|Forum Policies and Guidelines|
The US Politics Forum is a "big tent" message board which welcomes a broad range of opinions on the topic of US politics. Opinions are not homogeneous; for a food analogy, consider this Forum a stew, not a soup. Because there are viewpoints from all sides -- including foreign and domestic -- eventually you will probably disagree strongly with someone's comments. Please don't take differences of opinion personally. Disagreement does not justify lashing out at someone and breaking the rules of the Forum.
This document provides the new and veteran Forum member with information about Forum rules:
Your About.com Guides may read and post to the Forum, but it is likely that most postings will not be reviewed or monitored.About.com reserves the right to remove any Guide- or user-created content, once it is brought to our attention, if we find in our sole discretion it violates these guidelines or if it is in violation of the law.
About.com's Forums should not be used to advocate or promote the following:
The rules are based on the About.com TOS. The short version:
Forum members have the right to engage in free and lively debate without unfair intrusion by the Moderators, with the understanding that posts comply with all existing rules. A member may challenge any Moderator action affecting him/herself. This challenge must be raised in private, not public, communication with the US Politics Guide via e-mail.
If a member has a non-working e-mail address associated with the member profile -- in other words, if a warning e-mail from a Moderator bounces -- that member will immediately be gagged in order to get the member's attention; the warning may be issued publicly in the thread in which it occurred. Write to the US Politics Guide via e-mail to discuss both the infraction and reinstatement of posting privileges.
If a member has chosen to turn "off" e-mail contact via their member profile, and a Moderator needs to warn the member about a violation, that member will be gagged, in order to get the member's attention, and the warning will be issued publicly in the thread in which it occurred. Write to the US Politics Guide via e-mail to discuss both the infraction and reinstatement of posting privileges.
All visitors to the US Politics Forum are here voluntarily; no one has forced anyone to post here. Moderators try their best to be fair; if you don't like the Forum or how it is run, then we respectfully suggest that you exercise your right to leave.
There is a difference between forceful advocacy for a particular issue (which is allowed) and personally attacking Forum member (which is not allowed).
2a) Unambiguous expressions of bigotry or hate will be edited and may result in the immediate gag or ban of the poster. Posters should consider the editing, and e-mail notification of such editing, as a warning to cease such behavior. If it is unclear whether a comment is bigoted or hateful, Moderators will generally give the benefit of the doubt. However, individuals who repeatedly post borderline-bigoted and hateful comments will lose posting privileges (gag or ban).
2b) Personal attacks are not allowed. Any direct and specifically organized wording intended to disparage a person (including, but not limited to: personal qualities, beliefs, points-of-view, and political ideology) is prohibited. Personal attacks are clearly intended to smear, insult, or disparage. There are two types:
When a post is obviously intended to be malicious, it will be edited.
All statements that begin with "you" are not attacks, although this is a yellow flag. However, if someone says "you frequently make negative comments about <insert group name>," that would be allowed if it accurately characterizes that person's posting style. However, if someone types "you are a liar" or "you always lie," then that post has crossed the line into personal attack because the comment asserts a negative personal characteristic.
Posters should consider the editing, and e-mail notification of such editing, as a warning to cease such behavior. Individuals who repeatedly post disparaging comments will lose posting privileges (gag or ban).
2c) Broad generalizations about entire groups or public officials are not considered personal attacks. However, they are often inflammatory (counterproductive), and Moderators have broad discretion to edit such posts in the interests of maintaining civil discourse in the Forum.
2d) Posting for the sake of provoking anger is discouraged. Continued posts of this type are considered trolls or flames, and the poster will lose posting privileges (gag or ban).
2e) Some more "do not's" that deal with member respect:
Repeated examples of these behaviors may result in loss of posting privileges (gag or ban).
If you just don't like someone, consider putting that person on your ignore list. To set a member to ignore: mouseover the "options" link in the lower left of one of their posts; then click "Ignore This Author."
Some other examples of what constitutes personal attacks:
3a) Don't copy and post entire copyrighted articles. If you wish to reference an article, provide a brief excerpt and include a link to the original source. Generally, excerpts should not exceed two or three paragraphs. Members engaging in copyright violation knowingly, or unknowingly, will have the post(s) in question edited and will be notified by e-mail of such editing, as a warning to cease such behavior. Individuals who repeatedly violate copyright will lose posting privileges (gag or ban).
3b) This rule also applies to images in signature lines.
