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Usage rules for the Tango-L list

All subscribers to Tango-L should read these rules--certainly before posting anything to the list. These rules supersede previous rules or guidelines for this list. Subscribers to the list should note that they are guests of the sponsoring organization and the list owners and, as such, are expected to comply with these rules. Since these rules are intended to reflect the views of the majority of the list members, however, your comments on them are welcomed and encouraged, so that they can reflect these views more accurately. Please send comments or questions about any of the rules to ONLY, and NOT to the entire list! Usage rules for the Tango-L mailing list ======================================== Last revised: 6 April 1996 NOTE: These rules _supplement_ Netiquette, the generally established rules governing acceptable behaviour on the Internet. I.e., members of this list are still expected to have read and to follow those guidelines. They may be obtained from your service provider, or from the Usenet newsgroups news.announce.newusers or news.answers. CONTENTS/SUMMARY ================ 1. Relevance of Postings - Tango related only - NO FLAMES! - Announcements of local events - No personal mail - Language of postings 2. Copyrights - Get permission before submitting copyright-protected works - How may your own articles be copied without your (explicit) permission? - Can _you_ copy other people's articles without their permission? 3. Common Sense Stuff - Be courteous - Compile responses to your questions, and post back to the list - No "1-liners" - Use meaningful "Subject:" line - Don't quote original unnecessarily on followups - Don't monopolize the list - No binary files - Be aware of cultural differences - Don't post private correspondence without the author's permission 4. Commercial Postings (Advertising) - Those not directly related to Tango are explicitly prohibited - Disinterested 3rd-party recommendations OK - 1-time announcements or introductions OK - Annual re-introduction OK - Single announcement of major event of International scope OK - Affiliation and contact info in brief signature file OK - No repeated announcements, no sales pitches or marketing hype - Full identification and affiliation required - Most events of non-profit organizations OK - Give more to the list than you take from it 5. List Abuse and Responses to Them - Spam (obviously not permitted) - Chain letters (obviously not permitted) - NO DISCUSSION of list abuses on the list! 6. Enforcement of rules - By peer guidance - By private e-mail only (NOT to the entire list) - If you aren't sure, ask the list administrator - In extreme cases ... 7. Function of this medium - Distribution only - Responsibility for content lies with posters 1. Relevance ============ a. All articles should be related to the Argentine Tango or a directly related dance or musical form in some way. b. Personal flame-wars are not permitted on this list. Heated debates on the merits or otherwise of a particular Tango technique, music, style, etc., are perfectly appropriate; however, anything that degenerates into personal attacks should be relegated to personal e-mail. It is a strong preference of members of this list, as well as its hosts, the list owners, that this sort of "mean-spirited mood [and] ... juvenile invective ... [that] has seeped into conversations on [some] Internet newsgroups and other computer talk forums"[1] NOT be part of Tango-L. Besides, it is just plain boring to the 99% of list members not involved in the hostilities. Accordingly, you may find less tolerance from members of this list to violation of this rule than to most of the others. [1] Langdon Winner in "The Culture of Technology: Privileged Communications," MIT Technology Review, Spring 1996. c. While people are often interested in events in other parts of the world, do be aware, especially when posting announcements of local events, that this is an international list with a few hundred members from over 40 countries. A periodic (e.g., annual) posting/update describing what's going on in Tango in your area would be welcomed. Otherwise, the most useful local postings are announcements of extraordinary events or a comprehensive compilation for a metropolitan area. Postings like "this week's class has been cancelled" are entirely inappropriate (though something like "this year's International Tango Congress has been rescheduled" would be quite appropriate, owing to its larger scope). d. Do not send personal replies to the entire list; before sending the mail, please think about whether it would be of widespread interest to the whole community, or mainly just to the original poster or to one or two other persons only. e. English is the de facto standard language of the list, inasmuch as it is understood by most of the list members. However, articles may be posted in any language (as long as it is represented in a US-ASCII character set) of the poster's choosing. Several postings appear in Spanish, and many of these are particularly appreciated by list members, such as postings from Argentina or from Spanish-speaking Tango authorities. Bilingual list members often voluntarily translate them into English. (Translations in the other direction--from English to Spanish--have been rare, but are also welcomed.) So if you can express yourself better in another language, especially Spanish, you are welcomed to submit postings in that language. If you request, at the top of your article, that it be translated into English, it is quite likely that someone will do so. 2. Copyrights ============= a. Do not submit any