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International Automotive Technicians Network

Usage Guidelines

Revision 1.0.5 (October 1, 2011)

iATN members are required to read and follow these guidelines.

Behavior and Etiquette on iATN

Guidelines for Requesting Technical Help

General Rules of the Network

The Spirit of the Guidelines

Behavior and Etiquette on iATN

NOTE: Just because a message is posted on the network does not mean iATN staff approves of it, or has even seen the message.

Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

Your use of iATN is governed chiefly by our Terms of Use and Member Agreement, part of which states that you must follow the guidelines below, or risk account termination. In addition, your personal information shared with iATN is protected by our Privacy Policy.

Guidelines Policy Enforcement


Just because a message is posted on the network does not mean iATN staff approves of it, or has even seen the message. If you believe a posted message is a clear and SERIOUS violation of our guidelines, report the post to iATN staff (). Determination of whether there has been a violation of our terms of service and/or guidelines is at the sole discretion of the iATN staff and will usually be handled privately. Decisions of whether any action is warranted are made at the sole discretion of the iATN staff, and priority will be given to issues that generate a large number of complaints.

In most cases, we will not take immediate action against a member unless they have a history of complaints, or the issue is severe. However, we will record most complaints received in a member's file, in order to focus on repeat offenders while still allowing plenty of leeway for discussion. We do not monitor each and every message, and we make no promises that we will spend an equal amount of time on any reported violations (depending on our staff time and the number of complaints). As in life, we will do our best, but it will not always be fair.

No Harassing Other Members.

Harassment occurs when an iATN member or members target another individual to cause severe distress or embarrassment, or when a member repeatedly posts snide or highly derogatory comments for the sole purpose of derailing the topic or degrading the member. iATN does not condone harassment in any form. While you may disagree with someone's point of view, or their actions, personal attacks and disrespectful or derogatory taunts are prohibited. If you have a disagreement with someone's point of view, or their actions, please keep your comments respectful. If you are teasing a personal friend on the forums, it is your responsibility to make it clear that you are friends, as most will not realize this, and your comments may be seen as unprofessional, and a poor example of what is expected here.

No Coordinated "Attacks," Vote-Fixing, Etc

All actions taken and messages posted on this group should be yours, and yours alone. It is inappropriate to work with other members behind the scenes to unfairly affect a discussion, member rating, etc. Similarly, you should never ask any other member to do any of the following things, and you should contact iATN Support () if any member contacts you asking you to do any of the following:

  • Avoid posting something to the network.
  • Avoid helping a particular member.
  • Submit a complaint about another member.
  • Rate a particular message highly or poorly.

It is important that all members have the freedom to participate in iATN as much or as little as they wish, helping whomever they wish to help, without having to worry about other members trying to manipulate the system, or attempting to do the same themselves.

Be Respectful to Other Members

You must treat all other iATN members with respect, even if you do not like their comments or actions, out of respect for the other members of this group who may learn from the ensuing discussion. Feel free to disagree with another member's opinion all you want, but personal attacks, insults, taunts, name-calling, derogatory or hurtful responses are unacceptable. If a member is abusing the group (and it is a severe abuse), rather than attacking them in public, please notify iATN staff () and we will handle the matter.

Members in technical discussions are expected to provide relevant information to assist in the repair or question, but they should not be forced to debate, justify, and clarify every aspect of themselves or their message. Remember, this medium can easily lead to misunderstandings, so we ask that you give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Putting members on the defensive will not help anything, and will only discourage others (who may have limited time) from participating and positively contributing in the future.

Don't Post Private Correspondence Without Permission

Please do not post emails or letters you receive from other people to iATN without their express permission (and please state in your message when you have their permission to do so, so there is no confusion). People generally expect their email and postal correspondence to remain private, and so we ask our members to respect this when interacting on iATN.

No Feuding

Members who are clearly not compatible and continue to personally antagonize each other on iATN will be asked to stop feuding or risk losing the privilege of posting on the network (and we do not care who is right, who is wrong, or who started it). If a debate turns into an argument between you and one other person, take it to private email. If you can't be civil even by private email, drop the subject entirely.

