Guidelines for the D4scussion Mailing List

Guidelines for the D4scussion Mailing List

(version 0.3.1, 01-Oct-2013)


This list is a descendant (not a designated successor) of the D1scussion mailing list started and run by Juergen Specht from December 10, 1999 to December 10, 2013.

That was when the Nikon D1 had just, suddenly, brought digital photography into the price range of many professional photographers (many of the various Kodak digital SLR products cost over $20,000; the Nikon D1 brought that down to $5,000). The Nikon D1 was a quirky beast, but with enough virtues to be worth fighting with. It, and this list, attracted a strong crowd of serious photographers grappling with this new tool, including several Nikon employees. The list prospered for over a decade, and was going strong when Juergen decided he needed to simplify his life some, and announced he would be shutting down the list in December 2013.

I (David Dyer-Bennet) chose to start this list after a few days of discussion on d1scussion of where the community should go. There was no formal vote, not everybody agreed this was where we were going, and Juergen did not identify any of the ideas proposed as the official successor to D1scussion.

Since the Nikon D4 is the top Nikon DSLR product at the time I’m starting this list, I’m naming the list D4scussion, after the D4 and acknowledging the historical derivation from D1scussion. (I did get Juergen’s permission to use the name D4scussion.)

Juergen tells me he was never sure how to pronounce the name of the list. I always prounounced it “dee-one-scussion”, and I pronounce this one “dee-four-scussion”. You will no doubt do whatever suits you.

The Basic Guideline

While I will go into more detail, the basic guideline is “don’t be a dick.”

The Other Guideline

Decisions of the list owner (David Dyer-Bennet) are final. They will be based on (his perception of) the good of the list and his understanding of the equities of the situation, not primarily on legalistic interpretations of these guidelines. The purpose of the guidelines is to help you understand what behavior is permitted and expected on the list, not to provide a framework for rules-lawyering.

These are “guidelines” rather than rules precisely because they will be enforced by human decision, not by rules-lawyering.

Message Format

Messages should be sent in ASCII text (or, for the technically interested, in multipart/mixed format; in which case the ASCII part will be sent to the list and the HTML part will be dumped).


Small jpeg files may be attached to messages to illustrate points. These images will be stored at the server, and a link to them substituted in the message, and they will remain as part of the list archives.

Other attachments are forbidden, and many will be blocked by the list software.

New Member Introduction

Introduce yourself in your first post; reintroduce yourself if you haven’t posted in a long while. In your introduction, tell people at least a little bit about who you are and what you do photographically.

All new members will start out in “moderated” status, meaning your messages won’t appear in the list until a moderator inspects and approves them. This blocks all but the most dedicated spammers, and also lets us enforce the guideline about introducing yourself.

Behavior Guidelines

Please do not top-post. Put your responses below the parts of the previous message you are responding to. And please edit down the quoting to just what is necessary to understand the discussion.

Please change the subject line when you are changing the subject.

The topic for this list is Nikon digital photography for professionals and “serious” amateurs. Digressions into other photographic topics, especially tools that many Nikon digital photographers will use in their workflow, will be tolerated to a considerable extent, especially if you prefix the subject line with “OT:”. Digressions into other topics will be tolerated in rather small amounts.

Attempts to introduce divisive political topics unrelated to photography will not be tolerated.

If you see an inappropriate or off-topic message, the best thing you can do is ignore it. Responding to it just perpetuates the off-topic content. The list administrators will address the issue with the poster, probably in private email that you’ll never see. If you see constant off-topic or inappropriate posts from a member, and you feel the administrators are not doing their job, feel free to email the list admins directly to discuss it. We’re probably going to have to agree to disagree (and as list admin “I win”), but I won’t bounce you for trying.

Differing opinions, and even fairly vigorous disagreement, are expected and welcome. However, don’t lose sight of the vital distinction between the opinions expressed on this list, and the actual human beings who express those opinions. Do not ever, attack, insult, belittle, or denigrate people on this list (or even people not on the list).

