[Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

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[Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Steven »

The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

We all want to improve our skills, we want to know how to best care for our bonsai, where to go to get quality stock, what the best techniques for our conditions are and of course, we want to chat about our art of bonsai with like minded people.

AusBonsai members are friendly and helpful to each other - we stand on each others shoulders to reach higher, achieve more and grow better bonsai.

Our art is our recreation. It's what we do for fun - it's not about getting all serious and upset, there's enough of that in the stuff we do for money.

Since 7th November 2008, the forums have been, and continue to be a success - friendships have been made, digs organised, events attended, page after page of shared knowledge created, and so much more.

As in life, it aint' always blue sky...

Occasionally, a post or topic with inappropriate content will appear. It may stay online longer than it should while we get to it. Whilst this is happening we appreciate your patience. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know via the reporting mechanisms explained later.

Occasionally there will be members who are different and post questionable content. Why?

Maybe they are drunk, tired and/or emotional?
Maybe they're stressed and are not being themselves?
Maybe they feel anonymous and believe they won't be caught out?
Perhaps they're blunt, direct or simply rub you up the wrong way?
Perhaps there is an issue that's 'emotionally loaded' for them?
They might enjoy stirring others up?
...or it could just be the way they are all the time!

It's for these situations that rules are needed. It's for these situations that moderators are needed.

Please understand that our moderators are not pyschic or even online 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, so there is the possibility that inappropriate content will be viewable longer that we would all hope.

Unfortunate ... but to be expected .. it's part of the territory of online forums.

Following are some tips to handle posts that upset you.

• Beware of seeing what you want to see. A common mistake people make is to read a post with the emotion they are currently feeling, not the emotion of the writer.
• Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
• Could there be the slightest, weeniest, smallest possibility that you may have made an error? Unbelievable as it may sound, some of us do make mistakes!
• Have the courage to step away. Go do something different before getting all fired up on the keyboard.

The rules of AusBonsai

By creating a login on AusBonsai, you agreed to abide by these rules. Breaching these rules can result in post or topic deletion and continued breaches can result in your login being either temporarily suspended or permanently banned.

The Rules in Summary;
• No abuse, insults or personal attacks
• No foul language
• No trolling
• No inappropriate or illegal material
• No business advertising (without Admin approval)
• No cross posting
• No forum spamming
• No religious, racial or political debates
• No defamatory comments
• No duplicate logins
• No posts that may bring the art of bonsai into disrepute

General Netiquette;
• If you have an issue with someone, discuss it via PM and don't air your dirty laundry in the public forums.
• If you feel someone is deliberately causing trouble here, please tell me and I will deal with them. Do not take matters into your own hands.
• If you think that someone may take your post out of context, please amend it. Use the 'preview' button and reread your posts before submitting.
• Avoid Sarcasm and dry humour. It does not work with the written word. Putting a smiley after a nasty piece of text doesn't fix it.
• Disagree? - discuss the subject, not the person. If your goal is to win them over to your point of view, provide evidence why your point of view is worthwhile adopting. Be constructive and forward moving.
• Make topic titles interesting, clear and informative - they make or break whether your post gets read.
• A large audience will see your post, and your words may come back to haunt you. This audience may potentially include past, present and future employers, staff at your place of study, friends, family, etc. And unlike the spoken word, your written posts will exist here for a long time.
• If you are responding to someone else's comments, try to include a quote or summary of their post, to provide context to other readers. Quoting more than 10 lines is a bit much.
• If you want to take a topic offline and write a personal response, please use the "Private Message" facility – a PM button is available on each post, or by clicking on the members name.
• Do not start or perpetuate flame wars. If someone insults or attacks you, do not respond in kind - because "they started it" is an incredibly lame argument
• DON'T USE OTHERS BEHAVIOUR AS AN EXCUSE FOR YOUR BEHAVIOUR. Just because you see someone else breaking the rules does not give you the right to break them and use others actions as your justification.

Unacceptable Content;
Racism, Sexism, Ageism and Religious Intolerance and Vilification

AusBonsai is open to people from any race, gender, physical or mental condition, sexual preference/orientation, IQ, age or religion, and as such intolerance or vilification of other people's beliefs, culture, IQ, gender, physical or mental conditions, sexual preference/orientation or age is unacceptable.

