They are a big health board forum. I've joined in the mid 2000s; currently I've been a member for over ten years. I'm a member of other forums (non-medical) and I know how rules work. I like interacting with the members, but watch out if you deal with the administrator. He is very blunt and has a sarcastic tone.
I researched their parent company and I noticed the other forums they manage have very similar complaints to this forum. I'll be on here until they ban me. I use it to help other people, but I don't really like posting too much. Here are some things that I noticed from the rules--they aren't written well and are confusing. Take about 30 minutes to really read them.
So here are some things that are important on the website - you can't recommend websites or post website links. In the rules, there are rare exceptions such as using their sister site (another medical website) or medical website that end in. Gov can be posted. However, the information must be requested by the member asking the question. So, there are so rare occasions to even post a website I'd recommend not posting any website or mention names. You can get in trouble for mentioning other medical websites or services or even review websites.
Newbies are not supposed to be allowed to post/reply to private messages, but the forum software allows it. The administrator claims it's a forum error, but nothing has been done to fix it. With other members you're supposed to send a test private message asking permission to communicate with them. No other forum I have ever been on makes you jump through all these hoops. If you do get caught messaging a newbie the administrator team can give you a warning (which they call infractions). However, they can close your account for any reason and at any time. I believe they gave me the benefit of the doubt because I have been a member for so long. However, as you see below, there are many people who were members for a long time (like me) and got banned without warning.
If you promote a product in many threads, you can get in trouble for advertising. You have to be very careful with it as they can interpret the rules anyway they want and get you in trouble. Typically, look for the other member asking what product or treatment they should use. If they don't specifically say anything, I will ask them what they have used or if they're asking what product/treatment to use. You really have to cover your buns because the administrator can get you into trouble for the stupidest things.
Some other odd rules - on many other forums, someone might ask you something private or off topic, so you say on the forum - go ahead and send me a PM. Forget about it on this forum, it's against the rules. Then remember what I said above? You have to send a test PM - and ask permission if you can message them. Oh and if it's a newbie you're not supposed to message them because it's in the rules not to. Their forum software is supposed to be set up to not allow newbies to have access to it, but they do.
For privacy reasons, you're supposed to use a user name that is anonymous (doesn't include your first and last name), supposedly if you do, they have the right to ban your account. Now get this, if you refer to them by their full user name (and they used their full name), YOU can get in trouble. But, hey, weren't they supposed to ban them in the first place for breaking the rules? Nope, it doesn't matter, YOU still get in trouble. Oh, and don't refer to the first poster by any slang terms (OP) - you'll get in trouble there, too!
Then they say be yourself and don't be afraid to post. To be honest with you, if I were a newbie, I WOULD be afraid to post because they put so many road blocks. If I weren't a long time member, I would never sign up for this website. If you're thinking you want to sign up for this website, just keep in mind of their not so logical rules and they can and will close your account at any time for any reason.