About the rec.arts.dance newsgroup and others like it.

v About rec.arts.dance

Discussion topics

This is an unmoderated discussion forum on practically all dance forms and issues. Most of the discussion focuses on social dance (in particular ballroom, swing, and country & western), but folk, tap, clogging, belly dancing, polka, disco, hustle, freestyle, slam, etc. are also legitimate topics. Some discussion of jazz, ballet, and folk dancing exists, but most of that traffic is in the groups rec.folk-dancing and alt.arts.ballet . Some of the traffic in this group comes from gateways with the ballroom and country-western dance mailing lists. These are discussed elsewhere.

This group includes discussions about technique, styling, dance troupes, specific dancers, camps and workshops, competitions, and equipment, as well as conditioning for dance, injuries (their treatment and rehabilitation), stretching, etc. (There are FAQ lists regarding these last few points; see elsewhere. Moreover, this group welcomes queries concerning what dance clubs or organizations are in your area (please use restricted distribution) and how to get started dancing.

If there is no discussion of your favourite dance going on at present, that does not mean you should not feel free to start a discussion yourself.


This is a great forum to help dancers hook up with one another, whether for workshops, competitions, instruction, or simply finding a place to dance in a city you will be visiting.

This group is not for commercial use. Advertising for profit (as opposed to occasional recommendations by actual dancers) is not welcome. On the other hand, announcements of competitions, exhibitions, and special events are appropriate, even if they are for profit. If you are a for-profit dance person and you really really really want the net to know about your existence, please post a short and to the point note with an email address or web site where people can obtain further information. Frequent reposts of such a notice are NOT appreciated.

The exact charter of this group can be read on ftp://ftp.std.com/customers/nonprofits/dance/rec-arts-dance/charter.txt .

Who visits this group?

All sorts of people, doing all sorts of dances, at all sorts of levels. If you dance, you'll fit right in.

Are there any guidelines for posting?

Not really. If you think you have something interesting to say, just post it. That said, here are some common sense do and don'ts. The following is excerpted from an article in Country Calendar.

1.) If you are new to a mail list or newsgroup and see a large number of messages that you just have to answer, it may be better to only answer a couple of them at first. As in any form of communication, when you are "the new kid on the block," it is usually better to ease into a group discussion rather than jump in and monopolize the floor. Keep in mind that everything sent to the cw-dance mail list is gatewayed to rec.arts.dance so there are literally thousands of people reading these messages each day. Make sure that what you have to say would be of interest to a large percentage of the readers.

2.) If you are posting a new message, make sure that the subject line is short but specific. For example, "C/W Dance" is too vague, but "C/W Two Step Question" lets the reader know what the content of the message will be.

3.) When responding to a message, only quote that part of the message that is relevant to your response. Delete any unnecessary text but make sure that it is clear to whose message you are responding and what the context is. In other words, quote at least part of the previous message so that your response can be understood by everyone. Also, if you are going off on a tangent from the original subject line, change the subject line so that it directly relates to your response.

4.) Since this is a written form of communication, spelling and grammar do make a difference in how your message is received and perceived. Re-read your message at least once, preferably twice, before hitting the send button. Check for spelling errors and typos and make sure that your message makes sense. Also, foul language and "four-letter words" are a big no-no online.

5.) DO NOT USE ALL CAPS. This is the equivalent of shouting and is hard on the eyes. It's also considered very rude.

6.) Here are some formatting tips: if you are using a word processor with automatic wrap, be aware that your post may look hideous on the screen of someone who has different software. Keep the length of your lines to 72 characters or less, which means you may have to hit the return key yourself. Also, leave a blank line every once in a while; this makes a long message much easier to read.

7.) Remember that people use many different types of computers. Do not use characters formed by the ALT key (PC) or Option key (Mac); stick with regular letters and numbers only. Also, do not post pictures or sound files and do not use MIME encoding for posts.

8.) If someone posts something that really makes you mad, it is a good idea to wait a day or two before responding. Do not make the mistake of responding to something in anger only to regret posting it the next day.

9.) If someone sends you a message via private e-mail, do not quote their message to the entire newsgroup or mail list unless you have their permission.

10.) The newsgroups and mail lists are not for commercial use. If you have something to market, be discreet about it. Post once, advertising your existence and include an e-mail address or Web site where people can obtain further information.

