The following "customs" are intended to help working group discussions reflect four key values of RJ City: respect, solidarity, active responsibility and peaceful social life.
- Speak up when you believe another person's position is incorrect, misguided or incomplete. Your intention, however, should not be to defeat them but to point out where their position needs correction, redirection or completion.
- Ask questions only when you would like answers. Loaded or rhetorical questions designed primarily to make a point would be better expressed as affirmative statements.
- Periodically remind yourself (and if necessary, others) of the common objective of the working group, which is to better understand the possibilities and limitations of restorative justice. Better understanding is more important than scoring points or winning arguments; it is also more important than avoiding conflict to maintain a false peace.
- Comment on an entry to address the topic it raises and to make new points on that topic. Multiple comments saying the same thing, or comments on unrelated topics that move the discussion off course are not helpful.
- Respect those willing to disagree openly because they help us learn. When we all agree, we are likely missing something.
- Don't use profanity, name-calling, sarcasm or mockery when interacting with others, even if it is directed at people or positions outside of the discussions.
- When you decide you have been wrong, admit it (and apologize, if necessary). When you believe you are right, do not pretend to be wrong to create a false consensus.
- Be succinct and courteous in your comments. Both show respect to the others in the discussion.
- Cite your sources with links or other references. Research and opinion can be very helpful to others, but they are most helpful when cited in such a way that others can consult them as well.
- Sometimes it is better not to comment right away, especially if you are angry, drunk, emotional or otherwise likely to say something you will regret later. Wait 24 hours and see what you think.
If you notice problems, please let us know (email@example.com). If you feel that we should add to or modify these customs, let us know that as well.
Two helpful sources on this topic are Gina Tripani's Lifehacker's Guide to Weblog
Comments and the Harris brothers' Harris Protocols