Usage rules for the Tango-L mailing list

Subscription and other general information on the Tango-L and Tango-A mailing lists is available on the Tango-L home page at

Last revised: 11 September 1999 with minor edits 22 April 2006 and 9 April 2007.
Clarification on "Reviews (permitted) vs. Personal attacks (not permitted)" and "Privacy Policy" added 6 April 2007. Further clarification and edits (in green) July/August 2008.

Note: These rules supplement Netiquette, the generally established rules governing acceptable behaviour on the Internet. I.e., members of this list are still expected to have read and to follow those guidelines. They may be obtained from a number of Internet souces, including RFC1855 at IETF or Wikipedia. While the rules have been stable for many years, constructive suggestions for improving are welcomed and may be sent to tango-L-owner [@] (specific suggestions and rewording are more useful than general or vague ones).


  1. Relevance of Postings
    1. Tango related only
    3. Negative reviews permitted (with strict requirements)
    4. Announcements of events (local, regional, or international) should go to Tango-A
    5. No personal mail
    6. Language of postings (English is most common but any is permitted)
  2. Copyrights
    1. Get permission before submitting copyright-protected works
    2. How may your own articles be copied without your (explicit) permission?
    3. Can you copy other people's articles without their permission?
  3. Formatting Requirements
    1. Plaintext (no HTML or formatting) postings without attachments only
    2. Use meaningful "Subject:" line
    3. No "1-liners" and other banalities
    4. Don't quote original unnecessarily on followups
  4. Common Sense Stuff
    1. Be courteous
    2. Don't monopolize the list
    3. Be aware of cultural differences
    4. Don't post private correspondence or other private information without the author's permission
    5. Compile responses to your questions, and post back to the list
  5. Commercial Postings (Advertising)
    2. 1-time introductions of professionals or organizations are OK, with annual reintroduction (other postings to Tango-A)
    3. Postings unrelated to Tango are explicitly prohibited
    4. Disinterested 3rd-party reviews OK (if they are of local scope, they should be go to Tango-A)
    5. Short affiliation on signature is acceptable
  6. List Abuse and Responses to Them
    1. Spam (obviously not permitted)
    2. Chain letters (obviously not permitted)
    3. NO DISCUSSION of list abuses on the list!
  7. Enforcement of rules
    1. Monitoring of subsequent postings
    2. PRIVATE e-mail by other list members (NOT to the entire list)
    3. If you aren't sure, ask the list administrator
    4. In extreme cases ...
  8. Usage Policy, Privacy Policy and Disclaimers
    1. Privacy Policy
    2. Responsibility for content lies with posters
    3. Usage Policy


  1. Relevance of Postings
    1. Tango related only.  All articles should be related to the Argentine Tango or a directly related dance or musical form.
    2. NO FLAMES, RANTS, SWEARING OR PERSONAL ATTACKS (Strongly Enforced)!  Personal flames or attacks on individuals are not permitted on this list. Heated debates on the merits or otherwise of a particular Tango technique, music, style, etc., or even objective critique, positive or negative, of a well-known Tango teacher, are perfectly appropriate; however, anything that degenerates into personal attacks should be relegated to personal e-mail. It is a strong preference of members of this list, as well as its hosts, the list owners, that this sort of "mean-spirited mood [and] ... juvenile invective ... [that] has seeped into conversations on [some] Internet newsgroups and other computer talk forums"[1] NOT be part of Tango-L. Besides, it is just plain boring to the 99% of list members not involved in the hostilities. Accordingly, you may find less tolerance from members of this list to violation of this rule than to most of the others. [1] Langdon Winner in "The Culture of Technology: Privileged Communications," MIT Technology Review, Spring 1996.

      Since this rule is enforced strictly and often without second chances, posters are advised to heed well the following:
      bulletAny point that you wish to make or contradict about what a person said can be done by referring to the idea that person conveyed and not the person himself. Be particularly aware of this if you mention someone by name; however, including more than one person in a flame, or referring generally to "all you people who ..." does not automatically shield you from what would otherwise be a flame if it were directed at one named individual.
      bulletGenerally mean-spirited or divisive posts, or rants (e.g., negative or complaining posts with no other redeeming content), are also prohibited even if no individuals are identified.
      bulletSwearing and hard language is not permitted (use a string of asterisks to convey the equivalent sentiment if you feel it is necessary to make your point).
      bulletHate-posts against groups or individuals (e.g., based on race, national original) are explicitly prohibited.
      bulletNo trolling (from Wikipedia: "someone who posts controversial and usually irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of baiting other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion) or straw man arguments (attempts to be inflammatory by intentionally attaching meaning to a previous post that was clearly not intended (for example as a vehicle for then attacking that "opinion").
      bulletIf you meet the spirit of the "4(a) Be courteous" and "4(c) Be aware of cultural differences" rules below, you should be fine.

