The polyamory.com site was launched to provide a place for folks interested in polyamory to get together and talk about it. Whether a person has long experience with polyamorous relationships or has just recently come to consider the possibility, this site is intended to serve as a repository of information about polyamory, written by the very people living in polyamorous situations on a day-to-day basis. Discussion of issues common to most relationships, odd situations encountered by some, reports of things that didn't work out, and explanations of what things are known to work, along with idle chatter about daily living are what can be found here.
These guidelines are offered to provide guidance on how to use this site and interact with other users in a reasonable fashion. We, the moderator staff, would prefer that every user participate without incident, though we understand that when groups of people get together, some conflict between personalities is bound to arise. Disagreement--and dislike--are unavoidable, and we offer these guideline to help users participate in such a way that we don't have to censure them or remove them from participating.
The guidelines are broken into sections, with each major section being posted separately. We'll suggest reading them prior to posting on the boards, as these provide the boundaries within which discussion happens here. We cover a lot of ground herein, though we can't cover every possible situation that could conceivably arise. We hope to offer more than enough information that almost everybody can figure out what is acceptable and what is not while using the site.
What Is Polyamory?
What is this polyamory of which we speak? What is it that leads us all to gather on these discussion boards to share and discuss and debate?
There are many different takes on exactly what polyamory is. We offer up a working definition that governs what we find to be on topic for this site:
"Polyamory is the practice of ethically engaging in multiple, concurrent, intimate, romantic relationships."
Polyamorous relationships are ethical, in that they require everybody involved--including people who have only one partner, themselves--has knowledge of the additional relationships and consents to the existence of those relationships.
Polyamorous relationships are those that involve at least one person having more than one partner, or being open to having more than one partner (if not involved with multiple partners currently).
Polyamorous relationships are intimate, meaning that there is some depth to the bond and it's more than just a casual fling.
Polyamorous relationships are romantic, with the notion of romance indicating whatever fashion it is that individual people bond with those most dear to them.
Polyamory does •not• include the following:
• Swinging (the garden variety involving NSA sex)
• One night stands
• Fuck buddies
• Friends With Benefits
• Cheating on a monogamous partner
There are a couple of situations that could be argued to be polyamorous that we believe don't quite fit within the boundaries we observe here and are best discussed elsewhere:
• Polygamy as practiced by fundamentalist religious groups
• BDSM households with multiple members
Note: Folks can swing *and* have polyamorous relationships.
Look for a corrollary thread expanding on the discussion of what polyamory is. We won't put the entire discussion here in the guidelines, just in the interest of brevity.
When Creating An Account
We suggest most strongly that you not use your real name as your username. We don't require the use of an alias, so you are free to use your name if you wish. We just don't recommend it.
We've had many folks get on here and use a recognizable name, begin discussing the specifics of their interactions with various partners, and then realize that they've exposed themselves and their lovers to identification by people they didn't really want to find out about the relationships…. The members hadn't been out to family or friends and realized that somebody could easily identify who it was that was posting.
Also, keep in mind that accounts are essentially permanent. A user cannot delete an account, once it's created. The only thing this site has to offer is what users post. Removing an account would remove the content added with that account. A user can walk away and abandon an account--just not show up and participate any more--though he or she can't remove what's already been posted. The words, like diamonds, are forever (though often not as sparkly).
We expect that each account represent but a single person. We understand that couples may wish to embark on a poly journey as a unit and thus want to share an account. That can make for some awkward discussions as the person posting under a username changes from post to post. We have some accounts that have been used by a couple--and those folks may continue to use those accounts as long as they make it clear which person is posting--though we want all accounts to be used by a single person.
We prohibit sockpuppetry, which is creating an additional account by which to post. It usually is done for the purposes of trolling, offering agreement with statements made from the original account (in a twisted effort to gain some sort of "support," it appears), or carrying on fake, weird arguments between the two accounts in threads. So, if there are two accounts sharing a single computer, please make certain to never appear as if some sockpuppetry is happening--we'd hate to have to remove both users because one chose to behave poorly.
Finally, this is an adult site. All members must be at least 18 years of age. This is not to indicate that adolescents shouldn’t be interested in or practicing polyamory, just that the adult nature of some discussions may fall afoul of legal restrictions in some jurisdictions if minors are involved.
With that out of the way, we welcome you to the polyamory.com discussion boards!
