1. Basic Principles
2. Composing Queries to the List
3. Responding to Queries: "No Top Posting"
4. Posting by Non-Subscribers
H-Buddhism is a list organized for academic specialists in the field of Buddhist Studies, designed primarily as a forum for the exchange of information regarding research and teaching, conferences, and employment opportunities. Given the scholarly character of the list, we try to maintain a professional atmosphere and endeavor to adhere to high standards of discourse in the electronic medium. Thus, we would like to ask our subscribers to take care when they post to the list, and pay attention to the below-listed points.
H-Buddhism, like other H-Net mail lists, reserves the write to edit messages for clarity, ease of transmission, and concision (see H-Net posting guidelines Section 2.03. Guidelines on Posting and Subscribing). List editors also reserve the right to request revision of or refuse to post incoming messages that in their opinion have the potential of being taken as inflammatory or sarcastic, or which fail to demonstrate adequate scholarly preparation or sophistication.
In terms of message format, subscribers should follow the below stylistic guidelines:
The discourse most commonly seen on H-Buddhism concerns requests for information—typically, bibliographical. Such queries are most likely to elicit useful responses if they are as precise in their formulation as possible. It is helpful, in this regard, to give some indication of the range of sources already consulted (particular publications and reference works, local libraries, Internet resources and search engines, etc.), and of your institutional affiliation (which gives some idea of the library resources available to you). Precise queries tend to invite precise responses, and editors may send submissions back for revision if they are judged too be overly lacking in precision. An example of a not-so-good query would be something like this:
"Hi, I'm looking for some information on commentaries to the XXXXX sutra."
Instead, one might write something like this:
"I'm doing some research on Chinese commentaries to the _XXXXX jing_ (Sūtra of XXXXX). I'm aware of the information contained in the bibliographies of recent translations of the sūtra by Scholar Y (2008) and Scholar Z (1997), and I've found a few articles in Japanese on the INBUDS article database, but I am wondering if there is anything else new in English, French, or German, that I may have missed."
As a scholar of Buddhism, you should make use of the basic Internet resources available in the field, such as the Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center, the resources list on the top page of the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, the NTU Article Database, the INBUDS database, Indica et Buddhica, and so forth. Once you have exhausted these and other traditional forms of inquiry, you can post a query to the list in an informed manner.
Compiling Queries: H-Buddhism also has an established custom whereby those who post a bibliographical query that results in a significant number of responses compile that query and re-post the whole list of references to H-Buddhism. Please think about whether you are willing to do this when you ask for information.
Thus, in summary, when preparing a query for the list, please consider the following points:
H-Buddhism adheres to a posting style that is fairly standard on professional techical e-mail lists, but which may not be familiar to Humanities scholars. It is called interleaved posting (also known as "bottom posting") which is distinguished from what is known as "top posting" (the wrong way).
"Top posting," a sort of non-style which is commonly seen in everyday e-mail correspondence (which began to appear with the proliferation of Microsoft e-mail programs such as Outlook and Outlook Express) occurs when you respond to a prior post by simply hitting your reply button, writing at the top of the new message screen, and leave the remnants of the prior message(s) at the bottom unreferenced.
There are a few reasons why this is seen to be undesirable—foremost among these being the problems that are created in the process of archiving and the accessing of information by subsequent web searches. What happens is that a year or so later, when someone looks for a key phrase in a web search, one finds remnants of the same post over and over in different messages in a confusing manner. It is also considered by many to be confusing even in personal correspondence, since the accumulation of information is done reverse of the temporal order of the occurrence of the correspondence.
This does not mean that in replying you should simply quote the entire previous message and write at the bottom, as the term "bottom-posting" might suggest. Rather, you should edit away the parts of the previous message not needed to establish context for your response, and interleave your replies to each point being addressed. Or, in the words of RFC 1855, the Netiquette Guidelines, which comprise a comprehensive set of netiquette conventions:
If you are sending a reply to a message or a posting, be sure you summarize the original at the top of the message, or include just enough text of the original to give a context. This will make sure readers understand when they start to read your response.
Therefore, when you write in response to a post on H-Buddhism, please compose your message by taking a moment to contextualize the prior message, citing relevant portions, and skillfully incorporating them into your own response. *Always* delete salutations (e.g. "Hello Dave") and signatures. After you are finished, there should be no further information contained after your signature. The only exception to this case is when the remainder of the message is specifically referenced data, or someone else's message that you are forwarding.See also:
We do examine prospective posts by non-subscribers for publication on the list on a case-by-case basis, especially such things as conference announcements, CFPs, publication announcements, and so forth that may be of interest to list members. However, there is no guarantee that any such post will be published. Queries regarding Buddhist Studies related information can only be posted by a list member. Therefore, if as a non-subscriber you would like to make such a query, you will need to find a sponsor for the post from among the list members.
The address for messages to be posted on H-Buddhism is: firstname.lastname@example.org.