    3. Negative reviews permitted (with strict requirements). Negative reviews of a particular teacher or event are permitted as a potential service to the Tango community, even if individuals are named. However, to prevent abuse of this exception as a way for people to campaign negatively against people they don't like, or their competitors, these reviews must meet ALL the following criteria: The purpose of this clarification to the rules is NOT to encourage negativism or criticism (there is enough of that already on Tango-L), but to clarify the requirements for those legitimately wishing to provide a negative review as a public service.
      bulletThe full name and Tango community (city or metropolitan region) of the poster must be identified. The intent of this requirement is to avoid anonymous postings or postings under unverifiable pseudonyms. There should be enough identification information that people from that community can verify the identity of the poster. (While there may be a legitimate argument for anonymous negative reviews, its potential for abuse is too great and so it is not permitted.)
      bulletThe person or event being reviewed must be a public figure or event in Tango, i.e., one that advertises or is advertised or otherwise promoted, even if on a limited scale.
      bulletThe poster should not be a competitor of the person about whom he or she wishes to post the negative review, or affiliated with a competitor or acting on behalf of a competitor (i.e., there should be no conflict of interest or ulterior motive).
      bulletThe poster should have had direct and personal experience of the teacher or event in question (i.e., not just based on hearsay).
      bulletSpecific details must be included to back up the negative opinion. The focus needs to be on objective items (even if it has a subjective component), and not on entirely subjective opinions.
      "The organizer is a jerk." Not acceptable (even if it is true).
      "I felt cheated because half the teachers advertised for the festival were not present and no refunds or other compensation was offered." Acceptable.
      bulletThe above rules apply even if the teacher is not identified by name if it's clear that the negative comments apply to an identifiable person or group. The following (similar to a real example posted on Tango-L by a teacher with an obvious conflict of interest) would not be permitted: "There's another couple in our community that have taught for years, but they've yet to produced a single successful student by themselves."
    4. Announcements of events (local, regional or international) should go to Tango-A.  Announcements of events should be posted on Tango-A, which was created specifically for this purpose, and not on Tango-L, which is primarily for Tango-related discussion rather than announcements. Certain non-commercial discussion and reviews of these events, however, may be more appropriate on Tango-L.
    5. No personal mail.  Do not send personal replies to the entire list; before sending the mail, please think about whether it would be of widespread interest to the whole community, or mainly just to the original poster or to one or two other persons only.
    6. Language of postings (English is most common but any is permitted).  English appears to be the de facto standard language of the list, inasmuch as it is understood by a majority of list members. However, articles may be posted in any language of the poster's choosing. Several postings appear in Spanish, and many of these are particularly appreciated by list members, such as postings from Argentina or from Spanish-speaking Tango authorities. Bilingual list members sometimes voluntarily translate them into English. (Translations in the other direction--from English to Spanish--have been rare, but are also welcomed.) So if you can express yourself better in another language, especially Spanish, you are welcomed to submit postings in that language. If you request, at the top of your article, that it be translated into English, it is quite likely that someone will do so.
  2. Copyrights
    1. Get permission before submitting copyright-protected works.  Do not submit any copyright-protected works, unless you have written permission from the copyright-owner (and include a statement to that effect).
    2. How may your own articles be copied without your (explicit) permission?  Any article submitted to this list may be stored, archived, translated into another language, made available for searches and retrievals, selected and redistributed by a moderator, gatewayed to related lists or Usenet groups or related forums, or otherwise copied and/or distributed electronically by automatic, semi-automatic or manual means. Such storage and redistribution is inherent to the function of the list, and any poster to this list acknowledges and permits such storage and redistribution by the list owners or administrators, or other persons authorized by them.
    3. Can you copy other people's articles without their permission?  There are conflicting opinions about the extent to which original articles distributed electronically on public forums are protected by copyright. These opinions vary from (a) "they are automatically in the public domain" (generally not considered supportable) to (b) "the author has absolute ownership with or without a copyright notice." The best course is for people reading or using others' articles to assume that original material posted to this list is fully protected by U.S. and International Copyright laws and agreements, and that they are responsible for knowing about and observing these laws. (Authors, however, should not assume that this position will necessarily be enforceable.)

