Sites should express a sincere interest in Objectivism.
I don't mind, for example, if someone regards himself as both a Libertarian and an Objectivist. But someone who "subscribes" to Objectivism and yet regards himself as religious (in the literal meaning of "religious") really has no idea what Objectivism is, and is unlikely to contribute anything of value to the dialogue I am trying to bring about. Likewise, it is difficult to see how one might be both a staunch socialist and a sincere Objectivist at the same time. I try to give individuals every benefit of a (reasonable) doubt, though.
This does not mean that I regard the individuals whom I do turn away as worthless -- it is more a matter of priorities. Beyond a certain point, by lowering the standards of acceptance, I would make the ring worthless to any people who by the furthest stretch of the imagination could be regarded as Objectivists. However, I am careful about rejecting a site, because I always try to keep in mind the fact that I may have to justify my decision not only that a given person is wrong, but that they don't even belong on the ring.
Meanwhile, I will keep thinking about my criterion, and any suggestions anyone might have to offer would certainly be welcome. I don't think it is possible to avoid having to deal with borderline cases, no matter what criteria we make use of. By means of a dogmatic approach, one might evade the fact that one is dealing with borderline cases, but one would still be dealing with them, and then refusing to admit it.
For those of you who decide to admit others to the ring, I suggest looking at the other sites which are already on the ring -- does it look like the site that you are thinking of admitting would belong? Then go ahead and admit it. But if you are not sure, you may want to think about it.
A substantial amount of the website should be devoted to topics in Objectivism.
Personal material and photographs are welcome. However, there should be something at your website which will be of special interest to Objectivists. Your website doesn't have to be on technical philosophy -- it may consist of letters to the editor, art criticism, material on capitalism, ethics, or it may contain poetry which explores Objectivist themes. Your site may focus on how Objectivism can make a difference in everyday life. All of this is welcome. Objectivism is a very rich philosophy, with far too many facets to be explored than may even be hinted at in any one website. Explore those facets which are of personal interest to you. But please try and make sure your site focuses on something related to Objectivism to a significant extent.
Discourse should be civil.
This means no foul language, no ad hominem arguments, and one should try to be fair in representing the views of one's "opponents." I believe that you should feel free to make judgments, but you should also be prepared to be judged for the judgments you render, and be prepared to back up your judgments.
And remember, it is often much more effective to simply point out what principle is involved with respect to a given issue, giving the other person a chance to change his position or behavior, rather than immediately condemning a given position or behavior. Open condemnation often makes people feel as if they are being attacked, and people who feel as if they are being attacked are more likely to act defensively, and less likely to act reasonably.
Sites should be free of foul language.
Talk about swans, ducks, or geese is fine. Pretty much all other foul language is strictly prohibited. If you feel like you can't get across an idea without using foul language, chances are you don't have a handle on the idea yourself. Foul language is often evidence of strong emotion; it may be better to examine why you feel so strongly about a given topic. Also, it is often much more effective to give an organized presentation of the evidence, and then let your reader draw his own evaluations, because then they will be his evaluations -- not yours.
Sites should be free of pornography.
Paintings and drawings by professional artists are usually fine. Photographs of nudes do not belong, at least within The Objectivist Ring (unless you have a Michelangelo site).
The point of entry should be the same as the point of exit.
Some of the more experienced webmasters may prefer to have ring surfers return to the ring by means of a separate page from where ring surfers enter a site. This is strictly prohibited.
The ring is meant to be an aid to navigating the web, not its own little maze to get lost in. Remember: many people are new to the web, or at least a good deal less familiar than you may be. Try to make it easy for them to find their way back the same way that they entered your site, and I will make sure that the sites on the ring which lead to yours do the same. If we make sure that the ring can be easily used, with time, more and more people will discover that the ring provides an excellent alternative to trying to find sites on hopelessly spammed search engines where the first twenty entries all come from one or two sites fighting to crowd each other out of the search engine.
Ring links in frames require additional code.
I personally have no problem with placing ring links in frames, but if you do so, when someone clicks on a ring link, they should simultaneously be clicking out of your frames rather than dragging those frames around with them all over the ring. And they should not leave the frames by means of the tag attribute TARGET="_main" but by means of the tag attribute TARGET="_top". The use of "main" instead of "top" creates a second browser window with many browsers, using up vital memory and slowing the browser down. If you need additional information on this, please feel free to write and ask.
email:Timothy D. Chase, "The Objectivist Ring"-Moderator
©1997 by Timothy D. Chase. All rights reserved.
This material is meant only for the personal reading of those who view it. Copies may be made for this purpose. Do not distribute.
This website is hosted by GeoCities.
Get your own free homepage!