Expected Etiquette For Group Members

The Big Band Charts Group is a wonderful community of big band musicians who have come together primarily for the purpose of helping each other out with missing parts, scores, etc., for big band charts that either have never been published or are out of print.


The main reason it's such a wonderful group is that most everyone is polite and considerate of others.


When you participate in the group, we all expect you to be polite and considerate as well, and to abide by the other etiquette guidelines listed below. That way, we can keep this group being as wonderful as it is right now.


The guidelines aren't hard-and-fast RULES; we don't have jackbooted storm troopers poised to raid your rehearsal if you don't abide by them. It's just a voluntary set of courtesies that has evolved as the group has grown. We hope you agree, and will help us keep this group a happy one.


Quick links to the guidelines:


Etiquette Guidelines

Stay on topic. Occasionally, a discussion takes a rabbit trail, and as long as the discussion doesn't stray too far from the subject of big bands and their music, it's probably okay for a short while. But discussion of most other topics are best taken to another forum or conducted via private emails, not broadcast to the entire group.


Be careful with humor. In emails or forum postings, it's often difficult to tell when someone is joking. To be sure we don't hurt someone else's feelings, if you're joking, please include some indication of this, such as (Grin!) after your comment, or an emoticon (such as :-D). If you must poke fun, do so at YOURSELF, not at another person.


Be clear. Before you click "SEND," read over your email one more time. Ask yourself, "Is there ANY possible way someone could misunderstand this? Or be confused by it?" Remember our group has over 500 members in it (as of August 2015), and not all of them are as smart as you are. Also, while we conduct our group's business in English, we have MANY members whose primary language is not English. Therefore, if there is any possible way someone could misunderstand or even be confused by what you wrote, please take the time to go back and rewrite it.


Here's an example, one I just received as a group posting today. "I recently bought a copy of this. has anyone else bought this and performed it?" Huh? This was the ONLY line in the message. Sure, the name of the tune was in the subject line, but what the sender didn't realize is that several email programs do not display the subject line when they show the message. How much more trouble would it have been to write, "I recently bought a copy of the McNerfball arrangement of Bithering Idiots. Has anyone else... (etc.)" That would have been much more clear, and immediately understood.


No "flames." The word "flame" is used in online forums to describe put-downs of an individual. This includes use of negative adjectives, like "stupid" or "idiot." If we're going to be polite and considerate, there are better ways to say what we mean. If what you have to say is not complimentary, please consider whether you need to say it at all. If you need to poke someone or disparage someone, the ONLY acceptable target is ... yourself.


On the other hand, it's perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to lavish praise and approbation on other members.


Offer trades. Always offer something in trade whenever you request help from the group. There are two main ways to do this. First, you can post a chart to the group along with your request. Before doing this, be sure the chart is not on the No-Trade List, and try to be reasonably certain it's new to the group, such as a chart you've written yourself. The other way to offer a trade is to simply say so in your request, for example, "Could someone please help me find the second alto part to the Damien arrangement of GORGONZOLA? My trade list on request."


Speaking of a trade list, that brings us to YOUR list of tunes to trade. Typically, members here keep all their charts (PDF scans of their charts) in a single directory or folder on a hard drive. The contents of this directory or folder becomes your list of tunes to offer in trade. Please see our Directory Tools page for a discussion of how to turn your directory listing into a list suitable for trading.


Of course, it should go without saying that once you offer a trade, if someone requests a tune in trade, you should follow through on your offer.


When posting charts for the group, post in PDF format only, with all pages in one file. The chart should be complete, including a score if possible; if the chart is not complete, please at least include a note indicating which parts are missing.


It's okay to post Finale .mus or Sibelius .sib files, but these are NOT considered "charts." Rather, these postings are for others in the group who have Finale or Sibelius, so they can edit the scores, for such needs as to add missing parts, for example.


Use A Descriptive Email Subject. Many of our members filter through the tons of email we get by looking at the subject lines. Therefore, it's a great help to others if when you post a message to the group, you take a few extra seconds and be sure to create a descriptive SUBJECT for your email.


Something like "Need bari part for Nestico arr of YAK WAXING" is much better than simply "Need help" or worse, no subject at all.


When you reply to a thread and there has been a change of subject, it's also a good idea to change the subject to reflect the new direction of the thread.


Use Your Name. While some people are sensitive about "releasing" their names into the wild internet (and because of this we somewhat reluctantly allow "handles" or pseudonyms), we haven't had any problems reported from members because of using their real names. So if you can, it would be nice to sign your posts with your real name and location. The group does enjoy knowing who they're "listening" to, and it's nice to see where everyone is from, so we can see just how widespread this group (and big band music) is.


Don't Freeload. This is simply a corollary of the "Offer Trades" guideline. If you ask for help from the group without offering anything in return, members will come to consider you a leech, or freeloader, and will begin to shun you and ignore your future requests. Do enough freeloading and you will be booted out of the group.


Remove Other Email Addresses When Forwarding/Replying. We all hate spam. Slimeball spammers LOVE to get forwarded emails with dozens or hundreds of other email addresses contained within - they all go into their machine to receive still more spam.


If you send an email to more than one person, unless you're sure everyone is pals, it's a good idea to use the BCC address box to put the recipients in. That way, none of the recipients can see the others' email addresses. If you are forwarding something cool, please delete all those other email addresses from the body of the email before you click SEND. (Thanks to John B for reminding us!) This will help us all keep our addresses more concealed from those with nefarious purposes.


What To Include When Replying. When replying to another post, you should include just enough from the previous message to let everyone know what your answer is referring to - and NO MORE.


On the minimalist extreme, how often have you been confused, by a posting that said something like, "That's a great idea! Please do it." with no other clue what it meant?


At the other extreme are multiple reply-to emails, with the entire 27-message history included below your post. Some of these posts get to be incredibly long, and they don't need to be. Please delete all but the relevant content. Also, if your post to the group has too many reply-to levels, the Yahoo server will simply delete it without sending.


Say Thanks. Not only is this the polite thing to do, but letting the group know you've received what you're looking for will let everyone else know they can quit looking.


Be sure to state WHAT it is you were looking for, because sometimes there are several requests floating around out there.


EXAMPLE: "Thanks so much to all who responded. I now have the missing trombone parts to Warbleflop's arrangement of CLAMBURGER BLUES."


(Thanks to Doug S for reminding us.)


More? Just monitor the group for a week or two, and you'll pretty quickly pick up how we operate.


Please click on any of the links at the top of the page for more information on any of the listed topics.