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Old 11-05-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
The Fox
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Default The Rules! (You should probably read these.)

Welcome to the Steve Jackson Games forum! Specifically, welcome to our list of rules. While we fully expect you to behave in the sort of polite manner that is becoming of an adult, we've heard rumors that the Internet is, at times, an unsavory place. So, for those miscreants that might seek to ruin the good times we're all here to have, I present the following list.


Stuff that Annoys Us

Spamming. The obvious one. Normal spammers are banned automatically. Regular users, however, are asked to exercise restraint if they create a thread for the express purpose of driving traffic to their website. We recognize that useful user-made game aids might go unnoticed if you don't get out there in tell people about them.

If you simply must make a thread about your Cool Gaming Thing, you may do so once. (And it had better be a Cool Gaming Thing. This is a gaming forum, and anything else will not be tolerated.) After that, put it in your signature line if you still want people to notice it.

Illegal stuff. The other obvious one. Basically, while you can discuss things that are illegal, we don't want to see any endorsements or "how to's." This means do not post copyrighted material to the boards, or ask someone else to do so. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

The prime example spelled out: Talking about the implications of online piracy is fine. Saying "go pirate a book" or "I will pirate/have pirated this book" is not. Saying "go here to pirate books" is the fastest way to get yourself banned in these parts.

Naughty words. Our forum has a profanity filter. It helpfully keeps words we deem offensive off our boards. Do not try to circumvent it. For example, if "booger" was on the list and you write it as "b00ger" to get around the filter, the mods will be displeased. Also, if you find a word we missed in the filter, that doesn't mean you have permission to use it. It just means we haven't restricted it yet.

NSFW links. That's Internet shorthand for "not safe for work." Typically, that means stuff that is excessively vulgar or pornographic in nature. Do not link to porn.

No contests. Only Steve Jackson Games staff may run contests on our forums.

Garbage posts. We strongly discourage posts with no actual content. This covers a handful of annoying things, so let's break 'em down.

Bumping: This is defined as posting into a thread for the express purpose of nudging the thread to the top of the thread listing to draw attention to it. If you ask a question and it hasn't been answered a day later, please continue to wait.

Clutter: Examples include posting things like "in before lock" or variants there of. Posts that consist solely of words like "me too" or "omg owned" or "LOL." This is all stuff that is really just a step above bumping.

Link-Dumping: This refers to a post consisting entirely of links, with no commentary from the poster. If you're posting a link, have the courtesy to (a) describe the page it links to, and (b) explain why you're posting it. Anyone starting a thread with a link-dump can expect that thread to be closed without explanation.

Basically, what we're asking here is that you try to only post if you have something to contribute. We want to encourage discussion. That's the whole point of a forum, after all!

(A note on thread resurrection: It is allowed, but conditionally. Your new post should add meaningful content which is relevant to the original thread. If you're asking a new question, please start a new thread. Please also be aware that the mods are the sole arbitrators on what constitutes "meaningful content," so you do this at your own risk.)

Derailing. An off-shoot of the above. A reasonable amount of thread drift is fine. That's the nature of discussion. But if a thread about GURPS Fantasy becomes more about how anachronistic historical films are than about running a fantasy campaign, you need to go make a new thread and get back on topic.

Maliciously derailing a thread will, of course, put you in the mods' gunsights.

Malicious posting. This one is very simple, but it covers a multitude of behaviors. What constitutes malicious posting? That means stuff like flame baiting, posting in huge fonts/all caps to annoy people, creating threads for the express purpose of starting a fight, insulting/attacking other users, and so on. Basically, if you're just doing something to be mean, you're maliciously posting. You will see a mod response in proportion to just how much of a jerk you're being.

This one is vaguely defined by neccessity, because it covers the entire gamut of "being a rude, obnoxious person." But don't worry, we'll know it when we see it.

And please, if someone is being a jerk on the boards, don't engage them - use the report post function and let us know. That's what the mods are for. If you turn around and start being mean back, "he started it" won't excuse you.

Racism, Sexism, Etc. As you might expect, we're not about to let any -ism's fly around here. Consider this your warning. Bigots will be banned, and we will smile when we do it.

Sockpuppeting. You may not create more than one account for yourself. Multiple accounts for multiple users on one computer is fine, of course. It's multiple accounts per human being that is not.

If you create a second account accidentally, please let the mods know ASAP.

Abusing the report function. Do report posts that are violating the rules. Do not report posts in some misguided attempt to attack another poster. The report button is an important tool in keeping the peace, but users found abusing the privilege will find themselves on the wrong side of a bunch of annoyed mods.

