These are "The Rules" — breaking them can cause moderators to edit or remove your posts. Please see also Forum/Etiquette guide for other input about posting here. (Etiquette stuff won't necessarily get you in "proper trouble" for not following it, but people are allowed to whinge politely about it.)
If you cause major or repeated disruption on this forum, you can and will be banned - either temporarily, or for a longer period (possibly up to and including "forever"). If a moderator edits or removes your message, it's for a damn good reason - getting in a strop and/or repeating the behaviour will hasten your departure. This forum is not a democracy and you are not entitled to a "trial" or public debate over your future if your behaviour here becomes a problem.
It should be noted that a user's prior posting history might be taken into account when making moderation decisions. Long-standing members with a generally clean posting history would (depending on the exact situation) probably get a little more leeway than someone who's breaking rules left and right in their first day on the board.
Only one (1) account per person. If you wind up with two accounts (for example if you had problems signing up), you need to tell me which one it's OK for me to delete. Exemptions may be granted to this rule in VERY special circumstances, but may only be granted by Admins. It is not acceptable to intentionally impersonate other people.
In addition to "one account per person", "one person per account" - i.e. no sharing of accounts between multiple people. This is to ensure that there's no claims of legitimacy if we notice apparent security / abuse problems. Any exception to this should be checked with me directly.
If your account is banned, then you are banned. If you feel the ban is unfair or mistaken, contact me directly by email.
Nobody may knowingly abuse another user's account. You may not intentionally log in as somebody else, nor take intentional advantage of someone's account if you discover they've left it logged in somewhere. This includes posting messages, sending PMs or Emails from their account, reading their PMs, changing any of the stuff in their Profile, etc. Breach of this rule will be regarded as a breach of the Computer Misuse Act in the UK — if serious, we might contact your ISP, workplace or school / college / uni as appropriate. The same applies if you subvert a ban in order to get back on to the forum when you know you're not allowed.
New threads must go in the appropriate Topic. Generally, only post a message in one (1) topic — unless it REALLY justifies being placed in two different locations at once (say, if you're planning a very RAoK-heavy meet, that might belong in both Meets and RAoK). Sticking the main message in two places makes it confusing for discussion, so consider just using a small "see this other message here" style post in the less-important of the two Topics.
Things you can't sayEdit
You may not post anything which causes, seems intended to cause, or is of itself a "breach of the peace" (in the honest opinion of the moderators). This would include (but not be limited to) things like starting, continuing or resurrecting disruptive / hostile arguments.
Swearing and abuseEdit
- This section is about to be rewritten and implementation of the rule may differ from what you read here if it hasn't been updated here yet.
Swearing is generally not permitted (and swearing at people is utterly unacceptable). The main exceptions for this are modest amounts in jokes posted in the Jokes / Funnies topic and in the Personal News + Issues topic (where not addressed at a specific person). Please consult the extra rules for that section for details. The fact that there's a swear-filter in place does not make it OK to swear generally. It is not permissible, ever, to intentionally subvert or avoid the swear filter in order to get profanity past it. If you self-censor but we can still see what you meant, you're still swearing — i.e. "F**K" is just as offensive as if you'd left the middle letters in place (and you wouldn't be allowed to later claim that you meant "fork", because you'd clearly be lying).
Personal attacks directed toward other people are unacceptable. Mutual banter between friends is not banned, but is very strongly discouraged as it has the potential to get out of hand — if you refrain from it on the forum, Mods will never have to decide whether it's crossed the line or not.
Grossly offensive messages are not OK. If you clearly set out to offend people on the grounds of race, sexual orientation, religion or anything else, it will be down to the Moderators whether to remove your posts and/or you.
No public airing of "personal relationship arguments" between forum users ("X cheated on me!"-style, or otherwise). It makes the place all rubbish, so any such threads will be moved out of public view. What you say elsewhere isn't my concern, but such things do not belong on this forum (or in Forum PMs).
How to say thingsEdit
Please see the Etiquette Guide for basic advice on how to express yourself clearly without annoying people. While you won't get in automatic trouble for not sticking to those points, Moderators may decide to edit your posts if they feel it necessary (this mostly applies to excessive use of font effects, or if a "leeched" image has had notable negative consequences).
