POLICY RE: CSU NORTHRIDGE POLICY FOR THE ELECTRONIC DISTRIBUTION OF UNIVERSITY INFORMATION: WORLD-WIDE WEB AND GOPHER. At its May 18, 1995 meeting, the Faculty Senate voted to recommend approval of the proposed policy.

This policy will be forwarded to the Instructional Technology & Resources (ITR) Department and other departments who issue computer accounts for their dissemination and is effective at the beginning of the 1995-96 academic year.


Blenda J. Wilson, President

CSU, Northridge Policy for the Electronic Distribution of University Information: World-Wide Web and Gopher


Rapidly overshadowing and supplanting Gopher servers in the distribution of information in academic institutions, World Wide Web servers are proliferating at an amazing rate. While Gopher provides a hierarchical menu approach to information in the form of text pages and further menus, WWW uses hypertext linking to connect users to text, graphic, audio, video, file transfer, and Usenet newsgroups, as well as to Gopher menus.

This policy is proposed to provide for some uniformity in public image and accountability for information presented in the name of the University, while supporting and encouraging creativity in the academic use of computing resources. The diversity and eclectic nature of interests in the University community are part of the richness we offer to the wider community and to the world.


1. There will be one California State University, Northridge home page. Its universal resource locator (URL) is http://www.csun.edu/ It will include references to the campus administrative Gopher server, as well as to WWW home pages and Gopher servers created and maintained by University departments and Schools.

2. The administrative home page and Gopher will be maintained by Information and Technology Resources (ITR) Computer Center personnel. A WWW administrator and a Gopher administrator will be designated by the Vice Provost to oversee these servers. (These duties may be assigned to the same individual.)

3. The University WWW home pages and Gopher server may include links to departmental and personal documents as appropriate, and should clearly label them as such.

4. WWW pages and Gophers created and maintained by Campus entities other than ITR are encouraged to use the University name and logo and should clearly indicate the organization responsible for their content, and should contain the name and e-mail address of the individual responsible for their maintenance, as well as the date the information was last updated. The WWW Administrator may include links to these pages in the University home page. Creators of departmental and personal pages are encouraged to include links to the University home page.

5. All information offerings identified with a University entity should be in good taste and as accurate as possible. Personal opinions should be clearly identified as such. This policy should not be construed as abridging the principles of academic freedom and constitutional guarantees of free speech, but should be understood as encouraging fairness and civility.

6. This policy shall apply to any automated information distribution system that supplants WWW and Gopher.


POLICY RE: GUIDELINES FOR COMPUTER USERS: YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. At its May 18, 1995 meeting, the Faculty Senate voted to recommend approval of the proposed policy.

This policy will be forwarded to the Instructional Technology & Resources (ITR) Department and other departments who issue computer accounts for their dissemination and is effective at the beginning of the 1995-96 academic year.


Blenda J. Wilson, President

Guidelines for Computer Users: Your Rights and Responsibilities

California State University, Northridge

The need for these guidelines arose as more and more students, staff, and faculty began to use computers for communication and networking. Computers are essential for most of us in the campus community, but cases of abuse have arisen. These guidelines were prepared to help clarify appropriate uses of computers for students and for campus personnel in light of the expanded opportunities for both use and misused of computers and computing facilities.

Legitimate Use of Computers and Facilities

Enjoy all of the many personal uses of the computer that are available to you, but remember that the primary use of these machines is for completion of academic requirements and University business. If other uses interfere with people getting their school; or administrative work done then they should be curtailed accordingly. No conflict should exist over priorities in that the academic use (in the case of students) or administrative use (for staff) of computers always takes precedence over personal use.

Examples of legitimate academic uses include typing assignments and papers on a work processor, conducting library research using on-line computer systems, executing specialized software or programs as part of a course assignment, communicating with your instructor electronically, or conducting graduate or independent study research projects. Use of computes for academic purposes is a right of students.

Examples of legitimate administrative uses include gathering and analysis of data, communication with associates regarding business mattes, and preparing papers and reports for publication or distribution, as well as other University business.

Examples of personal use including electronic mail or "talk" programs to communicate with friends, or joining and participating in news groups or forums (unless a course of professional requirement). Use of computers for communication (other than for academic purposes or University business) and other personal use is a privilege, not a right.

You should exercise responsibility in assuring that the personal use of the computer does not interfere with the legitimate computing needs of others. You should not, for example, use public computer labs to play games when such activities impact facilities, such as when others are waiting to use the computes for classroom assignments, even if games are otherwise allowed in that facility.

Responsibilities of Computer Users

1. Individual computer account numbers and passwords may only be used by the individuals to whom they are assigned. do not use accounts and passwords belonging to others. Conversely,. you may not give anyone access except your instructor or authorized technical support person or University officials. You are responsible for safeguarding your account. Do not write down your password where it can easily be seen or copied.

