Field Guides to Food

Etiquette for the Field Guides to Food Systems

Table Manners: How to interact/behave on this site

We all have had one (or many) of those experiences when we have read an article, watched a video or viewed a picture online and then we viewed the comments… it can be pretty shocking what people will say to one another when they don’t have to face them. Because we are creating a community based on principles of sharing stories and doing justice to the knowledge that we all have, it is expected that people treat each other with respect and refrain from engaging in mean spiritedness or personal criticism. We can add to, and even disagree with each other in respectful and rewarding ways.


How we expect people to behave on this site:

  1. Keep learning and sharing our stories as the top priority
  2. Treat the information that others have shared as important to them and to others
  3. Share what you know and have experienced, or what interests you if you don’t see your perspective represented
  4. Be respectful in your comments and in your own content

On this pathway, there are some examples of guidelines provided by Wikipedia and The Guardian as well as a cautionary tale from Popular Science. Please use these examples to help guide your table manners.



Being able to share ideas is one of the foundations of learning together, and for a collection of food knowledge, the idea of table manners provides a great set of metaphors for how we might encourage each other to behave so that we can continue our conversations rather than send anyone away disgusted, offended, or too guilty to return.
As many people have pointed out to us during the development of this project, the culture of internet comments poses many risks to interactive learning communities. The anonymity and personal distance provided by electronic means of communication can mean that people over react when their ideas are challenged; however, many online communities have developed excellent etiquettes that help build comfort and trust. We think of these as the table manners that enable us to remain at the table, and we share here some of the highlights -- and invite you to share tools you have found to be helpful in setting a collegial table!

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