Foul Language (Swearing)
AusBonsai is a web site open to all ages, and we aim to have it stay that way. As such, the use of foul language is considered to be unacceptable.

For the sake of the younger visitors to our site, please refrain from swearing. In order to prevent casual swearing, AusBonsai filters the most inappropriate swear words.

Smarty Pants Swearing
Please also note that swearing which is contextually understandable, e.g. removing a letter, replacing letters with @,* or other characters, or changing the spelling slightly, will also be moderated.

Moderation of Foul Language
The following points outline the basic moderation policy regarding foul language on AusBonsai, and applies to posts, usernames, quips, and any other content on AusBonsai:

• Content containing "heavy weight" swear words, specifically the F & C words, are completely inappropriate on AusBonsai. All content containing such words - hidden or not - will be removed.
• Content containing lesser swear words will not normally be moderated, provided the words are used sparingly (e.g. once in a post), and the content is otherwise on topic and useful. Use of such words in reoccurring content (usernames etc) is always inappropriate.
• Content with swear words that are used in the context of a personal attack/insult will be removed, not necessarily because of the foul language, but for being a personal attack. This also goes for all those non-swear words insults like "fool", "idiot", etc.

Inappropriate Content
Inappropriate Content is considered to be any topic that would be unacceptable in a talk to a Year 8 class. This includes (but is not limited to) any of the following:

• Sex and sexual acts;
• Violence and acts of cruelty to other humans or animals;
• Pictures of gore, violence, pornography or innappropriate nudity;
• Illegal behaviour;

Private Conversations
The posting of private correspondence (PM's, emails, etc) or transcripts of private conversations (phone calls, face-to-face discussions) are not permitted, for two reasons:

1. There is no way to verify the validity of the text; and
2. There may be copyright implications arising from the publication of such private communication, in a public forum, without permission of both parties.

Public announcements (such as ISP mass mail outs, etc) are considered already in public view, and are thus considered fair game for re-posting. In cases where such an announcement is made on a website, posting the URL is preferred to posting the complete text.

Offensive Websites
As already mentioned, AusBonsai is open to people of all races, religion and ages, so links to websites containing offensive or unacceptable material, such as foul language, inappropriate images (images of a violent or pornographic nature), racial vilification (hate sites), warez links, etc., are completely unacceptable.

Complaints about a business
When this occurs, the poster is usually quite fired up and emotional. Often the customer is now out to cause as much damage as possible to the business with the mission that they are "fully justified" (their words) and "simply stating facts" (their words) about the business.

This may be the case .. or not. There are many sides to any story. The point is that AusBonsai is not the appropriate place to resolve the issue. Go to the Department of Fair Trading in your state and do it there.

Choose not to, and end up in hot water. As soon as you flame a business, you'll usually get supporters of the business come out in defense and question your behaviour and motives. People interested in the discussion will seek more information from you. It soon descends into an argument containing many and varied versions of the truth and everybody goes home unhappy.

It never ends well for anybody.

The business is damaged, the poster now has a stigma in the forum (and now can't deal with many nursery's because they know what will happen if they cross this customer - their business will get dragged through the mud.)

And of course, there's also the situation when the poster does not really have a complaint, but is simply a competitor or naive associate of a business who thinks the way to get more business is to degrade the competition.

Complaints about an individual
Here's an idea - talk to them directly, or send them a PM. There is absolutely no need to post a message looking for support of your dislike/disapproval of somebody. Please seek an alternate outlet, not the forums.

Why? All you need to do is imagine your response if you log-on one day and see your name as the topic of a post, followed by 8 posts by strangers dissing your behaviour. Like 9 out of 10 people, you would write to us to have it removed.

Posts for Personal or Financial Gain
Please use the buy, swap & sell section to list your bonsai related wares, not the forums. This also means not posting links to sites that are selling your things.

Commercial Advertising
• No commercial advertising what so ever, without approval from an AusBonsai Administrator.
• Do not post prices, price lists, sale brochures, bargains, "stock clearance" etc.

