Framingham Neighbors Forum Charter

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of this forum is to act as a community water cooler so that non-political information related to Framingham can be freely exchanged.

The goals of this forum include:

  • to provide a forum to provide information about community events;
  • to provide a place to obtain information about local businesses and the experiences other subscribers have had;
  • to allow subscribers the opportunity to sell and give away belongings; and
  • to provide a rapid response capacity for lost children, elders, pets, and unusual events.

Typical Topics

Topics that you might find here to discuss include:

  • Asking for recommendations for plumbers, electricians, masons, and the like.
  • Finding and providing housing in Framingham.
  • Selling or giving away used stuff.
  • Advertising concerts, plays, dances, etc., which either take place in Framingham, or involve Framingham residents.
  • Finding other people in town who are interested in the same things you are.

Participation Rules

By taking part in this forum, you accept the full rules of the forum (as adapted by this charter).

Highlighted and additional forum-specific rules:

  • Use your real name.
  • You may only make 3 posts per day.
  • Tickets to public events may not be listed or sold for more than face value
  • Be civil (see civility rules below).
  • Respect copyrights (see public use and content rules below)
  • Only 1 commercial posting per 12 month period for local businesses (see commercial postings rule below).
**Keep your posts relevant to Framingham.**

Civility Rules

It would be nice to be able to state simple definitions for civility and then let everyone exercise their common sense. However, experience has shown that it is necessary to define what civility means in as much detail as possible, so as to make as many people as possible understand our intent:

Posters are expected to show basic respect for other list members in their posts. It is considered more polite to refer to the author of a previous message as "a previous poster", and are generally encouraged not to use the name of other posters in their responses. While we do not operate under Robert's Rules of order, basic etiquette is always encouraged. The list moderators will ultimately make the determination about violations of civility rules, as one person's opinion or description is another person's insult.

Issues, not people, are to be the subject of the debate. Personal attacks, including insults, name-calling and unfounded accusations (especially with respect to legal and ethical violations,) are not allowed on the list about anybody at any time. Posts should not attack or question the unstated motivations or character of another person. Insulting characterizations of groups of people, (such as immigrants, opponents of illegal immigration, social service clients, those who oppose social service expansion, legislators, members of a town board...) are not permitted.

Personal attacks are also not allowed off-list (a.k.a flames) in response to a post. Contacting someone off-list about a post after they have made a personal request that you not contact them anymore, or contacting someone anonymously off-list is also prohibited.

Sometimes the actions of a public official or representative of an organization can be a legitimate topic of conversation or criticism. It is important both that these people be held accountable for their actions when they affect the general public, and that criticism not be discouraged. However, in this forum, the actions of the people and their impact should be the focus of discussion, not the character or motivation of those people.

Examples of statements that would be unacceptable include:

  • John Doe has obviously lost his marbles if he is so naive as to believe that.
  • Jane Doe is a liar for saying that.
  • John Doe is a bigot and a racist if he makes statements like that.
  • Town Board member Jane Doe must be on the take if she voted that way.
  • I heard a rumor that John Doe is selling illegal drugs from town offices.
  • That Town Board hearing looked like it was fixed from the start.
  • That newspaper reporter has it in for this town.
  • The previous poster's mother used to be the town drunk. Maybe he has taken up the bottle as well.
  • Opponents of the expansion of social service agency programs are prejudiced against people with disabilities.
  • Drug addicts are losers who are like leeches draining away the vitality of our community.
  • Non-profit executives are really more interested in lining their own pockets than helping others.

Examples of statements that would be acceptable include:

  • I believe this writer was mistaken about this. This is what I see about the situation.
  • By failing to act on these issues, our town officials are jeopardizing the quality of life in our community.
  • The legislators do not appear to care about this issue, based on their actions.
  • Articles like this that put our community in a negative light, hurt our town's public image, which contributes to falling property values.
  • The Board took action that will have a negative impact on our town, one from which we are unlikely to recover.
  • I disagree with the previous writer who said "The quick gray coyote jumped over the lazy brown deer." Obviously, the coyote was just leading the hunter to the deer.
  • The legislators have shown no interest on moving forward on this issue, and I believe the consequences for Framingham are terrible.

Note the difference between the first and second set of examples: In the first unacceptable set, observations about other people are really assumptions of their motivations. The second set of acceptable examples are statements of the author's own opinions.

Feel free to state what you think and base your points on the actions that you see have happened. Forming opinions based on other peoples' perceived motivations will never be acceptable as well as not convince the people you are trying to reach.

Public Content and Use

Issues Forums encourage public and open use of the content generated through community exchange online. By posting an original message, the author agrees to allow to distribute the message, image, video, or file via the Internet and to include it in a publicly accessible online archive in perpetuity.

The Framinghan Government  and Framingham Neighbors forums provide for more restricted copyright claims than E-Democracy does in general. Authors grant the right to republish recommendations to the e-democracy wiki. However, authors do not grant any other right to publicly quote the text without their permission, and any use of their message in any medium (with the permission of he author) must ensure that the specific author and the forum are attributed by name (a link to the source post is required if quoted online). However, the full text of messages may be forwarded electronically to others as long as the author's name and the forum's name and web address is cited or linked. Content may not be shared without attribution noting the name of the source forum.

Special forums and online events may use alternative copyright procedures as defined in their charters with permission from the Executive Director or the Board.

With copyrighted material like newspaper articles, you may post quotations from articles or web sites with the source URL. "Fair use" of excerpts (not the full text) is encouraged as well as the distribution of extended text from government-produced content. A discussion forum posting may only be removed from the public archives under a court order or as a case-by-case decision made by the Issues Forum staff lead in consultation with the Board (as governed by our Forum Content and Removal Policy).

Commercial Postings

You are allowed to make commercial postings to the list as long as they are relevant to Framingham and relatively infrequent.

"Commercial" means that the primary purpose of your posting is to advertise something about your business or service -- advertising to sell your car, for example, doesn't fall under this guideline unless that's your business.

"Relevant to Framingham" means that, for example, your business or service is located in Framingham, or you live in Framingham, or your posting is very likely to be of wide interest to Framingham residents.

"Relatively infrequent" means that postings from your business or service should occur no more often than every twelve months or so.

Forum Leadership

This forum opened on January 30, 2013.

The Forum Manager is Kathy Vassar.

The volunteer Forum Manager is responsible for the general health and well-being of the forum. The Forum Manager shall:

  • enforce forum rules
  • respond to participant questions
  • listen to complaints or concerns
  • encourage active participation
  • maintain respectful tone of discussion

If you have any questions or concerns about the forum, please contact us.