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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

[VOTE] Proposed re-write of the board rules

Moderator: CmdrWilkens

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Should we use the rewritten rules?
Poll ended at 2009-10-25 01:09pm
Yes 96%  96%  [ 27 ]
No 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Abstain 4%  4%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 28
Author Message

Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:09pm 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
After some discussion, I took another look at the board rules and realized that they were not as good as they could be. That's not to say that the rules were really bad, but that they were not very well expressed. Therefore, I drew up a proposed new set. The actual meaning of the rules hasn't changed much (there are a few minor changes), but in general, the point is to make them clearer, more concise, and easier to read, particularly for newbies. Also, the old rules contained a lot of pointless verbiage, such as dire warnings of consequences. Obviously, there are potential consequences if you break rules; it's silly to point that constantly.

Here is the proposed rewritten set of rules:
Quote:
Official Board Policies

This document is intended to describe the rules of this forum. Its terms are subject to change in future, but are currently agreed-upon by the administrative staff.

Posting Rules

  1. Use Proper English. This is an English language forum, and we expect a decent attempt at proper English. This means decent spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. In particular, do not use annoying SMS-speak such as "ur" instead of "you are" or "b4" instead of "before". We understand that not everyone has English as a first language and we can make allowances for that, but you should at least make the effort.
  2. Do Not Flout The Law. This is not an "underground" forum. Do not brag about criminal activity, incite criminal activity, solicit or offer pirated software, etc.
  3. Be Honest. Around here, dishonesty is much worse than rudeness. We take a particularly dim view of anyone who pretends to be someone he's not, or who brags about false accomplishments.
  4. Grow a Thick Skin. People are allowed to insult each other and use profanity on these forums. Do not run to a moderator or dismiss someone's argument just because he's insulting or rude. The best way to respond to a rude person is to show him up by producing a better argument than he can.
  5. Do not "Pile On". Also known as the "me too" or "dogpiling" rule. Don't post in threads just to say you agree or disagree with someone, or that you like or dislike something, without bothering to explain why. Put some effort into your posts.
  6. No Hate Speech. We try to have relaxed rules about what you can discuss. However, there are certain exceptions: do not promote pedophilia in any way, Nazism, or white supremacism. This board is physically located in Canada, so do not violate Canada's hate speech laws. And finally, do not discuss the notoriously misogynist "Gor" books.
  7. Avoid the History of Israel vs Palestine. Feel free to discuss news from that part of the world, but we have a special moratorium on debating the history of that conflict, since such debates always go round and round in the same endless circles. If you wish to discuss IvP issues, stick to current events.
  8. No Pornographic Pictures. This rule is self-explanatory.
  9. Stay On Topic. Make posts in the relevant forum. When posting in a thread, try to stay on the subject of the thread.
  10. Let Dead Threads Lie. Do not post in old, inactive threads (eg- no activity for more than a month). If you want to resurrect an old subject, it is preferable to make a new thread with a URL reference to the old one. Note: we can be flexible on this rule in very low-activity forums where most of the threads on the first page are old.
  11. Use Meaningful Thread Titles. Thread titles are only useful when they describe the contents. Misleading or vague thread titles are not permitted.
  12. No Advertising. In other words, we hate spammers.
  13. Don't Over-Use The Smilies. This is a subjective rule, but let's just say that it's definitely over-use when more of your post is composed of smilies than text. Lesser examples will rely on more of a judgement call.
  14. Reference News Sources. If you create a thread about a news article, always provide a link or a text reference to the source. Also, provide enough text excerpts from the source to permit meaningful discussion even if readers don't visit the URL.
  15. When to use the "Report" Button. Please click here for guidelines.

Debating Rules

  1. No Thread Hijacking. By this we mean that you cannot change the subject of a thread in mid-stream. We are aware that discussions can meander of their own accord, but there are times when someone deliberately tries to change the subject, and that is unacceptable.
  2. No Vendettas. Do not "follow someone around" because you dislike him, hijacking threads to carry on your feud with him or dragging arguments from one thread to another. Try to debate the ideas, not the people. We know this is easier said than done, and everyone has been guilty of this at some point, but that is the ideal to strive for. In particular, do not start a thread solely to attack or challenge some other member of the forum. The only type of "calling someone out" threads permitted on the forum are in the Senate, where disciplinary hearings are held.
  3. Miss Manners Does Not Live Here. Do not whine about other people being rude. In particular, do not use someone's rudeness as an excuse to ignore his arguments.
  4. No "Broken Record" Tactics. Do not employ the "broken record" debating style of continuously repeating yourself until other people give up.
  5. Back Up Your Claims. If you make a contentious statement of fact and someone asks for evidence, you must either provide it or withdraw the claim. Do not call it "self evident", restate it in different words, force the other person to prove your claim is not true, or use other weasel techniques to avoid backing up your claims.

