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Forum Rules, Clarified.

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Evark
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Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-07 17:40:02

Hello all and welcome. This thread's purpose is to clarify the BBS rules as per the Newgrounds Forum Rules.

We, the moderators, are charged with enforcing the policies outlined above in the rules page. This tends to breed user resentment, unfortunately, as the rules above are designed to be as terse and concise as possible while still getting across the basics of what is and isn't acceptable on these forums. Ultimately, the rules page above is unclear in many instances to a great many users. Those who have read the rules don't necessarily know that posting "rape her is rape" is posting spam. Why? Because there is no specific rule against posting "rape her is rape" in any thread, yet there is a rule that covers the post's unacceptable brevity, a guideline that covers the post's unacceptable lack of adhesion to the conversational subject, and the common sense knowledge that something you heard and laughed at elsewhere becomes unfunny the instant you try to tell the joke again.

So where does that leave us? Well, first it left us with the creation of several different "new rules" threads. In these threads, moderators would post whatever new fad they have seen and increasingly banned for, simply to warn users that the behavior would no longer be tolerated. Users complain that it's unfair for us to "make up rules" to enforce, failing to realize that we are simply clarifying that existing rules DO already cover the annoying fads, it's just that we hadn't really noticed it was a problem quite yet.

Another attempt is embodied in Zerok's Rules Blog. While this is by far the most useful of the attempts, it's unfortunately restricted by it's lack of advertisement. You have to be interested in visiting Zerok's blog in the first place. This topic will be floating around the BBS, advertised simply by the red tank next to it's name.

Anyway, the point here is that none of that really worked. There's a ton of individual threads that users may not see, and a general resentment toward their existence. Here, I'm hoping for a different approach.

Throughout this READ ONLY THREAD (it will remain locked at all times, if anything is posted here by a regular user, or doesn't follow format and is posted by a moderator, it will be deleted), CURRENT site moderators will frame past and CURRENT user posting trends in a light that serves to explain why it is against the rules, if at all. Every post will include a quote of the rule/s that apply/ies, an example of the user behavior that breaking said rules, and an explanation of why particular rules apply to particular examples.

Hopefully, by framing these "new rules" in this light, users will realize that as moderators we're really just a go-between for administrative policy and the forum userbase here. That we're NOT the enemy, we're just carrying out our responsibility to the forum we've come to enjoy. Consider this the regular's insider view into the mindset of BBS moderation.

In an effort to keep this opening post a little more brief than it might become otherwise, I'll be posting throughout this thread insights into WHY the rules are the way they are, and WHY we're told to enforce things in a certain way. My first response should serve to explain one of the great mysteries of BBS moderation to you, and my personal hope for this thread is that it allays some of the bitterness of users who've been banned over the years, in addition to detracting somewhat from the enigma that is BBS moderators.

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

Note to moderators: please read my accompanying post within the Mod Forum before attempting to contribute.


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Evark
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-07 18:03:49

In understanding how moderators moderate, you guys first need to understand that we are volunteers. Our position is offered to us by the administrators after we're known to be trusted users who want to see Newgrounds.com continue to succeed. However, we're told right from the beginning that our position if volunteer-only. Most of you know what it is we DO moderate, but almost none of you realize that a relatively reasonable amount of the time we choose to simply ignore things completely.

Why would we ignore something we see on the BBS? Well, there's a few simple reasons:
- We aren't sure if it's against the rules
- We aren't sure what level of punishment is appropriate
- It may just be hilarious enough that we want it to stay
- We don't know if it'll end up being a problem or not, so we decide to sit on our hands and wait until there's clearly a problem arising from it.

Administrators themselves tell us: "if you simply aren't sure if you need to moderate something--DON'T." Administrators would rather see users have fun on the forums then a PERFECT forum where there's no repeat topics, etc. When a new site feature is launched, even if there's a rule against tons of repeat topics, we're typically going to let a few of them slide. Why? Because the administrators LIKE seeing users excited about the site. They like to see all the feedback, I mean, we're the entire reason they're in business in the first place.