User Guidelines -- Part 2
• General Editorial Policy •
Everything that is posted here is subject to our editorial control. We may delete materials, in whole or in part, to maintain the integrity of the site. We may edit materials instead of deleting them to bring the materials into conformance with our guidelines; we will remove any material we find objectionable, whether it involves an issue explicitly discussed in these guidelines or not. We are not obligated to notify in advance the user who posted the material.
This control extends to user accounts, too. We may remove the privilege of posting from any account when we judge it necessary to maintain the integrity of the site. We may ban a user from accessing an account due to violations of site guidelines; a ban on account usage may occur after a number of guidelines or after a single, egregious incident (as in the case of spammers).
• On Posting Language •
This is an English-language site. Posts made in other languages are subject to removal and the user subject to censure. Links to sites that use other languages are also subject to censure and may be regarded as spam links.
• On Adult Language •
This is an adults-only site, so we have no objections to the use of adult language. Users may speak directly and frankly about sexual matters (eg., you can talk about "fucking" instead of using euphemisms) without problem. Posts may include a bit of salty language here, the same as in most casual environments encountered in daily life. We will rein in users if we find their use to be excessive, with official censure if the excessive use continues. Keep the use of profanities to a minimal or moderate level and all will be well.
• On IP Rights •
We expect every user to use their own words when posting, or to observe applicable copyright laws when posting. If the user is quoting somebody else, then we expect to see credit given the author (and an attribution showing the source or a link to it, if appropriate). We also expect quoting to follow fair use guidelines, so quoting an entire article or blog post is right out, unless you have the express permission of the author.
• On Posting Images •
Users may post images to the site, on profiles and in discussion threads. We expect the images to be posted legally, which means having the rights or express permission to post. We expect the images to have content that is R-rated or milder, meaning that explicit images of genitalia or overt sexual activity is prohibited. We prohibit the posting of images that suggest or support child porn or snuff porn or other content we deem highly objectionable. We also prohibit the posting of images that promote hate groups of any sort.
We ask that the images files posted to the site, particularly those posted in discussion threads, be limited in size.
• On Commercial Activity •
This is a non-commercial site. We do not exist for sellers to hawk their wares. On the other hand, we realize that there are some products that may be of great interest to our users. Therefore, we allow limited posting of commercial links.
The only commercial links that may be posted are those that are directly poly-related. Poly-specific or poly-friendly dating sites may be linked. Sites touting books on polyamory may be linked. Articles discussing aspects of poly life can be linked. If it's poly-related, it can be linked to in discussion posts.
Users may also place links in signature files to personal, non-commercial sites. Links to personal blogs (on topics other polyamory) are OK, as are links to band pages and the like. As long as the links are non-commercial in nature, they may appear in a signature file. Users may not link to personal business sites (no, you may not tout your home siding business in your sig file).
In those areas of the site that aren't common--user profiles--users may link to their personal business sites or to activist sites (such as animal rescue organizations) or to other sites they really like. We prohibit links to porn sites and sites that advocate illegal activity (and any other sites that we find inappropriate).
We also prohibit the use of the PM system to make commercial pitches. Spamming via PM is treated the same as spamming via discussion post.
Repeated pimping of any site, even though it's noncommercial, in discussion posts, may also qualify as spamming activity. This site does not exist for users to push their pet projects.
• On Topical Posting •
When posting a thread, make certain that it is on topic. Each of the discussion boards on the site is intended for threads of a specific nature, so users are expected to post threads on the appropriate board. While the mod staff has no problem with moving a thread to a different board if a user makes a mistake in posting, repeated posting of threads to inappropriate boards is subject to censure.
When replying to a thread, please keep responses on topic for that thread. We expect a bit of meandering in discussions, though extensive joking and tangents unrelated to the original post obstruct discussion. We expect users to limit such asides--breaking them out into separate threads, if necessary--and will act to limit egregious instances of off-topic posting.
• On Propaganda •
These boards are not soapboxes for pushing any particular political or religious views or organizations.
• On Editing Posts •
Users have a 12-hour window for editing posts. Once that 12-hour time limit has passed, a user will not be able to correct or delete a post. Please carefully consider what gets posted, as it may become a permanent addition to the site's content.
The Discussion Boards
We have three major areas on the site: Site Usage; Polyamory; and Dating & Friendships. Within each area are boards dedicated to specific types of discussion.