Administrative Rules

  1. Vengeance Is Mine. If you think someone has broken a rule, contact a moderator in the forum where the alleged offense took place. Do not be a "back-seat moderator" and attempt to take him to task yourself. Please note that this complaint should reference which of our rules you believe the offender has broken.
  2. The Rules Are The Rules. If you dislike our forum's policies, either keep it to yourself or leave. This is our forum, these are our rules, and if you don't like it, there are plenty of other forums out there.
  3. Leave The Staff Alone. The moderators and administrators and Senators are unpaid volunteers with their own lives and demands on their time, and they do not need to be whined at every time a user thinks poorly of them or their actions. If you believe you have a serious grievance, you should use the PM button to contact a Senator. The Senate exists to discuss such issues. Obviously, if your grievance is with a Senator, then contact a different Senator.
  4. If You Hate The Board, Leave. Self-explanatory. There is no good reason why someone who thinks the board is a terrible place should stay and post about how much he hates it. If you think it's that bad, just leave instead of whining about it. That also goes for whining about "prevailing attitudes", "board culture", etc. If you think the majority of us are wrong about some topical issue, make some good arguments to show why we're wrong. Don't just whine that few of us agree with you.
  5. No Harassment. If you are found to be harassing another member (particularly a female, especially one less than 18 years old) via PM or some other means, particularly in a manner that makes the other member feel threatened, you will be summarily banned. Do not pester female members for personal info, do not ignore requests to leave them alone, do not proclaim your interest in them on the forums, etc. We are aware that some of you are young and may think it's cute or amusing, but we don't.
  6. When to Insult the Staff: you can insult the staff with respect to their arguments in a discussion, but not their performance of their duties. Some people think they can cleverly discourage administrative action by accusing the staff of abusing their power; this will not be tolerated.

Your User Profile

  1. No Inflammatory Avatars. If the staff feels that your avatar is offensive or overly irritating, you will be asked to change it. The rules for avatars are much stricter than the rules for discussions, because your avatar is everywhere you go. A post in a discussion is made only once.
  2. No Huge Signatures. Excessively large sigs take up too much screen space. As a general rule, your sig should be no taller than mine, and should not contain images larger than 500x100 pixels or bigger than 75 kB. As with avatars, signatures are subject to much stricter rules than discussion posts. If the staff feels that your sig is oversized, offensive, or visually irritating, you will be asked to change it.
  3. No Sock Puppets. Do not make "sock puppet" accounts (ie- multiple accounts) for yourselves. This is inherently deceptive. Users who do this to evade a prior ban or who help someone else evade a prior ban will be immediately banned themselves.
  4. If You Want To Leave, Just Leave. If you keep threatening or promising to leave, we'll eventually get tired of the melodrama and just ban you. If you ask us to ban you or dare us to ban you, we will. If you demand that we erase all your posts, we will laugh at you.
  5. Name-Changes. We might grant name change requests, depending on whether we like you. But if you keep asking for multiple consecutive name changes, we can't guarantee that your new name will not be Shit-Eating Fuckface.

Imperial Rules

  1. My House, My Rules. I own the forum. I pay for the hardware, I maintain the software, I pay for the bandwidth. As a guest in my house, you must recognize that I set the rules, not you. If you think that is unjust, TOO FUCKING BAD.
  2. Let The Staff Decide. The administrative staff and Senate will decide what is an appropriate punishment when someone breaks the rules. Sometimes we may be in a lenient mood, but that does not tie our hands for the future.
  3. No Lawyering. These rules are here to tell you what you can and can't do, but they do not define "rights" which you can throw in the faces of the staff if they agree that you've done something wrong. We have clarified rules or even added retroactive rules in the past (eg- the harassment rule) due to certain peoples' actions, and we are quite willing to do so again. In other words, this is not a court of law. Don't nitpick semantics or look for legal loopholes.

Disciplinary Actions

  1. Strike One. For a low-level offense, we will typically give you a warning. In some cases, we might give you an insulting title. Removal of said title can be handled by petitioning a Senator, if you can make a case for it.
  2. Strike Two. If you ignore warnings (particularly repeated warnings), we will typically start removing privileges such as private messaging, editing, avatars, signatures, etc.
  3. Strike Three. If the violations continue after warnings and privilege removal, or if the offense is deemed serious enough, we will escalate to a banning vote in the Senate. Bans may be either temporary or permanent, but most bans are permanent.
  4. Insta-Ban. Certain serious violations can lead to instant summary banning. These include, but are not limited to: stalking, hacking, sock-puppeteering, ban evasion, and picture trolling.

