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soc.history.war.vietnam FAQ: Admin Info and Posting Guidelines

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Archive-Name: vietnam/info-and-guidelines
Last-modified: 2001/03/15
Posting-Frequency: monthly (1st)

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This announcement supersedes any previous ones.

General Information, Posting Guidelines and Charter

Welcome.  If you're reading this, it's fair to guess that you have
some interest in the Vietnam / Indochina Wars and their aftermath.
This document has been prepared to give you some idea of what
soc.history.war.vietnam is all about, how to post to the newsgroup,
and what resources are currently available.  For more information and
links to all the resources listed here, please visit one of our websites.

The SHWV Moderating Team

Table of Contents

1. What Is soc.history.war.vietnam and How It Came to Be.
2. SHWV Resources.
   2a. Newsgroup FAQs.
   2b. SHWV Newsgroup Archives
   2c. Vietnam War Internet Project Website
     2c1. Image Library
     2c2. Article Resources
     2c3. Memoirs and Personal Narratives
     2c4. Document Resources
     2c5. Resource / Topical Index
     2c6. Oral History Project
3. Administrative Information
4. Posting Guidelines.
5. The Charter

Section 1. What Is soc.history.war.vietnam and How It Came to Be

In the middle of 1994, after lengthy discussion and debate within the
newsgroup alt.war.vietnam, it was decided to form a new newsgroup
dedicated to the discussion of the Vietnam War.

Alt.war.vietnam, being an unmoderated newsgroup was subject to considerable
chaos caused by innumerable flame wars, shouting and slinging matches and
outright mayhem,  with the result that those who were coming to the
Usenet for some healing and understanding of the events as well as
those who where interested in the study of wars in Indochina were
getting disgusted, or worse, hurt by what was occurring.

The first thought had been to moderate the existing newsgroup,
alt.war.vietnam, but that was met almost universally with a negative
response.  The second idea was to create a new newsgroup, and in the
process put it on the mainstream hierarchy. So began the process by
which this newsgroup came into being in the first half of 1995.

Soc.History.War.Vietnam (SHWV) was created to provide an open forum
for the objective discussion of the Vietnam and Indochinese wars,
their causes, aftermath, and effect on the people and societies which
took part in them.  The use of a moderator was intended to provide an
environment that is conducive to this discussion, and open to all
categories of potential readers/ contributors without regard to
ideological or political positions.  All this is laid out in the 
Charter of the newsgroup.

Section 2.  SHWV Resources

2a. Newsgroup FAQs

Part of the charter has also been the call for the creation of
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ papers to answer the more commonly
asked questions which continually crop up within the newsgroup about
aspects of the Vietnam War. These FAQs are posted to both
soc.history.war.vietnam and news.answers monthly. Current FAQs cover
topics such as: Vietnam Related Internet Resources; the SHWV Recommended
Reading List; the Tonkin Gulf Incident; Use of Armoured Vehicles in the
Vietnam War; USAF gunships; and aspects of the Australian involvement in

The process of developing FAQs is ongoing.  Others on
people, places and events of the various Indochina Wars are being worked
on, and will be posted as available.

The moderators of the newsgroup, in accordance with the Charter, have
the sole responsibility for the development and content of any
newsgroup FAQs. Any person who believes that they have specialized
in-depth knowledge of a topic that wishes to submit a FAQ for review
is encouraged to do so by sending it to

FAQs will be posted for comment on the newsgroup for a period of at
least one month.  More time maybe allocated at the discretion of the
moderators.  During this period, the designation [RFD] will precede
the subject in the header.  FAQs will be submitted to news.answers and
soc.answers upon completion of this process.