Fighting with the mods. Like it or not, this board isn't a democracy. Within the confines of the forums.sjgames.com domain, our moderators are all-powerful, all-knowing, and always in the right. It's a pretty sweet gig, really. Out there in the Real World, you can do whatever you want, however you want. Here, however, you will either heed the judgments of the mods or you will be asked to leave. Arguing with the mods is never an option.

If a mod closes/deletes a thread, don't start another one asking why or starting the topic over. If a mod tells you to cut something out, stop doing it. If a mod infracts you, take it with grace and learn from it.

If you feel we've wronged you, you are allowed to ask for forgiveness/clarification/vindication by contacting a mod directly through a private message. This is contingent on your ability to do so politely, however. Being rude to the mods will just get you in more trouble. Yes, we recognize that this isn't fair.

Forum Vigilantism. If you think someone is breaking the rules, please just use the report post feature or PM a mod. Do not make posts or start threads saying things like "this thread should be locked" or "that guy needs to be banned." We appreciate that you're trying to be helpful, but we ask that you please leave the mod's work to the mods.

In summary...

You may have noticed that all of that up there boils down to the following: don't be a jerk and we'll get along swimmingly. The board does not want, and will not suffer, obnoxious behavior. We're here to talk about games, after all!
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Last edited by brandonm; 07-15-2013 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Added "No contests" explicitly
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:50 AM   #2
Andrew Hackard
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Default Infractions, "On Notice," and Temp Bans

Moderators and admins have the capability to issue infractions for posts deemed in violation of the above rules. (Admins can also issue infractions not tied to a specific post, such as when someone is being generally obnoxious in a way that adds up to a violation of Wheaton's Law, but there's no single post that by itself crosses the line.)

Infractions come in three varieties:
  • Warnings don't add any points to your total. They're really just a mild redirection: "You were dancing close to the line there. Please pull it back."
  • Minor infractions are for small violations: a post that goes off the thread in a way that detracts from the conversation, rather than adding to it; a heated comment that was a bit too personal for these forums; and so on. Minor infractions expire after a short time. Accumulate too many minor infractions, and you will be On Notice (see below).
  • Major infractions are for more blatant violations of the forum rules: a direct personal attack on another poster, ignoring moderator warnings to spin down a topic, linking to NSFW sites we don't want to be linked to, abusing the post report system (such as "report spamming" a moderator), and so on. Major infractions last longer than minor infractions, and put the violator immediately On Notice.

Note that this is NOT a series of steps. If a mod or admin thinks you've done something worthy of a major infraction, it doesn't matter if you haven't been warned or infracted for it before. For that matter, we are perfectly willing to jump straight to a temporary or even a permanent ban for posters who are being consistently and maliciously disruptive. It all boils down to a simple principle: don't be a jerk and we'll all get along fine.

On Notice
A poster who is On Notice has their user title (if they have one) changed to read On Notice as a reminder to them for the duration of their On Notice period. These posters cannot edit or delete their posts, which is intended to remind them to consider their words more carefully.

Temporary Bans
A poster may be temporarily banned because of cumulative active infractions, or because a mod or admin judged their behavior ban-worthy. A poster who received a temporary ban will also receive a PERMANENT minor infraction. As with other infractions, too many at once will result in a user going On Notice or even being banned.
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Last edited by Andrew Hackard; 07-10-2017 at 08:06 AM. Reason: Corrected the On Notice description.
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Old 02-16-2015, 12:17 AM   #3
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Default Modification to Forum Infraction System (7/24/17)

After extended discussion, the forum administrative and moderation staff have decided to modify the forum infraction system to better reflect our community standards and more appropriately assess the severity of actions contrary to those standards. Meanings of On Notice and Temp Banned Users, and other information from the preceding post not superseded in this one, remain in force.

As always, the best policy is to be civil, even (especially!) when emotional or upset, and to ignore obnoxious users and/or report their posts to the mods when you think they have stepped over the line. Responding in kind -- or worse, escalating -- just makes it more likely that you will be infracted as well.

Minor Infractions
Minor infractions are the smallest step above just a warning. Essentially, they're meant to be a bit of a rebuke and a reminder that we want everyone to play nicely with each other. There are two types, with the usual expiration in parentheses:
  • General Minor Infraction (7 days): This is used for annoying behavior too mild for any stronger action. Examples include ignoring specific forum rules after repeated warnings, posting links to other websites without sufficient context to allow other users to decide whether to click, and extreme overquoting (failing to edit quoted text down to the minimum required for context).
  • Tempban (permanent): A user who has been temp banned, for whatever reason, receives a permanent minor infraction. Too many of these will lead to a user being placed On Notice permanently, or even being banned permanently from these forums.

