The Rules of the Forum

What you agree to if you join

The following rules are intended to keep the forum as a sane, safe, civilised place for people to engage in conversation and to discuss, share views and knowledge and exchange information. Anyone who has regularly used Usenet newsgroups or who has witnessed the malicious attacks on other forums/fora will know how bad it can get. So these rules are here for extremely good reasons.

We require you to have read them as a condition of membership.

1. Your Forum Password must be kept secret.

The giving of your forum password to anybody else for any reason is strictly prohibited. Anyone discovered doing this will be immediately permanently banned from the Forum, as will the person to whom it was given.

Your password is known only to you, except in very extreme circumstances neither I nor anyone else involved on the administration side will ever ask you for it and if we ever have to, we will advise you to change it as soon as possible after we've resolved whatever the problem was.

So if anyone ever does ask for your password, it is someone up to no good so please report it immediately to the Forum Administrators.

2. No anonymous members.

It is a requirement of forum membership that you let the other members know who you are. There is not a single good reason in a forum of this kind for anonymity. If you are normally known by a nickname, by all means use it here; my birth name was Richard but the only people who ever use that are my parents (both dead) and my two sisters and their children. The no-anonymity rule is not here to check people's birth certificates, it is simply so that we all know who we're talking to and the risk of anonymous trolling is reduced. As said, by all means use a nickname on posts but please put your real name in your member profile and you will be asked to give it when registering.

3. Anything posted here is the copyright of the author.

You must not reproduce anything posted anywhere on this forum in any other place, online or offline, without the permission of the person who wrote it.

To do so is not only extremely bad manners and a breach of the trust other members have placed in you, it is also a violation of international copyright law and is almost certainly against the Terms and Conditions of your agreement with your service provider.

Anyone discovered doing this will have their membership terminated and a complaint made to their service provider. In cases of severe violation, they might well find themselves on the receiving end of a suit for copyright violation, which could prove very expensive. All that can be avoided by simply asking the author for permission.

Right, those were the absolute rules. On those three, there is no discussion, no appeal and no prisoners will be taken, you either abide by them or you go elsewhere. Some of the following are phrased as rules, some more as requests, but all will be enforced.

4. This is not a democracy.

I put in a lot of work and destroyed many braincells setting it up and road-testing it, I pay rent for the server it lives on, I pay the bandwidth costs, and I spend some of what little spare time I get on forum maintenance. All of which means it's my ball and I get to pick the game. So it's not a democracy, it's a benign dictatorship. You want a democracy, it's ridiculously simple to get one - go and set one up.

As Benign Dictator, I give an absolute guarantee that I will never in any way interfere in the flow or content of discussion except when the Forum Rules are broken.

Posts are not moderated, you can say whatever you like so long as you keep within the very few rules for posting. For example, saying you think my singing's crap is perfectly acceptable and will ruffle no feathers. This is not a fan board for sycophants, it's a discussion forum for grownups, my ego is extremely resilient and I really do have the hide of a rhinoceros.


I don't care how much someone pisses you off, this forum will remain a friendly, good-natured place and Breach of the Peace is a capital offence. I have too many miles on the clock and I'm far too curmudgeonly to waste my time on people who can't maintain basic civility.

Disagreement with someone's views and opinions is one thing - and is actively encouraged in discussion - but being offensively abusive to the person is quite another and in a forum like this is completely unjustifiable. If you want to have a flamefest, you'll feel more at home in the alt.* hierarchy on Usenet. Anyone posting what the Forum Moderators deem to be a flame against another member will be given the choice of being chucked out or posting a public apology to the other forum members and giving a guarantee not to repeat the offence. Further offences will probably result in the poster being banned from the forum.

6. No advertising of commercial products or events.

This is not a public marketing board and adverts deemed to have no relevance here will be removed and the poster rebuked. In general we're pretty relaxed about people mentioning events they're involved in provided they have some relevance to the other members and we most certainly do welcome info about other websites, concerts, festivals or anything else of that nature which will be of interest to members, but, for example, we don't really welcome people using it as a space to advertise that they're selling their garden shed on Ebay (unless they do it while singing Bandiera Rossa in 3-part harmony.) The odd mistake will probably be tolerated but persistent flouting of this rule will probably get the poster chucked out. If you're in doubt, it's probably wise to check with the Forum Admins first.

7. No prejudices.

It should go without saying, but absolutely no sexism, racism, ethnophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, or any other kind of phobias will be tolerated in here, thank you very much. Diversity is the norm here, all will be treated in exactly the same way as everyone else and any perceived difference will get you neither prejudiced nor preferential treatment.

(Unless you're a 107 year old gay purple-haired green-skinned Transylvanian omnivorous wheelchair-using Conservative transgendered Taoist and you play guitar better than me, in which case you get to buy the next round.)

In here, your race, religion, level of ability/disability, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, taste in fashion, how you vote, or anything else about you are all as relevent as your shoe size. Discussing difference is welcomed, particularly regarding musical/cultural traditions, so long as it is a discussion of difference and not an excuse for spouting prejudice.

And there's nothing "politically correct" about that - I'm simply a believer that if you call someone a name or pin on them a label which they find offensive, the problem's yours, not theirs, so stop doing it.

So far as jokes are concerned, there's a simple rule of thumb - if it's about a member of a specific group, try changing the group and telling it about a white anglo-saxon protestant English-speaking able-bodied male heterosexual and if it's still funny, then it's funny and worth telling. If it's not still funny, then it was based on a prejudice, so forget it. Naturally, jokes about banjo/bodhran/accordion players are exempt from this rule.

And it is, of course, taken for granted that everyone knows that the Scots are Ultimate Superior Beings.

8. Daniel's Law

On Usenet, there is something called Godwin's Law. This states that if one participant in a discussion calls another a Nazi or compares them to Hitler, the thread has degenerated into personal abuse and there is no possibility of further rational discussion.

Our equivalent of that is Daniel's Law.

Once someone mentions Daniel O'Donnell, the discussion has deteriorated to the point where no further rational debate is possible and so it should be left to die a dignified death.

On Usenet, there are two exceptions to Godwin's Law :

1. Godwin's Law may not be invoked deliberately and so any attempt to use it purely to kill a thread should be ignored.

The same applies to Daniel's Law.

2. Godwin's Law does not apply when one party genuinely is a Nazi.

Similarly, Daniel's Law does not apply when one party genuinely is Daniel O'Donnell.

By accepting forum membership, you are stating that you agree to abide by the above conditions. Failure to abide by them will result in, at worst, banning from the forum, and at best, being growled at by me. I'm told I do quite a good growl but that it's much more entertaining when it's someone else I'm growling at.

Dick Gaughan, Benign Dictator

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