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01.06.2013 until 01.07.2099
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: North Yorkshire
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Forum Ground Rules

Dear All,

English Forum Switzerland (EF) is a wonderful thing. We have many loyal and long-time members and hundreds of posts every day.

Whether you are new here, or just wish to remind yourself of the rules, we ask that you please take the time to read this post. Please be aware that not reading through them does not absolve you from abiding by our rules and at all times we will assume that you have read them. These rules were previously in place, but not necessarily enforced in a consistent manner. Our aim here is to clarify the ground rules so that we are all in line.

The moderators of the forum are volunteers selected from the membership itself. They do not work for The Local but do this to try to make the forum a better place for everyone.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns about moderation or moderation policy, we are always happy to hear your feedback. We will always consider and discuss reasonable ideas so please feel free to let us know via private message (PM) or in the Forum Support sub-forum. Discussions or comments about moderator actions are discouraged in the forum itself, even where they involve you. If you want to enquire why your post was deleted or edited, ask one of us via PM; you should already have received a notification PM with a brief reason. Where your post has been deleted, the only people who can see comments are the moderators and you. They are invisible to other members.

Acceptable Behaviour
Remember that the most important moderator is you. Trolling and flamebait are strictly prohibited from the forum. Where we see it we may remove such posts without warning. The intention of this rule is not to discourage debate or disagreement, but to avoid deliberate disruption to a thread or to the forum generally.

Responsibility for the atmosphere across the forum or in a thread is as much yours as ours so if you start to attack or respond in a belligerent manner then you cannot really expect things to improve.

Note that "disagreeing with me" is not the same as trolling or flamebait.

Reporting posts brings difficult posters to our attention and while you might not see immediate changes, be assured that we will take note.

Remember that "They started it" is not a valid reason for a personal attack and responding badly is just as much a part of the problem as the trolling. Whilst we welcome differences of opinion, trolling and deliberately baiting another forum member into a response is not welcome.

Please do not engage in a feud using any of the forum tools, whether it is in a public thread, via the Private Messaging system or using the "Groan" and reputation functionality. We have an "ignore" system on the forum so if you think someone is trying to engage in an ongoing cross-thread argument with you then either report them and say why, try and sort your differences out via PM or use the ignore function.

New users who troll and disrupt the forum may be banned immediately and without warning. Whilst we welcome all new users, we do not tolerate new users who fail to read and adhere to our rules.

Remember that posters start threads to encourage discussion on a particular topic of interest. If you wish to discuss a different topic, either find a relevant thread to do so using our search function, or open a new one. It is particularly selfish to deprive a thread starter of the topic they have chosen to discuss in favour of your own.

Sticky threads ("stickies") appear at the top of most of the sub-forums on EF. These contain pertinent information and rules for posting in these sub-forums. Please be sure to read the stickies before posting. Posts in violation of the guidance provided in the stickies may be deleted without notice.

Xenophobic, homophobic, sexist and other hateful comments are not welcome here. Please report them. Particularly egregious comments may result in the member being banned without warning.

Posts advocating or inciting illegal activity may be deleted without notice. Examples would include, but are not limited to, fraud, theft of intellectual property, sale of illegal goods, tax evasion and violence, where those activities would breach Swiss law. General discussion to debate or to clarify the law is acceptable and, while there may be a subjective grey area, this will be considered by the moderator team.

Any post, signature or contact detail that links to, advertises or enhances the position of any business or site in direct competition with the business or activies carried out by English Forum or The Local may be deleted without warning.

Please do not use this forum to complain about the events in other forums or websites, they have nothing to do with us.

Rules on abusive messages apply equally to private communication via Private Messages or Reputation comments. If you receive abusive messages via these channels then please report them, either by clicking the PM "Report" button, or by sending a PM to a moderator.

When reporting posts, private messages or other comments, please expand or refer to the rule that it violates. If you think a post is trolling, tell us that and why, especially if it is not immediately obvious or is a possibly obscure reference. Reporting posts brings problems to our attention and even if you think no action is being taken, we do take note of every single report.

Expectation of Privacy
Any communication sent via Private Message or Reputation Comment must not be posted or quoted in any publicly viewable area without the permission of the sender.

Note that Visitor Messages posted to a user's profile are visible to anybody viewing that profile.

Reputation Comments are not publicly viewable and can be read only by the recipient and the moderator team.

Private Messages cannot be read by the moderator team unless the recipient reports the message. In this case an email will be sent to all moderators with a copy of the contents.

While technically an administrator with access to the vBulletin database can read Private Messages, this is not done. However, a good rule of thumb on any forum would be never to send anything truly private via the system's private messaging system.

Replying directly to system generated emails from team@englishforum.ch sends the reply to the moderator team. This includes Private Message notifications, so when replying, take note of the recipient and the instructions in the email - reply via Private Message on the forum.

Posting of Private Details
Posting of any user's private details, including real names, addresses, employer or image, without their permission is not allowed.

We cannot allow posting of any personal details by any user seeking to trace somebody via the forum. Such posts may breach that person's expectation of privacy, even though they are not a member of the community.

Advertising is not allowed in the help sections of the forum (the exception is paid advertising and will be created by user "EF Advertising"). Ads may be created in the Marketplace section, once eligible as a minimum, you must have been a member for one week and have made ten posts (not including those posted in Off-Topic or Marketplace sections).

EF is not primarily an advertising site. The Marketplace is intended as a place where active members can support each other with bargains and product sales.

