This [Baren] convention is a
forum open for anyone to join, but it is most
definitely not an 'anonymous' forum. After your
subscription request is received, you will be sent
an e-mail requesting you to make a short and simple
post that introduces yourself to the members of the
group. As part of this message, please include your
name and general location (e.g. Joe Blow, New
York), and when posting subsequent messages always
use your name to 'sign' your posts.
[Baren] started as a 'personal'
forum conducted by printmaker David Bull from
Tokyo, but over the subsequent years grew too large
and too active to be sensibly directed by one
person, so its affairs began to be directed by a
'Council' made up of eight long-time members. This
group listens to the general discussions on the
forum, and makes decisions on such things as the
timing and content of the frequent print Exchanges,
as well as other projects undertaken by the group.
Here is a capsule 'history':
- November 1997: the first
[Baren] posting is made, going out to six
- February 1998: construction
of the Encyclopedia begins
- Spring 1998: David
establishes woodblock.com, as a base for his
personal web pages, and as a place for [Baren]
- Fall 1998: member Jim Mundie
proposes an exchange program; the idea is taken
up and is still going strong ...
- December 1999: the Council
is established, to assist in the management of
- April 2000: publication of
the quarterly newsletter 'Baren-Suji'
- November 2000: [Baren] comes
of age; David turns the group over to public
'ownership'. The affairs are now completely run
by the Council, and the move is made to a
permanent website at barenforum.org
The destruction of USENET by
anonymous flaming and rampant commercialism has
taught us that it is possible for private forums
such as this one to maintain a rational level of
discourse, yet still allow open exchange of
opinions, only if some form of moderation is
present. Just as 'panel' discussions of all types
can easily get lost without direction, so can this
forum, so one of the members is always 'moderating'
the discussions, usually in the background, but
occasionally through requests to the group (both
'out loud' and in private emails). In the interest
of maintaining order, please honour such requests,
and always remember - you are much more likely to
get an interesting and useful response if your
communications are friendly and tolerant. Follow a
simple rule: speak on the forum in the same manner
as you would to guests in your own home, even to
those whose opinions you find disagreeable.
In the 'real world', when people
are discussing things face to face and thus are
able to receive information via tone of voice and
facial expressions, quite 'strong' things can
actually be said during the course of a
conversation without causing offense. With e-mail
all such visual cues are missing. Please be aware
of this from both sides - when you send, try and
avoid speaking carelessly, and when you receive -
please be aware of the shortcomings of this medium,
and try and be tolerant if you feel hurt by a
A couple of other small 'rules'
should be noted:
- Please refrain from
'advertising' your products at the [Baren]
convention. Of course, as all the members are
interested in woodblock prints, they will no
doubt want to see yours, and everybody will
appreciate your postings that alert us to, and
direct us to, your web site (including 'updates'
and special changes).
- Experienced cyberspace users
receive e-mail from a wide variety of sources,
and the 'Subject:' line of each message is very
important to them. It's a good idea to make the
subject line of your message both relevant and
expressive (and short!).
- If you have complaints about
the moderation or management of the group,
please direct them to the group moderator rather than posting them to the forum
Other things you should be aware
of before posting are noted on the FAQ pages (a
link is at the bottom of this page).