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The Floor Beneath the Magic Bookshelf - Ground Rules for our Community

The Floor Beneath the Magic Bookshelf - Ground Rules for our Community

Instructions for DummiesMaybe it's because I'm a man, but when something is new, I just want to dive right into it and try it out. Forget the instructions, just let me rip open the package and figure out how to make it work.

I guess old habits die hard, as it never occurred to me when we were preparing to launch our new Community back in February as part of Ann's new site that that's exactly what I was about to do yet again. I was so eager to dive in and get everything set up and working properly that I never took a step back to consider that a few underlying rules might be a good idea. The fact that the Community has grown so quickly and so positively since we set it up, without any hard and fast rules, is a tribute to the quality of people in this community. While most administrators on the Internet struggle with infighting, unpleasant rants, and the infamous Internet trolls, my biggest concern is just trying to organize all the interesting and inspiring information that flows in. I'll file that one under "Nice Problem to Have."

All that being said, it was made clear to me recently that, as we move forward into the unlimited potential that this Community is already showing, it would be worthwhile to finally step back and put at least some thought into what should be allowed and what should not. In other words, it's time to break out the instructions!Tongue Tied

I have divided my suggestions for our guidelines and rules into categories. The most important thing to note is that these are not meant to be stone tablets brought down from the mountain. They are more like building blocks, which can be re-stacked, re-shaped, and even decorated. In other words, I hope to hear lots of comments on which ones make sense and which ones that you as a member of our Community don't think make sense.


Who Can Post?

If you want to post to a particular Forum or Gallery, or comment on a Blog post, you must first be registered with and sign in to your account. You do not have to be signed in to view any of the posts or galleries, but you do in order to see Blog comments, and post anything.


Some forums are moderated, others are not. Comments in galleries and on blogs are not moderated. In an unmoderated forum, posts go directly into the forum without the need for approval by an moderator. If we feel that a post in one of these forums belongs in another forum, we move the post into the most relevant forum, and inform the poster that it has been moved. In a moderated forum, a poster will receive an automated message that her/his post is awaiting moderation. We moderate certain forums primarily to ensure that posts relate to the topic of that forum and are properly directed to another forum when they don't.


Rude behavior, inappropriate posts, users who "spam" and post their comments on more than one Forum at a time are not welcome in our Community. We reserve the right to remove such posts at our discretion, whether they have already been posted or not, and to ban repeat offenders from the Community. That does not mean we will not allow posts that are critical of - we welcome criticism as long as it is appropriately presented, as we want our Community to be an open exchange of information where people will feel comfortable posting any comments in a tasteful manner.

Sales Pitches

Sales posts are not allowed unless they have been approved by The thing with the Internet is that one never really knows who is affiliated with whom, and so we tend to be fairly strict on "salesy" posts because of the possibility of conflicts of interest with the mission of our site. We try to be tolerant of industry people or company experts answering questions, as long as there is no blatant sales pitch for the product, service, or company being referenced. Our site does offer some advertising opportunities, and we encourage those interested in reaching the AnnTheGran community with a commercial message to explore those opportunities. For more information about these opportunities, please send an e-mail to

External Links

We sometimes allow but do not actively encourage links to external web sites, especially web sites of a commercial nature that offer products and services competitive to ours. Our goal is to be the superior source of information on the Internet for information being sought by our community members, so we would always prefer to see our Community create (and improve upon) this information than to reference it elsewhere. That being said, if we really want our Community to be a superior source of information for our community members, we need to keep in mind that there are instances where the best answer to a question is readily available on another web site.We Are Listening

We don't really want our community members to have to make this decision, so we generally prefer that, if in doubt, you go ahead and include the link and let us make the call. Our usual procedure in this case is to remove the hyperlink (ie. the address won't be clickable) but to keep the text of the link so that users can copy and paste the external web address into their browsers and visit the link. This way, our community members can still benefit from the information given, but we are not providing competing companies or those affiliated with them an easy, free and trackable advertising opportunity. This is certainly our biggest grey area, and feedback is always appreciated as to whether you think we are stepping over the line in any particular instance.


I would like to post these guidelines, once they are finalized, to a prominent place in the Community, so that newcomers in particular can have "the instructions" at their fingertips as they begin to navigate the site. But first, I would love to hear your comments as to whether or not these suit the Community. The Magic Bookshelf, after all, is meant to be yours more than it is ours.


Comments (13) -

travelbug1237 8/22/2008 12:50:43 PM

Thanks Greg....

   This will help me. I know that I only use my own blog comment section now though to answer people since I was making mistakes earlier.

   You did a super great job of making each topic clear and to the point!!!

Smile Have a NICE weekend!!!


jalcumbrack 8/22/2008 12:54:27 PM

Thanks Greg,these are easy to follow, common sense, answers to questions a lot of the community have had. You did a wonderful job in presenting them.Have a great weekend,and go have some fun!


This is a fair and reasonable set of rules and I for one am glad we have them.  If we have a 'free for all,' that just means that mommy and daddy are letting the inmates run the asylum.

You missed the opportunity on the little stick figure, he needs orange socks. . . .


Hey, Greg, that was great.  I really hacn't notice the lack of rules on ATG.  But now that you have posted them, I see that is a good idea and a good way to keep ATG squeeky clean for all of us who enjoy the companionship we find her.  Keep up the good work.  We all apprecaite the work you do to keep the web site up and running.

Stitches .



Rules sound fair and easy to follow.  I read the blog for all

the information on it.  I was not aware  we needed rules,

but  works for me.  I enjoy the mention of products and being

able to find them on ATG.


It's so nice to see you back on the blogs! I've missed you! I must be one of the odd ones that likes to mix geek talk with sewing. It keeps me "well-rounded!" Wink

Although I haven't seen anyone breaking the rules, laying ground rules is always necessary. Yours are basic & easy to follow.

Monitoring posts is a good idea. It usually depends on the type of people drawn to the site that would determine if posts need to be monitored. ATG does not draw this type of clietele, but it's always better to be on the safe side. I wish more sites would do it!

You have a huge job! Keep up the good work!


serenemachine2 8/23/2008 2:21:24 PM

Whereever there is a rule there is someone who tries to break it!!!  But your suggestions are thoughtful, and full of common sense.  I for one, will be happy to abide by them.  Thank you for the considerate way you approached this.  Have a great weekend!!!

Much appreciated, ladies. I hadn't noticed the lack of rules either - that's the funny thing. As I said before, I'm not really a rules person, so I found this particular writing exercise rather more painful than some. But alas, it isn't all fun and games (isn't that why I get paid for it?) and this is our way of keeping everything going forward as positively as it has gone so far.

Thanks for your comments. It's good to know that, according to the most important people to our site, its users, we are on the right track.

All in all, the ladies are very courteous and respectful. As mentioned, some comments/blogs/sites can be outrageous.   Think we are all too crafty to be mean.  Our minds are working 24/7 in creative mass.

Coming from a corporate environment, I was wondering why "Big Brother" was lax on some of the items being posted.   Good that guidelines are being put in place.  It is only fair to the existence of the AnnTheGran site.


All sounds good to me...There is nothing wrong with a few good rules.  


I think we are doing a good job and with a set of guidelines we all can make the site better.

I know I have learned a lot and look forward to continue learning about our passion.


Thanks for the tips and guidelines, This is a great site!


I have to agree, there was  a need for us newbie to know what is a good post and what is not allowed. I am one who did post a message that was deleted and the e-mail I recieved from BB was answered and then clearified. It's a GOOD THING to have guidelines.

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