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Forum Rules

ABRSM's website forums have been designed to allow lively and constructive debate of issues relating to music and music education.

By maintaining a user account and by posting to these forums, you hereby agree to abide by these rules.

Forums members, please note that these rules exist for your own protection and to ensure that the ABRSM forums remain a friendly, safe and supportive environment for all users.

To that end, members are asked to be vigilant and to report any breaches of these forums rules to a member of our moderation team.

1. Stay safe online

When using ABRSM's forums, the safety of our members is our number one priority. Protect your privacy and stay safe online by following these simple guidelines:

  • 1. Don't give out detailed information about yourself, such as your age, your telephone or mobile number or your home address - even if people ask for it.
  • 2. If someone asks where you're from, it's best only to say a region or a town - don't give anyone your home address.
  • 3. The only name you should give out on the forums is your registered username or your first name.
  • 4. Never send a picture of yourself, your family or your friends to anyone you don't already know and trust.
  • 5. Don't post your email address on the forums. The last thing you want is people hassling you with email messages or adding your address to their spamming lists!
  • 6. Be careful who you trust online and don't believe everything people tell you. If all you can see is the words they are typing, you can't be 100% sure that they're who they say they are.
  • 7. Meeting someone you have only been in touch with online can be dangerous.

Finally, if the behaviour of another forums member or the content of any messages that you receive via the forums makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, please contact a member of the forums moderation team immediately.

Further information to help you stay safe online can be found on the following websites:

Helpful Forum Tools

The ABRSM Discussion Forums provide a range of tools to help you protect your privacy and manage your user profile. Select your profile name from the top right-hand corner of the page to do the following:

Block other users

Under the Personal Messenger section, click on the link that says Manage Ignore Prefs. On the next page, you can then specify which users you want to block future private messages from.

2. Member behaviour

The following rules apply to post contents, thread titles, quoting of postings, usernames, private messages and images used.


ABRSM's discussion forums are open to users of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. As such, forums members are asked to refrain from swearing when posting to these forums.

To prevent casual swearing, these forums incorporate filtering software. Intentionally trying to bypass the swear filter will result in the posting or thread being deleted, whether or not the remainder of the post or thread is valid. Similarly, swearing in another language is also unacceptable and will be removed without warning.

Hidden Swearing

Swearing that is contextually understandable, even if it is spelled incorrectly, e.g. removing a letter, will be moderated and a warning sent to the forums member.


Trolling constitutes one or a series of posts from a user with the deliberate intention of inciting controversy or to cause annoyance or offence to other users. The content of a 'troll posting' may consist of:

  • 1. A personal attack on other forums users
  • 2. An apparently foolish contradiction of common knowledge
  • 3. A deliberately offensive insult to readers of a forum or discussion thread
  • 4. A broad request for trivial follow-up postings
  • 5. Any member who ignores the decision of the moderators, whether in relation to themselves or other members, and deliberately attempts to cause trouble

Such postings and the responses that they generate undermine the friendly atmosphere of the forums and will not be tolerated. The forums team reserve the right to delete without warning any material that we deem to be offensive. Decisions as to what constitutes offensive postings will be made at the discretion of the forums team and no correspondence will be entered into.

Members who persistently post offensive messages risk having future postings pre-moderated or their user profile suspended.

Forums members are asked not to respond to postings of this nature but to report any material that they find offensive to a member of the forums administration team.

Racism, Sexism, Ageism and Religious Intolerance

ABRSM's discussion forums are open-access and are read and used by many thousands of visitors of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. As such, intolerance of other people's beliefs, culture, IQ, gender, physical or sensory impairments or age is unacceptable. Breaching this rule will result in the entire thread being deleted and an immediate ban from the forums.

Forums members are asked to remember that other users may not have English as their first language and to extend the same courtesy and patience to others that they would wish to receive themselves.

Out of respect for other forums users, please refrain from using abbreviations, slang, jargon or 'text talk' as many forums users find this difficult to understand.


Flames - posts that are excessively abusive, attacking, threatening, or aggressive in nature - are unacceptable and will be removed without warning.

Whilst debating and discussion is fine, we will not tolerate rudeness, insulting posts, personal attacks, troublemaking or purposeless inflammatory posts.

We reserve the right to remove or moderate without warning, any messages that use insulting, threatening, troublemaking, provoking or otherwise aggressive language, or any member who consistantly behaves inappropriately. Our decision is final in these matters.

3. Inappropriate Material


The discussion of illegal activities, such as software and music piracy and other intellectual property violations, is not allowed.

Offensive Material

Any sexually oriented imagery or links to such content are unacceptable and will be removed without warning. Members who post such material will be banned.

