AuthorTopic: Mud-Club Philosophy and code of conduct  (Read 13234 times)

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Mud-Club Philosophy and code of conduct
« on: February 21, 2009, 22:06:13 »
So who or what is Mud-Club ?

Mud- Club is a free to join club of Off-Road enthusiasts whose space on this earth is principly orientated around being an "internet" based club, that is to say we have a website which facilitates it's members meeting up, organising events and generally chatting away the days.

Is the club "family friendly" ?

Very much so,  Events are arranged by and large to take full families wherever possible, we have members who are too young to walk, to those members who are too old to walk.  With many of them being at inbetween stages and abilities.

We do not believe in any form of discrimination be it based on age, height, weight, colour, ability, IQ or anything else persons may choose to discriminate against, all we ask is that you participate following a limited set of guidelines which we believe all people can follow regardless of their own circumstances.

In the words of Andy McCluskey, "It doesn't matter if you're black or white, or the god you choose to pray to, it doesn't matter about the clothes you wear or which creator made you".  If you don't agree with that sentiment then please refrain from expressing any opinions to the contrary.

And what are those guidelines?

That depends upon where you are and what you're doing to some extent, however there are several areas with a more concrete definition of what is and what isn't acceptable.

The Mud-Club Forum and Live Chat

So what are the guidelines?

Very simple really,  no swearing, no threats and no abusive behaviour.  We would politely ask that you remember there may be children reading each and every conversation you partake in and that you will temper your language and activities accordingly.   Sadly the internet has no "height restriction" on the door and we must therefore refrain from language which may be offensive to minors.   Racial slurs won't be tolerated, no will deliberate attacks on members, either verbal, physical or philosophical.   Basically "be excellent to each other, and party on"

So I can't swear?

We'd much rather you didn't.  If you think about it, swearing rarely adds anything to a conversation other than emphasis and there are a great deal of other ways of adding emphasis to your words.   There are of course places for everything, but we would ask that you take a little care in what you say here, if only to keep delicate eyes from learning any new ways to express their preferences for staying up late.   I know we all swear on a daily basis, but if a six year old is sat next to you in a bar, you'd temper your language accordingly, please try to do the same when there's a virtual one sat to the left of your keyboard.

That isn't very patriotic

There are a great number of problems in this country,  all of which are solvable, but not with violence or prejudice.  It is possible to be patriotic without being racist and that's without realising that religion, social upbringing and country of birth doth not a "race" make.

On a genetic level two individuals are nigh on impossible to tell apart, and only halfway removed from a cabbage.  Bleating on about the differences caused by the one will invariably draw comparisons with the other.   Provided we all adhere to the guidelines of the club and of "decent" society it doesn't matter what you are, since "who" you are is always a more interesting question.

I asked someone for advice, I followed it and now my car has exploded!

Well, whilst we can sympathise and you are of course welcome to ask for further assistance in repairing it, the actual damage done was your own doing and you do follow any advice you get at your own risk.  That might sound callous but vehicles are dangerous items and any modification done to them is done entirely at the owners risk, note that some modifications can invalidate the vehicle's insurance, it's MOT and even it's registration.  Be warned that not all advice on the internet is "good" advice.

Administrators, Moderators, Members?  Isn't that discriminatory?

Is it discriminatory that some people have more rights than others ?  Possibly, but we like to think that the Administrators, Moderators and members are more or less equal in the eyes of the "club", however, if you think of the club as a classroom, we do need the odd teacher and/or prefect to maintain order and calm.

But he's picking on me!

Personal threats will not be tolerated, nor will insults, abusive behaviour or anything along those lines.  However please remember that human communication is a combination of what is said, the way it is said (tone) and what is done whilst it is said (body language),  two thirds of which is missing in a written medium.  In cases where there is more than one way to interpret a statement try to choose the one which isn't offensive to you.  It might not be intended as a personal slur, and at the end of the day it's yourself that is getting upset.

