Forum Rules and Guidelines

Discussion in 'Help and Rules' started by Ian the Admin, Nov 21, 2010.

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  1. Ian the Admin Administrator Donor

    Dec 19, 2003

    If you see someone misbehaving, find a post that shows a good example of it and click the "Report Post" button on the upper right corner of the post. Enter a brief description of what you're reporting.

    DO NOT use PMs, the "Contact Us" email link, or any other method. Always report the post, because the mods' software keeps track of that.


    This site is supposed to have a certain kind of atmosphere, like a large club or other community organization. You can walk in and talk about what you want if you go to the right spot, but it's a private organization and you'll be kicked out if you're an asshole.

    I don't provide an exact list of things not to do. Instead, the following five principles describe how the site operates and you should behave according to those principles.

    1. Provide a civil environment for talking about alternate history.

    Civil is different from "nice" or "polite". You don't have to like someone, you don't have to say "please" and "thank you", you can joke around as long as nobody gets hurt. But you can't insult them, flame them, treat them with contempt, or treat them in any other offensive way.

    The mods are there to deal with assholes, so don't escalate arguments or sink to someone else's level. "They started it" is not an excuse. If someone offends you, criticize them without being offensive yourself.

    2. Allow the discussion of any subject that wouldn't lead to the board being overrun by nuts and other wackos.

    On this board it is not an offense to disagree with the mods or other people, to be politically unpopular or to make a steak out of someone else's sacred cow (as long as you're civil, reasonable, and posting in the correct forum).

    In the Chat forum, you're allowed to talk about anything except for a list of subjects that are banned to prevent the board from being overrun by notorious arguments. This includes conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and creationism in the "science is wrong because my religion says so" variety. It also includes generally offensive things like bigotry and advocating mass murder/genocide, because we just can't expect members to stay civil in response to those.

    Some subjects are on the immediate banning list, which leads to you being banned instantly (see below).

    3. It's not what you say, it's how you say it.

    A lot of people find certain ideas offensive, even if you say them in the friendliest way. Religion and politics cause this a lot. This is not the board for those people. This board favors freedom of expression, not keeping the most easily offended people happy. In particular, this board treats religious arguments the same as political arguments, not as sacred ground. You can treat the Pope the same as the President of Russia and religious doctrine the same as someone's party ideology.

    What is offensive is antagonism and trolling to try and start an argument, personal insults (including the typical internet forum tradition of subtly bashing the intelligence of anyone who disagrees).

    You are allowed to accuse someone of being a liar, a racist, an antisemite, and so on - providing you immediately provide thorough and believable substantiation. Otherwise, any such accusations will be treated as a severe personal insult.

    4. No preference for regular members.

    Having been on the board a long time does not excuse bad behavior. Everyone is held to the same standard, and long-time regulars should know that standard better than everyone else. If someone who has been on the board for years commits an instant banning offense, they are instantly banned. Period. People who are well-known off the board are held to the same standard - whoever your favorite person in the world is, they will be treated the same as any random poster.

    The only exception is posters that behave badly very shortly after arriving. This usually means they don't think they need to behave at all and will get a kick or ban very quickly.

    5. Public administration.

    All warnings, kicks, and bans are posted on the board. Courtesy copies of these messages may be sent in PMs as well, but the principle is that everyone gets to see exactly what the administration is doing. The idea is that it's not enough for justice to be done, justice must be seen to be done. This also allows members to criticize mod decisions, because everybody knows exactly what is going on and the people participating in a thread will almost automatically see any disciplinary action that happened in that thread.

    6. Don't pass off the work of others as your own (plagiarism). If you include the work of others in your posts, say so and include a link to the original, or if that's not possible mention the source.

    7. Don't respond to posts old threads (several months or more), which is often referred to as "thread necromancy". Only post to an old thread if you have a substantial new contribution to make, such as to extend a timeline.

    8. No adult content. The board is for everyone from age 13 up, so don't post anything that would be considered "age 18+" under US law.

    9. Don't post too many images that are not related to alternate history. Specifically, in the off-topic forums such as Chat and Non-Political Chat, post at most three images per thread per day. It doesn't matter whether the images are attachments or just links. (For alternate history images, be reasonable. Don't post more images than text, except in threads dedicated to images such as maps or flags).


    Use this forum for discussions of the forum rules. The "Public Forum" thread is intended for general discussion of forum rules.


    People can be banned for various reasons, but some are a lot more common than others. The following always result in immediate banning. Other things are decided on a case by case basis.

    - Support of Nazism
    - Holocaust denial
    - Advocating genocide or other mass murder
    - Threats to inflict "real life" harm, including lawsuits, on other members
    - Committing otherwise non-banning offenses using technology to conceal your IP address
    - Getting around being kicked or banned by posting from another account (a "sockpuppet")
    - "Spam" trolling (posting many deliberate trolls all over the place)
    - Trolling immediately after signing up


    The Hall of Infamy (sticky thread in the Chat forum) is used for general discussions of kickings and bannings. People often post links to kicks/bans here.


    The mods respond to problems in three ways - warnings, kickings, and banning.

    Note that you may receive "infraction" messages, but this board does not use a points-based infraction system. It's simply a convenient way to keep track of warnings, kicks, and bans. Everything is decided directly by the mods.

    Warnings may be a casual "don't do this" message in a thread. Mods usually will not threaten that you will be kicked/banned if you ignore the warning. Don't ignore the warning.

    Kickings are always for 7 days. When kicked you can read the board and send PMs, but you can't post.

    Bannings are permanent, and your account is totally deactivated.


    You can appeal a punishment directly to the mod who posted about it, via PM. INCLUDE A LINK to the moderator post you wish to appeal to. You can include a link to the thread and the post number of the post, but it's better to click on the post number (upper right corner of the post), which will show only the post. Include the link to that.

    You can also appeal directly to the administrator via PM, but the administrator discourages people from appealing to him too frequently and may simply ignore improper appeals.

    Bans can be appealed to the administrator using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom right of the page, you do not need to be logged in.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2018
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