You should not put your postal address or phone number on the forum, because that means everyone can see it (including Google and other search engines!). If someone wants to know it (AND you're happy to give it out — kids should check with parents, etc.) then PM / email it to them instead. You may ignore this rule if you really wish, but I'd recommend not to.
IT IS NOT ALLOWED to give out other people's postal addresses, telephone numbers or email addresses on forum threads. Instead, ask people to PM/Email you for that sort of information.
Any images used in posts should be on a proper image host which permits direct inclusion of photos in to forums (if it's obvious that you've "leeched" an image, your post may be edited). Images must be legal and decent, not gory, gross, exceptionally offensive, or "adult" in nature — they must be Safe For Work and suitable for a family audience. If you are in any doubt, link out to the page with the image on (ensuring you provide an honest description and warning in the text of the link or next to the URL).
For the sake of having some arbitrary guidance up front: Images in posts should be no bigger than roughly 800 x 600 and should not be excessively large in filesize (use JPG or GIF/PNG file formats as appropriate. Uncompressed BMP files do not make good images for use in posts and aren't allowed — they're huge and take AGES to load). Larger images should be given as clicky web links instead.
The matter of "how long is too long" (in terms of numbers of lines of text) isn't yet finalized — generally, please keep them brief. Don't use a text size bigger than normal, no bold, underlines or colour tags. Any links in your signature should be kept short — it's not OK to make a big signature and have it all linked. Absolutely no images in Signatures.
If you're plugging your website and it's not Join Me related, be subtle about it. Put it in your profile and/or in your Signature if you like, maybe mention it if you make a "Hello" post in New Joinees, but don't keep beating us over the head with it.
This forum may not be exploited for personal financial gain in any way whatsoever. No chain letters or "matrix schemes", no advertising your business or similar are allowed - not in posts, not in signatures, not in avatars, not in any part of your user profile. (Genuine fundraising for legitimate registered Charities is, of course, allowed.)
About editing postsEdit
You are able and allowed to edit your own posts on this forum, BUT you are required to do so in a responsible, honest and well-behaved manner. You should make it clear when you have edited a message — the common conventions are that if you're adding something new on the bottom then you might do something along these lines:
I've got 3 free tickets to go see Nonspecific Rock Band on Tuesday - any takers? Edit: All gone now, sorry!Alternatively, if you've just gone back and made some changes to what you were originally saying, the "done thing" would be to add a note at the bottom telling everyone what you've done:
. . .
[edit to fix typos and turn the huge picture into a web link]
(wording as appropriate to what you'd changed, obviously)
If you feel you have a really good reason to remove the entire contents of a message, you must at least cover these 3 things in the replacement message: 1) Be clear that you've replaced a message. 2) Say why. (this will help me make sense of the entire rest of the thread!) 3) If appropriate, apologise. (generally only needed if you're un-saying something that has caused upset or controversy)
Even "I was trying to be funny but I made people sad, so I've removed this post - sorry everyone." is fine - it covers the basics, I can figure out immediately what you've changed and also understand any subsequent arguments further down the thread a bit better.
Private Messages ("PM"s)Edit
The rules here also apply to the forum's Private Message system. Nobody will be routinely spying on PMs to look for naughty things, but complaints made about specific messages can and will be investigated. Individual people can be denied use of the Private Message facility if they abuse it, or more severe abuses could ultimately result in an outright ban from the forum.
If you go out of your way to invent new ways to be annoying, nasty, offensive or abusive in a way not covered by these rules, there will be some discussion to decide how to proceed. We reserve the right to make an initial decision to disallow something, in advance of any debate on the matter, if we deem it necessary.
Matt wishes to point out that anyone specifically claiming that "the moderators must approve of my message, otherwise they'd delete it" runs the risk of suddenly being proved very badly wrong. "We haven't censored you or Moderated your messages" does NOT equal "we rubber-stamp what you're saying, approve of your ideas and wish to be associated with them".
Contributing towards the running costs of this forum does not entitle you to any special consideration or treatment. We do not sell indulgences.
These rules will get changed, updated, refined, etc. The definitive version is the one on the "Announcements and Info" topic.