Forum Rules (revised)

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Charlie Schultz
Site Admin
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:53 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Forum Rules (revised)

Post by Charlie Schultz »

User Agreement and Operating Policies for the Musical Instrument Makers Forum
Dedicated to fostering substantive discussion of musical instrument design, construction, and repair in a friendly and non-commercial atmosphere that welcomes builders at every skill level

The basic ground rules for discussions on the MIMForum are simple: be polite, use your full name, don't break the law, no blatant advertising, and NEVER post your home address or phone number! We don't intend to censor messages based on the opinions expressed within those posts, but we will enforce the policies outlined both here and on the Forum. We reserve the right not to publish posts at our discretion and without explanation. If you have any questions, please ask the sysop.

By participating in the MIMForum discussions you agree to the following policies. We reserve the right to reject any posts deemed unacceptable under the guidelines below and to limit or terminate service to participants who violate the terms of this agreement. To register a complaint about another participant's conduct, please send an e-mail message to the sysop.

We enforce a very strict policy regarding solicitation of our membership by Forum participants:
  1. Except in those MIMForum sections where advertising is expressly permitted, participants may not use discussions to post any solicitation to use, buy, or sell goods or services. Rules for selling tangible goods and organizing group purchases via our Classified Ads section are posted on the top page of that section
    1. Vendors who supply goods and/or services to musicians or instrument builders may not use any posts on the MIMForum to promote their products or services, . Advertising rates are posted on our Ad Rates Page. If you want to solicit business, contact the sysop about purchasing a paid ad or sponsorship. We do not accept advertising that is not related to woodworking, musical instruments, or musicianship.
    2. If you believe your pages have information of real value to the instrument-making community, contact the sysop and request that your website be reviewed for possible inclusion on the MIMForum Links Pages.
    3. Participants may not use a discussion they start on the MIMForum solely to in any way direct traffic to external websites, commercial or otherwise, where their work is displayed. Not by posting a link or URL, not by saying "Go to my website, here's how to find it," or "Go to my website for more pictures and information." The exception to this is any third-party photo-album site, but note that discussions where all or most of the images are not uploaded to the MIMForum will not be archived to our Library. Participants may join an existing discussion and suggest that people go to their website for more information, but only where appropriate.
    4. Participants may not use the MIMForum as a portal by posting any message on the MIMForum that does no more than direct traffic to external websites, commercial or otherwise, where their work is displayed. Not by posting a link or URL, not by saying "Go to my website, here's how to find it." We base our "does no more than" decision on whether or not what you post on our Forum contains actionable information for instrument builders. Your post must teach us something of substance, or ask a substantive question. If your post then directs us to a specific webpage where you have an image or other file that illustrates your point, that's an acceptable post, otherwise you're just using the MIMForum as a portal. If you have a website with valuable content for builders, please e-mail the sysop for possible inclusion on our Links pages.
    5. Participants may not use the MIMForum to send our members to another forum where they have posted an instrument-related discussion, for the purpose of discussing that same topic. We expect people to post whatever they want our participants to discuss here on the MIMForum.
    6. Participants may not use the MIMForum to post announcements of a new website, a website update or any other website content, or an upcoming event, their own or someone else's. This is promotion, whether or not the site is commercial, and is not allowed. If you have a website with valuable informational content for builders (not just commercial content), please e-mail the sysop for possible inclusion on our Links pages.
    7. Participants will not be permitted to absorb an inappropriate amount of staff time by arguing that they should be allowed to engage in more of the behavior they have already been asked to stop. We are not going to waste volunteer staff time out of proportion to your value to the community by trying to figure out if you are near, on, or over the line more than once or twice. If you make a habit of playing close to the line to see how much you can get away with, you will be asked to stop, and told to leave if you don't.
    8. Shilling is strictly forbidden. Using a surrogate to post messages for the purpose of promoting your business or driving traffic to your website is not allowed. The first such post will be deleted without comment. Repeated violations will be considered spam and will get your business banned. Decisions on what messages constitute inappropriate promotion are made at the discretion of the staff, and are final.
    9. Participants may not start a discussion asking, "Should I buy an instrument from this builder?" If you have questions about an instrument address your questions directly to that builder via e-mail. We didn't get these kinds of questions before we allowed links to builders' commercial websites, we're simply going to nip this one in the bud and say "Don't."
