In our role as co-moderators of the International Stoic Forum (the “stoics” virtual community at Yahoo! Groups), we would like to inform you of guidelines that we have developed for the operation of the Forum.

After a brief discussion in February 1999 the Stoics in the Forum agreed that the following topics were appropriate for discussion in the Forum. The topics seem to divide naturally between discussions related to the Ancient Stoa and discussions related to the possibilities for Stoicism today.

List A. Discussions Related to the Ancient Stoa

  1. Questions concerning the ideas and activities of the ancient Stoa; and responses to the questions.
  2. Reminders about ancient Stoic teachings which the submitter finds relevant today.
  3. Descriptions of how one might creatively apply, or how one has actually applied, Stoic ethical ideas to choices in one's own lifetime.
  4. Discussions of the repercussions of Stoic ideas in other traditions (e.g., Christianity).
  5. Discussions of the relationship of Stoic ideas to predecessor philosophies (Heraclitus, Socrates, the Cynics, etc.) and rivals (Epicureans, ancient Skeptics, etc.), and to the historical (political, religious, cultural) situation in which the ancient Stoa rose, flourished, and eventually lost influence.
  6. Discussion of the activities of particular Stoics, e.g., Cato the Younger (at least Cicero treats him as a Stoic), Seneca, Marcus A., on whose lives we have a considerable quantity of information.
  7. Discussions of why certain doctrines of the ancient Stoa may not be viable today, for example, those doctrines based on the ancient Stoic physics (philosophy of nature) that nobody really believes any more.

List B. Discussion Related to the Ongoing Enterprise of the Stoa, i.e., a New Stoa

  1. What should Stoics stand for today?
  2. Is there enough agreement on (B1) to form an organization to promote certain values apart from the value of discussing the ancient Stoa as in 1–5 in the first list?

Our sense is that we are far from being ready to discuss B2, though eventually, if the membership of the Forum grows and we find a lot of agreement about B1, B2 will be a natural question to discuss.


As original moderator, Jan proposed that we voluntarily limit ourselves to messages whose content totals no more than 6K characters per person per day. (At eight characters per word, this comes to about 750 words.)

Observation of the spirit of this voluntary limit (which has never been strictly enforced) should prevent the domination of the discussion by a few highly prolific writers with time on their hands.


It is important to distinguish the messages related to the operation of the Forum itself from the discussion of Stoics, Stoic ideas, and Stoic practice in the Forum. Therefore, when we write to the Forum as its moderators, we intend to indicate that fact by putting the indicator "Mod:" at the beginning of the subject line in my messages. Any member of the Forum who wishes to discuss with us how the Forum is being moderated should feel free to contact us outside of the Forum itself.

Proposals to amend the list of discussion topics to include additional topics naturally related to Stoicism are in order.

Please write to
for your message to go automatically to both Co-Moderators of the International Stoic Forum

We look forward to your contributions to the Forum.

Dr. Jan Garrett
Co-Moderator of the International Stoic Forum

Dr. Keith Seddon
Co-Moderator of the International Stoic Forum

If you are unable to reach Jan or have tried to contact him and have not received a reply in a reasonable amount of time, please contact Keith. If the matter is urgent, please e-mail us both.

Welcome/Guidelines Letter November 20, 1999 [slightly modified November 30, 2002].