Hopefully we can all act reasonably to work out our differences when conflicts come up, but iATN staff reserves the right to remove a member on the basis of his or her overall effect on the network, and at our sole discretion.

No Libeling

It is inappropriate to use iATN to criticize any individual or company. It is absolutely forbidden to libel or in any other way depict a company, entity, or service in a false light; should you do so, the legal consequences are yours alone. If you have had a problem with a company, you should contact them first and give them a chance to remedy the situation. If you cannot remedy the situation with them, you may seek advice from other members so long as you are very careful to only post facts that can be proven. Leave any personal opinions and emotions about the company or person out of your message to avoid the possibility of libel.

Web Forum and Chat Etiquette

We have compiled more detailed pages on expected etiquette for members using the web forums and live chat areas of iATN. Please read these documents before using these resources. Other members may refer you to these documents if discussion strays from the advice these pages provide.

Guidelines for Requesting Technical Help

Requesting Help via TechHelp

When you post a TechHelp request, you are expected to do certain things: offer help to other members' TechHelp requests; spend time on the problem yourself before asking others for help; supply all the vehicle information and relevant test data; follow-up with the "FIX" (and more details when requested); share what you learn, even if you never fix the vehicle; and recognize the help request posting limits we have in place.

We have created a page with details: TechHelp Request Guidelines. You will also be expected to agree to each of these guidelines before you are allowed to post a new TechHelp request.

Requesting Help in the Forums

When requesting technical help on a specific vehicle in the forums, please include as much information as possible: year, make, model, engine size, are the minimum! Remember to reply to your original post when you have finished with the vehicle (repaired or not), and give everyone some closure on the matter -- members are waiting to hear from you how things turned out, good or bad. (Please reply to your original message with this information; don't start a new topic.) In addition, please budget the time needed to answer any follow-up questions other members may have. Remember, the forums are for discussion -- if you do not wish to participate in a group discussion, or don't have the time to do so properly, please use the TechHelp system instead.

The forums are for experienced, working, professional technicians, with access to the resources of a professional repair facility. You are expected to have an understanding of general automotive service procedures, and to refrain from promoting unprofessional, unsafe, or unethical repair practices. The thousands of technicians taking their time to help you, and learning from the ensuing discussion of your posted topics, will appreciate your effort to use this system properly.

Also, please familiarize yourself with our Forum Help Pages.

Requesting Help in the Chat Rooms

The chat rooms are a unique area of iATN, due to their real-time nature. You will often find other members in the lobby of the chat room willing to help you with a technical automotive problem. However, please keep in mind that as with the other parts of the network, those participating are your peers, offering their help in their own free time. You must exercise patience when looking for help in the chat rooms, and you are expected to help others when possible.

We have written a chat etiquette page that you should read that goes over what is expected in iATN chat, and the best way to find help in the chat rooms.

General Rules of the Network

No Advertising

No advertising of any kind is allowed on iATN with the exception of the Classifieds Forum. Advertising on the Classifieds Forum is limited to non-commercial help-wanted, job-wanted, items-wanted, and "items for sale" messages. Any commercial use of the Classifieds Forum may result in your removal from this network. In layman's terms, this means if you own or work in a shop, and you want to sell your used equipment, that is permitted. However, you may not advertise any commercial product or service or any product or service being sold for profit. Posting to the Classifieds Forum is limited to iATN sponsoring members only.

Please do not post any video ads to iATN, even if they are not for your own company, products or services.

NOTE: It is against the guidelines of iATN, and the Internet in general, to send unsolicited email, faxes or make unsolicited telephone calls.

No Agenda-Pushing or Posting Topics Repeatedly

Do not post the same topics, posts, or questions repeatedly. Continuously promoting a personal agenda -- or the agenda of another group, or grouping together with other members to promote a shared agenda -- is a form of solicitation, and is not acceptable.