      Notwithstanding legalities, the following is generally regarded as appropriate usage by the Internet community for articles posted to Internet mailing lists--however, these informal conventions are NOT represented as being accurate, authoritative, complete or even legal:
      bulletCopyright ownership remains with the article's author(s), whose permission must be obtained for use beyond "Fair Use," even if there is no explicit copyright notice.
      bulletCasual electronic distribution (e.g., to friends) and reposting to related electronic forums, archives, etc., are acceptable, as long as this is done with attribution and for no monetary or other tangible consideration. If this is done in a systematic or regular way (such as creating archives, gatewaying to a local newsgroup, etc.), the permission of the list administrator must be obtained first.
      bulletIt is common practice to quote back to the list in a followup article, portions or all of an article originally submitted publically to the list, with ones own comments interspersed (however, to avoid annoyingly long repetition, only the bare minimum of the original article should be requoted and only if necessary to reprovide the context
      bulletFor non-electronic media, paid subscriptions, etc., limited excerpting for reviews, summaries, etc., such as would be permitted under the "Fair Use" doctrine for any other Copyrighted work, is permitted, as long as the intent of the author is not distorted or misrepresented. The outright copying of an article for re-publication is almost always in violation of copyright statutes, unless you have obtained the permission of the author first. Publishers often use a "300-word limit on works quoted without permission"[2] as a maximum excerpting allowance for large works--although this sets a precedent, it is not part of the Copyright laws, so adhering to it does not guarantee that you are within the scope of "Fair Use." In particular, it is unlikely to be considered "Fair Use" for the sort of articles posted to Internet mailing lists, where 300 words may well be a large fraction, if not the entirety, of the work in question. It is suggested (but not guaranteed to be "Fair Use") that you use no more than 300 words or 10%, whichever is SMALLER, on works quoted without permission in non-electronic media, paid subscriptions, etc. [2] Paul & Sarah Edwards in "Publish, Don't Plagiarize," Home Office Computing, February 1996.
  3. Formatting Requirements
    1. Plaintext (no HTML) postings without attachments only.  The list accepts only plaintext (non-HTML) mail and, for protection against viruses, etc., and to keep the size of the e-mails and archives manageable, no attachments either. You may feel free to provide links in your e-mail postings to web sites with relevant photos, etc. If you send HTML mail, it may be held owing to its size being too large, or it may be automatically reformatted into plaintext (with sometimes unpredictable results).
    2. Use meaningful "Subject:" line.  Make the "Subject:" field of your message as explicit a 1-line description of the content of your message as you can. If you have a "digest" subscription and are following up to a previous posting, copy the exact contents of the original "Subject:" line (assuming it is an
      appropriate one for your follow-up), prepend the word "re: " and use that as the "Subject:" for your followup. Do not simply use the digest banner "Tango-L Digest, Vol xx, Issue yy" as the subject, even if that is the one that your mail reader generates automatically.
    3. No "1-liners" and other banalities.  Avoid 1-liners and other trivia. One- or two-line responses are almost always junk mail, e.g., "I agree!" "Yes, me [sic] too!" and the like. Either add some more value by elaborating, or use personal e-mail to show 1-line support (or lack of it) for someone's position. Similarly, one-liner links to other websites (especially YouTube sites) should at least be accompanied by some sort of brief explanation as to what is there, or why the poster felt it worthwhile (or why not) or relevant, and what sort of feedback he is looking for.
    4. Don't quote original unnecessarily on followups.  Don't quote the entire article when mailing a follow-up. Your mailer may make it easy to do this, and may even default to this (as most mailers unfortunately seem to be doing) but that's not a good reason to do so. People have read the previous article if they're interested in the subject, so you generally don't need to quote anything, or just the specific points you are addressing in your followup if is is truly necessary to provide context to and avoid misinterpretation of your response.

      Other similarly annoying and unnecessary practices: Inclusion of PGP keys, long signatures, etc.
  4. Common Sense Stuff
    1. Be courteous.  As with any community, it becomes a more pleasant place for us all if some common courtesy is maintained. This means refraining from sarcasm or attacks directed at other list members or groups, not demeaning other contributors, being welcoming to new members (or new posters) of the list, etc. Don't fall into the trap of letting the absence of face-to-face interaction lure you into forgetting the cordiality you would show if you met the person at a live event, práctica, etc. Please also see the section of these rules on "No flames."
    2. Don't monopolize the list.  Don't feel like you need to reply to every posting on which you have an opinion, unless there is some significant tango-related information you can add to it. So limit your submissions to no more than 4 per week, unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as daily "field reports" from a major week-long Tango Congress that you're attending). (List support functions, such as translations of articles posted by volunteer translators, or administrative messages, do not count towards this limit.)
    3. Be aware of cultural differences.  There are innumerable cultures and cultural differences represented on this list. Many may not be fluent in English (or whatever language you're posting in), and the e-mail medium makes it difficult to interpret true intent. Human communication is 85% non-verbal and 15% verbal. Things can be said orally that, because of body language, intonation, etc., take on a whole different meaning. In e-mail, the only thing transmitted is what is written. "Smileys" and other attempts at denoting emotions are a poor substitute and can themselves be misinterpreted. The following rule will always stand you in good stead:

      "Be generous in the interpretation of what you read, and sensitive in your language in what you write."
    4. Don't post private correspondence or other private information without the author's permission.  Privately received correspondence should not be posted publically without the consent of the author. This could be either private e-mail, or even an article from a small or intimate private discussion group whose members may expect a high degree of privacy in their postings. Similarly, private information such as phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc., if individuals should not be posted without their consent.
    5. Compile responses to your questions, and post back to the list.  When posting requests for information, ask for information to be sent directly to you (rather than to the entire list) and offer to compile the responses for posting to the entire list. Then do it!
  5. Commercial Postings (Advertising)
    1. ALMOST ALL COMMERCIAL POSTINGS BELONG IN TANGO-A.  Virtually all commercial Tango-related postings are in fact announcements, either of forthcoming events, e.g., workshops or special events, or of sources for Tango materials (e.g., CDs). These announcements are now permitted on Tango-A, subject to the posting rules of Tango-A, which are much more liberal in this regard than those of Tango-L prior to the existence of Tango-A. As stated in Section 1(c), such announcements are consequently no longer appropriate on Tango-L and should be posted on Tango-A.
    2. 1-time introductions of professionals or organizations are OK, with annual reintroduction (other postings to Tango-A).  It is permitted to make a one-time introduction of oneself as a Tango professional or a Tango organization (commercial, community or non-profit) to the list membership, and this may be repeated no more frequently than once a year. Note that this introduction should be just that--information on specific events or classes should be sent to Tango-A.
    3. Postings unrelated to Tango are explicitly prohibited.  Postings that are not directly related to the Tango are explicitly prohibited.
    4. Disinterested 3rd-party reviews OK (if they are of local scope, they should be go to Tango-A).   Reviews of teachers, etc., by disinterested third parties (whose only relationship is that of satisfied--or dissatisfied--customer) are not considered commercial postings, and are always welcomed. If it is a review of a local event or a local teacher, however, it should probably go as a follow-up to a posting to Tango-A. (Such postings should include a statement of your lack of affiliation, and that you weren't asked to make such a post.) See also Item 1(c) on Negative reviews permitted (with strict requirements).
    5. Short affiliation on signature is acceptable.  It is acceptable to include in your signature 2 additional lines that contain the name of your Tango-related business and a website or email address of that business.
  6. List Abuse and Responses to Them
    1. Spam (obviously not permitted).  Every once in a while, someone will post an advertisement to all the mailing lists and/or newsgroups that he can possibly find (a "spam"). Of course, this is unlikely to be related to the Tango and since the poster rarely if ever subscribes to any of these lists, a rule that says "No spams" is irrelevant. However, we state this rule anyway: "No spam and no advertising unrelated to the subject matter of the list." (There are some built-in mechanisms to minimize the likelihood of most spam reaching the list members.)
    2. Chain letters (obviously not permitted).  This is strictly forbidden by the policies of the sponsoring institution (MIT), and includes any posting that explicitly requests further distribution in a manner intended to replicate in a chain reaction fashion beyond a particular discussion group. The definition of a chain letter is not limited to those which request money--Virus "alerts," political petitions, attempts to set world records for e-mail received and "e-mail bomb" requests are some other examples of what would be considered a chain letter.
    3. NO DISCUSSION of list abuses on the list!  Should someone abuse the list in any way, whether or not identified in these rules, the most important rule is that NO followup note or discussion of any kind about the abuse should be sent to the whole list, as that just multiplies manifold the junk mail created by that
      spam. Appropriate responses are (in order of preference):
      bulletSend an email to the administrator at tango-L-owner @ pointing out the violation (if you feel strongly enough about it)
      bulletDelete and ignore
      bulletWrite up a nasty letter to the originator, to get it out of your system, and then delete both the letter and the original e-mail (or send it to the INDIVIDUAL if you must, but it will probably bounce or go to the wrong person)
      bulletSend a nice letter to the service provider from which site the mail originated, requesting that the offender be disciplined, permanently denied access, etc.
      bulletJoin one of the discussions on net abuse on some OTHER suitable list or newsgroup, where such things are discussed ad nauseum
      bulletAs far as this list is concerned, anything else, as long as it does NOT involve the entire list.
  7. Enforcement of rules

    You may wish to read the contents of an email sent by the list administrator to the list in February 2008 explaining how the Tango-L list is moderated.