All FAQs are available at the Vietnam War Internet Project
website at:

In addition, FAQs are also available by anonymous ftp at: in the directory pub/usenet/soc.history.war.vietnam 

2b.  SHWV Newsgroup Archives

All articles posted to soc.history.war.vietnam are regularly
archived in log files. However, to save storage space, monthly FAQs
postings will only be archived when a change occurs. These are
available at the SHWV Website at:

2c. Vietnam War Internet Project Website

The SHWV archives are part of, and affiliated with, the Vietnam War 
Internet Project (VWIP).  Articles and bibliographies that have been 
posted to SHWV and other related material are maintained at the VWIP 
website at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidental Library located at the 
University of Texas in Austin at:

This website offers many features that are not available directly 
through the newsgroup.  These include:

1. The Image Library

The Vietnam War Internet Project website contains a substantial image 
library, including most of those previous housed at the Byrd Archives, 
and a large collection of armor photos. The Image Library may be accessed
from the homepage, or directly at:

Individuals with images that they would like to see appropriately
posted on the web are urged to post such images to the newsgroup (in
uuencoded form) if they are small, or to send them directly to the
newsgroup's information address ( for placement on
the website.  Please include as full a description of the image, including
date and location, as is possible.

2. Articles Resource Pages

A number of articles have been posted to SHWV.  To ensure easy
accessibility of these pieces, they are archived not only within the
logfiles but separately on the websites.  Articles of all types and
from all aspects of the debate on the Indochina Wars are welcome.  If
you have an article that you wish to add, please submit it for posting
on the newsgroup. SHWV articles, as well as others not posted to the 
newsgroup, are available at the VWIP through the homepage or directly 

3. Memoirs and Personal Narrative Pages

Over time, the archives of the newsgroup have become a valuable 
reference resource in terms of the discussion about the contested
nature of the issues surrounding the war and in the oral history
included in the articles labeled "PER NAR". They are included in the
logfile archives of the newsgroup. They are also available as part of 
the Memoirs and Personal Narrative section of the VWIP website. so that 
they may be more readily accessible as a resource. This section may be 
accessed from the VWIP homepage, or directly at:

4. Document Resources

A long term project by the Vietnam War Internet Project, documents 
relating to the Indochina Wars are being placed on the web. New 
documents will be added frequently. This section may be accessed from 
the VWIP homepage, or directly at:

5. Resource / Topical Index

The Vietnam War Internet Project offers topical indexes both by subject 
and by author.  As part of an ongoing project, topics will have a short
descriptive entry, validated and recommended web sites, bibliographical 
information and lists of related topics.  As part of this project, SHWV 
moderator Ted Gittinger is working on a full topical index of the 
soc.history.war.vietnam newsgroup which will be a stand-alone entity as 
well as being integrated into the VWIP index.  The VWIP Resource index 
may be accessed directly at:

6. Oral History Project

The Vietnam War Internet Project is also engaged in an ongoing project 
to bring to the web existing oral history collections, such as the one 
at the LBJ Library, and will be collecting its own series of interviews 
with "street level" folks - regular soldiers, sailors, anti-war activists,

Section 3. Administrative Information

The moderated newsgroup soc.history.war.vietnam is dedicated to the
discussion of the Vietnam / Indochina wars, their antecedents and
their aftermath.  All points of view and disciplines are welcome.  It
is our hope to create a "flame-free" environment in which discourse is
possible, and perhaps even some healing and understanding.

The current moderators for soc.history.war.vietnam are:

Joe Carwithen: Appeals Referee

Alan Dawson: Media Advisor

Ted Gittinger: Newsgroup Indexer

Edwin E. Moise: History/Faq Advisor

Brian Ross: Moderator Emeritus

John Tegtmeier: Webmaster, FAQ Coordinator

Frank Vaughan: Active Moderator

Requests for information concerning the newsgroup should be
addressed at to the contact address, not to the individual moderators,

Please feel free to contact us with any question or suggestion. We
hope that you all will enjoy and profit from the newsgroup.

Section 4. Posting Guidelines.

The criteria for postings are contained in the Charter.  To assist
those who wish to post articles to the newsgroup, the posting
guidelines below were developed. The expressed goal of the newsgroup -
to develop a flame-free environment for discussion of all aspects of the
Indochina War - is the overarching principle in all posting guidelines.

The submission of an article to this newsgroup implicitly gives permission
for that article to be archived for distribution, and for quotation of that
article within this newsgroup for the purpose of discussion.  All other
rights are assumed to remain with the contributor under the Berne

Postings are to be done in plain ASCII test.  Postings using other
character sets that result in non-standard characters appearing may,
at the discretion of the moderator, be returned to the poster with
instructions to resubmit using ASCII text.  The moderator may manually
change the nonstandard characters into Ascii, at his or her discretion.