Commercial advertising that is relevant to the expat community is welcome in the Commercial Marketplace section. The eligibility rules apply as normal, and commercial advertisers should stick to a single advertising thread. To clarify, "commercial" refers to any non-personal advertising, this includes businesses, professional services (e.g. tutoring) where an advertiser is seeking customers, trading as a hobby, blogs, surveys, clubs, charities, non-profit organisations and any external group seeking to recruit members or attract support (including social media, political, religious and spiritual groups). "Relevant to the expat community" means that the advertiser provides a service that expats are often looking for, and almost always provides information in English. A business which provides a generic service which can be obtained anywhere (e.g. services on the internet, comparison services, Multi-Level Marketing, etc.) or advertising that gives no benefit to the community (e.g. surveys, petitions, questionnaires, requests to vote on or "like" something, requests for email addresses, etc.) do not fall into this category.

All advertisers must continue to contribute to the community when placing ads. New ads placed by members deemed to be primarily "sellers" (that is those whose posts are mainly ad related) may be deleted without notice.

Advertising may not be placed on behalf of a friend or any other third party ("proxy" advertising). This also includes advertising by real estate agencies, recruitment agencies advertising on behalf of other companies, and other similar commercial agencies or directory sites. Discretion may be given to agencies acting on behalf of individuals, where there is a clear benefit for the forum community. Some leeway may also be given when an ad is made for a dependant relative (for example a spouse or child) living with the forum member.

URLs including referrer data are considered self-promotion and revenue generation and may not be posted anywhere in the forum. Posts, signatures, home page links, blogs, etc. containing such links may be deleted or edited to remove them. This applies equally to URL text with no hyperlink.

Duplicate ads must not be posted in multiple threads. If advertising an ongoing service or sale then additional advertising posts must be added to the existing advertising thread, rather than starting a new one. Duplicates ads may be deleted without warning.

Advertising is not allowed in a user's Avatar or signature, although a simple link to a thread in the Marketplace or to a website is allowed, provided that the link does not breach any other forum rule. Avatars or signatures containing advertising may be edited or deleted without warning.

Any advertisement with items for sale must include a selling price. Linking to an external picture gallery is acceptable, but items and prices must still be included within the post. Requests for bids or links to auction sites are not allowed.

Always consult the stickies at the top of each Marketplace sub-forum before posting an advertisement to ensure that you are aware of the rules for that area.

Any posts considered "fluff", just to increase post count, will be deleted without warning. If an ad has been posted that would otherwise be ineligible then that will be deleted too.

Any member persisting in creating ads outside the Marketplace may be banned without further warning.

Posting Contact Details
Posting personal contact details (email, telephone number, IM, etc.) is not allowed in any publicly viewable part of the forum. Contact should be initiated by Private Message (PM).

Business contact details may be posted only in the following sections; Commercial Marketplace, Commercial Events, Jobs Offered.

Posts may be edited to remove contact details as appropriate.

Sock Puppets/Astroturfing
Sock Puppets and Astroturfing will not be tolerated, especially where promoting a commercial activity. Secondary accounts may be permanently banned without warning, and primary accounts may be banned for up to one month for an initial offence, and repeat offences may result in permanent exclusion.

User Names
Use of multiple user names or accounts is not allowed.

Use of commercial user names is not allowed. This includes names or partial names of any commercial venture (see above for the scope of "commercial") or their activities. Users will be asked to provide an alternative, non-commercial, user name. A user may be temporarily banned and advised to contact the moderator team for a name change, or an alternative name may be chosen by the moderator team as appropriate. Some allowance will be given to companies responding to specific complaints ("right to reply") provided that the account is used only for that purpose and is not used for promotional purposes. Paid advertisers may use a commercial user name, but only within their paid advertisement.

Use of profane, insulting or defamatory user names is not allowed.

Use of names intending to mislead or confuse is not allowed. An example of this would be the use of punctuation or non-displayable characters to misrepresent another user.

Using a real name as a user name is not recommended for reasons of privacy. Where a user has chosen a personally identifiable name, they may contact the moderator team and request that it be changed to something more anonymous. While the user's profile will be updated, mentions of the previous name may still exist (in quoted posts, for example) so it is recommended that a name change request is made before too many posts are made.

Be aware that any name changes or post edits may take a significant amount of time to reflect in search engine caches, such as google, and that some caches may reflect the previous details permanently. This is outside the control of the forum.

URL Shorteners
Use of URL Shorteners (e.g. tinyurl.com, goo.gl, bit.ly, etc.) is not allowed on the forum. While they serve a useful purpose where space is limited or URLs must be read and manually entered, the risk of misuse outweighs their benefits in a forum post. Posts or signatures containing links via a URL Shortener may be edited or deleted as appropriate. Use of the optional text in the [URL] tag is available if you want to make a link aesthetically pleasing.

Click Tracking and Other Link Redirection
Similarly, links that redirect via a click tracker, or URLs that obscure the end destination of the link are not allowed in forum posts, signatures or profile fields.

Affiliate and Referrer Codes
URLs that include affiliate or referrer codes or text requesting members to enter affiliate or referrer codes are not allowed in forum posts, signatures or profile fields.

The language of the forum is English. Non-English text should be accompanied by an English translation. Some leeway is given, for example when quoting a specific section of law, but ideally an English summary would be helpful. Posts not in the English language may be deleted without warning.

The forum is used by many people for whom English is a second language. For that reason, and in order to reduce misunderstanding or confusion, txt spk and other unusual contractions are discouraged. Occasionally it will be helpful or necessary for people to use them but users who constantly and habitually use this sort of language will be considered in breach of the rules.

When correcting or commenting on the English written by others, take into account the various levels of ability and local variations of the language. Constructive correction or criticism is fine, but pedantry or derision, especially to score points in a debate is not acceptable.

Thank you for your patience and time. Please, enjoy the forum.

EF Moderator Team

Note : These ground rules are intended to clarify and complement the rules set out in the site's Terms and Conditions (T&C), available here. If there are any conflicts between the ground rules and those in the T&C, then the rules specified in the T&C will take precedence.


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