Welcome to PaleoPlanet! By design, we are an extremely diverse group. We have members from well over 35 countries, from nearly every continent - from Africa to Scandinavia, and numerous countries in between. We have members in nearly every European country. We have members from South America up through Alaska. We have members from New Zealand, Australia, and even Japan. Please visit the Membership by Country forum and enter yourself and your general location, and check out our Membership Map.
The Purpose of the Forum:
PaleoPlanet is a place for discussion related to "Primitive" or Prehistoric Technology: Tools, techniques, material culture. Many of us utilize modern tools to recreate/replicate items from prehistory: A bow-maker might employ the use of modern steel tools and even power tools to make a bow; a stone tool maker might employ modern tools to access or prepare their rock. Some members hold strictly to using only prehistoric tools and technology to perform their replications. Remember that all of us are on different paths on this journey, and for different reasons. Just like our diversity in languages, religion, political alignment, etc.
THE FORUM RULES:
We operate on a 2 Rule System - No Religious Debate & No Political Debate. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior. It may sound crazy in light of the litany of rules on other internet forums, but believe it or not, it works. It works because 90% of people are cool enough to do the right thing (the remaining 10% don't last long for one reason or another).
The 2 Rule System seems simple, but it can be a little confusing at times. We define "Religion" and "Politics" rather broadly. I'm not even going to try to define these areas, because of the difficulty in doing so. But to give an example, the popular debate between science and religion (the origin of life, evolution versus creationism, etc.) are topics that are well out of bounds. The "Political" disputes centering on Hunting versus Anti-Hunting are similarly out of bounds.
On occasion, well meaning folks cross over into these areas. I ask that you always strive to give the other person the benefit of doubt. Don't go "calling them out" on the matter - screaming "foul!" Let me, or the administrators handle it. If you must do so, try to do it with respect - again, giving the other person the benefit of doubt.
Here's something that I wrote a while back in response to a particular problem in one of the discussion areas. It's long, but I think it may be about the best I can do in explaining the 2 rule system. It's clear that as the forum has grown to well over 2000 members, it's time that I pinned the rules to the top of all of the forums.
"I've frequented archery related discussion forums for years, and have seen this phenomenon first hand. As humans, we seem attracted to conflict and dispute. I don't know why that is. Even the fictional books we read and films we watch use this reality to make us read them and watch them. You can see the phenomenon at work here on the Planet or any other forum for that matter. Go search out the "hottest discussions" and 9 times out of 10 you'll find substantial conflict within the discussion (mostly unhealthy conflict).
Another tendency we have (at least I have it, and I suspect you all do too if you do some self examination) is that we assume that people who are interested in the same stuff as us have the same or similar world views, similar thoughts on life, maybe even similar politics.
The truth is, PaleoPlanet is peopled by folks who are as widely divergent as you can possibly be. For instance, I know that there are large numbers of folks here who are ultra right wing conservatives. On the other side of the coin, we probably have an equal number of ultra left wing members.
We have Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Baptists, Born-Again Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and probably more that I can't think to list. We have people from well over 30 different countries with a multitude of strong political feelings, and religious beliefs.
We have people who belive the collapse of society is just around the corner and who are preparing knowledge to survive. We have people who believe the world is coming to an end after a period of tribulation, and are preparing to fend for themselves and their families. We have people who strongly do not believe these things, and who don't want to be around people who do (at least people who openly focus on those topics). We have people who are here to learn for the sheer fun of learning "primitive skills." We have artistic crafts-people who simply are engaging in another medium. We have people who are here to learn these skills for scientific purposes - who see this forum and its participants as experimental archaeologists. We have people who believe that science is a bunch of crap.
We have peaceniks and warmongers, and all types of folks in between. We have old hippies, and young hippies, we have lots of military folks, we have police men and women, and government agents, along with plumbers and carpenters, and butchers.
Again, the membership here is incredibly diverse. We have people who would never willingly rub elbows with other folks here were they to actually come to know what they believe and think about religious and political issues. The members here would never form a club of like-members, because we couldn't be more dissimilar. It was the whole purpose of the forum - to get as wildly divergent a group together as possible for the sole purpose of sharing prehistoric skills. The physical skills are the cement that holds us together. Without strict focus on those things, the cement will crack and crumble from the corrosive effect of the Religious and Political juices.
The pact we have....the thing that allows all of these diverse people to come together without murdering each other with words...is that we each agree to sacrifice part of ourselves for the good of the whole, so that we avoid the topics that are certain to divide us and to focus on the topics and interests that we share. PaleoPlanet is a clearing in the forest where waring tribes can come in peace. To lay down their weapons at the forest edge and enter the clearing to join and share and maybe, just maybe, come to learn that those others aren't very different after all.
It's not a perfect world scenario. We loose something in the process for sure. We can't meaningfully discuss "primitive living skills" or experiences without "spiritual" discussion. Heck, we can't discuss the experience of being human (forget the primitive) without the spiritual. I know. We all know this. We're not unspiritual lugs who are shallow or uninformed, or simplistic in our thinking. We are more spiritual than you can imagine, and probably more than you bargained for. But we have simply agreed to set that part of ourselves aside so that we may come together and share information and knowledge that would never be shared were it not for this pact...this agreement to leave our weapons at the forest edge.
I can continue to ramble on and on about this matter, but suspect that I may have lost many of you a few paragraphs ago. So I'll stop for now and reevaluate my own words. I can only hope to have you folks understand how very important this matter is to me, to the other founders and early builders of the forum.
Thanks for listening.
Here's a link to Yuku's "Help" Page for those members who may need it to learn about how the new forum works: