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Forum rules revised

Discussion in 'Forum announcements' started by Ketola, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Ketola

    Ketola Turned ninja Staff Member

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    We have updated our forum rules somewhat. The forum rules are available at:

    http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/2487

    Please pay attention especially to rule number 14 of the general rules:

    14. If you see a post that violates any of these rules, please report it to our moderators using the "Report an offensive post" link. [bold]Do not play the role of a moderator if you are not one.[/bold] There is absolutely no need to nitpick on the posts of new users. Let the moderators do their work.

    [​IMG]

    Also take into account the guidelines for signatures. They were added to avoid the situation where every single post in a thread has more signature than actual content. Call it a pre-emptive measure if you will.

    Please post any questions or comments regarding the rules to this thread.
     
  2. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    Ketola i like this rule..it sure was getting out of hand..

    Signatures

    These rules exist to make viewing the forum as pleasant as possible to all users. Even though you might think signatures with large pictures look cool, some might find them extremely annoying.

    1. Text-only signatures should have at most 5 lines of text.

    2. An image-only signature should be less than 50kb in size, and be at most 500 pixels wide and 200 pixels tall.

    3. If you use an animated picture in the signature, it should not be too distractive. Eg. blinking images or images with quick movement are not allowed.

    4. If you want to use both text and image in your signature the image should not be more than 500 pixels wide and 100 pixels tall, and you can use up to three lines of text.

    5. All the abovementioned rules for forum posts apply also to the signatures.

    Violation of these rules does not lead to an immediate ban. However if requested user must edit his or her signature to fit these guidelines.

    Administrative actions

    Messages that break any of the rules above can be removed or edited by the moderators and administrators of these forums. Even if something isn't specifically mentioned in the rules, it doesn't mean that it would be permitted. It is up to the moderators and administrators to determine what is appropriate and what is not.

    Users who willfully violate the forum rules can be banned by the moderators and administrators.
     
  3. creaky

    creaky Moderator Staff Member

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    - just a quickie. i believe in leaving a short reply on a thread as well as reporting via the offensive button, otherwise other ppl will visit the thread and not know it's being addressed, ie there could be many duplicate reports made to the mods which makes more work for the mods etc. what would be nice (probably not feasible though) is some way of some visual way of other ppl knowing that something has been reported.

    Otherwise the only way around it is for us to continue to add a short reply explaining the reason for reporting so the poster and other contributors know it's being addressed.
     
  4. Dela

    Dela Administrator Staff Member

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    I disagree slightly. If someone posts something that is outside of forum rules, chances are they have not read the rules to begin with (and come on, that many new users per day -> it is highly unlikely that the vast majority read the rules). If someone even replies saying "I have reported this post" or anything along those lines, it puts pressure on the new user who might feel cornered by a forum member. It also adds a degree of hostility when non-mod users of the forum make it clear that they have reported a person or whatever. It paints an image that there is no real authority on the forum and that any user has the ability to slap another user on the wrist based on their own interpretation of the rules.

    Although I do understand exactly what you mean; how will users know if something has been reported or not? Perhaps a slight modification to the code will stop multiple reports of the same post, so when you click "report an offensive post" you instead see a page that tells you this post has already been reported. Does this actually happen already?

    These new guidelines have been layed down mainly to tackle the hostility of these forums. Obviously we are more concerned about users ridiculing people who step outside the rules. There are many reasons for this. What if a user decided that someone broke a rule and said something like "haha you are gonna get banned now, should have read the rules dumbass". The what happens if a mod decides to interpret it differently and simply tells the user that they broke a rule and points them to the forum rules. It is possible that there will now be a conflict between both the normal members who were involved.

    The way it is supposed to be done is the moderators decide based on guidelines provided by Admins - this way if they make a bad decision they are who the user has beef with and mods would tend to resolve such an issue much quicker than regular users would. Especially if the mistake was on the mods part, ask any of the mods, we all make mistakes sometimes on the forums and it actually does feel terrible if we accidentally ban somebody etc.