Please remember that this is a moderated newsgroup.  We are not on-line all
day long (this is all volunteer work) so there may be some delay from the
time you post to the time your article appears on the newsgroup.  We will
try to get articles up as soon as is possible, normally within a 24 hour
time frame. We will attempt to make an administrative posting whenever an
outage of more than 48 hours is anticipated.

1. Topics.

The charter requires that postings deal with the Indochina Wars, their
antecedents and their aftermath.  This is to include political philosophy
and social factors.  This also means the mind set of all the participants
at the time, and in the present to the extent that this reflects on the
aftermath of the wars.  It was made clear from the outset that this was a
multi-discipline newsgroup, not just history.  It is set up as such in the

Posters should restrict their comments to the above.  Posts containing ANY
material not included within the scope of the newsgroup, or legitimate
rebuttal to material already posted, will be returned or the off-topic
material will be redacted.

A word about current event postings - these articles need to conform
to the topic guideline.  That is, the submission must directly link to
the Indochina Wars and their aftermath.  Such topics might include:
POW/MIAs, refugee issues, drug trade, prostitution, environment issues
arising from herbicides, old ordinance, etc.  This does not include
the current policies of the Hanoi government, economic trade (except
as it is tied to a war related issue) or similiar topics. Such article are
more properly included in bit.listserv.seasia-l or one of the soc.culture.x

The decision as to an article being admissible resides with the moderators,
who were named as part of the voting process for the newsgroup, and their
successors, as provided in the charter. Further comments on the propriety
of material shall be deemed as flames, and rejected.

Discussion of, or complaints with, the moderating process should be directed to
the newsgroup news.groups, and is not appropriate within the newsgroup

2.  Personal Attacks.

Articles must be free of personal attacks on individuals in the readership
on the newsgroup.  Since the exact readership of soc.history.war.vietnam is
unknown at any given time, this requirement may be extended, at the
discretion of the moderators, to include any personal attack.  The
determination for this will be context sensitive. The public acts of public
figures are, of course, open to critique, but only these public acts. The
same is true of organizations which similarly are also open to a higher
level of critique.  Posters should restrict their comments to the material
and the discourse surrounding the material.  ANY COMMENTS OF A PERSONAL
BE DEEMED A PERSONAL ATTACK, AND REJECTED.  The moderating team reserves
the right to examine the body of a poster's submission in order to
determine if an implicit pattern of harassment exists, and to use this
determination as part of the criteria in evaluating submissions.

Characterizations of another individual's beliefs or views as "ridiculous",
"stupid", "lies" or any similar label may be deemed, depending upon the
context, not as a critique of the material but as personal attack, and
therefore rejected. Posters will restrict themselves to a rebuttal of the
material and issues raised in an article without including derogatory or
condescending insults.

The moderators may, at their discretion, remove a line or sentence of text
containing a personal attack if, in the judgement of the moderator, that
line would result in the posting being returned to the author, and that
there is sufficient value and timeliness in the posting that such a delay
might render the posting moot. Any poster may request that this not be
done, in which case any posting outside of the guidelines will be returned
for editing and resubmission.

3.  The Goal of the Newsgroup

The goal of this newsgroup, as outlined at the time of the voting for its
creation, was to promote a flame-free environment for discourse and to
provide a forum in which various sides of the debate, coming from differing
backgrounds, could exchange ideas.  Posters are asked to bear this in mind.
Posts seeking to restrict this open availability to all sides of the debate
shall be considered flames, and will be rejected.

4. Commercial 

No articles of a commercial nature will be posted. This includes
announcements of Indochina conflict-related materials that are being put up
for bid on auction sites. An exception to the above can be made at the
discretion of the moderators for not-for-profit groups which making
announcements which offer important benefits.

