The Lexington Collection
Society for Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue
Society for Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue
A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;
And drinking largely sobers us again.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

The Society for Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue, chartered in January 2001, is a virtual community connected through the email list. Membership in this group of devotees varies from those with limited exposure to barbecue, to others with a lifetime of experience. The only absolute requirement for membership is an interest in the barbecue traditions of the American South. And, indeed, a primary purpose for the establishment of this community is the conservation of those traditions through the advocacy and dissemination of them in group discussions.
Barbecue is a Southern icon with a variety of culinary, social, and cultural attributes. Accordingly, all attributes are appropriate subjects for group discussion. Specifically, they include:
  • Meats
  • Woods and charcoal fuels
  • Spices, rubs and sauces
  • Grills, pits, utensiles and supplies
  • Cookery, recipes and techniques
  • Side dishes
  • Pitmasters & other personalities
  • Eating establishments
  • Lore, legends and tall tales
  • Pig pickin's, Qfests, and other social affairs
  • Related publications & organizations
With preservation at the very core of this charter, any "improvement" of barbecue through the application of modern methods, materials and equipment is purposely discouraged. Accordingly, the use of non-traditional fuels (electricity, gas, and biomass), cooking shortcuts (Lazy Q), and barbecue cooking contests are specifically excluded as subjects of discussions. As a result, the scope is quite limited and may not be of general interest to everyone.
For purposes of discussion, barbecue is defined as meat cooked by the direct action of heat resulting from the glowing combustion of hot coals in a pit or other appliance designed and constructed for the purpose. As such, indirect methods -- typically involving offset cookers and flaming combustion -- are not considered traditional. However, for purposes of comparison, limited discussions of them as deviant methods are permissable.
Because of their close relationship to barbecue in manner of cookery, foods grilled more quickly, or smoked more slowly, than barbecue are appropriate subjects for side discussions.
Code of Conduct
Few subjects elicit more emotion and difference of opinion than barbecue. And, yet, these are two of barbecue's most interesting and endearing traits. It's also the source of most of the unpleasantness that arises from time to time in virtual communities dedicated to barbecue. Accordingly, the foundation of the code of conduct for the Society for Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue are the old-fashioned Southern principles of civil behavior and good manners. Adoption of these simple concepts by the membership is essential for minimizing the unpleasantness and maximizing the "signal-to-noise ratio" of these unmoderated discussions.
Good netiquette is also imperative. Particularly important are:
  • Post only those messages and responses of general interest to the community. If in doubt, count to 10 and think about what you have written before pressing the "Send" button.
  • Always snip out those portions of the post you are responding to that are not pertinent to your response.
  • Keep private conversations private by not posting them to the list for all the other members to endure.
  • Send questions regarding list operations to the list owner rather than to the list.
  • When changing email addresses, unsubscribe the old one before subscribing the new one. The listserver, a dumb software program, has no other way of knowing what you have done and the list owner gets very irritated when all the posts sent to your old (no longer functioning) mailbox by the server are bounced to his mailbox.
The mailing list that functions as the primary communications link between the members are made available for noncommercial use only. And, while the participation of those involved in barbecue-related commercial ventures is certainly welcomed on a personal basis, all are asked to refrain from the blatant promotion of products and services, including the use of related commercial tags in signature scripts.
Given free rein, virtual communites (particulary, it seems, those associated with barbecue) are prone to anarchy. To avoid that unhappy state, the Society for Perservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue is governed under the benevolent dictatorship of the list owner in accordance with the provisions of this charter.
Constructive comments and suggestions are always welcomed from the membership, and due consideration will be given to each of them. However, no claim -- explicit or implied -- is made of democratic governance.
All members are subscribers to the list. This list is open to public subscription.
Experienced and inexperienced members are welcomed alike to join the group. Learners, lurking in the background and asking occasional questions, appropriately constitute the majority of the membership. It is primarily for their benefit that the community exists. Members with pertinent knowledge and/or experience are a minority and provide a majority of the postings for the benefit of all.
Instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing are provided in the list operations and functions page. Further information is available from Smokey Pitts, the list owner.
Violation of the letter or spirit of any provision of this charter is cause for the summary expulsion of the offender from the community.
Smokey Pitts,
List Owner

Published on January 17, 2001.
Revised on January 25, 2001 for typographical errors.
Scope revised on February 4, 2001 to explicitly include side dishes in the list of appropriate discussions.
List ownership transferred to Smokey Pitts and subscription changed to open status on October 30, 2001.

The Lexington Collection