Use a password that cannot easily be guessed. "Hackers" spend hours and hours trying to "crack" computer systems, and one thing that hackers like to do is to try guessing people's passwords. To be really safe, don't use names, nicknames, your pets' names, parts of your social security number, or anything else that might be guessed -- even common words from the dictionary. It is best to use combinations of letters and numbers for your password or (where allowed) special symbols such as the semicolon or asterisk.

It is a good idea to change your password periodically, at least twice per year. A good time to remember to change your password is when your clocks are changed from standard to daylight savings time or back again.

If you think that the security of your computer account has been compromised, change your password immediately and contact the agency responsible for issuing the account, such as Information Technology and Resources (ITR) or academic school or department.

2. Proprietary (licensed) software may not be copied or used illegally on campus computers or in campus computing facilities. It is illegal to transfer proprietary (licensed) software by copying it from campus computing facilities. It is also illegal in many cases to transfer such software to other computers, even if you legally own it. Software piracy is a serious crime which may result in lawsuits and/or prosecution. If you have any question about whether a particular software product may be copied for your own use, assume that is may not until you have contacted the vendor or author for permission. (See Appendix A, "Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.")

3. Never use campus computing facilities to communicate information of an abusive or obscene nature or which discriminates against an individual or individuals on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Be considerate of the rights of others. Never send electronic information to others that is offensive, obscene, discriminatory, or unwanted. People differ in what they consider offensive, obscene, discriminatory, or unwanted. A basic consideration of the feelings and rights of others should guide your judgments about what is appropriate.

Public messages or jokes defaming ethnic or religious groups, for example, may be considered both offensive and discriminatory. They are definitely not wanted by members of these groups. Persistence in sending an unwanted, offensive message constitutes harassment.

A related form of abuse if "spamming,", in which unwanted information is sent to a group of uses via e-mail or newsgroups. In particular, do not send chain letters, campaign or political endorsements, or advertising on e-mail. Political opinions should be restricted to personal e-mail (to friends or close associates, not the whole world) or appropriate newsgroup discussion forums. Sending e-mail to large groups can also degrade the system; if done with malicious intent it is considered "hacking" (see number 6, below).

Become familiar with network etiquette (or "netiquette") when using electronic mail or other network communication facilities. (Refer to Appendix B.)

4. Never send electronic information that is fraudulent or that contains a direct threat to an individual or group. Both constitute malicious use of computes. For example, don't sent electronic mail messages to others singing someone else's name. This is both fraudulent and illegal (See Appendix A, "Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act"). It is also malicious and illegal to physically threaten another person, group or organization.

5. Campus computing facilities may not be used to commit or facilitate academic dishonesty, or to use copyrighted material improperly. Students using computers for research papers should not plagiarize or copy. Using the Internet makes access to public documents easier, but your work should still be your own. Always cite others where appropriate. Remember, too, that public distribution of copyrighted work, including graphics and pictures, requires the permission of the copyright holder. Posting copyrighted material on a bulletin board without permission, for example, is illegal and could result in prosecution or lawsuit.

6. "Hacking" is strictly forbidden. This means that you should not attempt to illegally obtain access to someone else's computer account, data, or computer system. This applies to attempts to illegally access campus-issues computer accounts and campus computes, as well as attempts to illegally enter off-site computers using campus resources. You must never modify or destroy data or software that belongs to someone else, on any computer system. Do not attempt to disrupt computer access by deliberately placing any undue burden on resources that would slow or impair the operation of the computer. (See Appendix A, "Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act.")

7. University computers, computing facilities, and accounts may not be used for private business activities. Tutoring may be allowed as an exception. You may not "open shop" on the Internet using your CSU, Northridge account or facilities by offering goods or services for sale on a regular basis.

8. Do not "hog" computer workstations in shared or public labs for personal use when others need them to complete their course work. Relinquish access to shared or public campus computer equipment when asked to do so by ITR, departmental, or other responsible personnel, or Campus Security Officers.

9. When using campus computing facilities, heed all officially posted signs regarding hours of operation and policies regarding who is allowed to use these facilities, food and beverages, or other notices.

10. Take proper care of university equipment. Avoid rough treatment and operate all university equipment properly -- treat it as you would treat your own property. Do not attempt to repair or modify the equipment; instead, contact ITR or other department responsible for the equipment.

11. Do you part to conserve resources. When using public or shared labs, print drafts on low-quality paper if available. Do not print multiple drafts. Instead, do some of your proofing on the computer screen. Avoid printing large files unless it is really necessary (e.g., a final draft that you must turn in to your instructor). Never use the printer as a photocopy machine to produce multiple copies; instead, take the original to a copy machine and make your copies there.

