Music culture is less tribal than it has ever been. These days, you're as likely to find notional indie kids at a dubstep night as you are a Chris Moyles fan at a techno club. They don't know why they're here, a mate dragged them down. Such a mix is healthy. Kind of. But it does mean that clubland is now suffering as the communicable code of conduct flies out of the window. Tighter clans – say, self-policing punks marshalling the moshpit – know how to behave around one another, but clubbers often have to share their space with part-timers in need of a lesson in disco etiquette. So, please, pay attention at the back: here's a new list of rules for the dancefloor…
• In confined spaces, drunk people bump into one another. If someone steps on your pristine trainers, don't carry on as if they've just urinated against your leg. If you're not prepared to end the night with a layer of "rave scum" on your footwear, go home.
• If, in a moment of transcendent musical ecstasy, somebody smiles at you, smile back. Clubbing is communal. Embrace that. If that same person then offers you a swig of their water and/or a sniff of their poppers, don't look at them as if they're handing you a fresh, steaming turd.
• Anyone who finishes their drink by launching it backwards over their heads deserves to die.
• Has someone lit up in the middle if the dancefloor? Then suck it up. It's a nightclub, not a meeting of the WI. But what's that? Smoking's banned? Cigarettes kill? True. But not as quickly as self-righteous twonks kill a good night's atmosphere.
• Do you or your mates find it funny or unnerving that "it's full of right weirdos in here"? Then stop laughing and get your coat. The freaks own the night, and you're just a guest. Straight folk have the whole world to choose from – football, Ikea, Saturday night ITV – and you really don't have to be here. Classic example? A bloke the Guardian once met in Berghain, a club 80% populated by muscle Marys, who complained, "Music's all right, but it's bit fucking gay, innit?" And people say the door policy is too strict.
• Gents, does your "dance routine" look like an American football team celebrating a touchdown, or old footage of a Sham 69 gig? Then you're doing it wrong. Your behaviour should not aggressively invade anyone's space.
• The queue to get in was long. The cloakroom queue is longer. You're desperate for a drink and the bar staff are useless. You're tense. Don't push in, a ball of bad body language. Instead, let someone who's been queuing longer get served first. That good deed will tee up your night. It will put you in an altogether more positive head space.