• On the Site Usage Boards •
This section of the site is, of course, home to these guidelines. We advise that users check for updates to the guidelines every so often. The broad strokes of the guidelines won't vary, though the explanations may change from time to time as we work to make them easier to understand or to offer more examples of things to avoid doing.
• On the Polyamory Boards •
This is the heart of the site, where the discussions of the ins and outs of the polyamorous experience can be found. There are currently ten boards available in this section.
• Articles -- Ideas for articles for a planned front page expansion of the site
• Introductions -- New users introduce themselves here
• Poly Relationships Corner -- Discussion of specific relationship issues
• General Poly Discussions -- Discussion of a more theoretical nature
• Life Stories & Blogs -- Users post their personal stories here
• Meetings and Events -- Broadcast information about local events here
• Spirituality & Polyamory -- Discussion of how the two meet
• Press and Media Coverage -- This includes academic research inquiries
• Fireplace -- Space to discuss everything not dealing with polyamory
• Golden Nuggets -- A collection of links to notable posts and discussions
Note: The threads on the Blog board receive special treatment. Each thread is the personal blog of the user who started it. The blogs are *not* threads where open debate and criticism is expected. Think of the blogs as protected space, wherein the blog author can disallow any discussion posts that he or she doesn't like from others. Respect the blogs as protected space.
• On the Dating & Friendships Boards •
There are currently five boards available in this section. Each of the boards is devoted to a geographical area of the world and is available for the posting of personal ads. This is not a forum for discussion about the content of the ads unless you are replying out of interest because you are interested in them. If you wish to discuss the content of someones personal ad please quote it and take it to the General Discussion forum.
User Guidelines -- Part 3
What to Expect in Discussion
This is an online community, composed of a great many individuals, each of whom has a unique set of experiences on which to draw and a set of beliefs based on those experiences. Expect to find both agreement and disagreement here. Expect users to post in fashions that you find both agreeable and disagreeable.
• On Communication Styles •
We want to point out that not everybody involved will communicate in the same fashion. There are bound to be sparks flying at times, as people with different discussion styles come in conflict. We don’t mind that. We also expect folks who engage in those discussions to exhibit a good deal of restraint and work out the issues through continued communication—you know, that communication thing that is so important to relationships!
Should you ever wonder if somebody’s trying to insult you or demean you or otherwise deliberately hurt your feelings, we’d like you to ask for clarification. Indeed, if you’re feeling put out by another member, instead of making a mess on the boards, take it to private messaging and ask what’s going on. We imagine a majority of perceived personal slights could be laid to rest through simply asking what’s going on in a PM.
It is very difficult to understand where someone's intent lies when reading written text and members will be expected to do everything possible to make themselves clear in their communication.
There will be minimal tolerance for sarcasm, passive aggressive communication, unwanted attention seeking and skirting on the edge any of these including flaming or trolling. Bullying; which is intending to do harm, creating a power imbalance, repeating negative insults, name calling, subjecting members to ridicule or negative gossip, and attempting to exclude members, will not be tolerated.
Please note that if you get an infraction for any of the above offenses you are the one that needs to re-think how you write. It isn't up to us as the mods or the members reading your posts to try and guess about the tone in which you are speaking. Infractions will be given out for perceived tone unless the writer explains themselves publicly and corrects that tone immediately.
• On Discussing Ideas •
Even if something posted looks to you to be one of the stupidest things you’ve ever read, focus your responses on the ideas offered. Allow the other person a chance to clarify ideas and provide the reasoning behind offering those ideas. Keep in mind that an otherwise reasonable person can hold some silly ideas and assume the best about other posters (until lots of evidence proves otherwise).
Keep in mind that when somebody criticizes an idea you’ve tossed out, it is not a criticism of you. As much as we like to identify with ideas we hold dear, there’s no way to hold a public discussion of much of anything if criticism of those ideas wasn’t possible because the criticism is regarded as a personal attack.
Also keep in mind that offering a differing view point and providing support for that viewpoint is also not a personal attack. Nor is it necessarily an attempt to convince you to change what you’re doing. Public discussion involves examining ideas closely, finding what’s good about them, what’s bad about them, comparing them to other ideas, and so on. If somebody argues a different idea is better in some fashion, that’s simply part of discussing ideas in general.