    But ye, thats my view of it anyway :)
     
  5. Lethal_B

    Lethal_B Moderator Staff Member

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    In addition to what Creaky has stated, I believe that it is important that users explain to people who write offensive post's why they have been reoprted, so they can learn, edit and possibly spare themselves a banning.

    Could you please explain to me the line between playing a moderator and acting responsibly when there is no moderator about? If there somebody blatantly abusing somebody else, am I not allowed to say "look, that is totally unnecessary, and is not in the spirits of the forum?" without being seen as a 'wannabe mod?'

    The moderators around here have a lot to contribute here technically as well as in a moderation sense. Restricting people from doing simple things like pointing wrongdoers in the direction of the rules or telling them to 'stop spamming' would cripple the moderators down to a point where they would have to explain to each and every wrongdoer where they went wrong.

    I have nothing but respect for the moderators. They certainly have the authority, and I don't think anyone here can deny that. They have to do all the 'nitty gritty' stuff. And people acknowledge that and at the same time try and help them out. It has to be addressed clearly as to what it means to [bold]help[/bold] a moderator, and what it is to [bold]try and act[/bold] like a moderator.

    With regards to the sig thing, I totally agree. Following this post, I intend to downsize my sig to meet the rules of the forums.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2005
  6. creaky

    creaky Moderator Staff Member

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    @Dela - cool, that's all i was trying to get across.
     
  7. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    those are some of our rules at the afterdawn/dvdxcopy web site
    a couple of rules were removed at they are about dvdxcopy
    ye might uwant to use some of whats there.


    2)NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO POST A LINK IN THERE SIGNATURE FIELD TO LINK ANOTHER SITE..

    4) DO NOT POST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS PHONE NUMBERS, SOFTWARE SERIAL NUMBERS, LICENSE INFORMATION OR PASSWORDS.

    This rule is here to protect you from spammers. To this end we have the Private Message system. If you would like to share your email address or phone number with others please do so only in a PM.

    If you’re posting log files or other information for troubleshooting please remove personal information such as license ID numbers, serial numbers and passwords from your post before posting it.

    5) BE RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS.

    This is a public Forum. No swearing or swear words. No foul or obscene language, discrimination, flaming or verbally attacking anyone in this forum is allowed.
    Violation of this rule will lead you to being banned from this forum without notice.

    6) NO CROSS POSTING OR DUPLICATE POSTS ARE ALLOWED.
    Do not post the same thing to multiple threads, as this hurts everyone who uses the Forum.
    Please do not Double Post. Double Posting does not get you an answer to your question any quicker. Double posting only causes confusion, violates Forum etiquette, and is discourteous to Forum members who take the time effort to respond to your question.

    7) PIRACY AND LINKING TO EITHER ILLEGAL OR PIRATED MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE FROZEN IF YOU DO THIS.
    NO Posts about Hacks,Cracks,or Piracy will be tolerated YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE ((Deactivated))!!!!!!

    8) User's of this web site may not promote the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, nudity, vulgarity or any other form of adult content, profanity, hate, "spam," fraud, racism, pyramid schemes, or promote any illegal activity. We want this site to be safe to view anywhere, so we ask you to think before you type and keep your posts clean. The moderators here do not want to delete or edit your posts, so don't make them.




    One last note:
    Consider an appropriate section and thread before posting your question - look at the forum section descriptions on the main Forum page first, otherwise the Moderators will have to move it.

     
  8. creaky

    creaky Moderator Staff Member

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    i'm simply all for stopping problems before they start, ie it's not overly different from basic troubleshooting. ie addressing the root cause prevents or helps to prevent problems from escalating; my only concern when nothing's said on a thread is that it can (potentially) be a while before a multipost is addressed (as maybe no-one reports it cus they 'think' it's either been reported or they assume it's been reported) or a thread about keygens is left un-noticed and quickly degenerates into all-out piracy discussions.

