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.
When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.
While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
Last edited by redpepper; 04-20-2013 at 10:59 PM.
Reason: added notes to communication style