• On Flaming •
Ad hominem arguments--attacks on the person--are prohibited. We don't care whether the ad hominem is a direct attack--such as calling somebody a jerk or telling them they're an asshole--or an indirect attack--such as making references to people who have disagreed with you in a thread as jerks without naming them. Passive-aggressive snark is just as dysfunctional as direct attacks are.
We realize that occasionally folks will make a comment that pushes the boundaries, in the heat of discussion—-something along the lines of an exasperated “How can you be so slow?!”. We expect most of those are not intended as attacks on another poster. They are, however, the sort of thing to avoid as much as possible, so please watch your words carefully.
If you always remember to separate the person from the idea or behavior and direct your comments to the latter, all will be well.
• On Trolling •
Trolling involves posting material to get a rise out of others, instead of offering reasonable discussion. There are a great many variations available that qualify as trolling, and we'll list some of them here:
• Posting non sequitur statements in a thread
• Posting gratuitous sexual material in a discussion
• Posting clearly off-topic material and claiming it's topical
• Posting a flood of material in a thread that doesn't further an argument
• Posting negative, unsupported claims about other users (or all users on the site)
There are more ways to troll, of course, and we won't even try to list them all. We are very vigilant about rooting out trolls.
• On Unwanted Attentions •
Although we do offer boards for personal ads, this is not a dating site, per se. Most people are likely not here looking for a new partner, nor looking for a simple hookup. We expect users to be cognizant of this and respectful of other users. This means that any refusal of interest be accepted with grace. Continued offers count as harassment, as do nasty responses to getting turned down. We won't tolerate harassment on the boards or in PMs.
The Consequences of Bad Behavior
What happens if a participant steps out of line? We can take action that ranges from removing messages to assigning infractions and banishment. We prefer to straighten things out long before banishment becomes necessary, as we’d rather avoid doing that.
If we find a post to be objectionable in some fashion, meaning it garners a violation, then we will remove it or edit it, as we see fit.
We may remove messages without assigning an infraction. If a sub-thread diverges too far off-topic, we can remove messages to keep that thread on course. If there’s something we find objectionable, we may ask for the participant to change it or remove it.
We may assign infractions for bad behavior. If a participant garners enough infractions, that user is then banished from the forum.
We may banish a participant outright for egregious bad behavior.
We will banish blatant spammers outright. Those who insist on trying to spam via sig files will be gone in short order.
The test we use for judging whether a site is commercial or not is simple. We follow the link and give the site a casual look. If it appears to be trying to sell something, it fails to meet standards. It doesn’t matter if the product or service was never sold or is no longer sold, if it looks like a commercial site, it’s judged as a commercial site. We do not read in depth to find out if the commercial effort failed and the site is now used for some other purpose.
We will banish anybody posting illegal materials--such as child porn--on the site.
• Our Moderation Crew •
Those of us moderating the site are all polyamorous people who showed up to the site looking for a place to hang out, just like (we assume) the rest of the users. We have a vested interest in maintaining a civil atmosphere on the boards. We spend a goodly amount of the time we have available to use the site searching out spam posts and removing them (and the cockroach spammers) and watching for potential troubles. Please help make the rest of our duties as pleasant as possible.
A moderator's primary responsibility is to the site as a whole, enforcing the standards that provide for discussion space free of raging flame wars, rampant commercial shilling, and mindless trolling. The moderators also help address the questions and concerns of individual members, trying to help keep them participating in our community--we want folks to participate on the boards and will try to explain what it takes to do so within the rules.
Should a moderator issue a warning, please take heed; it’s an effort to allow you to continue participating without garnering infractions that can lead to banishment. Moderators will not be involved in public threads discussing infractions assigned, and any such threads will be removed as being off-topic. Questions regarding the guidelines can be raised on the site usage board, where the current guidelines are posted and all updated versions will also appear.
Keep in mind that the moderators don't work in a vacuum. The obvious problems, such as blatant spam posts, are dealt with by the first on the scene and then simply reported to the rest. Any problem that proves to be trickier than simply nuking an obvious spammer generates discussion among the mod crew because we want to make certain we're avoiding overreaction and considering the matter from as many viewpoints as possible. Because of that, we have no "appeals process" for mod decisions; we may reconsider if offered something that we may not have considered prior, though we're unlikely to revisit most decisions.
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