Small Wars Council FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Rules of Engagement

No discussions of current ops that may disadvantage lawful combatants.

Be polite.

It is OK to be angry, just not all the time.

Respect copyrights and fair use.

Abide by the terms of the User Agreement you accepted when you registered.


Pseudonymous Participation

Pseudonymous participation is supported in this forum. We believe we draw great strength from our members being able to responsibly float ideas or opinions without concern for personal repercussions, particularly when challenging party lines or conventional wisdom. We accept that there will be situations when that can only be done via a pseudonym.

Based upon your situation and personal preferences, you may you choose to participate openly with your real name as your screen name and your website URL in your signature, or pseudonymously through a screen name. We expect all our members to accommodate responsible, productive pseudonymous participation.

Why can't I log in to the SWJ Blog?

Comments on the SWJ Blog require a TypeKey registration. That is separate from the Small Wars Council username that you use here on the discussion board.

The TypeKey registration is to reduce spam and frivolous comments on the blog, just as your verified SWC registration does here. There is enough noise out there in the e-world. We hope all serious posters will jump over that low hurdle. Registration is easy and free. Our Privacy Policy has been updated with information on TypeKey. On the blog entry, click comment and then on sign in or sign up to do your TypeKey registration.

The discussion board software and the blogging software we use to drive the different parts of our site are each best-of-breed. Unfortunately, they are not integrated, and we do not have the resources at present to start a software integration project to offer you just one master key. Maybe some day? Until then, please bear with us. You can have the keys to the kingdom. It just takes two.

Introductions and Profiles

We invite members to consider providing some information about themselves, consistent with their personal preferences and situation. The two prime venues for that are:
  • The Hail & Farewell forum. In particular, consider launching a thread with your username as the title and your introduction as the first post.
  • Through the User Profile.

This introduction need not impose on privacy or interfere with pseudonymous participation, which we fully support. Even just a little general information about background, interests, and expertise is appreciated by other members as a polite and responsible way of participating that goes a long way in helping to build our professional community. Members control the information they choose to provide.

At the same time, we fully appreciate and respect that many members may not wish to share any information beyond a pseudonymous user name. As a matter of policy, that is just fine. We are about responsible participation on your terms, not some abstract concept of disclosure to fleeting preferences.

Unfortunately, not all registered users have always fully appreciated the latter. We have zero tolerance for members who perseverate on others' empty profiles or absent introductions.

How Are These Forums Organized?

There is a method to the madness. The Small Wars Council is set up around three main venues for discussion. Top-level forums are established by:

A 4th top-level forum provides for broad ranging discussions amongst the Small Wars Community of Interest, including a members-only area. All are further sub-divided with appropriate taxonomies.

So that's the method.  But there is still much madness. That is expected from Small Wars. They are sloppy.   We expect that most issues will touch on several of those taxonomies.  Where would you go to seek out information about the nuances of gaining and sharing intel with NGOs working in Darfur?  What about starting a thread with your own questions or experience on the applicability of modern FID doctrine to the current conflict in the Philippines?

First, know that the search feature is your friend. It crosses forums, and should help you narrow in on any relevant material that can be found through a key word search.

Second, know that the purpose of a forum is to put relevant threads where like-minded folks might bump into them, not to constrain thought and the flow of the dialog that results.  Put your thread in the forum that is closest to the primary interest of the people you want to engage with.  Then live with the bleed over.  Keep the signal-to-noise ratio high by staying generally on topic.  Don't start new threads elsewhere just to cross-reference another discussion going on in another forum -- other users have access to the Search, New Posts, and Recent Posts features, too, and can stay abreast.  But if you are engaged in a thread and want to spin off into a different direction with a new thread while leaving a bread crumb, or if you are engaged elsewhere in a going thread and want to point out its linkage to another relevant discussion, you can post a cross-reference.

Finally, our members tend to be voracious consumers of media and students of history.  We have forums specifically for Blogs and News, and for comments on our site.  To discuss books, we suggest using the Miscellaneous Goings On forum unless the book is so spot-on the topic of a specific forum that it belongs there.  For history, we suggest a similar approach in this FAQ on Where to Discuss History.

Please try to stay in the “right” zone, since we all benefit from convenient window shopping as we browse our favorite forums.  But don't sweat it too much. We expect many shades of grey, will give a lot of rein to most discussions, and do not expect to be doing a lot of manhandling of threads just for zoning enforcement. Most things will belong in several places, and we all just have to deal with the ambiguity. That should sound familiar to most of us.

Where to Discuss History?

We believe history lives, and think that applied history generally belongs in with the here-and-now issues to which it applies, rather than cloistered off in its own dusty forum. Where the focus of a thread is on the lessons of history to current conflicts or issues, treat it as a history-based thread in the relevant conflict- or issue-specific forum. Examples: Malayan insurgency lessons applied to current ops in Afghanistan go in the OEF-A forum; the impacts of the early formation of the modern Middle East on current issues might go in the appropriate regional conflict, global issues, or international politics forums.

If a thread is more focused on the practice of history, a discussion amongst historians, or on specific historical details more rather than their lessons for today, it should go as a conflict- or issue-based thread in the Historians forum. Examples: interpretations of Harold’s moves in the Battle of Hastings; debate over how Rhodesian tactics influenced public opinion at the time. At the moment, we have not sub-divided that Historians forum to break out by regions, periods, or issues. Early over-compartmentalization is a bad thing. But we’ll re-evaluate as the traffic patterns develop.

This is not a history board, but history permeates all that we do.  It is important to us that our historians feel welcome and supported by that scheme.

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User Agreement

Registered Users agreed to these terms during their registration.

Forum Rules

Registration to Small Wars Council is free. The Operators of this forum [we] insist that the Registered User [you] abides by the rules and policies detailed herein. By checking the 'I agree' checkbox and pressing the 'Register' button below, and by accessing the forum and website, you indicate that you knowingly and willingly accept these terms in their entirety. If you do not agree to these terms, click here to cancel your registration and return to the forums index, and do not use or access our services.

The forum is operated by Small Wars Foundation, a private company. We are not a government site. We respect your privacy, and refer you to our privacy policy. We will not willingly and knowingly release your personal information to any entity, private or governmental. We do not sell or rent your personal information to third parties.

Small Wars Council is a community of interest for professional dialog by practitioners and students of Small Wars. New and unpopular ideas, contrary viewpoints, and healthy debate are welcome. Personal attacks, threats, intimidation, profanity, and coarse or insulting exchanges are not acceptable. All members are expected to maintain a tone of civility and mutual respect, even in the midst of spirited debate.

This is a public forum. You agree that you will not discuss details of current operations that could compromise or disadvantage lawful combatants, and you will not discuss classified material. You acknowledge that you are aware that messages you author may be perceived by others as libel, slander, plagiarism, copyright infringement, or other violation of law. You agree that you are solely responsible for your message and its consequences, and you indemnify and hold harmless the Operators of this forum, Small Wars Foundation and its affiliates, against any claim or demand, including reasonable attorney’s fees, made by any third party due to or arising from your breach of this Agreement or your violation or alleged violation of any law or the rights of a third party.

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