You'll find your local council has laws saying that it's illegal for you to stick posters and advertising on council property - "Bill posters will be prosecuted". Most businesses accept this and don't put their posters and stickers all over signs, traffic lights, bridges, tunnels, etc.

Same here - please do not plaster your adverts/promos in or around the site.

Inappropriate posting of business advertising will be removed.

Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is when people are employed (or given equipment "in kind") to promote a company and its products and not revealing their connection to the company and/or products. They also register multiple logins, or enlist associates to engage in a "Question & Answer" session, where the associate asks questions about a brand to setup the other to provide knowledgeable advice (and therefore marketing)
There is also the reverse, where people getting financial reward from a competing product ask leading questions of a competitors products to make it look bad in the hope that it will make their product more appealing. These people go out of their way to directly highlight flaws, or, on occasion, even invent flaws and myths.

It's not illegal, is usually see-through, and can result in angry feelings by those who believed the mystery posters were "ordinary customers". It is particularly disappointing when these people take time out to degrade competitors and/or competing products via single line posts such as "You wouldn't catch me buying that." type of comment.

These activites are directly against the forum rules and count as spam.

The common name for such a member (who indirectly promotes their own or an associates product) is a Pimp.

If you suspect a member of being a pimp, please let the moderators know, as targeting them is against the rules and makes you subject to moderation (which was not your intent!)

Please refrain from making accusations against companies or individuals within the forums.

Note that occasional positive comments from known members have never been a problem.

Posting Errors and Crossposting
Posting the same Topic in more than one forum Category is not appropriate. If you can't decide which forum to post it a particular Topic in, just choose the one that most closely matches and see how you go. If you don't think you are getting the right answers, ask a moderator to move the Topic to a more appropriate location at some later point.

Please note that posting new Topics in multiple forums saying "Come look at Topic <insert link here>" is not permitted, and is also considered crossposting.

Sometimes minor glitches can result in a member's post appearing more than once in a topic. Duplicate posts are sometimes removed, but if a member notices that they have posted a duplicate, they should feel free to edit one of them to indicate that a double post occurred or if the editing time limit has passed, ask a moderator to remove one.

Ideally, all posts in a given topic should have at least something to do with the topic. Having said that, some topics do have a natural discussion flow to them, which may move the discussion in different directions - while still maintaining a relationship to the topic.

Posting way off topic may result in your post being removed, particularly if your post stands out as being off topic compared to the other posts in the topic, or if your post stands to interfere with a line of otherwise on-topic conversation within the topic.

Off-topic Topics
It is also possible for a topic to be considered off-topic for the forum in which it has been posted.

In such cases the topic will normally be moved to a more appropriate forum. If you feel a post is too far off topic or a topic is posted in the wrong section, please let a Moderator know.

The Moderators
Moderators have tasks of monitoring the content of the forums. They aim to read all topics and posts and make assessments on what is and isn't appropriate. Did you know that Moderators are real people? They suffer from late nights, emotional issues (good & bad), and can often speed read topics. What this means is that they aren't some automated perfect computer program that makes the right call every time.

Moderators don't delete anything. Topics or posts requiring moderation are moved to a hidden 'recycle bin' on the board.

Moderation is a very "grey" area. For example, a group of 16 year olds who have started their own topic may be having a friendly banter amongst each other, whereas to others to reads like a full on argument.

Alerting the Moderators of inappropriate content
Above each post is an exclamation mark [!] Simply click this and follow the prompts to report that post to the Moderators.

With buckets of new posts entering the system every day, it makes it easy for the moderators to zoom in on inappropriate posts as reported by the forum users. Allow the moderators time to respond. If you're all stirred up about a post, this doesn't mean that a moderator is sitting around awaiting your report so it can be investigated.

Moderation Explanations
Please do not start a new topic asking why a topic was moved, deleted or closed, or why a post was hidden. If you want to know why, PM a moderator, please do not ask the community.

Post Removal Policy
Posts can and will be removed if they breach any of the forum rules. Nothing is deleted.
If you believe there was an error, please contact the moderators. The moderators are only human, and are open to suggestion.