So consider these things the next time you decide to complain about a moderator not taking action against a lot of other threads similar to yours. It's not because YOU made the thread, it's because we simply weren't sure it was a problem up until your thread was created.


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Dry-Ice
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-07 18:06:04

"FACEPALM", or posting just to insult a topic.

Often I come accross posts which are just the word 'Facepalm' accompanied by that Captain Picard facepalm image.
It's difficult to ban a user just for this as it's only a slight infraction on many rules and guildlines, but it's certainly not a welcome contribution to a topic.

Observe -

** Making multiple short posts (five words or less) over a short time period.

**Trolling: cruising the boards looking for a fight.

**Posting flashing or strobing images, or picture spamming: repeatedly posting the same picture or posting irrelevant / overused images such as the FAIL picture.

Basically, by posting a large "Facepalm" image what you're essentially saying is -
"I dislike the content of this thread. I find it to be unworthy of discussion and therefore I'm going to flippantly insult the thread and indirectly insult the topic starter while contributing nothing of conversational value."

Direct your attention to this line of text in the rules -
Before posting a topic, please ask yourself the following question: "Am I making a post which is either funny, informative, or interesting on some level?" If you can answer "yes" to this, then please post. If you cannot, then refrain.

When you post a Facepalm image in a thread, you're trolling. Since your post has no conversational value, it means it's also considered spam, and you will be banned for it.

This goes for any other short, facetious (argumentative) meme you post in any other thread. You're obviously contributing nothing of value (which can get you banned anyway) and you're trolling at the same time.

When you see a thread where someone says something utterly stupid or asks a really dumb question, I know it's tempting just to insult them.
From now on, when you feel like posting a short, insulting jab at someone, just click the 'Back' button instead of the 'Post it!' button and save me some time, because I'll probably end up banning you for it.

Forum Rules, Clarified.


BBS Mod, PM me if you have something to report.

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BananaBreadMuffin
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-07 18:52:47

C-C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!
Or more accurately, the posts preceeding that.

I've received a surprising amount of PMs and AIMs from people who I've banned for posting in 'nested quotes', 'post chains', or whatever you want to call them.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, take a look at these two examples.

At 00/0/00 00:03 AM, Person D wrote:

At 00/0/00 00:02 AM, Person C wrote:
At 00/0/00 00:01 AM, Person B wrote:
At 00/0/00 00:00 AM, Person A wrote:
I think you suck
Seconded
Thirded
Fourthed

It doesn't have to be simple posts like 'seconded' or whatever, it could be a repeated phrase, whatever. That's not important. Threads like this pretty much solely feature people jumping on the bandwagon. And while you can look back on that and laugh, I only chose that topic because it's easy to search for. Some that just weren't that funny consisted of 10-15 pages of just "Why is there a cock in the top left?" and "You should've grabbed her cock". It's always amusing when someone gets in a witty and caustic remark and everyone laughs, it's not amusing when you see that post 50 times.

So, to stop that happening, we like to keep these stacks from forming asap. Generally as a personal rule, I won't ban the first person to write whatever, because in all fairness it's not their fault (though I don't speak for any of the other moderators), but everyone else posting can expect a 3 day ban.

what rules does this break?
These posts break a few quite big rules quite plainly. I guess people think they can get away with it for the sake of humour, but as I explained eariler, this shit just isn't funny.

To an extent, it breaks the following 'big' rule, as you will often find in quote stacks, many people just repost and repost and repost.
- Making multiple short posts (five words or less) over a short time period.

And then it breaks pretty much every 'General Conduct' rule in existance, in particular:
- Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse not to follow them.
- If you're about to make a post that you're not sure is OK, whether covered by the rules or not, don't.
- If you can't make a positive contribution to a topic, don't post.