Members may not publicly attack a Moderator or intentionally undermine a Moderator's actions. It is okay for a member to publicly ask a Moderator why an admonishment was issued. It is okay for a member to disagree with a Moderator. It is not okay for a member to harass, bait, or slander a Moderator.
If a member wishes to challenge a Moderator action that involves the member, this challenge must be raised in private, not public, communication with the US Politics Guide via e-mail.
All of the US Politics Forum Hosts (Moderators) are volunteers. They donate their time and their good judgment to this website because they are dedicated to fostering a civil environment for political discussion. They do not make the rules; they only enforce the rules. They do not deserve to have scorn heaped upon, them either publicly or privately.
If you believe a post should be brought to the the attention of the Moderators, please use the "Options" link on the post in question to lodge a TOS complaint. Please do not complain about the post publicly; due to time and sheer volume of post here, the Moderation team cannot read all posts.
Moderators are not expected to be online all the time and the Forum is not moderated 24x7. Thus it is unreasonable to expect immediate response to every problem that arises on this discussion board. Do not publicly post private messages you may receive from Moderators.
5a) Spam is prohibited. Spam is defined as posting identical or similar material repeatedly in one, or more, threads. Even if the posted material in question is on topic, do not repetitively post it en-masse. Members found to be in violation of this rule will have their spam deleted on all threads where it is encountered except in the post where it was first encountered; members will be issued a warning via e-mail. In the event that two or more Moderators encounter the same spam, one post will be selected to remain as determined by those Moderators. Further spamming by the member - be it with one or more separate kinds of spam - will subsequently result in that member being bozo'ed. Upon being bozo'ed a member will be notified by e-mail and must contact the US Politics Guide directly via e-mail to discuss the offense in order to have their bozo'ed status lifted.
5b) Vulgarity is prohibited. Any offensively graphic and rude word or image that is commonly understood and perceived to be vulgar will be edited; the member will receive an e-mail notification. The context in which a word is used will be taken into consideration. Continuous and multiple violations of this rule may result in further disciplinary action.
5c) Respect Forum members right to privacy. Participants may not post information that violates the privacy rights of another member. Do not openly speculate that a new member ID is a re-incarnation of a previous or existing member . Should a new member ID openly and freely volunteer that they are an older or existing member, then this rule no longer comes to bear in regards to that new member ID only. Members who violate this rule will find their offending post edited and will receive an e-mail notification. In the edited post the offending member will find a warning that continued pursuance of their course regarding the member ID speculation will result in that member being bozo'ed. Upon being bozo'ed a member will be notified by e-mail and must contact the US Politics Guide directly via e-mail to discuss the offense in order to have their bozo'ed status lifted.
5d) Libel is prohibited. Participants may not post information that is defamatory.
5e) Please be on topic. About.com has many Forums for subjects not related to politics. Also, chain e-mail, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are inappropriate in this Forum and will be removed by the Moderation team.
5f) General Netiquette. Please follow netiquette. For example, do not post subjects or messages in all caps; all caps = shouting. Also, please do not use font sizes 1, 6 or 7. One is too small for many members to read and font 6 and 7 are so large that they can easily be mistaken for yelling.
6a) Your use name cannot:
6b) Don't pretend to be someone else. One account, one person; please do not create multiple accounts.
7a) Forum members are limited to one signature - either a political statement or a personal statement. Try to limit the content of your signature line to only one paragraph, quote, idea, or comment. You may change the color and font of your signature line text, but we would prefer that you not increase the text size.
7b) Signatures may contain a maximum of one URL and no links to other threads or posts.
7c) Advertising in signatures is prohibited.
7d) Signatures are expected to follow the same guidelines as posts, which means no flaming, no swearing, no personal attacks, and no adult material.
7e) After 1 December 2004, Forum Moderators will delete or edit signatures that are inappropriate for the forum or that don't conform to these guidelines; the member will be notified by e-mail and may contact the US Politics Guide directly via e-mail to discuss the offense. Failure to modify a signature within one week after notification will result in suspended posting privileges (bozo).
8a) Forum staff reserve the right to alter, or add, to the existing rules as laid out in the "Pax Forum".
8b) Any changes or additions to the rules will be determined internally among the staff and are not subject to member approval.
8c) Upon making any changes or additions to the "Pax Forum" the Moderation team is not required to issue public notification to existing and/or new members, either by post nor e-mail.
8d) It is the personal responsibility of each member to routinely keep themselves appraised on the status of the "Pax Forum". The latest version is always accessible from the Forum home page.
8e) The US Politics Guide has the final and authoritative say in any ruling and dispute concerning the enforcement and alteration of the "Pax Forum".