Don't waste shared disk space. Delete old files and mail messages that you no longer need. If you retrieve public domain software from the Internet to download to your computer, then delete these files once you have successfully downloaded them. The computer system's manager will consider "reasonable" requests for additional disk storage space if you also so your part in conserving the storage that you are given.

University Rights and Your Privacy

Instructional Technology and Resources (ITR) and other departments who issue computer accounts have the right to examine your directories and files if located on University-issued accounts. Such agencies, however, will no examine the contents of your files unless there is a good reason to do so. Some hypothetical situations in which this may occur are: (a) You ask the system manager for help with a problem which requires access to your account. For example, you may need help with electronic mail. An ITR or faculty consultant may be unable to avoid seeing the name of a person who sent you a particular message, or even its contents, in the course of investigating your problem. If you ask for help, you are granting a certain degree of permission to do what is necessary. (b)You request help in deleting certain files or conserving disk space. Size of files, as well as names, and their nature (i.e., file "type") must be seen -- but not their contents. (c) You appear to be using resources unwisely, such as keeping too many large "image" files in your account, based on a computer program that checks for certain file types. A look at file sizes, dates of creation, and types may be needed to make a judgment about their appropriateness. If the need arises to conserve resources, some of these may be deleted by the system manager. You will not necessarily be informed in advance of such actions. (d) It appears that you may be doing something illegal or unethical (i.e., violating one of the above guidelines). Here, probable cause is sufficient. The University, ITR, or other issuing agency has no interest in you political or social or religious views, and will not look at any files or their contents based on those factors.

Finally, please be advised that computer system security may be compromised due to circumstances beyond the University's control. Consider all information on public computer systems relatively secure, but no absolutely so. It is recommended that personnel matters of a highly personal nature not be transmitted via e-mail, for example, even if very limited in circulation, as the University cannot guarantee absolute privacy.

Appendix A

Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act

The revised (January 1, 1988) Section 502 of the Penal Code entitled the "Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act" states in part:

...any person who commits any of the following is guilty of a public offense:

Data is defined as:

...a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, computer software, computer programs or instructions. Data may be in any form, in storage media, or as stored in the memory of a computer or in transit or presented on a display devise.

Appendix B

{The information in this Appendix concerning network etiquette or "netiquette" is reproduced with permission of the author, Patrick Douglas Crispen (copyright 1994). It appeared as part of his "Roadmap" online course introducting the Internet. These points are useful for e-mail, "talk," newsgroups, or Listserve correspondence.}


by the Rev. Bob "Bob" Crispen
(Patrick Crispen's daddy)

"When thou enter a city abide by its customs." -- The Talmud

One of these days you're going to get tired of Web surfing or listening in on LISTSERVs, IRCs, Usenet newsgroups or whatever, and you're going to want to say something yourself. At that moment your life will change. Let's see if we can't make that change for the better.


Everyone is tempted from time to time to evangelize, to stride boldly into the enemy's camp and throw down the gauntlet. We will never see the end of people who pop up on comp.sys.intel praising Macs and Amigas; who send mail to the SKEPTIC list that flying saucers really, truly do exist; who enlighten the Buddhist newsgroups that they're all bound for hell, and on an on.

In the entire history of the net, no one has managed to do this without looking like a complete idiot. If you believe you are the one person who will succeed where millions have failed, then you're ready to learn about...


There is nothing you can say that won't offend somebody:

>It's a bright, sunny day today.

You filthy *@!?$, what have you got against Seattle?

Flames (violent verbal expressions of disapproval), misunderstandings, overreactions, and hurt feelings are par for the course. Four lessons from experience.

(1) Hedge your bets. Rather than saying, "Metal rules! Death to all that oppose!!" try saying "In my humble opinion (often abbreviated IMHO) metal bands perfectly express my feelings, choices, and lifestyle. Your mileage may vary" (another net cliché, less frequently abbreviated YMMV). By the way, BTW is another frequent net abbreviation, for what it's worth (FWIW).

(2) Apologize. When misunderstanding is the culprit, and especially if you respect the person who misunderstood, take the blame on yourself for being unclear, apologize, say what you meant more clearly (if appropriate) and put it behind you. As in real life (remember that?) people who are quick to anger are often equally quick to forgive.

(3) Avoid flame bait (conduct which gravely offends the norms, mores and folkways of a particular group). "Now wait a minute!" you say. Do you mean that something that's accepted behavior on one list or newsgroup will draw dozens of stinging, ridiculing comments in another?" I sure do. What can you do? Lurk a while before you post. Read what's said like an anthropologist, trying to discover what the big no-nos are. The beginning of a school term is a wonderful time to do this, as you will observe the clueless newbies who weren't smart enough to read this paragraph being torn to shreds. There are some things you should NEVER do, and we'll list them in a minute, but let's get to the last bit of advice.