No, I'm fairly certain it was offensive

The first thing to do is to refrain from retaliating.  If by some means the original statement wasn't meant as an attack, the response almost certainly will be  and on the occasion where the original post was meant to be taken personally retaliating is doing little than to rise to the bait.   Posting angry replies to threads rarely works and will usually escalate into a full blown argument.  M.A.D or "Mutually Assured Destruction" doesn't work with nuclear weapons, and it doesn't work too well on the Internet either.

So what do I do about it ?

First step is for both parties to step away from the keyboard and take a few deep breaths.  Ask yourself whether the argument which is about to ensue will matter in an hour, or three hours, or a week.  In most cases it probably won't.   However, there are cases where it will, or you're just generally feeling hurt and abused.  In those cases you should use the "report post" button on the top of each thread,  this will allow you to alert the moderators and administrators to your feelings and they will take appropriate action.

What's "appropriate action" ?

A hard one to answer, however in most cases it will certainly involve removing the offending post as a minimum and may result in further action being taken against the protagonists if it is deemed necessary.  The moderators may choose to inform the parties involved, discuss it amongst themselves or as is often the case try to deal with the situation in a hurry and then have to go to work.  However, it will be dealt with by one or more moderators and/or administrators.

Where's my post gone?  Who do I scream at?

There are many many reasons for moderators removing posts, but there is always a reason.  Before flying off the handle ask yourself whether the post might have been moved to a different section, removed because it was a duplicate or removed because it was offensive.   Note that we will treat anything considered "offensive" equally, and whilst you yourself might be quite difficult to offend other people's circumstances differ.

But I want to scream!

There are times when people feel hard done by, picked upon or otherwise unjustly moderated.  In these situations we would politely request that you contact one of the administrators and discuss the problem with them.  Contrary to popular belief the moderators and administrators rarely have long term memories and any transgressions by members are quickly forgotten so victimisation is surprisingly rare.  If you do feel victimised then please do talk to us, we are for the most part human and will address any such complaints seriously.

Why am I on probation ?

Well, the flippant answer would be "because you did something wrong",  the less flippant answer is that probation is used by the Administrators to signal that a member has been repeatedly transgressing the rules we are all supposed to adhere to.  A "probation" notice should serve as a warning that things have been pushed a bit too far.  Note, moderators can ask for someone to be placed on probation, but only administrators may do so.  Even then it is done with a heavy heart, but we've had people threaten moderators with legal action and physical assault for removing posts and editing swear words, a situation which isn't tolerable.   

So what happens now?

This is rather up to you, You should have received notification of why you were placed on probation, or should at the very least be able to infer the reasoning from any recent communications with the moderators.  Now, you can either stop doing it, or not.  Nobody has the power to control your actions, and you can chose to ignore any warnings in life that you happen to dislike.   Generally speaking however, continuing to bait the moderators, swear, yell, scream, threaten people and generally stick your head into the lions mouth whilst insulting it's mother is unlikely win too many supporters. 

Taking the matter to the forums isn't likely to work too well either,  we appreciate that you may disagree but would rather you didn't show your dirty laundry in public.  You should also realise that two can play at that game :)

So, generally speaking the best option is just to shut up.  After a week or two of good behaviour the probation notice will go away and we'll all forget about it and we can go about our business as usual.

And if I refuse to play ?

It is your entitlement to conduct your business in whatever manner you wish, however Mud-Club is obligated to protect it's members and entitled to conduct it's affairs as the administrators see fit.  Repeated offenses and ignored probations will result in punitive measures and account termination.  As rude as that sounds,  you can play wherever you like, but to play here you should play by the rules.


So what are the guidelines

Mud-Club essentially follows the GLASS code of conduct, which is available in full from the GLASS website, we do have a few amendments to it which make it a bit more restrictive but basically we follow that one.   There are several other sets of guidelines, the ones from CRAG are an example of these and whilst all fine bodies of work, we had to chose one, so we chose GLASS's  since they're all basically the same in spirit, we feel that "which" wasn't important.