Topic Removal Policy
Typically, topics are removed when they breach the forum rules, by falling into one of the following categories:

• Pointless - the topic contributes no value to the forum;
• Crosspost - the topic was posted to more than one forum;
• Flame baiting - the goal of the topic is to flame or start a fight;
• Duplicate - there is already a topic on the same or very similar topic;
• Off topic - not just for the forum it was posted in, but off topic for AusBonsai;
• Spam - the topic was advertising for a business or was thinly disguised market research;

Topics which do not fall exactly into one of the above categories, but are deemed inappropriate due to their content or nature, will also be removed from view.

Topic Closure Policy
Topics will be closed or locked under any of the following circumstances:

• Off topic - the topic is going off topic, but mostly contains useful information;
• Flame war - the topic is turning into a flame war;
• Purpose fulfilled - the purpose of the topic has been fulfilled - the author's question was answered, the topic has become irrelevant, or is descending into an argument/bickering about the meaning of the words people have written (i.e. topic has been lost).

Topics which do not fall exactly into one of the above categories, but are deemed to have reached the end of their useful life, may also be closed. In cases where the reason for closure is not immediately obvious, a moderator will normally post a final message explaining the closure.

• Duplicate Logins Policy
We strongly discourage users from creating additional logins for any reason.

We use the term "Duplicate Logins " to refer to additional logins created or operated by an existing AusBonsai member. AusBonsai Moderators have the ability to find these logins, through the use of various tools. In general we will ban any additional accounts we find.

Attempts to circumvent this will not looked upon favourably. For each duplicate login we find, all posts from that login may be removed.
If a member chooses to continue to create duplicate logins, and abuse our hospitality, be warned that we will not hesitate to report your breaches to your ISP's abuse department. As almost all ISP "Acceptable Usage Policies" include clauses regarding member behaviour on websites, such a report can result in a warning from your ISP and potentially the termination of your ISP account.

Zero Tolerance Policy
AusBonsai has a policy of Zero Tolerance for certain member behaviour.

Repeated breaches of any rule by an individual can also attract a Zero Tolerance response.

In cases where such breaches occur, the following actions will be taken (at the moderators discretion):

• The post or topic will be deleted, regardless of whether or not the rest of the post or topic is "valid"; and
• The member's login may be banned for a period of time, ranging from 1 week to a permanent ban.
• There will be no emailed notification of suspensions.

Why was I suspended?
Occasionally members don't understand why they get suspended. No amount of explanation by moderators or other members of the community seems to provide an adequate explanation to these people. After suspension they then want to engage in an email debate demanding immediate access, occasionally with legal threats.

If this is you, you might need to consider whether this website is for you? You were invited to join on the optimistic hope that you would add to the community, build new friendships, share your knowledge and generally have fun.

The fact is, that if the moderators, through consensus and feedback from the community determine that a members is ruining the experience of other members or generally degrading the forums, our invitation to you to participate will be withdrawn. Otherwise know as 'suspension'.
Just like you can get kicked out of a nightclub for ruining the pleasure of other patrons, you can also be refused access to this site, and repeated attempts to create logins will also be locked out. Please don't behave like the drunk outside the nightclub demanding entry. Walk away, cool down, and come back with a fresh attitude, and you are more than welcome. Creating new logins while under suspension is a surefire way to ensure permanent banning from the site.

Problems with Moderation?
Q. I've had a post or thread removed, should I post about it?
A. Do not create a thread or post complaining about the moderation action. Complaint Topics or posts will be deleted.

Creating multiple Topics or posts complaining about moderation, or creating topics or posts to abuse or insult moderators, will result in immediate penalties being applied.

Q. If I shouldn't post about the moderation problem, what should I do?
A. The correct first step if you wish to discuss a moderation action, is to politely contact us with your viewpoint.

Moderators are human and are eager to develop good relationships with all forum members.

Moderators understand firstly that they can make mistakes, and secondly that members make mistakes.

They also understand that there can be miscommunication. Approached politely, and with a constructive attitude most issues have been quickly resolved.

Legal Threats Policy
AusBonsai, its Administrators and Moderators hold the majority of Members & Businesses on this site in high regard.

On rare occasions, members & businesses turn on AusBonsai and make legal threats.