copyright-protected works, unless you have written permission from the copyright-owner (and include a statement to that effect). b. Any article submitted to this list may be stored, archived, translated into another language, made available for searches and retrievals, selected and redistributed by a moderator, gatewayed to related lists or Usenet groups or related forums, or otherwise copied and/or distributed electronically by automatic, semi-automatic or manual means. Such storage and redistribution is inherent to the function of the list, and any poster to this list acknowledges and permits such storage and redistribution by the list owners or administrators, or other persons authorized by them. c. There are conflicting opinions about the extent to which original articles distributed electronically on public forums are protected by copyright. These opinions vary from (a) "they are automatically in the public domain" (generally not considered supportable) to (b) "the author has absolute ownership with or without a copyright notice." The best course is for people reading or using others' articles to assume that original material posted to this list is fully protected by U.S. and International Copyright laws and agreements, and that they are responsible for knowing about and observing these laws. (Authors, however, should not assume that this position will necessarily be enforceable.) Notwithstanding legalities, the following is generally regarded as appropriate usage by the Internet community for articles posted to Internet mailing lists--however, these informal conventions are NOT represented as being accurate, authoritative, complete or even legal: - Copyright ownership remains with the article's author(s), whose permission must be obtained for use beyond "Fair Use," even if there is no explicit copyright notice. - Casual electronic distribution (e.g., to friends) and reposting to related electronic forums, archives, etc., are acceptable, as long as this is done with attribution and for no monetary or other tangible consideration. If this is done in a systematic or regular way (such as creating archives, gatewaying to a local newsgroup, etc.), the permission of the list administrator must be obtained first. - It is common practice to quote back to the list in a followup article, portions or all of an article originally submitted publically to the list, with ones own comments interspersed. - For non-electronic media, paid subscriptions, etc., limited excerpting for reviews, summaries, etc., such as would be permitted under the "Fair Use" doctrine for any other Copyrighted work, is permitted, as long as the intent of the author is not distorted or misrepresented. The outright copying of an article for re-publication is almost always in violation of copyright statutes, unless you have obtained the permission of the author first. Publishers often use a "300-word limit on works quoted without permission"[2] as a maximum excerpting allowance for large works--although this sets a precendent, it is not part of the Copyright laws, so adhering to it does not guarantee that you are within the scope of "Fair Use." In particular, it is unlikely to be considered "Fair Use" for the sort of articles posted to Internet mailing lists, where 300 words may well be a large fraction, if not the entirety, of the work in question. It is suggested (but not guaranteed to be "Fair Use") that you use no more than 300 words or 10%, whichever is SMALLER, on works quoted without permission in non-electronic media, paid subscriptions, etc. [2] Paul & Sarah Edwards in "Publish, Don't Plagiarize," Home Office Computing, February 1996. 3. Common Sense Stuff ===================== a. As with any community, it becomes a more pleasant place for us all if some common courtesy is maintained. This means refraining from sarcasm or attacks directed at other list members or groups, not demeaning other contributors, being welcoming to new members (or new posters) of the list, etc. Don't fall into the trap of letting the absence of face-to-face interaction lure you into forgetting the cordiality you would show if you met the person at a live event, practica, etc. Please also see the section of these rules on "No flames." b. When posting requests for information, ask for information to be sent directly to you (rather than to the entire list) and offer to compile the reponses for posting to the entire list. Then do it! c. Avoid 1-liners and other trivia. One- or two-line responses are almost always junk mail, e.g., "I agree!" "Yes, me [sic] too!" Either add some more value by elaborating, or use personal e-mail to show 1-line support for someone's position. d. Make the "Subject:" field of your message as explicit a 1-line description of the content of your message as you can. If you have a "digest" subscription and are following up to a previous posting, copy the exact contents of the original "Subject:" line (assuming it is an appropriate one for your follow-up), prepend the word "re: " and use that as the "Subject:" for your followup. Do not simply use the digest banner "TANGO-L Daily Digest from xxx to yyy" as the subject, even if that is the one that your mail reader generates automatically. e. Don't quote the entire article when mailing a follow-up. Your mailer may make it easy to do this, but that's not a good reason to do so. People have read the previous article, so you either don't need to quote anything, or just the specific points you are addressing in your followup. f. Don't "monopolize" the list. Don't feel like you need to reply to every posting on which you have an opinion, unless there is some significant tango-related information you can add to it. So