Fire List Guidelines


Effective 29 October 2009.

The purpose of the Fire List is for the communication of ideas among members of the Prometheus Society and those whom they choose from time to time to accept as subscribers.

Both members and subscribers are bound by the following rules of conduct:


Discourse on the list should be conducted in a civil fashion. It is possible to vehemently disagree with someone about ideas without resorting to derogatory remarks about the character of one’s opponent. Remember that disagreements that descend to the level of personal attacks tend to drive participants away from the list. This tends to happen in a fashion that is unfortunately reminiscent of Gresham’s Law, the bad driving out the good.


List participants should not impugn the character, intelligence integrity or veracity of other list participants, or otherwise engage in derogation of list participants contrary the provision of the Prometheus Constitution (VI. 1).

List participants may not impugn the character or integrity of others on the list by imputing motives for their beliefs or statements based on their affiliation or presumed affiliation with ethnic or religious groups, nor should list participants be subjected to needling in this regard, especially of a persistent or repetitive nature.

The main thrust of this section is to avoid discussions becoming  personal in nature, especially in an insulting manner. We do not seek to preclude discussion about demographic groups, nor do we seek to prevent discussion about world events, which often involve such groups. But we do intend to prevent such discussions from taking a personal turn.

List participants also must refrain from referring to others on the list using insulting terms. This rule is somewhat like the rule which many legislatures have forbidding “unparliamentary language.”

After examining the circumstances, the Officers may vote as to whether or not the language is insulting in any particular instance.

Anyone violating this section will be subject to the penalties spelled out in paragraph 3.

The Constitution does not protect subscribers in this regard, but the Officers in issuing these guidelines hereby include subscribers to the list under this protection for purposes of preserving a civil atmosphere on the list, and also because it seems reasonable to treat them equally in this regard.


Those who contravene these guidelines may be suspended from the list by majority vote of the Officers, or in the case of suspensions of not more than 7 days by the Internet Officer acting alone. If, in the judgment of the Officers, an apology to the offended party or parties is sufficient remedy for the situation at hand, then an apology that is accepted by the offended party ends the matter. Paragraph 3 of the guidelines is in accord with paragraph VII of the Constitution:

II a. Participants who violate the guidelines established for the e-mail lists may be suspended from any e-mail list of the Society for not more than 30 consecutive days by a majority vote of the Officers; for not more than 7 days at the discretion of the Internet Officer.

II b. Those who violate the guidelines repeatedly may be suspended for periods longer than 30 consecutive days by majority vote of the officers, but will have the right to appeal the suspension to those members participating in the relevant list. A majority vote of those members is required to overturn the suspension.


The purpose of these guidelines is not to limit the free exchange of ideas in any way.

Other germane sections of the Constitution:

VI 1. The rights of each member shall include: The right to be protected from personal derogation, violation of privacy, or intimidation.

VII 6. The e-mail lists maintained by Prometheus shall be under the aegis of the Officers of the Society. The Officers may from time to time establish guidelines for the lists with the purpose of maintaining civility and protecting members from derogation, as required by paragraph 1 d.

X 7. The Internet Officer shall be responsible for maintaining an official web site for the Society and for administering an electronic mailing list which shall be made available to Prometheus Society members and subscribers.