    10. Participants whose posts do little more than promote one vendor repeatedly, but who do not otherwise participate in discussions, will be told to stop. We will assume you have an arangement with that vendor, posting such messages more than a couple of times will get you banned.
    11. Participants may not use discussions to publish any charity requests or advertising for charitable organizations.
    12. Participants may not solicit others to build or supply tools, parts, or instruments for them to purchase; or to repair parts or instruments; nor to help them find builders to do so.
    13. Participants may not solicit others to give them goods or services for free, either on the MIMForum proper or in a Classified Ad.
    14. Participants may not offer goods or services for free in a public message, except to give away specific tangible items by placing a Classified Ad. If you wish to make any other offer, please do so privately to the individual member via email.
    15. Participants may not solicit members to take them on as students or apprentices. To find a position, search the web and the yellow pages for builders in your area, and make their personal acquaintance.
    16. Participants may not solicit the membership for information regarding the monetary value of any instrument.
    17. Participants may not post the price they charge any item or service.
    18. Participants may not solicit the membership to participate on any auction service to bid on any item, whether or not they are auctioning the item, nor post an item number or a link to an auction item, nor direct participants to any active auction.
    19. Participants may not use the MIMForum to promote any religion, nor may they use a signature or avatar to make any sort of religious statement.
    20. Participants may not use the MIMForum to solicit users for any project or purpose external to the Forum; public, private, or commercial. This includes posting messages for the purpose of driving people to your website, weblog, or forum; posting polls; trying to get help with any school project that cannot take place on the MIMForum; and trying to find a position as an apprentice or student. Our userbase is not a resource to be "mined" by individuals, groups, or businesses. "Mining" the userbase by posting messages for the purpose of redirecting traffic, or asking people to contact you via e-mail or visit your website if they want to be involved in any project external to the MIMForum, violates our policy and such messages will be removed.
  2. We take the "be polite" rule VERY seriously - we do not tolerate ANY rudeness, or any messages that constitute a personal attack. While we recognize that anyone can have a bad day, a guest user or a relatively new MIMForum member who has no track record with us does not get the benefit of any doubt. If a new participant posts a message that is at all impolite or casts aspersions on another participant, it will be removed without comment regardless of other content because we have no interest in encouraging their continued participation here. We also don't allow sexually suggestive language, the gratuitous use of 4-letter words, and any use of obscene and/or derogatory terms. Any member who is intentionally unpleasant or disruptive will receive at most one warning, and will be permanently banned from the MIMForum if there is a second offense.
  3. DO NOT SPAM OUR MEMBERS! Posting multiple messages for the purpose of driving our readers to your website, commercial or otherwise; and/or harvesting the e-mail addresses of our members and e-mailing them for commercial or non-commercial reasons is strictly forbidden! This includes forwarding e-mail chain letters to any member of the staff, or to any MIMForum participant. Any member caught spamming other members will immediately be permanently banned from the MIMForum without notice, and we will do our best to get their e-mail account and/or website shut down. Any business that engages in spamming will have their name permanently banned from mention on our board. If you think you have been spammed by a member or music/instrument related business, or if a member has spammed you with an e-mail chain letter, please forward the e-mail to me, with complete header information.
  4. For security reasons we do not allow anyone under the age of 20 to identify themselves as students or teenagers, nor to post any personal information like the city where they live or their school. Any such information will be edited out of messages by our staff, and the participant will be warned regarding our rules. Your parents will thank us for our paranoid caution.
  5. We do not allow the use of tinyURL or any other redirection sites because redirection links can be used to conceal the destination URL of a site that hosts malware. Please do not post any links through redirection sites, post the entire link even if it's long and the first staff member to see it will take care of it. You can also learn how to write a live link here.
  6. Participants in discussions may not make any post that is libelous or defamatory.
  7. Participants in discussions may not disclose private or personal matters concerning any person. Please do not post personal information about yourself or anyone else such as a home address or phone number. Any messages with this type of information will be deleted. Please refrain as well from posting anyone else's e-mail address on the MIMForum. If you want to give out personal information, send it via e-mail, and only to someone you trust.