No Inappropriate Topics/Links

Do not use iATN to post messages or links regarding religious, political, cultural, or non-automotive topics which are likely to lead to endless heated debates (global warming, gun control, terrorism, war, abortion, etc.). When participating on iATN, please be respectful of members from countries all around the world with different politics, religions, and cultures. Our focus is on the automotive industry, and these topics are better suited for other networks.

iATN staff does not review all content, so if you see a post that is against this guideline that does not mean we approved of it, or that you should post a similar message, or participate in the discussion. If you think your message may be against the guidelines, please don't post it. If you think an existing discussion is against the guidelines, use the delete button on it and it will quickly disappear with no need for staff intervention. Your help with this allows our staff to spend our time on improving the network, rather than reviewing and removing posts.

No Group Discussion of Fees, Charges, etc

Many countries -- including the United States of America, where iATN is based -- have strict legal guidelines regarding group discussion of charges for items or services. For this reason, absolutely no group discussion of fees, charges, prices, pricing policy or labor rates is allowed on iATN. It does not matter what currency you use (dollars, clams, coconuts, bananas), this discussion is absolutely FORBIDDEN, for your safety as well as ours.

No Copyright Protected Information

Do not submit any copyright protected information to iATN. If you have written permission from the author(s) to submit copyright-protected information to iATN, you must include that permission notice with the uploaded content. Refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for more details on what happens to information you submit to iATN, and make sure the author(s) read these notices when asking them for permission.

NOTE: All original content is automatically protected by copyrights unless the author(s) explicitly state otherwise. If you don't see a notice stating the information can be distributed, you must assume that it CANNOT be distributed. In this case, do NOT post this information to iATN. Please first obtain written permission to post the information to iATN, and include that permission notice with the content.

No Redistribution of Content from iATN

Do not in any way redistribute any content from this network to a resource or entity outside of iATN, without written permission from the person who created the content and/or iATN. You are of course permitted to post hyperlinks to documents that can be found on iATN, with the understanding that non-members will not be able to access any documents found in our members-only area.

No Cross-Posting of Messages

There are many different forums on the network, and each forum is for a specific type of message. Please post your message to the appropriate forum. In addition, only post your message to ONE forum; cross-posting a similar message to multiple forums is not permitted, nor is posting a message in one forum, and posting a link to it in another forum (if the purpose of linking to it is just to increase the number of people that read it). Off-topic posts may be moved, and cross-posted topics may be removed, without notice.

Linking to Outside Content

You are welcome to post links to public documents that exist outside of iATN, provided you have no connection to the website or content being linked to, that the content being linked to does not require a subscription or registration to view, and that the website is known by you to be reputable. (If registration is required to view a news article, consider searching Google News for the article to see if it is hosted on another site that doesn't require registration.)

These rules for links to outside content maintain the integrity of our no-advertising policy, by preventing the subtle promotion of members' commercial websites, or that of their friends or business partners. We also are aiming to avoid the annoyance of members with subscription-required links and links to shady sites that may be security risks to our members.

Also, whenever possible, content that you have the rights to should be re-posted directly to iATN, rather than linking to it at a third-party site. This helps to ensure that content will be available to other members with no risk of dead links, should the third-party website move the pages or close down in the future.

Keep Your Computer(s) Secure

We ask that all members read and follow the instructions in our security document, "Securing Your Computer," to ensure they keep their computers free from viruses and hacker break-ins as much as possible. Keeping your computer secure and virus-free benefits everyone on the network, since we are all in communication with each other.

Discussions Are Not Moderated

iATN Interactive Resources are unmoderated. However, we will respond to any complaints from our members regarding abuse of these guidelines, so please keep all interaction on a respectful and professional level.

Submission Requirements

The iATN Forums, TechHelp, and Live Conferencing are available to all iATN members. The only exception to this is the iATN Development forums, which i available only to sponsoring members.

Note: You must also be a sponsoring member to post to the Classifieds Forum, although any member can read and respond in that forum.

Uploading Files

You may upload files for use in the forums and other parts of the network. Please do not upload copyrighted images (that normally means any image you did not personally create). For information on uploading files, please see the file upload page. Refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for more details on what happens to information you submit to iATN.

The Spirit of the Guidelines

These iATN guidelines, Terms of Use, and member agreement cannot possibly cover every situation, but our intentions should be very clear. Violation of the spirit of these guidelines -- at the discretion of our staff -- may result in your inability to participate in the network discussions, or could even result in the cancellation of your account.