(4) Bow down to the group's gods. In every Usenet newsgroup and listserv mailing list there are old, gray heads who have earned the respect of everyone in the group. For example, amongst the subscribers to the list discussing the late American band leader Stan Kenyan are the producer of a Kenton box set and the authors of definitive Kenton biographies and discographies. You are entirely ignorant compared to those people. Never pretend you're anything else. They would dearly love to help you — to answer a question, help you find a rare record — but you'll always come out second best in a head-butting contest with them.

Still other group members have earned their status through long service. Friendships have developed over many years, and marriage is not unknown. By commenting abusively to or about one of these gods, you'll earn not only her enmity, but the enmity of all of her friends -- which may be everyone in the group but you!

Dos and don'ts (or how to avoid most flames)

(1) DON'T include the entire contents of a previous posting in your reply.

DO cut mercilessly. Leave just enough to indicate what you're responding to. NEVER include mail headers except maybe the "From:" line. If you can't figure out how to delete lines in your mailer software, paraphrase or type the quoted material in.

(2) DON'T reply to a point in a posting without quoting or paraphrasing what you're responding to and who said it. Reason: a dozen postings may occur between the original message and your reply. At some sites your reply may get there before the original.

DO quote (briefly) or paraphrase. If the original "Subject:" line was "Big dogs" make sure yours says "Re: Big dogs". Some REPLY functions do this automatically. By net convention, included lines are preceded by ">" (greater-than signs). Some mail editors and newsreaders do this automatically. Others require you to do it manually or set the "indent character" to ">".

(3) DON'T send a message saying "Why doesn't anybody say anything about X?" or "Who wants to talk about X?"

It's always a risk to start a new topic (often called a thread). The group may have just finished a long, bitter ware about that very subject. But if you want to take the risk, SAY SOMETHING yourself about the subject you're raising.

(4) DON'T send lines longer than 70 characters. This is a kindness to folks with terminal-based mail editors or newsreaders. Some mail gateways truncate extra characters turning your deathless prose into gibberish.

Some mail editor tools only SEEM to insert line breaks for you, but actually don't, so that every paragraph is one immense line. Learn what your mail editor does.


DO use normal capitalization. Separate your paragraphs with blank lines. Make your message inviting to your potential readers.

(6) DON'T betray confidences. It is all too easy to quote a personal letter in a posting to the entire group.

DO read the "To:" and "Cc:" lines in your message before you send it. Are you SURE you want the mail to go there?

(7) DON'T make statements which can be interpreted as official positions of your organization or offers to do business. Saying "Boy, I'd sure like to have one of them Crays" could result in a truck at your loading dock and a bill in the mail even larger than your student loan.

DO treat every post as though you were sending a copy to your boss, your minister, and your worst enemy.

(8)DON'T rely on the ability of your readers to tell the difference between serious statements and satire or sarcasm. It's hard to write funny. It's even harder to write satire.

DO remember that no one can hear your tone of voice. Use emotions (or smilies) like:-) or:^) -- turn your head counterclockwise to see the smile. You can also use caps for emphasis or use net conventions for italics and underlines as in: You said the guitar solo on "Comfortably Numb" from Pink Floyd's _ The Wall_was *lame*? Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND???!!!

(9)DON'T make a posting that says nothing but "Me, Too.," This is most annoying when combined with (1) or (2) above. Ditto for "I don't know."

DO remember the immortal words of Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810-1889): "Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech."

A word to people living in the United States: the net is international. If you tell a Belgian she's being un-American. SHE ISN'T OFFENDED. OF COURSE, she's un-American; you're un-Belgian. She doesn't care about being lectured on the First Amendment and American values. She Doesn't HAVE a First Amendment and she thinks Belgian values are BETTER. We Americans have made fools of ourselves by forgetting this everywhere else. Let's try to behave a little better on the net.

Finally, many groups have had the sense to write down some of their norms and folkways in a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list along with (what else?) the answers to frequently asked questions. Many Usenet FAQs are posted monthly or so on the news.answers. List owners of listservs are often quite willing to mail you the FAQ for the list. In fact, they may have already told you where it is in the letter you get welcoming you to the list.

With all we've said above, and with all the help newsgroup moderators and list owners are providing to newcomers, it almost seems like you'd have to work at it to go charging in with your mouth open and your eyes and ears shut, thereby aggravating and alienating some otherwise perfectly nice people. The good Lord gave use two eyes and two ears and one mouth to remind us of that very thing. But he gave us ten fingers, and here we are.