I'm calling this "Forum Principles" (and not "rules") because I feel people need their benevolent dictator (that's me ;) ) to make a few things clear on what we feel is good for our community.
Why not "rules"?
To me "rules" are for referees, and we don't need a referee here. We just to understand each other, and in the event of disagreement, that we can work things out simply and effectively without any hard feelings. "Principles" are just statements on where we stand on the nature of our community.
Firstly, while the forum rooms are designated for specific topics and we hope that discussions mainly circulate around those topics, there is NO "rule" stating that topics cannot deviate within reason. Remember, this is a *community*. It's supposed to be fun - every day. Things should evolve and move and change the way people need them to.
Secondly, we do expect people to adhere to the principles of being considerate and conciliatory toward one another. But honestly, this is mostly common sense. For the 99.99% of us, this is not an issue, but we do expect that even frustrated members new and old do not reduce themselves to abusive name-calling (as has happened) or other destructive and injurious behaviour.
Members can expect that any chronic abuser of this fairly simple principle may be banned because, simply put, it's not part of our community's nature to be so insulting. (yes, that's a rule :) )
Finally, some of these issues are coming up, I know, because the density of posts has grown so much (this is a good thing!) that it can be difficult to browse effectively without getting caught in other topics - hence frustration. This, in my mind, is a technical issue - which is why we're developing a "expand/collapse" arrow for the navigation frame. I think I posted a picture of it in Tech Forums in case you're interested.
In case anyone wants to read more, there are already established [url]Guidelines and Ettiquette[/url] available to read for some of the other rules in place.
I hope that helps people understand where I'm coming from. I imagine it won't be much of a surprise to most.
At the end of it all, we're all very happy with the way our H&H/GL communities have developed, we love the banter that goes on, whether it's on or off topic and we're committed to make the environment as conducive to everyone's enjoyment as we can. And truly, our members have made this happen all by themselves, which make it sweeter.
Take care all,