limit your submissions to no more than 4 per week, unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as daily "field reports" from a major week-long Tango Congress that you're attending). (List support functions, such as translations of articles posted by volunteer translators, or administrative messages, do not count towards this limit.) g. Don't post binary files, even if they are uuencoded. Similarly, the use of multipart MIME-encoded messages, even if they are all text, is discouraged, since it is rarely necessary on this list, and since the use of mail clients that support these is not sufficiently universal yet. Other similarly annoying and unnecessary practices: Inclusion of PGP keys, long signatures, etc. h. There are innumerable cultures and cultural differences represented on this list. Many may not be fluent in English (or whatever language you're posting in), and the e-mail medium makes it difficult to interpret true intent. Human communication is 85% non-verbal and 15% verbal. Things can be said orally that, because of body language, intonation, etc., take on a whole different meaning. In e-mail, the only thing transmitted is what is written. "Smileys" and other attempts at denoting emotions are a poor substitute and can themselves be misinterpreted. The following rule will always stand you in good stead: "Be generous in the interpretation of what you read, and sensitive in your language in what you write." i. Privately received correspondence should not be posted publically without the consent of the author. This could be either private e-mail, or even an article from a small or intimate private discussion group whose members may expect a high degree of privacy in their postings. 4. Commercial Postings (Advertising) ==================================== Announcements of commercial activity (event organized or sponsored by paid teacher, or owner/employee/agent of a for-profit organization), are generally restricted or prohibited on most Internet discussion groups. However, owing to the small size of the Tango community, and the benefits to the community in supporting those who attempt to earn a living from the Tango, commercial announcements will be permitted on a trial basis on the Tango-L list, subject to the rules below. These rules below attempt to strike a reasonable balance between the two extremes of completely barring advertising and allowing any and all advertising. Since this area is often the most controversial in usage etiquette, potential advertisers are strongly advised to read and heed! We should all realize that teaching Tango is rarely a lucrative proposition. As often as not, teachers do so because it is a special dance for them and a special experience. There is a natural tendency to be suspicious of any article that is related to money-making for someone, and irritation with anything that smacks of advertising; those who are posting such articles need to be aware of this, so that they do not inadvertently create negative perceptions of themselves, and the rest of us should be aware of the potential that these people have for sharing their knowledge with us. a. Postings that are not directly related to the Tango are explicitly prohibited. b. Reviews, recommendations, etc., posted by DISINTERESTED third parties (whose only relationship is that of satisfied--or dis-satisfied--customer) are not considered commercial postings, and are always welcomed. You should include a statement of your lack of affiliation, and that you weren't asked to make such a post. c. It is permitted to make a one-time introduction of oneself as a Tango professional to the list membership, or the announcement of the release of a _major_ new work, such as a book, along with any pertinent information such as contact and ordering information, class schedules, etc. (You may request that interested parties contact you directly by personal e-mail or any other way you like.) d. An annual reintroduction of oneself as a professional is permitted, with similar information as the original introduction, or whenever there is a _major_ change (e.g., association with new partner, moving to a new city, change of contact address and telephone number, new edition of book). e. A single announcement of rare major events (e.g., a country or world tour by an internationally renowned master) that you are sponsoring, or have a financial interest in, is permitted. e. An up to 3-line "signature" may appear at the end of an otherwise non-commercial and meaningful posting, that identifies the poster's Tango-related business and contact information (but without any other marketing hype). f. Do not make repeated postings about the same event unless there is significantly new information. g. Do not use marketing hype and sales pitches, which tends to be treated with contempt by Internet readers--real information is valued and respected more. h. For postings with a commercial component, complete identification of the person doing the posting is required, and the person(s) on whose behalf the posting is being done. (Full names, e-mail addresses, contact addresses and telephone numbers.) i. Announcements of Tango events held by non-profit Tango clubs and other non-profit Tango-related entities should be mindful of these rules on commercial postings, but may generally assume a looser interpretation of them as their activities are not generally considered commercial events. The following additional suggestions are made to those who would post commercial announcements: - Be a member of the list for at least 3 months to get the feel for how it works, and for the "unspoken culture" that any community develops. - Share your knowledge and expertise by participating actively and meaningfully in discussions on the Tango, so as to establish yourself as a contributor to the list who is willing to give as well as receive. (By the way, this is better for PR than any advertisement!) - Announcements of routine and regular local events are almost always irrelevant for such a geographically diverse group (40 countries). Your own regular mailing list is likely to be a much more useful resource. (However, most people _are_ interested in the very existence of Tango somewhere in the world, even if they cannot attend, so by all means include examples of your events and classes in the "annual introduction.") - Keep the advertising infrequent, compared to your other posts. 