Welcome to the Discuss Druidry Forum!
This is one of the oldest forums on the message board, so you will find pages and pages of previous discussions. The discussion here is general and far-ranging but should have something to do with Druidry. Threads of a general spiritual nature are appropriate if the discussion relates them to Druid spirituality and beliefs. Topics more narrowly focussed on, e.g., shamanism, healing, Celtic studies, or particular myths may be fruitfully posted in one of the more specialized forums that deal with those areas.
To be sure, there are some fine lines. For example, while discussions of the Druid festivals are entirely appropriate here, posts that are wishing all and sundry a happy Bealteinne would be more appropriately posted in the Pub. Posts discussing the general place of herb lore in Druidry might be posted here, but recommendations of particular herbal remedies might be better put in Health and Healing. General discussion of divination in Druidry is appropriate here, while topics about Tarot could be quite rightly posted to the Druidcraft forum. The arts of storytelling and music are central to Druidry, but there are specific forums in those areas, especially for posting your own creative work, so posts of that sort should probably go there.
If you want to post your own musings about life, questions about your identity, your girlfriend or boyfriend, your current mood, or a general query (unless it really is in some way related to a discussion of Druidry) please post them in the Pub. There's a nice fire in there and you don't have to walk up the spiral staircase with your drinks.
It would be helpful if newcomers to the Message Board would take some time before posting to look through the pages of topics already posted. You can also use the Search function to see if your topic or question has already been discussed in here or any of the other many specialized forums. Moreover, there is a wealth of answers to many general questions about OBOD and Druidry elsewhere on the OBOD website. Please take the time to read through those materials first. If you are completely new to Druidry, don't miss the many book recommendations and reviews in the Reading Room.
If you want a general definition of Druidry, please read through the sticky post "What is Druidry: Members offer their views." That topic is intended to represent the views of OBOD members, but does not necessarily represent any "official" teachings of the order.
Some General Guidelines:
Be Clear. So much misunderstanding on the web stems from people expressing themselves badly. It is hard to explain complex ideas, especially of a spiritual nature, in writing. So take care to be clear what you mean and be ready to humbly clarify your point for anyone who doesn't understand you. We all have to do this at times. It's the nature of the medium, nothing personal. At the same time, if you think someone is being unclear, ask politely for clarification, don't just lash out at them. Corollary: Don't use the rhetorical device of claiming to have some sort of secret knowledge that you cannot share, but only allude to. It's very annoying, and people are likely to think you are just blowing hot air anyway, so you won't impress anyone.
Cite your sources. If you got your ideas from somewhere else, it is intellectually dishonest to reproduce someone else's words as your own. If you found a cool website, share it with the rest of us.
Keep Your Temper. Listen carefully and wait before replying in anger: Respect, love, and peace are primary virtues honored by OBOD and its members. Plus, you are much more likely to be listened to if you do not take an adversarial stance and sound like you are talking down to others when you disagree. Very slight snide remarks can be taken as major insults when presented in this formal medium.
Respect your elders. I know that younger members of the community never like to hear this, but people who are older than you or who have advanced degrees often do actually understand things in ways you may not be able to even imagine. Plus, old folks and Ph.D.'s are very easy to offend if you charge at them and accuse them of being "ignorant" or "pompous" or whatever you like. Remember that there are people of all different ages on this message board, and elsewhere on the net, and until you get to be about in your mid-forties a lot of people are going to raise an eyebrow if you swagger around and play the I'm smarter than you game. Maybe you are smarter than everyone else, but you won't get anywhere by saying so.
Respect your Juniors. On the other hand if you are greying or balding or generally going to seed with accumulated experience and wisdom, don't jump all over the young people on the board who may occasionally seem naive or overly enthusiastic. Respect is the keyword here. Pontificating, even when it is intended to teach and enlighten, is irritating. Plus you probably don't know everything either.
Use the IGNORE button. If someone really burns your undies, don't leave the board in a melodramatic huff. Instead, hit that ignore button and make the offending person just disappear for awhile. Then go have a cup of chamomile tea...
Use the private message function. when you wish to make personal digressions or pursue a topic privately with someone. If it is your first time sending a p.m. to someone, be polite. Do not use private messages to harrangue or attack other people. However, if you wish to carry on a private verbal jousting match with a particular friend, that is a good thing to do privately. Abuse of the p.m. privilege may result in it being revoked.
Do not make disrespectful remarks about religious or ethnic groups, or any other groups for that matter. Overgeneralization is another form of intellectual dishonesty. If you have legitimate criticism about particular institutions or persons, be prepared to back up what you are saying with specific examples and remain as respectful of others beliefs as you would wish them to be respectful of your own.
Keep your posts short if you can. People are much more likely to read shorter posts and they are easier to undersand. Posting long essays or minute point-by-point rebuttals of someone else's post is likely to result in others just skimming your posts or ignoring you altogether. If you want to write an essay, upload it to your website as a web page and post a link to it, asking politely for feedback. If you do post a long post, sharing some worthy information, be sure to break it up into paragraphs so it is easier to digest. Corrollary: posts consisting of single words or nothing but emoticons are often considered annoying wastes of time. Message boards don't need to be treated like face-to-face or phone conversations where we interject simple acknowledgements to let the person know they have been heard.
Finally, let me recommend this website on Netiquette, or net etiquette. It offers a wealth of good advice about how to avoid misunderstandings and run-ins with people on this Board (or any like forum for discussion).
Most important: remember that you are communicating without the benefit of body language, which makes it very easy to misunderstand and be misunderstood. Try to stay calm. If someone offends you or you just don't like them, you do not need to feel compelled to tell them off. Try to avoid saying things that you would never dream of saying to a new acquaintance in person.
People here are generally very nice and funny people, but they will bite your head off if you are disrespectful. My advice is to be like the Green Knight: Put your head back on your shoulders and carry on with good humor.
In the Peace of the Grove,