Upload & Sell: On
No, "rules" or "guidelines" are perfect words to describe them. That's what they are. The concept of using a rule or a guideline as a tool is an unnecessary abstraction. Thinking is a good thing I agree, but stopping to think because of a rule is perhaps the worst think (SIC) an artist (beginner or expert) could ever do. Think about it. It's much better to think in the natural artistic analogue of the creative mind rather than the contrived confines of exterior rules and/or guidelines.
Like Plato, Newton, the ancient greeks, and other bullshit artists clearly show in practice, knowing such rules and guidelines in photography can be interesting for the sake of definition - defining what attributes comprise a "good" photo to most human beings. But as soon as that crosses over and becomes an objective or a goal of the photographer a huge amount of the natural creative process is lost and we start seeing images that may be pleasant to look at but which lack depth. And it's that depth which separates a "good picture" from an artistic or creative photograph - one which is soon forgotten from one which is timeless and impact-full.
I totally understand Mak when he says: "THERE ARE NO FREAKING RULES" and standing near the place from which he makes that statement, I agree wholeheartedly! It doesn't mean they don't actually exist. It just means that they should be treated as if they don't when one's goal is to create "art" or make something on the meaningful side of the scale. Also consider that when Luke "used the force" for that fateful shot and blew the death star it didn't mean he had to erase all the rules of spaceflight from his brain - like keeping the canopy closed. It just means he had to operate from outside them - as if they didn't exist so to speak.
Of course that may just define the differences between some people here. I mean it may very well be that some here are after creating pleasant looking snapshots which deliver a fleeting grimace, a momentary feeling of "oh, that's nice.", or ring the bells of demonstration, and then soon pass. It's actually how the Alt forum is structured, right? We post a shot, maybe a person or two says "Nice!" and then it's already onto the next shot from the next guy or on to the next page. So this isn't a blameful or shameful thing - it's just a different rhythm or mindset. Others OTOH, might be trying to create art for prints and not just the purpose of posting on-line niblets. They may post to share their expressions and works of art (even in this rapid river of the Alt forum format) but they're not moving to the same rhythms nor dancing the same jig. Typically when one of those go by here, it moves me. The others, nope, I can barely remember a single one. I see more art-mind types in the other forums where it's structured in a single-photographer-per-thread format BTW.
We have a lot of the later type here too - A LOT!. Almost all of the lens sample images from lenses (the Rokkor 58/1.2 is a good example here!) which people tout as being unique or "exceptional" seem to have been created from within this mechanical soulless rule/guideline driven modality. It's seems obvious to me anyway. I want to continue seeing them, but they don't usually account for much creativity.