Confidential information

Forums members must not post confidential or other information that may infringe upon the privacy, proprietary or personal rights of others. This includes, but is not restricted to, personal telephone numbers, email and postal addresses.

Similarly, Private Messages or emails received via these forums are to be considered private and are not to be posted publicly unless the sender of the message agrees. By posting material, the posting party warrants and represents that it owns the copyright with respect to such material, has received permission from the copyright owner, or that the material is in the public domain.

Abusive or offensive private messages

If you receive a message via the forums that you find inappropriate or offensive, place the sender on your block list. Then contact a moderator with details of the message contents and the sender.

The forums team will take what we deem to be appropriate action and if required, can verify details of alleged abuse by referring to the forums database or by checking the content of messages previously sent via these forums.

Abusive or offensive usernames

Usernames that are offensive or which attack other forums users are not allowed. Failure to change your username when requested to by a moderator may result in your account being suspended or deleted.

Defamation and Libel

Please be aware that posts made to the ABRSM website forums or private messages exchanged via the forums may be considered libellous, if the goal of these postings or messages are to damage the reputation of an individual or company.

Except for comments by moderators, the views expressed either on or via these forums are those of the author alone and are not necessarily endorsed or shared by ABRSM.

4. Advertising

Business Advertising

ABRSM offers community forums, which are not tools for users to advertise their business activities.

The advertising of products or services that are for profit or that detract from general forum life, are not permitted.

Acceptable business advertising:
  • you may use the provided field in your user profile page to link to your website
  • if a user contacts you off-forum, or requests that you contact them regarding the products or services you offer, please feel free to respond

Unacceptable business advertising:
  • creating threads or posts that serve solely to promote your business, whatever that may be
  • the posting of prices, business names, phone numbers, URLs for your business
  • the explicit advertising of your business in your signature
  • emailing or private messaging of unsolicited material to ABRSM forums users

For Sale and Wanted Adverts (i.e. tuition, instruments etc)

Sorry, but 'For Sale' and 'Wanted' threads are not allowed on ABRSM forums. Instead, we suggest you contact your local music retailer or use an established auction site such as eBay.

Unsolicited Use of Personal Information

The collection and/or use of any forum user's personal information (email addresses, ISP usernames, identities, website URLs) for unsolicited marketing purposes (via private messaging, instant messaging, email, etc) is unacceptable.

Any user found to be involved in such activities will be banned immediately. Such behaviour may also be deemed to constitute a breach in the UK Data Protection Act and may result in civil or criminal prosecution.

5. Spam

Spamming exists in many forms. For our purposes we define it as any post that does not add any worth to the forums. This includes, but is not restricted to, obnoxious posts, smilies only, replies that have little intellectual worth, or even large quantities of Off-Topic postings.

Crossposting Posts

Members must not post the same comments in more than one thread. Please choose the most relevant thread and post your response in that thread only.

Crossposting Threads

Posting the same thread in more than one forum is considered to constitute spam and is not permitted. To save cluttering forums, please choose the forum you feel most appropriate and post there. If you are not getting the response that you would wish, send a Private Message to a forums moderator who will move the topic to another forum for you.

Please note that posting new threads in multiple forums that refer users to a question posted elsewhere are not permitted and will be removed. (e.g. creating a post in the Students forum that reads 'Take a look at this thread', linking through to the Viva Piano forum)

Irrelevant Postings/postings without purpose

The posting of smilies or irrelevant comments simply to increase post count is not appreciated either by forums members trying to follow a thread topic or by the forums team.

First instances of this behaviour will result in a warning from a moderator. Further instances may result in pre-moderation of postings.


Bumping topics is replying to a topic to get it to the top of the topic listing. Replies may include words such as "bump" or "?" or smilies or contain generally irrelevant information. If you are not getting the response that you would wish, please Private Message a forums moderator who will, if appropriate, move the topic to another forum for you.

First instances of this behaviour will result in a warning from a moderator. Further instances may result in the topic being closed or deleted at the moderators' discretion, regardless of the validity of the remainder of the thread.

Off-topic Posts

All posts within a thread should have some relevance to the topic of the thread. However, we do appreciate that threads have a natural discussion flow to them, which may move the topic in another direction whilst still maintaining a relationship to the topic of music or music education.

Out of courtesy to other users, members should avoid posting off-topic comments in a discussion thread. This may result in your post being removed, particularly if it stands out as being off-topic compared to other posts within the thread, or if it interferes with a line of otherwise on-topic conversation. These decisions are made at the moderators' discretion.

Off-topic Threads

It is possible for a thread to be considered off-topic for the forum in which it is posted. In such cases, a moderator will normally move the thread to a more appropriate forum. If no appropriate alternative is available, the thread may be deleted. Such decisions are made at the moderators' discretion.