    I have nothing but respect for the mods and while reporting stuff helps them, it's also done to help me (and others) as when i stumble across the 5th duplicate post (happened today actually) i get confused and it totally undermines my input if there's 4 other duplicate threads. i cross-reference threads constantly as that's how i work (and that's how i stumble across multiposts usually, which makes me question why i'm helping! and also confuses the hind legs off me).

    Multiposting is simply an example to illustrate my point btw, though it does happen to my biggest bugbear, i'm easily confused :)


    Here's an example of how i work, snippet from the DVD Shrink forum - http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/1/260237#1464693

     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2005
  9. zippyd

    zippyd Active member

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    I agree that there are many who do assist people who violate the rules in a polite and helpful manner to find the rules and do the right the thing, but there are many more who simply think that they can bash away at someone for a simple mistake. I've seen many times where the moderators themselves have acknowledged the help of some for pointing people in the right direction. It's simply one of those "actions of a few...." situations. So preventing members from stepping altogether is definitely the best bet.

    As far as the signature rules, all I can say is: it's about time.....
    Those things have been out of control for a while now.

    Always trying to make things better. That's what I like about this site.
    Good job guys.....
     
  10. Dela

    Dela Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that these new guidelines are aimed more towards people who can't help but bash new users for little mistakes. Obviously, if there is some sort of specific targeting of a user, then that user should have the right to defend themselves but they also have an obligation to report it to moderators NOW instead of later, when the moderators may see it is a two-sided problem and warn both users.

    Before the "report an offensive post" feature was added to the forum, there wa a horrible problem with users who just wanted to find offending posts and try ridicule the person off the forum. That's a huge reason why the "report an offesnive post" feature was added - if users still felt the need to hunt down offensive posts, they could now report it to the moderators who know how they have to deal with it.

    Obviously if someone sees a guy being a complete dick to one of their friends on the forum, it's sort of expected that they will continue to defend their friends on the forum publically as well as report the offensive post - but just dont take it too far. If a user is being an ass, the mods will most likely kick him out eventually, don't stoop to that level, just proove you are the bigger man and let the kid whine and moan till the mods boot reaches his ass.

    And to answer your question, a "wannabe mod" is more like someone who completely acts like a mod on the forum like making threats to users (not advising, but threatening) that they will get banned if they dont edit posts etc. A lot of new users to forums get easily intimidated when stuff like that happens and they just don't return - ever.

    The moderators are appointed for the task of explaining to users where they broke the rules and then using their judgement to determine whether any further action is needed - like in the case of spammers, where all mods agree the best thing to do is kick em out straight away. Moderators are picked from the forum because aD admins believe they can fairly use their judgement in situations on their own, with no admin or user looking over their shoulder. Personally, I don't see any moderators being crippled by having to explain to someone what they have done wrong, or link to the rules page, usually it only takes a minute or so to deal with a user.

    You help a moderator by alerting them to where you think there is a problem. You also help yourself, because users who have a more active reporting history will most likely be brought up as possibilities when we need more mods. The "report an offensive post" is to help the moderators keep the forum clean, but the cleaning itself, is to be done by moderators, or admins in special cases.

    Good :) I think you have brought up some good points too.

    I think multi-post offenses will always be a hard problem to deal with. I think in a case of where you see three or four threads from the same user, go to one of the threads and report the post as offensive just in case it hasnt been done before. Hopefully soon it will only be possible to send one report per post so if you are met with a notice that the post is already reported, then good.

    if the multiple posts are all reported, well that's just something that cant be helped for mods lol the mods will tell you themslves, the list of reports is very easy to wade through.

    Dont forget tho, if reporting something that has been posted multiple times, if you really want to help mods, add in the url to the other threads in the report, or even just say it has been posted multiple times - definitely do this in the case of a spam attack.

    Yep there is nobody who can doubt that many users here were replying to some offensive posts in a very polite way and did help moderators overall. However, one of the biggest complaints about the forum so far that aD has received, is how unfriendly users can be when someone slips up.