5. List Abuse and Responses to Them =================================== a. Spams. Every once in a while, someone will post an advertisement to all the mailing lists and/or newsgroups that he can possibly find (a "spam"). Of course, this is unlikely to be related to the Tango and since the poster rarely if ever subscribes to any of these lists, a rule that says "No spams" is irrelevant. However, we state this rule anyway: "No spams and no advertising unrelated to the subject matter of the list." (There are some built-in mechanisms to minimize the likelihood of most spams reaching the list members.) b. Distribution of Chain Letters. This is strictly forbidden by the policies of the sponsoring institution (MIT), and includes any posting that explicitly requests further distribution in a manner intended to replicate in a chain reaction fashion beyond a particular discussion group. The definition of a chain letter is not limited to those which request money--Virus "alerts," political petitions, attempts to set world records for e-mail received and "e-mail bomb" requests are some other examples of what would be considered a chain letter. c. Responses to Chain letters and Spams. Should someone abuse the list in some way, the most important rule is that NO followup note or discussion of any kind about the abuse should be sent to the whole list, as that just multiplies manifold the junk mail created by that spam. Appropriate responses are (in order of preference): - Delete and ignore - Write up a nasty letter to the originator, to get it out of your system, and then delete both the letter and the original e-mail (or send it to the INDIVIDUAL if you must, but it will probably bounce or go to the wrong person) - Send a nice letter to the service provider from which site the mail originated, requesting that the offender be disciplined, permanently denied access, etc. - Join one of the discussions on net abuse on some OTHER suitable list or newsgroup, where such things are discussed ad nauseum - As far as this list is concerned, anything else, as long as it does NOT involve the entire list. 6. Enforcement of rules ======================= In most cases, violation of rules by a list member is unintentional and only requires education of the offender as to proper usage. Less often, it is a flagrant or repeated violation by someone who believes he is above the rules. Enforcement of the rules is by gentle peer advice in the first case, and peer pressure in the second case. The list administrators rarely have the time or inclination to be list policemen, and listmembers need to assume a joint responsibility in this regard. If you believe someone has violated a rule, send the person a politely worded message informing him or her of that, preferably with the relevant portion of these rules attached. Do this by private e-mail ONLY--do NOT chastise the person publically on the list as this leads to the inevitable flame-war. This is NOT a suggestion to "mail bomb" the person; rather, it is hoped that a large number of private reprimands (especially in the case of intentional violations) will make it clear that the behaviour was inappropriate. You may send a copy of that mail to the administrators at if you would like to. If you would like to submit an article that you think is marginal, you are welcome to e-mail it first to the list administrator at for an opinion. It is hoped that the above procedure will suffice. However, to protect the list and its members, it is necessary to state that you may be removed from the list, and/or kept from posting to it, under circumstances including, but not limited to, the following: Extreme, continued or intentional violation of the list guidelines and policies, or of Internet usage conventions (as determined solely by the list administrator or list owner, or person(s) designated by the list administrator or list owner); violation of the acceptable use policies of the sponsoring institution (MIT); violation of any applicable law, including copyright law; any other action that, in the sole opinion of the list administrator or list owner, or person(s) designated by the list administrator or list owner, may be harmful to the list, its members, or the computer or communications facilities or networks that support it. 7. Function of this medium ========================== a. This list is only a distribution medium. Submitters are wholly responsible for the content and appropriateness of all mailings made to the list. b. Although the list administrators attempt to limit abusive behaviour, and retain full authority to remove members from the list or restrict their access to the list, with or without cause, this is fundamentally an open and public list and the list administrators, list owners, and sponsoring organizations are not responsible for the policing of this list or their members, or for the content or source of information that appears on this list. Shahrukh Merchant "Tango-L" co-administrator