AusBonsai is more than willing to consider and respond to reasoned, polite requests from members & businesses regarding the removal of posts and threads that break the forum rules, or that are obviously and verifiably inappropriate, defamatory or bring the art of bonsai into disrepute.

However, where AusBonsai is of the reasonable view that a request/demand is vexatious, it reserves the right to take any or all of the following actions:

• Publication of a news story on the front page of AusBonsai, or a prominently placed announcement thread, or news summarising the legal threats, who has made them and why;
• Banning the IP of the business and all emails under it's domain from this site;
• Banning of any and all future discussions about the person / business / organisation on AusBonsai.

In short, lets talk about any issue you have but please remember that it's probably not our fault.

The Final Word
It's only a forum. Seriously - don't take it too seriously! :-)

..and check this page regularly, as we reserve the right to update the rules as new situations are discovered.
Check out the AusBonsai Store ǀ Wiki ǀ Blogs ǀ Gallery ǀ 360˚ ǀ
Remember to be polite and abide by the Spirit and Intent of AusBonsai
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by dayne »

sounds fair to me thanks for typing it all out it would have taken awhile id never read it before either has their been problems or just a refresher
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by MelaQuin »

Full marks... lot of work preparing that and very well said. I heartily endorse it all and hope everyone else does. I really like the PM facility to allow for private conversations. Good on the management for maintaining such a fine forum.
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Josh7 »

Very good piece of writing.
'we stand on each others shoulders to reach higher, achieve more and grow better bonsai' - inspirational stuff, Steven!
Mind if i use that as my signature?
Do i have a plethora of pinatas?
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by bodhidharma »

Thank you Steven.
"Advice is rarely welcome, and the one's who need it the most welcome it the least"
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Joel »

Thanks Steven! Well said.

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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Steven »

Thanks for the feedback! It has taken quiet a while to put together - I actually started it when the forum was launched. A few of the points were relating to experiences we have had here however the majority are just preemptive strikes ;).
If there is anything I have overlooked or omitted, please let me know.
Josh wrote:'we stand on each others shoulders to reach higher, achieve more and grow better bonsai' - inspirational stuff, Steven!
Mind if i use that as my signature?
By all means Josh.

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Remember to be polite and abide by the Spirit and Intent of AusBonsai
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Jamie »

after seeing some of the stuff going on here the past few days i think it is a good time to bring this back up. this should be adhered to and as of late it has been breached.

i apoligise publically for getting sucked into a bit of it myself and when i look back should not have happened. it wasnt in the spirit of Ausbonsai.

please remember to follow these as best as possible.

sincere apologies for getting into it again, i look back and realise the stupidity of it.

:twisted: taking the top half of trees of since 2005! :twisted:
and growing trees for the future generations! 50+ year plans :D
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by alpineart »

Thanks Steven i was beginning to wonder whether or not to to send a few PMs myself .Fellas this is the most comprehensive sight in AUS relating to an Art, hobby or Healthy obsession called BONSAI . Use your P.MS if you want to have a dog fight .
I,m humbled to belong to this forum and i've been a part of many different forums around the world with many different topics and interests . Lets keep AUSBONSAI alive don't let it become Ausbondie .Cheers and happy bonsai . Ian Alpineart
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Bretts »

Fine by me guys I just wana talk about trees. :D
Last edited by Bretts on March 17th, 2010, 3:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
It's too bad your in such a hurry cause the stories I could tell you, Bushels and baskets of stories, hole crates full of stories. But if you can spare a moment I will tell you one story.
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by MattA »

A timely reminder, many thanks. Apologies for my trangressions.

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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by woody »

hi steven, i love the spirit and intent already. thanks for the access.
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by kvan64 »

Bretts wrote:Fine by me guys I just wana talk about trees. :D
Bretts are you sure you don't want to talk about pots any more?
Always we hope someone else has the answer.
Bonsai is an art of shrinking.
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Amanda »

Someone mention... pots? :P
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Re: [Forum rules] The spirit and intent of AusBonsai

Post by Bretts »

Been to busy for pots lately. I have half a dozen waiting to go together though!
It's too bad your in such a hurry cause the stories I could tell you, Bushels and baskets of stories, hole crates full of stories. But if you can spare a moment I will tell you one story.
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