  8. The purpose of the MIMForum is the discussion of musical instrument construction, design, and repair. While we allow discussions that have nothing to do with instruments and have a section set aside for such discussions, we do not allow our participants to start discussions on those topics we know from experience will become heated and generate ill will. Please do not start discussions on political or religious issues, or on whether Macs are better than PCs (we wish we were kidding on that last one, but we're not). Such discussions will be removed.
  9. The purpose of the MIMForum is the public exchange of information. Please don't post a message saying, "I need information about whatever, please e-mail me the information I'm looking for." Asking people to answer your questions via e-mail defeats this purpose of public discourse. If you make such a request, your message will be deleted by the staff.
  10. Participants may not use the MIMForum to publicly debate the Forum policies listed here. Such messages will be deleted without comment. If you have a concern or complaint about the way the MIMForum is run, please e-mail the sysop.
  11. The MIMForum is not to be used as a venue for complaints about a business with which you are dissatisfied. If you have a complaint about the goods and/or services of any business, take it up directly with them.
  12. Participants in discussions may not upload any messages, data, images, or programs that would violate the property rights of others, including unauthorized copyrighted text, images, programs, trade secrets, or other confidential or proprietary information, or trademarks or service marks used in an infringing fashion. Participants may not upload to the MIMForum any copyrighted material (including photographs, video, animation, text, software programs, graphics or sound files) without the express written permission of any copyright owner or the owner's agent. A copy of the written permission MUST be sent to the MIMForum sysop BEFORE such copyrighted material is posted to the Forum. Only the owner or a representative designated by the owner may upload copyrighted material to the MIMForum. We reserve the right to reject any material that we believe may violate any copyright or third-party rights.
  13. Participants may not upload any messages anonymously or under a false name, nor may you permit any other person to access discussions for any purpose using your account, ID, or password. Posts must be made using your full name, first and last.
  14. Participants in discussions may not use the facilities and capabilities of this service to conduct any illegal activity or solicit the performance of any illegal activity or other online activity that infringes on the rights of the MIMForum or its users.
  15. In light of our policy of encouraging candid, open exchanges of views and the rapid distribution of information originating from many sources, the MIMForum cannot determine the accuracy of information that may be uploaded to the Forum.
  16. Opinions, advice and all other information expressed by participants in discussions are those of the author. You rely on such information at your own risk. Participants are urged to seek professional advice for specific, individual situations and not rely solely on advice or opinions given in the discussions.
  17. By submitting material to the discussions, a participant asserts that the material is his or her own original work, and is licensed to be uploaded and downloaded by other participants for their own personal use. The author retains the copyright to all original material, but grants the MIMForum an irrevocable, royalty-free license to republish the information in our Forum Library for the personal use of participants as long as the MIMForum is in existence. Please see our thoughts on copyrights and how you are affected by them as a Forum participant.
  18. Any postings within the MIMForum or archived to the Forum library may not be reproduced in any print, broadcast, or electronic media without the express written permission of the author(s). In addition, the MIMForum must receive credit as the original publisher of the work (unless it was previously published elsewhere), and this credit must immediately precede the work and read as follows:
    "This work was originally published on the Musical Instrument Makers Forum, a discussion forum for musical instrument builders on the World Wide Web:
    Any accurate descriptive word such as essay, message, post, article, drawing, plan, discussion, or other term may be substituted for the word "work" in the credit. Prior permission from the MIMForum is not necessary -- only the permission of the author(s), although we would appreciate the courtesy of being informed of any such use.
Opinions, advice and all other information expressed on the MIMForum represent the individual's own views and not necessarily those of the MIMForum. Owners, sysops, and staff will undoubtedly be active participants in the forum, and the policies outlined here apply to them as well.

In no event will the MIMForum be liable for (i) any incidental, consequential, or indirect damages (including, but not limited to, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of programs or information, and the like) arising out of the use of or inability to use our service, or any information or services provided on the MIMForum, even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages, or (ii) for any claim attributable to errors, omissions, or other inaccuracies published on the MIMForum.

After many requests from webmasters running forums to use all or part of this policy statement and user agreement for their own forums, we hereby grant all webmasters permission to use the textual contents of this webpage. You do not need to ask our permission before using any or all of the text on this one webpage for your own forum, either verbatim or modified as you see fit. The graphics on this page are not available for use off our website.