Our rules help everyone to know what is expected of them and what is and is not acceptable on our forums. You should observe both the letter and the spirit of these rules, and follow any forum-specific rules posted at the top of specific forums. You are responsible for your own posts. If another member breaks rules, you may ignore them or report the problem to the moderators, but you may not use it as an excuse to break rules yourself. Volunteer moderators manage the forums and enforce the forum rules. The moderators cannot read every message, so they rely on members like you to report problem posts. The point of moderation is not to limit discussion, promote or suppress points of view, or any other bias or agenda. The goal of moderation is to keep the forums enjoyable and free from problems that detract from the experiences of our members. For details about reporting posts and what to do if your posts are moderated see: How do I report a post? Moderation FAQ Contact the moderators and administrators Offences that can lead to a ban These offenses can result in temporary forum suspensions or permanent exclusions. If you get a reminder, heed it! Insults. Direct personal insult of another forum member (e.g., "You're an idiot.") and other name-calling. Why? Because this isn't junior school. People should be able to discuss or even dispute other people's posts without insulting people. You may dispute somebody's opinion but not attack or flame the person who stated it. There are a lot of other non-direct-personal insults that won't necessary get you banned instantly, but depending on the context/nature may lead to post editing, post deletion, reminders, thread-bans and section/whole forum exclusions. They include telling people to shut up, describing a member as an ignorant person (rather than ignorant about a particular topic), and being extremely or repeatedly rude or sarcastic. It's not your place to tell other users they are not welcome; if they follow the rules, they are welcome. Bottom line: don't try to tick off others and don't make discussions unnecessarily personal. If somebody else insults you, report their post; but don't respond in kind - their post does not give you a license to break the rules by returning their insults. Harassment. Purposely intimidating a particular member, harassing them, sending them rude or unwanted private messages, derailing their threads, etc. This includes personal attacks on moderators for doing their jobs. Threats. Any threat or intimation of a threat. Multiple registration. You may register only one account. Reinstatement of banned or deregistered accounts can come only from a moderator. Trolling. Do not post in order to anger other members or intentionally cause negative reactions. For a given post, this can be a subjective call, but a pattern of such posting or an especially egregious case will get you temporarily excluded and/or banned. Advertising / Soliciting / Self-promotion Using our community for self-promotion, marketing, free advertising, affiliate/revenue links, or solicitation of our membership will result in your account being closed and your details reported to anti-spam databases. Contact the Staff before posting if you are unsure. Things Not to Do These habits can produce reminders and repeated violations can lead to exclusions and bans: Inappropriate posting in a debate. The Rules for Appropriate Debate apply when users disagree with each other. We insist on a certain level of respect and civility toward other users, even when your viewpoints differ, and prohibit posts that attack posters personally or serve only to anger others (see "trolling" above). Inappropriate content. Posting sexual, hateful, racist, homophobic, sexist, provocative or vulgar content, as well as circumventing the censoring options we have put in place. Nit-picking. Unnecessarily or persistently picking at the nuances within other members posts and the words or phrases they have used (especially when the meaning has generally been understood by others); and/or criticism, scorn, disapproval or disdain of other people's opinions without expressing any of your own. Moderation Discussion. Moderators are volunteers who work very hard and make personal sacrifices to make the site work well for you and everyone. They may not always be right, they're human just like you - but they will always act in good faith and with the best of intentions. The site would not be possible without their efforts, but if you feel a moderator has made a mistake, do not start a thread or post about it on the public forums, instead use the Contact the Staff forum to send a polite query to the moderator team. Posts questioning or commenting on moderation will be removed. Backseat Moderating. Attempting to personally dictate to other members what they can or cannot do, post or say on the forums. If something is inappropriate, or needs editing or moving to a more appropriate part of the site, report it. Thread Spoiling. Posting in a way that causes a thread to stall, derail, go too far off-topic, or be abandoned by others. Often associated with nit-picking and/or backseat moderating. Reposting. Please don't repost entire articles from other sites. To initiate a discussion about an article, post a link to the article, quote a bit of it if you like, and include your own comments or questions so people know why you think it's worthy of discussion. Off-topic. Off-topic posts in the main discussion areas may be deleted / edited / moved to the off-topic forums. If you keep doing it see "Repeated problems" below. Profanity. The profanity filter is there for a reason. Do not circumvent it by using the language we intend to exclude or disguising those words. If you wish to intimate a swear word that is filtered, use the first letter of the word followed by asterisks; members will understand what the intent is. Repeated problems. Any ongoing actions that make more work for the moderators or regularly annoy other members and require moderator action. We have lots of forum members to serve and can't spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with problems caused by any one member or group of members. If your membership is an ongoing detriment to our community then your membership may be terminated. Minor Problems Chattiness. Use the main forums to discuss appropriate topics, not as a substitute for Instant Messaging. If you want general chat use the forums in the community section, that's what they are there for. One thread. Do not post a thread more than once. Post a new thread in the proper forum. If the topic is relevant to more than one forum, pick the best fit or most specific forum and post it only once. One post. Do not post multiple messages with the same content. One post in the most appropriate thread is sufficient. Signatures. May contain up to four lines of text and three links and must not contain or link to inappropriate or offensive content. Images are not permitted except for the site smilies. Text should be no larger than the default forum post size and formatting should not overly emphasise your signature in comparison to the surrounding message text. Signatures are a privilege and can be modified and removed. Avatars, Usernames and Profiles. Your username should not be your real name. You are allowed one user account which must not contain anything inappropriate and must not include URLs or domain names. User accounts should not be used to impersonate any group or entity with which you are not associated, and user profile fields should not be used for advertising or self-promotion. We reserve the right to merge, change, close or remove user accounts without discussion or notice. Simulated signatures. Signatures must be set on your Forum Signature account page and not simulated within posts, so that other members can choose whether or not to display them. Bumping. Posts that bring a thread to the top of the New Posts list but add no content to the thread (bumping) are not permitted. This applies not only to posts that say "bump" but to those with the intent to bump, e.g. posts saying "Anyone?" or the equivalent. Corrections. There is no need to point out another poster's spelling or grammatical errors unless you think it is causing confusion. Remember that not all members are native English speakers. Communication, not correctness, is our goal. When other people (especially new members) fail to search and start new threads on old topics, don't scold them or make them feel unwelcome; support and guide them instead to make their experience a better one. Language. The site is an English-language site, so we ask that posts in the forums be written in English. Common sense. In the end, use common sense. When you are about to post messages just to increase your post count, or post something you think is funny at someone else's expense, think to yourself "Is this annoying?" If the answer is yes, don't do it. See Also Rules: Rules for Appropriate Debate Guidelines Moderation: What are the goals of the forums and of moderation? How do I report a post? How do I contact the moderators and administrators?