Forums Cafe

The Forums Cafe is where forums users can gather to chat about (almost) anything - musical or non-musical in nature. If you have a question or comment that doesn't fit into any other forum, or just want to chat, this is the place.

6. Member Profiles

Email address

To prevent forums abuse, members who sign up to use ABRSM's forums are asked to validate their subscription via email. All users are required to have a valid email in their profile, so that the forums team are able to contact you if required. Having an invalid or non-working email address will result in the suspension of your account.

Multiple accounts

Forum members are asked to register only one user account. Registering multiple accounts is not allowed. Sharing accounts is not allowed. Forums members registering more than one user profile risk having all their accounts suspended.


Forums users are asked to keep their signatures to a reasonable size - our suggested guidelines are:

For text signatures

  • 4 lines normal size text, 8 lines small sized text and up to 90 characters per line
  • Font sizes above size 14 are not allowed. Please note that blank lines count.
  • If you would like to share further information about yourself with other forums users, please include it in the My Interests section of your user profile (visit Your Profile, accessible from the top right-hand side of your browser window after logging in, for more information)


  • only one image per signature please
  • images can be up to 300 pixels wide, 125 pixels tall and 20k in size.
  • animated images in signatures are not allowed.

Links in Signatures

  • a link and promotional text for sites that are non-commercial are allowed, providing the site content does not violate any of the above forums rules
  • duplicate links to the same URL in a signature are not allowed
  • if you wish to display a link to a commercial website, please include it as part of your user profile (visit Your Profile, accessible from the top right-hand side of your browser window after logging in, for more information)
  • links to commercial websites must not be commission based or linked to an affiliate programme
  • linking to websites of other music examination boards or any other organisation deemed to be a direct competitor of ABRSM is not allowed

7. Moderation Policies

To ensure that the ABRSM discussion forums provide a safe and friendly user environment, the forums moderators have the ability to relocate and remove posts and threads from the discussion forums.

Whilst these rules cover most common situations, they cannot anticipate everything. Consequently, we reserve the right to take any actions we deem appropriate to ensure that our forums and forums members are not disrupted, abused or compromised in any way.

Post Deletion

Posts that breach any of the rules outlined in sections 1 to 6 will be deleted.

Thread Deletion

Typically, threads are deleted if they fall into any of the following categories:

  • Pointless - the thread contributes no value to the forum
  • Crosspost - the thread was posted to more than one forum
  • Flame baiting - the aim of the thread is to flame or start a fight
  • Duplicate - there is already a thread on the same or a very similar topic
  • Off-topic - such threads will either be relocated to the forums cafe or deleted altogether
  • Spam - the thread was advertising or thinly disguised market research

Threads that do not fall exactly into one of the above categories, but which are deemed inappropriate due to their content or nature will also be deleted.

Thread Closure

Threads will be closed under any of the following circumstances:

  • Off topic - the thread is going off topic, but mostly contains useful information
  • Flame war - the thread is turning into a flame war
  • Purpose fulfilled - the purpose of the thread has been fulfilled - the author's question was answered, the topic has become irrelevant, etc

Threads that do not fall exactly into one of the above categories, but are deemed to have reached the end of their useful life, may also be closed. In cases where the reason for closure is not immediately obvious, a moderator will normally post a final message explaining the closure.


Members may post links to external sites, providing they are not offensive, inappropriate or illegal. Any link which is found to be unsuitable for ABRSM's forums will be deleted without warning. If a member continues to post unsuitable links which have been removed by the moderators, they will be warned and put under pre-moderation.

Warnings and Pre-moderation

ABRSM's Discussion Forums incorporate a warnings system. Members who break the forums rules will be issued with a formal warning by the moderation team and this will be recorded in the "Warning Points" underneath your messages.

Forums members are only able to view their own warning status. ('0 points' means that you have no recorded warnings. This figure will increase if warnings are issued.) If you have received a warning from the forums team you can click on the warnings panel to find out why.

Members who persistently breach forums rules may be banned either temporarily or permanently from ABRSM's Discussion Forums.

Zero Tolerance

ABRSM has a policy of Zero Tolerance for certain user behaviour. This includes but is not restricted to

  • the unsolicited use of forum members' personal information
  • abuse of the forums private messaging and email systems
  • postings that display intolerance of other people's beliefs, culture, IQ, gender, physical or sensory impairments or age.

In cases where such breaches occur, the following action will be taken:

  • the post or thread will be deleted, regardless of whether or not the rest of the post or thread is valid
  • at the moderator's discretion, the user's account may be suspended for a period of time, ranging from 24 hours to a permanent ban.

Moderation Explanations

Please do not start a new thread asking why a topic was moved, deleted or closed. If you want to know why, contact a moderator, but please do not ask the community.