Apologies in advance if non-administrators are not supposed to post here but this seemed the most appropriate place to submit my questions.
In recent days, a board which I regularly read and contribute to has been embroiled in a dispute regarding the use of the surnames field. I don't wish to get into the details of the dispute at this time except to say that it involves the administrator of the board so I don't feel that I can pose these questions directly to the admin.
I think one of the things fueling the issue is a lack of basic understanding about the surnames field: what is its purpose and the rules governing its use. Hence, I am trying to get answers in hopes it can help frame the context for future discussion.
Question 1: What is the basic underlying purpose of the surnames field and why is it so important that *all* surnames in the body of a message be duplicated *exactly* in the surnames field? I am deliberately pretending ignorance to some degree here but please bear me out. Note that I am not asking *how* to properly fill in the surnames field (I think I know that) but rather am more interested in an explanation of *why* I should do so.
Question 2: What rules govern what a board administrator is required or permitted to do in maintaining the surnames field of queries posted to their boards? In particular, I am interested in what are the rules regarding queries that have surnames in the message text but the surnames field is left blank (either accidently or on purpose). Are policies in this area well defined for all or are admins left to their own discretion?
Question 3: Where can I find the rules governing surnames field entries that board users are supposed to know and obey? I have seen things posted on this topic but frankly I have by myself not been able to locate anything I would call definitive anywhere on Ancestry/Rootsweb. Could someone post links to the "official rules" or at least describe how I can navigate to them?
Thank you very much in advance for any light you can shed on these topics. Depending on the answers, I may wish to ask a few follow-up questions.