So, in a nutshell?

A Greenlane is a road, that's the long and the short of it, and therefore we expect people to drive along them accordingly.  You must be legally entitled to be there, that is to say that you are driving down a road not a footpath, be insured, be in a legal vehicle and be legally entitled to drive the vehicle in question.


Well, you wouldn't let your child drive down the M1, so you shouldn't let them drive down a greenlane either.   Because it is a road the same rules apply to it (to some extent) as the aforementioned motorway, hence you must be in a vehicle with valid tax, MOT, insurance etc.  You must also have a valid driving licence etc.

Anything else ?

Plenty..  A Greenlane is defined as a BOAT, or "Byway Open to All Traffic".  You cannot drive down a restricted byway, bridleway, footpath, canal, river, washing line or over somebody's property.   For the sake of all concerned stay on the byway, you have no legal entitlement to drive elsewhere and are most likely trespassing.  You may well be able to get your wheel on that impressive rock at the side of the lane, but I can also pitch my tent in your living room, it doesn't mean I'm allowed to or that you'd appreciate the peg holes in the persian.   "Because I can" might justify why people climb mountains, but it doesn't cut a great deal of mustard legally or morally.

Leave the Ego and the Machismo at home as well.   I know it's tempting, but generally speaking a lane should not be "challenging", if you can't pass by without causing damage consider hard whether you should be there at all.  You might have a "right" to drive there, but these are difficult times and damaging a lane will do little to help you keep that right.

Be aware as well that vehicles in general can be quite intimidating,  not that you should be expected to change vehicle of course, but if confronted try to appreciate your appearance from the other side of the fence.   Remember that big "heavily modified" vehicles aren't required, since if you need "heavy modifications" you quite possibly shouldn't be trying to drive it.  This isn't a restriction on what you can drive, since we have little right or inclination to dictate that, merely an attempt to highlight the 'issue'.

There is a caveat here of course, but winches shouldn't be necessary, nor really should towing.  If you want to play in the serious stuff go to a private site to do so, if you're looking for a "mud plugging" exercise then perhaps laning isn't for you.   If challenged try not to adopt a bullish attitude.  Consider backing down,  if someone is particularly irate that you are on a lane, consider going elsewhere.  There are usually alternatives and if you behave reasonably and responsibly it might help to lose the reputation that off roaders can tend to have.

Note, there have been prosecutions brought against off roaders for damage inflicted to byways and for land adjacent to them (which they were not entitled to be on), these prosecutions have led to a variety of things, including fines, vehicles being crushed and other associated "nasties", so we really must emphasise that care be taken for your own protection as much as the club's.

What are "Regional Reps"

A Regional representative is a Mud-Club member who has been appointed to coordinate events in a specific area of the country.

So they run all the events ?

No, not necessarily.  A regional rep is welcome to run any events they wish to run, as is anyone else.  However a regional representative should be made aware that there is an event being arranged in the area so that he/she can keep track of what is going on locally, as well as offer advice, assistance and a central point of communication for members.

So I can run my own events?

Yes, within reason.  You are of course at liberty to pursue life as you see fit, however we do have some regulations and restrictions we insist upon being met if an event is to be run under the "Mud-Club" banner.  These are in place to protect you and anyone at the event from harm and to cover the club's legal and moral obligations.

Legal and Moral obligations?

Forgive the rather ambiguous wording of that statement, but as so often in life the exact circumstances of what you're doing impact on how you should behave.  Generally speaking a Mud-Club event would insist on all parties present behaving responsibly, within the confines of the law etc etc, but may also say that parties should adhere to the GLASS code of conduct if on a green lane, should adhere to the site rules and regulations if at a pay and play site etc.

The Club has little interest in it's name, the sport, or the off-roading community as a whole being brought into disrepute by the actions of any of it's members.  Any member behaving in a manner considered to be damaging to the club will be dealt with accordingly.


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