These posts are clear examples of spam, and are in no way allowed within the rules. If you find that your posts aren't deleted, you better thank your lucky stars that you're fucking hilarious, because generally these are a fast track to staring at a ban message for half a week.


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Dry-Ice
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-07 22:20:46

BBS Signatures - Part 1

Showing off your bans.

It's said clearly in the BBS rules:
Complaining or boasting about any ban, including comments in signature text.

This rule applies to BBS signatures as well.

The reason for this is that showing off your ban is doing two things -

1. Showing that you obviously didn't learn your lesson from your ban since you're treating it as a trophy of your recent rule-breaking.

and

2. Encouraging other users to misbehave so they can eventually be banned and have their own ban signature to show off.

_________________________________

Being banned from the BBS isn't meant to be a good thing. It's not supposed to be another excuse to show off.
It's supposed to be a private, user-specific notification that you broke the rules or overstepped your boundaries.

If people continue to put their bans in their signatures, the bans themselves will have less and less impact because they'll be a common, trivial sight of everyday BBS browsing.

BBS moderators can delete your Signature text and picture, so uploading and replacing something that was deleted will be seen as an act of defiance to this rule, and might get you banned.
If you notice something missing one day, try PMing a mod with a link to your missing signature image and ask them if it was breaking any rules.

Forum Rules, Clarified.


BBS Mod, PM me if you have something to report.

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NEVR
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-09 15:39:05

Complaining about bans.
____________________

Applicable rules:
- Complaining or boasting about any ban, including comments in signature text.
- Insulting or harassing the moderators or administrators.
____________________

A lot of you seem to think that the above rules only apply to the BBS. This isn't the case. If you contact the moderator who banned you in an argumentative, uncooperative manner, then that moderator reserves the right to increase your ban length as they see fit.

The word "contact" applies to ANY form of contact, whether it be the PM system, email, instant messaging, etc.
____________________

Applicable Guidelines:
- Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse not to follow them.
____________________

Perhaps you were unaware of the rule that you broke. This is NOT an excuse, nor is it the fault of the moderator who banned you. Don't contact a moderator simply to attack them because you weren't aware of a rule, or even because you think a rule is stupid.
____________________

Why?

Moderators are not here to take your abuse and smile. We're here to keep the forums clean and free of rule-breakers, and that's exactly what we're doing if we ban you: our jobs.

If you feel the need to contact a moderator about a ban in a civil manner, that's fine. We're understanding for the most part, but complaining, harassing, or flaming will get you nothing but a longer ban.
____________________

Example of a PM I recieved complaining about a ban.

The user's alias is blanked out, as are the irrelevant quoted parts of the PM:

Forum Rules, Clarified.


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Evark
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2008-11-13 21:06:14

I just had to ban a user for posting a thread informing Newgrounds forums of a raid taking place on another website's chat service. Since a ban of this sort is rarely necessary, I figured I'd take the opportunity while it's fresh in my mind to shed a little bit more light on exactly why such things are frowned upon.

"Instigating or discussing malicious attacks on other websites"

Firstly, I'll direct your attention to JKCinema Drama, a thread Tom created some years ago to address an apparent spat between members of the NG forums and JKCinema forums (personally, I've never even heard of that site). Anyway, Tom's message in that thread is clear, Newgrounds will not tolerate discussion or instigation of malicous attacks or raids on other sites. The last sentence in the thread pretty much reveals the reasoning behind this rule, "Spamming forums in the name of NG makes us look bad and just encourages other people to come spam the NG forums."

So, next time you consider that you may be helping Newgrounds out by attacking rival sites, or simply helping your cause out by seeking out the like-minded individuals you'll find here; stop and think for a moment. Your actions will reflect poorly on Newgrounds, and thusly will not be tolerated by administrators or staff.

It's one thing to cause a mess that OUR forum moderators have to clean up, but to defecate all over another forum as a result of some petty disagreement is exactly as Tom identified: childish.


