
   follow-up to cross-posted thread. The article might be in place in
   soc.culture.nordic, but take a look at the Newsgroups-line anyway:
   does it contain newsgroups where the thread clearly does not belong
   to? If yes, simply remove them. If you feel it doesn't belong to s.c.n
   either, set a proper Followup-To: line to your reply.
   
   If you want to cross-post a request or start a new cross-posted thread
   read both newsgroups for a month or two (a year would be safer ;-)
   before doing so.
   
   Don't start cross-posted threads without more justification than the
   subject being "related" to both groups. You should understand the
   culture of both "electronic communities".
   
   Why this?
   It is much easier to be misunderstood, misunderstand the context, and
   generally get people unhappy with you if you start a cross-posted
   thread or follow-up to an article posted to two newsgroups.
   
   If you say something controversial or questionable, you can expect to
   get negative responses. If you cross-post and are new to one or both
   groups, you are more likely to offend someone unintentionally.
   This is not recommended as a pleasant way to introduce yourself, or to
   get answers to your questions.
   
   Threads posted to many unrelated newsgroups (with the rare exception
   of announcements), are often flame-baits and may deserve to be
   ignored.
   
   
   
  1.3.6 What languages are welcome in soc.culture.nordic?
  
   English, naturally, is the most common choice, but threads in Swedish,
   Danish, Norwegian, Sámi, Finnish, Icelandic and Faroese are all
   perfectly suitable for the newsgroup. A fact is, however, that such
   threads don't appear very frequently in s.c.n. There are several
   reasons for this. First of all, not all Nordic languages are mutually
   intelligible; while Danes, Norwegians and Swedes could discuss with
   each other with only some difficulty, many Icelanders and Finns would
   be left out of the discussion (even though all Finns and Icelanders
   have studied one obligatory Scandinavian language at school it doesn't
   mean they're necessarily fluent in it - nor that they understand the
   other langauges of Scandinavia as easily as the native speakers).
   
   A third group of people left out of the discussion would be, of
   course, the non-Nordics, who make up a large part of the readership of
   s.c.n. Therefore, threads in Nordic languages don't necessarily get
   very many readers. Nordics in general tend to be relatively fluent in
   English, so if the topic is of general interest, using a language that
   restricts the readership may seem slightly pointless. Another reason
   is, of course, that the soc.* hierarchy is international; there is no
   shortage of national hierarchies where all discussion takes place in
   the Nordic languages. There are also several mailing-lists dedicated
   to Nordic topics where the discussion is often in some Nordic
   language.
   
   It makes good sense to have at least one group act - as it were - as a
   window for foreigners to peek into the Nordic countries and their
   cultures, make contacts with Scandinavians and gain insight on topics
   that interest us. Don't get me wrong; it isn't the purpose of s.c.n to
   cater to the presumed needs of 'outsiders' -- this newsgroup isn't a
   zoo, thank goodness -- but it's a function it now succesfully fulfils
   thanks to the common use of English, among other, very different
   functions.
   
   But if you're a Nordic student or immigrant living abroad, or if
   you're studying some Nordic language, or if you're of Nordic descent
   and want to practice the language -- whatever your reason is, don't
   hesitate to start a thread in a Nordic language. It brings a welcome
   change to s.c.n, even if we may not want all discussion to be in
   Nordic languages.
   
   
   
  1.3.7 What should I do when someone posts a flamebait?
  
   If you come across a posting that is an outrageous attack on truth,
   decency and everything civil, cross-posted typically to a very large
   number of news-groups, congratulate yourself for having spotted a
   "flamebait". If you feel enraged by the message, leave your terminal
   for a little while, take a walk around the house, drink a cup of tea,
   and come back relaxed and calm. It is strongly advisable that you then
   proceed to press 'n' or whichever key your newsreader uses for
   skipping to the next article, and ignore the post altogether, perhaps
   completing the procedure with a 'k' for kill-file and imagining, with
   a relieved smile on your face, an audible plonk as the cretin drops
   into your virtual garbage bin.
   
   Leaving nazi trash unchallenged in normal communication or media isn't
   a good idea, I agree, but this isn't normal communication nor is this
   a normal media; this is the Usenet, and here the only effecient way to
   deal with it is to ignore it. Trust me. Although, in some cases, if
   the villain does or says something really bad, it can be better to
   complain to his postmaster; for more on this, see section 1.5 below.
   
   As a general rule, these postings are made by individuals who want to
   piss you off so that as many people as possible will react, causing as
   annoying a thread as possible to be generated, and the general level
   of confusion to jump as high as possible. Don't think they want to
   discuss whatever it was that they posted, chaos is the only goal of
   these kooks. If you follow-up to their articles and flame them, you've
   in effect swallowed the bait and made their day. (There exists also a
   less malicious variant of this sport, called "trolling", which just
   adds spice to a discussion by intentional posting of false statements
   in order to elicit attention by unneccessary corrections; with it,
   too, you should try to remain as calm and collected as possible lest
   you reveal your newbieness. For more information about trolls and
   trolling see for instance:
   <http://otto.cmr.fsu.edu/~kings/humor/troll.shtml> or
   <http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~tskirvin/faqs/legends/legends3.html> in the
   Usenet legends.)
   
   And even if the person isn't a sophomoric joker but a genuine
   hate-monger, don't think you can convince him to come to his senses.
   You might or might not succeed in that were you to meet him face to
   face, but in Usenet you won't; non-verbal signs of your anger don't
   travel in the bitstream and your words, no matter how sincere, will
   lose their power to convince. All you'll ever accomplish is lowering
   the general signal-to-noise ratio, helping a flamewar to be born,
   making Usenet in general an unplesant place to be, and perhaps
   generating a few mocking chuckles at some terminal somewhere.
   
   
   
  1.3.8 I have this bridge in Stavanger that I'd like to sell.
  Can I post an ad here?
  
   Nope. As a rule of thumb, do not post any commercial ads whatsover to
   s.c.n. They do not belong here, they make people very angry at you,
   posting them is typically a bad breach of netiquette and could cost
   you your account. If you're trying to sell something in the net,
   you're supposed to post your ads to the biz.* groups or certain others
   such as misc.forsale, not to the general discussion groups.
   
   However, brief, informational (no marketing hype) and polite
   announcements about services, happenings or maybe even products that
   have an unquestionable connection to Nordic culture are within the
   range of acceptable postings. For instance, an ad for cheap
   long-distance phone-calls is not o.k., but an announcement for a Grieg
   Festival in Bergen or a small ad for authentic Swedish surströmming
   now available at your neighborhood www-mall might be. Be careful,
   though. Read the file "Advertising FAQ - Info For New Users",
   available at
   <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/misc-forsale-faq/posting-a
   ds>, before even thinking of posting an ad. You could burn your
   fingers. Badly.
   

[ the sections above are available at the www-page
  http://www.lysator.liu.se/nordic/scn/faq13.html ]

   
   



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