    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I've seen it happen where a user made a small mistake and was bashed by a member with a higher status. This then resulted in the new user replying negatively - this goes on and on and when a mod gets there, the chances of the new user getting canned are much higher than they would have been if the post was just reported as offensive.

    Overall, aD is just looking to be a less hostile environment - I think we will all benefit from that.
     
  11. Lethal_B

    Lethal_B Moderator Staff Member

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    Thankyou for the clarifications, Dela. I believe we will all benefit from this. Just one more suggestion. Maybe stick this on the homepage. Because I for one usually breeze past this forum without noticing, and hence only a few users have replied here. Just a suggestion :)

    Thanks,

    Lethal_Biz
     
  12. MaxBurn

    MaxBurn Regular member

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    I think why some ppl mention something on reporting, is that maybe they are trying to warn someone that they are violating rules to keep them out of trouble. However, we do not owe a rules breaker any warning. If we are wrong, the mods will let us know. If correct, then they will tell us that the person has been warned/banned/ whatever they decide.
    Now lets say you run in to the case of an obviously intentional multi-poster, just doing it to get more ppl working on posters problem. To top it off the guy is linking to an associates site, advertizings how to get serial numbers, ridiculing every good memeber of AD, past, present, and future, mentions your name specificly, the list goes on. Now if we see this, and hit the report offensive post button, and put no reply or anything in the thread,[bold](but list all the violations when we report the thread to the mods)[/bold], A mod will step in and take care of business. It will all appear [bold]INVISIBLE[/bold] to the rest of us reading the thread. If offender gets banned, they can step in and edit out his remarks, and keep the thread alive. I guess if you really wanted to vent, you could PM the offender, but again, this is INVISIBLE to the rest of us. The thread would then look like: offensive post>reported(maybe hundreds of times)>Mod steps in and kicks A$$>Things quiet down real quickly, and posts continue on topic. Offender has no more input if they really messed up, so they cant keep fanning the flames. Not trying to stifle free speech or defense against personal attacks. I just think we should try it the way the mods are asking us to do, and let them handle the logistics of it all. We can concentrate on helping ppl, and the mods can concentrate on cleaning up threads, and taking care of rules violators. Don't think of it as a sneek attack. Just my 2cents. Thats the way i am going to start doing it, unless a mod tells me not to do so.
     
  13. andmerr

    andmerr Guest

    @ dela : that method of when you click the report an offence thread button, the next screen comes up as saying reported would be the best way but until that happens is it simply easier to just put in brackets (reported) and that leaves a signpost to all that it is now in the hands of a mod and we can get on with helping some one else.
     
  14. ireland

    ireland Active member

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    The key to this is when a newbie signs up a screen with the rules should be presented to him with all the rules,with a box for each rule
    that must be checked off for each rule b4 he can become a member.
    as if all are not all checked off the registration process will not continue

    that in a way might be a way for a newbie who might read the rules of the site.

    my 17 cents
     
  15. 9mmruger1

    9mmruger1 Regular member

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    @ireland

    Great idea, kinda thinking "inside of the box" for outside of the box.
    Thought and innovation is greatly appreciated.
     
  16. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

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    ireland: We've tried to spoonfeed the rules to people and trust me, forcing people to view the rule page wont do any difference.

    The latest bunch of forum rule modifications were done to address a problem caused by some users on our forums who, just like Dela said, added a certain level of hostility to the forums by making sarcastic/threatening/etc comments to users who have violated rules. Seriously, if a n00b asks a valid, good question but adds his/her email address to the post itself, its bit frustrating to get 10 replies in 15 minutes with "MUHAHAA, YOU'LL GET BOOTED!" lines, where the only action needed is really to click the "report an offensive post" link to indicate the post to mods, who then handle the situation. For cases like that, in my mind, the correct way to handle the situation by a mod is to PM the user in question, tell that we dont allow emails in forums due spambots and to mod to edit the post so that the email address gets removed. Sure, spammers and morons who violate basic rules like posting serials of software, etc, deserve to get kicked immediately without warnings. But even in those cases, why to post "you will get nailed, SOOOOON!" messages, when we all know that if you report the post, mods will boot the guy within 60 minutes, for good.