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NEVR
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Response to Forum Rules, Clarified. 2010-03-23 15:45:30

Backseat Modding
I should have posted this here ages ago.

This is taken from my news post, here.

First off, the backseat modding rule is under "the other rules" section. It's not a major offense, but you are definitely risking a ban. Here's the rule as it's written in the BBS rules page:

- Backseat modding: pointing out what needs to be deleted, banned, locked or destroyed.

From this it makes things seem a little black and white, and I know that some users have been confused about being banned for backseat modding when they thought they were simply being helpful.

The tone of the post is very important; in my view of things, there's a line between a user who is trying to be helpful with good intentions, and a user who is being a bit of an elitist ass by trying to show another user that they know the site better, or something along those lines. If you're worried that your post runs the risk of getting you nailed for backseat modding, read it through before you hit the "Post" button, and try to read it as a scrutinising moderator and ask yourself: Could it be interpreted as condescending or rude in any way? If you think the answer is yes, then re-word it so that you seem as sincerely helpful as possible. There's nothing in the rules against being plain helpful, after all.

Three things we don't want that puts the backseat modding rule in its place:
- Users being dicks to other (often newer) users;
- Users giving out MISINFORMATION;
- Users developing superiority complexes or thinking it's their job to mod the BBS.

There are the really obvious backseat modding posts, like "I wish a mod would come along to lock this", or "You're going to be banned LOL!" Those types of posts will usually be deleted and maybe a small ban would be given to the user responsible depending on the context.

The other more obvious type of backseat modding is when one user points out that another user is breaking the rules in a thread. The user making the accusation may be trying to help, but doing it in the thread only provides ammunition to derail the thread and start unnecessary flame wars. If you are concerned that a user is breaking the rules, PM an online mod and let them deal with it instead of taking matters into your own hands.

There are, however, instances where it's a little more difficult to see where the backseat modding is actually occurring. Examples of this are when one user tells another user how / where / what to post, especially if it's in an unhelpful or elitist manner. You don't necessarily have to say "this thread should be locked" in order to be guilty of backseat modding, but saying "This is in the wrong forum" or "You shouldn't have posted this here" is in the grey area. Try to be helpful and polite when redirecting users.
____________________

To help you all out, here's a quick list of tips to avoid backseat modding:

- Don't call users out in threads
It might seem like a user needs to be taken down a peg or two, but you're only making yourself look bad by getting drawn into it. PM an online mod and leave it at that.

- Be helpful, not condescending
The longer you're here, the more annoying it is when you see users who don't know the rules. In these instances, it's on YOU to be helpful to that user, but DON'T act like you're a moderator yourself. Point them in the right direction as opposed to TELLING them what to do.

- Don't quote / link to the rules
It might seem like you're trying to help, but this can very easily come off as smug or elitist. If you see someone breaking a rule, again, PM a mod as opposed to pointing it out in the thread itself.

- Don't tell mods how to do their jobs
Probably one of the easiest ways to get yourself banned for backseat modding is to actually tell the mods what they should or shouldn't be doing. We have a thread where you can express your opinions on how the mods are doing, but outside of that thread, just let us get on with it.

And finally, a tip that applies to EVERY rule on the BBS and not just this one...

- If in doubt, don't post
Fairly self-explanatory. If there's a hint of doubt in your mind that what you're about to post may not abide by the backseat modding rule, then don't hit that post button. If you have concerns about anything that you aren't sure if you should post on the BBS, we have the PM system and a list of mods who will help you out.
____________________

A few backseat modding-type posts that may get you banned:

- "inb4 lock"
- "Enjoy your ban"
- "Read the rules"
- "This is spam"
- "Isn't this against the rules?"

...And all variations thereof.
____________________

Remember, backseat modding is ONLY a rule on the BBS. PMing a mod about something that you think needs looking at is absolutely fine, and you'll never get a BBS ban for contacting a mod about something you think is rulebreaking (even if it turns out to be legitimate in the end).


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