Announcements of forthcoming or recent publications in the field will also
be allowed on a informational basis.  Any articles containing advertising
of any services for fee must conform to the above to be eligible for

5. Copyright

Please be aware of the copyright laws as they pertain to your submissions.
They are a lot stricter than you may think. Under the Berne convention,
just about everything is presumed to be protected, even if not expressly
stated.  The rule of thumb is simply that unless the person has expressly
put the material in the public domain, it should be treated as protected.
As stated above, articles posted to soc.history.war.vietnam may be quoted
for the purpose of discussion on this newsgroup. If you need more complete
information, please look at the copyright myth FAQ on the news.answers

Quotations from published sources for the purposes of discussion or
illumination are acceptable, as long as those quotations fall within
the fair use provisions of the copyright laws.

In practical terms, this means that newspaper articles, wire service
stories and excerpts from books cannot be posted, unless they are less than
100 words in length and germaine to an ongoing discussion. Posting the
first 100 words of a newspaper article, and a link to the article is not
acceptable for posting.

6.  Net etiquette

Posters are asked to voluntarily adhere to common practice in regard
to net etiquette and the posting of articles.  Quotes from prior posts
should not be more than 50% of a posting, and those sections quoted should
have a direct bearing on the commentary in the new article.
Signature files should be restricted to 4 lines.  The expansion of the
number of Usenet newsgroups, as well as the number of sites getting news
feeds, have increased dramatically, taxing the net's ability to carry the
load.  Quoting a forty line article to say "I agree" is selfish.  Please
use the editing features of your newsreaders and stick to the essentials.
The moderators reserve the right to edit excessive quotation from submitted

7. Personal Narratives

It has been our policy for quite some time to treat personal narratives -
articles marked "PER NAR" in the subject header - as oral history.

Respondents may ask appropriate questions, but the content of the articles
is considered privileged, and may not be attacked. This holds true not only
for vets, but for those who were active in the anti-war movement.

The rationale behind this is simple - it is more beneficial to the
newsgroup to have oral history posted than it is for potential posters to
refrain for fear of confrontation and critique of their actions years ago.
This will include public figures.

8. Cross-posting Articles.

Request to cross-post articles will not be honored.

Posters who are replying to articles posted on other newsgroups must
include the entire original article within their to soc.history.war.vietnam

This is to insure that articles are not taken out of context, and that the
author of the original article has an opportunity to respond.

9.  Relay posting

In the event a relay posting (one author, a different poster) the
moderators may, at their discretion, add a suitable advisory at the
beginning of the posting, clarifying that the SHWV moderating team
cannot vouch for the accuracy or authenticity of the material in question. 
The moderators may use, but are not required to use, the following

[Moderator disclaimer: the posting below is authored by one party and
posted by another. As a matter of policy, the SHWV moderating team
does not make any judgement on the authenticity of the material, nor
on its original authorship.]

10. Quoted material

It is the policy of the newsgroup that quoted material must be presented
verbatim, although it should be trimmed to a manageable length. If quoted
material is changed in a manner that, in the judgement of the moderators,
changes the original author's meaning or intent then the moderators may
either restore the original quoted material, and post a notice that they
have done so, or return the posting to the author with instructions to
restore the quote and resubmit.

The moderators may also trim excessive quotation of old material, or, at
their discretion, return it to the poster in accordance with netiquette and
accepted practice on the usenet. In the event moderators trim excessively
quoted material, they may, but are not required to, add an advisory to the
message similar to: 

[Excessively quoted material trimmed by the moderator.]

The moderator's will honor any poster's request to have articles returned
rather than trimmed.

11. Typographical Errors

1.  Spelling: The moderators may, at their discretion, correct obvious
spelling errors in postings.

2.  Capitalization: The moderators may, at their discretion, correct
obvious capitalization errors. The moderators may, at their discretion,
return postings for correction by their original author that do not use
reasonably standard capitalization. The moderators are the sole judge of
"reasonably standard capitalization." 

12. Format For Posting

This newsgroup, and its moderating process, are conducted in English.
Articles in other languages related to the newsgroup, such as Vietnamese,
Lao, French, etc., will be accepted for posting only if accompanied by a
full English translation.

All articles should be submitted in plain US ASCII text. Postings in
HTML will be returned to the author.

No binary files will be posted. Binaries may be submitted, but they 
will be placed on the Vietnam War Internet Project website. The article 
posting to the newsgroup will only refer to the url of the binary file 
(image, audio, etc).  In no case are executable files acceptable. 