Please compare them to the existing rules and then vote. I personally think the new rewritten rules are much easier to read, and feedback elsewhere so far has been uniformly positive. I'll leave the poll open for 2 days.
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Ghost Rider
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:15pm 

Spirit of Vengeance


Joined: 2002-09-24 01:48pm
Posts: 27779
Location: DC...looking up from the gutters to the stars
I vote for the new rules for the same reasons as I said before. These have a better outline and wording. For newbies less confusion, for veterans the same on issues they might have had before. Anything that lessens confusion is for the better when doling out what is tolerated.
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Dalton
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:18pm 

For Those About to Rock We Salute You


Joined: 2002-07-03 06:16pm
Posts: 21961
Location: New York, the Fuck You State
I think a simple "yes" will do.
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Ghost Rider
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:20pm 

Spirit of Vengeance


Joined: 2002-09-24 01:48pm
Posts: 27779
Location: DC...looking up from the gutters to the stars
Dalton wrote:
I think a simple "yes" will do.


BAH! I voted, and besides an explaination is at least better then going "Murble." :P .
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:37pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 25402
Yes.
   Profile |  

Stuart
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:46pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2004-10-26 09:23am
Posts: 2935
Location: The military-industrial complex
Voted. A significant and valuable upgrade IMHO
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Mr Bean
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:52pm 

Lord of Irony


Joined: 2002-07-04 08:36am
Posts: 20961
Ghost Rider wrote:
Dalton wrote:
I think a simple "yes" will do.


BAH! I voted, and besides an explaination is at least better then going "Murble." :P .

Murble?
What does that even mean?

Anyway the rules lop off about 400 words for the old rules but say pretty much the same thing. Fine by me.
   Profile |  

Coyote
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 01:56pm 

Rabid Monkey


Joined: 2002-08-23 01:20am
Posts: 12464
Location: The glorious Sun-Barge! Isis, Isis, Ra,Ra,Ra!
Far superior! Yes to the new rules.
   Profile |  

Bounty
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 02:02pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2005-01-20 09:33am
Posts: 10763
Location: Belgium
An all-round improvement. Voted yes.
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The Yosemite Bear
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 02:17pm 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
yes, I voted
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Tiriol
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 02:40pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2005-09-15 11:31am
Posts: 1855
Location: Helsinki, Finland
I voted "yes". The updated rules are more to the point than the previous version, concise, clear and easier to read, reference and learn.
   Profile |  

seanrobertson
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 03:01pm 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2002-07-12 05:57pm
Posts: 2104
I say yes. That list reads well.
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Imperial Overlord
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 03:14pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2004-08-19 04:30am
Posts: 11492
Location: The Tower at Charm
I think a reference to plagiarism should be added to PR3. It's a serious offense and one we've banned people for as an implicit violation of PR3, but never directly referred to it in the rules,

Last edited by Imperial Overlord on 2009-10-23 03:35pm, edited 1 time in total.
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fgalkin
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 03:25pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14434
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
I liked the feel of the old ones, they were our Ten Commandments, rammed down poster's throats by the administration, belligerent and threatening dire consequences. "We will make you leave" being my absolute favorite of all time. It made our board stand out, and it fit the style of the board, what with the Empire being a ruthless imperialistic dictatorship.

Having said that, times have changed, and we are generally trying to project a nicer, friendlier image now. And the new rules ARE better for getting the point across.

So, as much as it pains me to say so, out with the old, in with the new!

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
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Dalton
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 03:33pm 

For Those About to Rock We Salute You


Joined: 2002-07-03 06:16pm
Posts: 21961
Location: New York, the Fuck You State
Imperial Overlord wrote:
I think a reference to plagiarism should be added to PR3. It's a serious offense and one we've banned people for as an implicit violation of PR3, but never directly referred to by the rules,

I'll second that.
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The Yosemite Bear
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 03:45pm 

Mostly Harmless Nutcase


Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Posts: 35211
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
Dalton wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:
I think a reference to plagiarism should be added to PR3. It's a serious offense and one we've banned people for as an implicit violation of PR3, but never directly referred to by the rules,

I'll second that.