Consider this hierarchy:

  1. “You are stupid”
  2. “Only an idiot could think that”
  3. “Your opinion is stupid”
  4. “I’m pretty sure the Olympus OM2 had an electronically controlled shutter, not a mechanical one.”
  5. “According to Camerapedia at <url> the Olympus OM2 had an electronically controlled shutter, not a mechanical one. Which matches my memory of my own OM2.”

1, 2, and 3 are not permitted on this list. 4 is fine. 5 is better — citing both memory and an outside source of information.

Remember that repeating yourself at length rarely convinces anybody beyond the people you convinced the first time. (If an old topic comes up again after a considerable gap, there’s more latitude for saying the same things again.)

I’m am very much not a believer in the existence of magic “bad words”. However, good writers can express any reasonable amount of commitment and intensity without resorting to shock tactics. This list does not officially ban specific words, but I ask you to avoid or keep to a minimum the use of the words widely considered offensive in and of themselves. On the other hand, if you absolutely cannot stand to ever encounter such words, you may not be comfortable all the time on this list.

Do not confuse your own opinions (to which you are certainly entitled) with “revealed truth”. Thus it is far more appropriate to say “I think the Pentax Spotmatic was unreliable, hard to use, and most of the lenses for it were pretty bad”, even though that’s nonsense, than to say “the Pentax Spotmatic was a piece of crap”. (The first is a fairly detailed expression of opinion which merely happens to be wrong; the second is an entirely emotive statement built around a word chosen for shock value.)


Do not post messages to the list for primarily commercial reasons.

This doesn’t mean you should never post about something you have a commercial interest in. If somebody asks about a product you sell, answering their question is not just permitted, it’s encouraged. (Quite possibly such queries, and their answers, should be flagged “OT:” in the subject line, if the product involved isn’t a Nikon product.) If somebody asks how to do something, and you sell a product that’s particularly suitable, it’s even acceptable to mention it first yourself.

But do be thoughtful; don’t grab every possible excuse, no matter how thin, to mention your product. Posting about your product is permitted when it will serve the other list members.

Do mention that it’s your product (that you aren’t just a disinterested happy user giving advice here).

Including links to content on your (or other people’s) web sites is also acceptable, if the content is relevant to the discussion. It works much better if you say (in a sentence, or short phrase) what the link points to.

It’s acceptable to include a reference to a commercial venture in the “signature” that goes at the end of each of your messages. (The signature should generally be four or fewer lines. The signature delimiter, which doesn’t count as one of the four lines, should be “– ”, that’s two dashes followed by a space, on a line by itself.)

Administrative Actions

The list administrators may block a specific message from reaching the list, set you in “moderated” mode so your future messages need to be reviewed before they reach the list, forbid you to post to the list for a period, forbid you to post to the list permanently, or ban you from all access to the list. Most commonly, short of repeat offenses, you will get a private email criticizing your actions, and possibly a short period of moderation. Sometimes, at the discretion of the administrators, some criticism will occur in public, not just in private email.

With the exception of retroactive changes to archive visibility (see the Privacy section), these guidelines can be changed by the list owner at any time.

The list owner may pass list ownership to somebody else at his discretion. That person must, however, agree to continue the privacy policy on archive visibility.


When you post to this list, your email address (the one you send your post from) is visible to list members, and will be stored in the list archives. (Email addresses are displayed in obfuscated form in the list archives, but it’s a rather mild obfuscation.)

The subscriber list is not available to list subscribers, but is visible to the list admins.

The list archives are available to list members, but not to the general public. Any policy change to make the archives more broadly accessible must not be made retroactive; old archives must remain under the policy as of the time the messages in them were posted to the list. A more open policy could only be applied (after announcement) to future posts to the list. (This essentially means that the archives of the list must be discarded if at some future point the list shuts down; they cannot be made available publicly.)

(Note that “list members” means the current members of the list; if this list is still around in 10 years, a brand-new member will be able to see the archives going back to day 1 of this list.)

The list archives will not be indexed by search engines or web crawlers.

The list admins will attempt to see that these privacy guidelines are followed, but we cannot guarantee against technical failure of the software used to achieve them, or human error. For example, there’s little we could actually do about a web crawler that chose to ignore the robots.txt file and index the archives (as of this writing, all major search engines seem to respect robots.txt files).