    1. Monitoring of subsequent postings.  In most cases, violation of rules by a list member is unintentional and only requires education of the offender as to proper usage. Less often, it is a flagrant or repeated violation by someone who believes he is above the rules. The list administrators will generally send an explanatory note explaining the problem. In the case of repeated or severe violations (intentional or otherwise) the list administrators may screen all further postings to the list from the individual(s) concerned until there is positive evidence that the problem has abated, in order to protect the list and its membership.
    2. PRIVATE e-mail by other list members (NOT to the entire list).  If you believe someone has violated a rule, send the person a politely worded message informing him or her of that, preferably with the relevant portion of these rules attached. Do this by private e-mail ONLY--do NOT chastise the person publically on the list as this leads to the inevitable flame-war. This is NOT a suggestion to "mail bomb" the person; rather, it is hoped that a large number of private reprimands (especially in the case of intentional violations) will make it clear that the behaviour was inappropriate. You may send a copy of that mail to the administrators at if you would like to.
    3. If you aren't sure, ask the list administrator.  If you would like to submit an article that you think is marginal, you are welcome to e-mail it first to the list administrator at for an opinion. Siumilarly, if you believe that someone is flagrantly or repeatedly violating the list rules and the the administrators are not controlling this properly, please forward the relevant messages to the administrators at and they will consider the situation.
    4. In extreme cases ...   It is hoped that the above procedure will suffice. However, to protect the list and its members, it is necessary to state that you may be removed from the list, and/or kept from posting to it, under circumstances including, but not limited to, the following: Extreme, continued or intentional violation of the list guidelines and policies, or of Internet usage conventions (as determined solely by the list administrator or list owner, or person(s) designated by the list administrator or list owner); violation of the acceptable use policies of the sponsoring institution (MIT); violation of any applicable law, including copyright law; any other action that, in the sole opinion of the list administrator or list owner, or person(s) designated by the list administrator or list owner, may be harmful to the list, its members, or the computer or communications facilities or networks that support it.

    Note that while the moderators or list administrators will generally try to guide otherwise well-intentioned posters, they are not obliged to provide an explanation or justification for their actions to posters who abuse the list rules. In all cases, they will exercise their judgement and their decision is final.

  8. Usage Policy, Privacy Policy and Disclaimers
    1. Privacy Policy.  Within the security mechanisms available to the list administrators, they attempt to keep the membership of this list private, i.e., the list of members is not openly available. However, anyone posting to the list has his or her email address publicized to all members of the list, and potentially to the entire Internet by virtue of publically accessible archives of this list. This may subject the list member to unwanted email ("spam") or similar abuse, over which the list administrators have no control. Human error, on the part of the administrators or this list or the computer systems that support it, may also inadvertently make the contents of the membership available to a wider audience than intended.

      Posters of articles to this list should not assume any privacy with respect to the contents of their postings. Specifically (a) postings cannot be withdrawn once they have been made; and (b) postings are archived on one or more archives on the Internet (which the administrators may have no control over) and which may be publically accessible or searchable by commonly available search engines, not just to the membership of this list but to the entire Internet community..
    2. Responsibility for content lies with posters.  This list is only a distribution medium. Submitters are wholly responsible for the content and appropriateness of all mailings made to the list.
    3. Usage Policy.  All members of the Tango community worldwide are invited to join Tango-L as guests of the list maintainers and the sponsoring organization, subject to their agreement to observe the list rules, as they exist at the time, and as they may be modified from time to time.

      List members' privileges on participating may be limited, suspended or eliminated, at the sole discretion of the list administrators or sponsoring organization, or person(s) delegated by them, for any actions inconsistent with these list rules or the spirit of these rules, or actions that may jeopardize the computer facilities or networks supporting this list or those of its other members.

      Any subscriber or poster to the list agrees with all the terms and conditions stated in these rules, including any modifications that may be made from time to time, with or without advance notice. Any members subscribing to this list agrees to unsubscribe immediately if they do not agree with all the usage rules stated here, and agree to seek help in unsubscribing if they cannot do so themselves, by sending an email to requesting such assistance.

      Although the list administrators attempt to limit abusive behaviour, and retain full authority to remove members from the list or restrict their access to the list, with or without cause, list members acknowledge that this is an open and public list and the list administrators, list owners, and sponsoring organizations are not responsible for the policing of this list or their members, or for the content or source of information that appears on this list.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the operation of Tango-L, please send e-mail to <tango-L-owner [@]>.

Shahrukh Merchant
"Tango-L" co-administrator
tango-L-owner [@]