13. Appeal Process

There is an appeal process if you believe that your article was unfairly
rejection.  Please refer to the Charter for full information. Essentially,
all that is required to appeal is to send an e-mail reply of the rejection
notice to all moderators by replying to the newsgroup's contact address,, with the word APPEAL in the Subject: line.
Posters appealing moderating decisions should outline the reasons why they
believe the submission should be posted.  All appeals will be run by the
Appeals Referee, who was not part of the initial decision to reject the

Section 5. The Charter


1. Aim & Purpose of Soc.History.War.Vietnam

This newsgroup will provide an open forum for the objective discussion
of the Vietnam and Indochinese wars, their causes, aftermath, and
effect on the people and societies which took part in them. The use
of a moderator is intended to provide an environment that is conducive
to this discussion, and open to all categories of potential readers/
contributors - academics, veterans, members of the anti-war movement,
students, and anyone else with an interest - without regard to ideological
or political positions.

The wars in Vietnam and Indochina in the middle of the twentieth century
not only bred armed conflict between combatants, but also divisiveness and
social conflict within the societies of some of the participicants in the
conflicts.  In the United States, some believe that the war has transcended
its historical moment to become a culture icon for the turbulence of the
sixties.  At any rate, there still exists a great desparity in the
understandings of the social, political and historic circumstances of the
war, and its continued influence on various societies.

Soc.history.war.vietnam will seek to promote a discourse which will allow
these positions to be explored. Perhaps, in this way, the newsgroup may be
instrumental in achieving a better understanding of the events, and may
even assist in the process of healing.

2. The Function of the Moderators

This newsgroup shall have an active moderator, and at least
two co-moderators.  It shall be the responsibility of the active
moderator to screen postings to the newsgroup, and elimante those
which are: 

a. flames, insults and attacks directed at a person rather than
a position; 

b. flames that use derogatory labels to depict whole categories of people,
such as veterans or members of the anti-war movement, etc.; 

c. articles that have no connection to the Vietnam or Indochina wars, their
causes, effects or aftermath; and 

d. any message of a commercial nature.  

The active moderator may not screen postings for merit of argument, nor for
their political or ideological content.

All articles that are rejected will be sent back to the contributor
with a short message explaning the reason for rejection. Such
rejections may be appealed as outlined below.

The co-moderators serve in a back-up capacity, so as to insure
continuity during either a temporary or permanent change in the status
of the active moderator.  In addition, the co-moderators will have the
responsibility, along with the active moderator, for voting on appeals
of rejected posts, the appointment of new moderators, and the possible
removal of a current moderator as outlined below.

3.  Appeal of Rejection of Posts

If a contributor whose post has been rejected wishes to appeal this
action, the current active moderator will forward this request and the
post in question to all co-moderators for a vote.  If the majority of
all moderators votes to overrule the rejection, the article will be
sent to the newsgroup.  If the post is rejected, the person appealling
the rejection will be sent a summary of the votes by the moderators.

4.  Appointment of New Moderators

New co-moderators will be appointed as necessary through the
nomination of an individual by the other moderators. The appointment
will require a unanimous vote of the current moderators to pass. The
new co-moderator's name will then be submitted to the newsgroup for a
five day discussion period.  During these five days, any of the 
current moderators may change their vote in response to this discussion.
At the end of the five days, if all the moderators are still in agreement,
the nominee becomes a co-moderator.

5.  Removal of a Moderator

A moderator may be removed for the following causes: 

a. failure to perform the outlined duties of the position,
b. a pattern of biased or discriminatory rejections of postings.  

Such removals will be made by the formal vote of all current moderators. A
2/3rds vote in favor of such action will be required for removal. The
reasons for, and results of, all such votes will be posted to the

6. FAQ

The moderators, as a group, will be responsible for the development and
posting of a frequently asked question (FAQ) file for this newsgroup.

7.  Posting of Charter and Moderators List

This charter will be reposted, along with the list of current
moderators to the newsgroup every month.

[Moderator Note: All SHWV messages, FAQs And related files are archived at The posting of an article 
by the moderators of SHWV only indicates the article is within the Charter 
and does not imply agreement with, nor the correctness of, the article.] 

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