    This also explains why it is not that important to stick this thread to everybody's faces, as our regulars tend to read most of the annoucement messages regularly anyway.

    I'd also like to stress that we aren't complaining about people's behaviour, but simply want to clear the rules that should eventually make the forum much, much friendlier place for new members to come in. After all, the whole forum got so popular due the fact that it was extremely friendly, never dismissed total n00bs and situations were handled fairly. It still mostly is that way, but as we continue to grow, its better to make clear rules that hopefully keep things that way also in the future when we get 10,000 msgs a day and 5,000 new users a day :)
     
  17. Dela

    Dela Administrator Staff Member

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    It's unfortunate for now that users have no way of knowing if a post has been reported, but if you see a post that's offending, report it anyway -> most offensive post reports sent are dupes of reports made earlier by other users, the mods are used to multiple reports at this stage.

    The thing is, even though it seems harmless, even replying and just mentioning that a post has been reported causes a lot more problems than it solves in many cases. For example, you could see someone asking about indepth game cracvking at code level stuff, which is against the rules, so you reply and say "reported". Now that user realises, shit i broke the rules, perhaps i should have read them before? And now that user feels cornered and worried about the imminent threat of a mod kicking him out or something so chances are he/she will get all defensive and probably very hostile toward the user who has mentioned the thread has been reported. We've seen it before, people have mentioned a thread has been reported, the new user gets all worried and upset and decides to bash the user who reported him, then gets thrown out because he/she said something they shouldn't have said to the user who reported them.

    Now that can be easily avoided by allowing the mods only to handle the situation. Taking spam out of the equation, i think it's safe to say 9 times out of 10 a reported post would/should only result in a mod pointing a user to the rules or some other easy way of handling the situation. Most peoiple who come herew with an attitude problem drop it quite fast when they realise how rapid a response comes from moderators when they step over the line. Because the person who is warning them has the authority to do so on the forum they usually accept it and appologise, but when normal users have a go at them, they tend to just hit back with more attitude.

    And finally, one thing I think is never really thought of in this situation.... a user has the right to not be "embarrassed" on a forum by a lot of people knowing that his/her posts have been reported to a moderator. It is something that should only be done quietly in the background - it shouldn't be easily seen on the public forum. If they break the rules, it's between them and the mods/admins.

    Don't even think about whether or not a post has been reported, if you find it offending, then report it. If a post has been reported numerous times by many different users, then at least mods get an idea of how offensive it is to the regular users of the forum also, so thats also a good thing when you think about it like that.

    Either way, kep the offensive post reporting coming :) It's a major part in the cleaning of the forum and it makes it easier for users to alert mods than having to actually PM a mod every time they see something which was the way it was done for a long time, you should see the oldest mods PM inboxes, hehehehe). :)

    EDIT: woops forgot to say that even when a post has been reported, it's still probably not the best idea for the forum software to automatically tag it as reported somehow.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2005
  18. LOCOENG

    LOCOENG Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps when a post is reported as offensive, the option to report it again is disabled, until a mod takes care of business. This would keep the offensive report down if you have anonymous reporters.

    Another thought would be to freeze the thread until a mod deems the problem taken care of. This would be to keep repetative bashing of the offender to a minimum.
     
  19. Dela

    Dela Administrator Staff Member

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    While it would work the disappearance of the report an offensive post button would indicate to all forum users that a post has been reported (yes, i know, thats your point but...). Like I mentioned in a post above, it is a useres right to not have something like that displayed publicly. As i said too, this is all something that should happen in the background and not easdily seen on public forum.

    Would help in some situations, but then again threads are even reported because they contain email addresses or something else that is not really that offending, no point in freezing an entire thread and waiting for a mod in a situation like that, especially if the reported post is not the first post on the thread.
     
  20. andmerr

    andmerr Guest

    no probs dela , i'll keep that in mind for future reference.
     

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