11.)Here are some examples of when it is NOT appropriate to respond to a message:

Do not quote an entire message and at the bottom put something like, "I agree" or "Me, too." If you want to let someone know that you agree with their point, send them a private e-mail rather than posting to the entire group. In other words, if you do not have something significant to contribute to the discussion, it is better to keep quiet.

If someone asks for information that is common knowledge (e.g., who sang this song?), check if it has already been answered before you send off your reply. Even then, consider sending your response by private e-mail instead of posting to the whole group or list.

If you see a completely off-topic message (money making opportunity, phone sex, etc.) do not respond. The person posting is mostly likely not checking for answers, and their address is likely forged. Just ignore messages like that.

These "netiquette rules" are far from complete, but they may be of some help as you navigate your way on the Information Super-Dance Floor. I must admit that I have broken some of these rules myself, but mistakes are okay, especially if we learn from them. [Ann Detsch detsch@uclink4.berkeley.edu ]

I want to announce an event

By all means, go ahead. But give your message a descriptive subject line so that people not in your area won't waste their time. Try to mention the location and the date of the event.

A good subject line would have the following form:

EVENT: title; place; date


EVENT: Wild Week (Dance Camp); Port Townsend, WA, USA; 12/26/95-1/1/96

I want to post a neat picture.

Please don't. Binary material takes up much more space than text postings. If you really want to share your pictures, you can do the following:

Can we split this newsgroup? I'm not interested in dance X.

Rec.arts.dance gets posts from many types of social and competition dancers, though mostly ballroom, country-western, and swing at this time. Some of the topics are specific to one dance type, and some are more general.

It's sometimes suggested that r.a.d should be split into more specific subgroups, such as rec.arts.dance.ballroom. Creating a new newsgroup is not a simple matter; for this to happen, someone will have to take on personal responsibility to create and refine an acceptable proposal and follow it through the formal Request For Discussion and Call For Votes process as documented in news.announce.newusers. From beginning to end this will take at least 3-4 months, and possibly much longer. Just posting complaints accomplishes nothing other than increasing the noise level.

It is not clear that such a proposal would be voted in, for several reasons. A rule of thumb is that group volume should be on the order of 100 posts/day before a split is likely to pass, and r.a.d does not have this volume. Many readers have strong objections to a split and would campaign and vote against it. There would be lengthy arguments over just what the split should be. Finally, many topics are likely to be crossposted between new subgroups anyway, so a split might not have the desired effect.

Another way to cut down on posts you aren't interested in seeing is provided by most news readers, which can "kill" articles with a specified subject or author. This can be done immediately and be tailored to your preferences..

A final possibility is to stop reading rec.arts.dance and subscribe to one or more of the topic-specific mailing lists (3.2), such as cw-dance, ballroom-l, or tango-l. Most appropriate posts are gatewayed from the group to the mailing lists, but you will probably miss out on some articles you would be interested in. (JL)

If you still think, after reading the above, that a split is a good idea, and you are the one willing to write the proposal and get the wheels in motion, you should realise the following. Many people on rec.arts.dance are against a split. For your proposal to be accepted you need 100 more yes than no votes, and 2/3 of the vote should be in favour. In other words, you need at least 100 people wiling to vote for your plan, and for everyone voting against a split you will need two more people for it.

Who deletes my messages?

Newsgroups and the messages in them are kept on your local machine. No one deletes them from the outside (ok, there is such a thing as a cancel, but that is rare). Instead, your local system 'expires' messages after they have been around for a while, usually a couple of days. So don't propose on the newsgroup that messages should be kept longer: that is purely a local matter on your machine. (This paragraph does not apply to people that receive newsgroups via mailing lists: most mail systems keep messages indefinitely.)

> About newsgroups in general

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup rec.arts.dance. The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994/5/6/7/8/9/2000 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

You may link to this page and make copies for private use in any form, but reproduction in any means, including book or CDROM, is not allowed without permission from the copyright holder. When linking, the page may not be displayed in a frame: use the full window, or open a new one.

It goes without saying that the maintainer of this FAQ takes no responsibility for any inaccuracies in the information presented here or for any use or abuse of this information. The maintainer is neither a doctor nor a lawyer.

Last modified on: Saturday, October 9, 1999.