Intermediate Infractions
These rise above de minimis minor infractions to areas that are clearly disruptive to the good order of the community. All of these infractions last 10 days unless otherwise assessed by a moderator. If a user has an active intermediate infraction and suffers subsequent infraction(s), they are likely to be On Notice or possibly even banned, depending on the severity of the new infraction(s).
  • Foul/Abusive Language: We have a profanity filter for a reason; we have children reading these forums and we would prefer not to be a profanity vector if we can avoid it. Furthermore, any form of abusive language, veiled or not, directed at another poster falls under this category. If you cannot engage in productive dialog with someone, do not engage them at all.
  • Derailing/Threadjacking: This does not cover natural thread drift, but an attempt by a single poster to change the topic of discussion, often without significant reference to prior posts in the thread. If you want to discuss your own topic, start a new thread.
  • Forum Vigilantism/"Junior Mod": Please don't tell other users how to post. That's the moderators' job. ESPECIALLY don't tell other users that they are trolling or that they deserve to be infracted or banned; just report the post(s) and let us handle them.
  • IP Infringement (First Offense, Minor/Inadvertent): First-time offenders whose infringement is minor and/or not malicious, in the judgment of the moderators, will receive this permanent infraction. For truly minor cases, this can be downgraded to a 0-point warning. (NOTE: This does not have to be SJ Games' intellectual property - we can, have, and will apply sanctions to people violating other companies' or persons' IP.)

Major Infractions
These infractions will all result in the user being immediately placed On Notice. Accumulating more than one of these simultaneously, or one major infraction on top of multiple minor or intermediate infractions, will result in a user being temp banned until the infraction total drops below the temp ban threshold. These infractions last for two weeks (14 days) unless a specific infraction specifies otherwise.
  • Abusing Report Function: "Report spamming" a moderator or otherwise using the report function to be punitive rather than constructive can earn this infraction. It's a judgment call; in the absence of compelling reasons to do otherwise, we will err on the side of an honest mistake rather than deliberate abuse. However, a user who responds to an infraction by reporting a dozen posts that he feels were "just as bad" is probably going to receive this infraction as well.
  • Arguing With Mods: It's fine to ask for an explanation of a moderator's or administrator's action. However, if you feel strongly that a mod or admin is wrong (or, worse, malicious), you should contact forums@sjgames.com with your concerns rather than continuing a contentious or fruitless discussion. Mods need not put up with rules lawyers.
  • General Major Infraction: As with the General Minor Infraction, this is designed to cover a host of other possible disruptive activities more severe than just a mild disruption in the flow of the forums. Many General Majors would fall under the category "Being A Jerk."

Severe Infractions
These are the biggies. Infractions at this level are gross breaches of the trust we place in our users. Anyone who receives two severe infractions at once, or a severe infraction on top of several smaller infractions, is liable to be permanently banned, period. Severe infractions last significantly longer than others because we want the people who get these infractions to understand just how thin the ice is under their feet. (These are also On Notice-level infractions, of course.)
  • Linking To/Posting Inappropriate/Offensive Content (30 days): Don't link to p0rn or to hate sites. Don't post jokes that make fun of other races, sexes, or other groups of people. We don't need that kind of junk tracking back to these forums.
  • Bigotry (Racism, Sexism, etc.) (180 days): If you're posting something negative but civil and factual about a specific person, that's fine, even if it's not polite or positive. If you extrapolate from that that "all members of group X are lazy/evil/promiscuous," you've crossed the line.
  • Advocating Illegal Activity (180 days): Another big one. This not only includes urging people to pirate software or buy drugs illegal in their (or your) jurisdiction, but offering instructions on how to do it, linking to sites hosting illegal downloads, and generally being a jerk to the people who create that content. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the illegal activity we do not want on our site! We've had unpleasant talks with the government before; we don't need that hassle again.

Extremely Serious Infractions
These infractions are so injurious to the smooth operation of the forums that they lead to immediate, permanent banning.
  • Spamming: Duh.
  • IP Infringement (Repeat or Blatant Offense): Generally, this means you have already received the smaller infraction or a warning for a first offense, but it can also be applied in blatant cases: "I uploaded my entire GURPS library to a sharing site!" or "I wrote an entire Munchkin set and uploaded it with the official rules!" This infraction may be appealed to forums@sjgames.com after a period of no less than six months from the ban. However, someone receiving two or more of these infractions is banned forever.
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Last edited by Andrew Hackard; 07-24-2017 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:16 PM   #4
Andrew Hackard
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Default Re: The Rules! (You should probably read these.)

We just clarified the infraction system as it applies to IP infringement. Y'all should read the above post.
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