RULES OF THE LOSTCOUSINS FORUMS
These forums are for everyone who has an interest in family history and any contribution you make must conform to the following rules, which are intended to protect the majority against the actions of a small minority. So long as you act sensibly, responsibly, unselfishly, and helpfully you should be OK.
Some people visit a forum looking for help, some are looking to help others, most aim to do both. If you're new to family history it's to be expected that you'll have questions to ask, but don't use this forum as a substitute for buying a good book or reading an online guide - in other words it should complement, not replace other sources of information.
Help can take many forms - if, instead of answering your question directly, another member explains how you can find out the answer for yourself be grateful, because you'll learn far more that way. Indeed, it's only by first learning yourself that you'll be able to help others. (If your intention is to focus on your own needs without regard to the needs of others you shouldn't join this forum.)
Don't try to make your posts stand out through the use of colour, large fonts, or by using all capitals - let the information content speak for itself.
On some forums people who read a lot but say little are made to feel unwelcome. The LostCousins forums are different - we value the quality of contributions, not the quantity. Posts criticising lurkers will be removed; persistent offenders will be suspended or banned.
Any material which constitutes defamation, harassment, or abuse - whether of individuals or groups of individuals - is strictly prohibited. There is no such thing as freedom of speech in England (where LostCousins is based); instead we have some of the toughest libel laws in the world.
Respect the privacy of others
Don't try to force people to tell you things about themselves or their family that they would rather keep private - remember that we all have different thresholds when it comes to privacy and security. Do not post private addresses, telephone numbers, or email addresses on the forum.
Material that is sexually or otherwise obscene, racist, or discriminatory is not permitted anywhere on these forums, not even in private messages. The use of asterisks, misspellings, abbreviations, rhyming slang etc do not turn something unacceptable into something that is.
Providing or asking for information on how to illegally obtain or provide software, music, videos, genealogical information, or any other product or service is strictly forbidden, even in private messages.
Copyright and other similar rights
If you post something which belongs to somebody else, or which was made available to you on terms which preclude copying, then not only will you be personally liable, we might also be sued - and this would almost certainly result in the forum closing down.
Search engines and publication rights
Whatever you post is liable to be indexed by search engines and to appear in their results; do not post or upload confidential information or anything that might infringe the privacy of others. Anything you post or upload may be republished in the LostCousins newsletter, on the LostCousins website, or (since predicting the future is even more difficult than researching the past) anywhere else we deem appropriate.
No Spam or Advertising
Advertising of any commercial product or service on these forums is in general not permitted. You may recommend and link to websites that are likely to be of particular interest to family historians so long as you will not personally benefit, but because this forum is funded by advertising and/or commission your links may be modified or (in certain circumstances) removed in order to protect the viability of the forum.
Starting the same discussion in more than one forum is annoying and therefore not allowed - post it once in the correct place. If you're not sure where to post something you can ask a moderator for advice.
Charities, sponsorship, other good causes
Requesting charitable donations or sponsorship or otherwise promoting good causes is permitted only in the Good Causes forum. All posts in this forum will be checked by a moderator before being made public. Except in exceptional circumstances posts by members who have joined in the previous 90 days will not be approved.
Don't be deliberately awkward
Nobody is paid to run this forum, nor do we charge you to use it, so "the customer is always right" simply doesn't apply here.
Suspension and banning
Anyone who breaks the rules, tries to bend the rules, or otherwise makes a nuisance of themselves is likely to be suspended or permanently banned. If you wish to question a decision made by a moderator don't do so in public (even on a different website), contact an administrator privately. The decisions of administrators are final.