I'll third that
   Profile |  

Connor MacLeod
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 04:00pm 

Sith Apprentice


Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm
Posts: 14057
I voted yes.

I do wonder if we should add some further clarification with regards to "spammy" zero-content posts or "dogpiling" (I think they could be of the same category)because I can see the possibility in the future someone clashing with the staff over a decision of what qualifies as "zero content" (in the appropriate forums)

I'd say: Me tooing or "+1" posts (eg "I agree"), one liner comments that have no relevance to the discussion or contribute anything meaningful to the debate (IE "stupid fundies" or "stupid conservatives" or the aformentioned "This game is retardeD" type comments in G&C), mindless parroting of other people's arguments (espeically pages later), chiming in on a thread just to flame a person even though you yourself have made no argument (tht would be dogpiling. I've long believed that only the people who actually involve themselves in an argument earn the right to flame someone who is being obtuse, dishonest, or just plain retarded. We do get people who lurk around simply to leap on some new chew toy and yell at them.)

Broadly I just think we should make it clear that 1.) we generally expect posts from users to contain SOMETHING worthwhile or of value, even if minimally (at least in the relevant forums). It doesn't have to be some stirring pages long dissertation on the argument, it just has to be something more than "hur hur morons". 2.) we expect people to exhibit a modicum of self control in what they post and where. Some "rampant flaming" may be expected occasionally - people get stressed or upset or snap unpredicatlby for no good reason, and occasionally a bit of spammyness isn't too bad. The point is that it should nto become a pattern with anyone, and the signal-to-noise ratio should remain more "signal" and less "noise".

We might also add the addition of that "wall of shame" for spammy posts and stuff as a warning.
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Ted C
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 04:21pm 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2002-07-07 11:00am
Posts: 4314
Location: Nashville, TN
Voted in favor.
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Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 05:43pm 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
Just a note: suggestions for further improvements would have to be handled in a separate thread. This vote is for the revised rules as posted, and they can't be changed now because people have already voted on them as they are posted right now. If it's approved, we put it up and if people want to make further revisions, we can discuss that afterwards.
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fgalkin
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 05:47pm 

Carvin' Marvin


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:51pm
Posts: 14434
Location: Land of the Mountain Fascists
A request for clarification of a point, by a member

Name Removed wrote:
The Old Rules wrote:
News articles are to be posted in full. There are some places where such is rather difficult, because of need of user registration or format. These will be the only exception of this particular rule.



Reference News Sources. If you create a thread about a news article, always provide a link or a text reference to the source. Also, provide enough text excerpts from the source to permit meaningful discussion even if readers don't visit the URL.


Is that difference intentional? I didn't see any discussion on it, and wondered if maybe it would merit a bit.

I figured the difference WAS intentional, by Mike, given the various copyright bullshit thrown by some companies, but I'm not enitirely sure now.

Mike? Anyone?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
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GrandMasterTerwynn
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 06:51pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-29 06:14pm
Posts: 6542
Location: Somewhere on Earth.
I wholeheartedly approve of this rules rewrite.
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Darth Wong
PostPosted: 2009-10-23 07:53pm 

Sith Lord


Joined: 2002-07-03 12:25am
Posts: 70016
Location: Toronto, Canada
fgalkin wrote:
I figured the difference WAS intentional, by Mike, given the various copyright bullshit thrown by some companies, but I'm not enitirely sure now.

It was intentional. There is no good reason to demand that we reprint all news articles in full, especially when that is a violation of copyright law. It's good to provide excerpts (we do not want a thread where the OP is nothing but a URL), but it's not a good idea to demand full copying when that's a direct violation of copyright. Mind you, it doesn't say not to copy; some news articles are so short that it would be silly to excerpt them. But in many cases, you can get the important point of a story across in a couple of paragraphs and you can cut out 10 paragraphs of fluff.
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Kuja
PostPosted: 2009-10-24 12:01am 

The Dark Messenger


Joined: 2002-07-11 12:05am
Posts: 19303
Location: AZ
Yes, absolutely.
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Frank Hipper
PostPosted: 2009-10-24 06:19am 

Overfiend of the Superego


Joined: 2002-10-17 08:48am
Posts: 12882
Location: Hamilton, Ohio?
I yes-voted it's brains out.
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Edi
PostPosted: 2009-10-24 07:28am 

Dragonlord


Joined: 2002-07-11 12:27am
Posts: 11637
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Voted yes.

As far as clarifying me-tooing and other similar stuff, that can be done separately. We don't want the policies overly cluttered with minutiae. Every detail need not be spelled out, since the staff does have some discretion.
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