Forum Rules and Acceptable Use Policy

Acceptable Use Policy and General Information
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Forum Rules and Acceptable Use Policy

Post by Pyrrho » Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:43 am

Please read these rules carefully. Our intent is to provide an intellectually challenging environment for rational, polite discussion. To that end, we need the cooperation of all users.

Forum Rules and Acceptable Use Policy

The administrators reserve the right to modify these rules as necessary. Public notice will be given when changes are made to the rules.

While the administrators and moderators of this forum will attempt to remove or edit any generally objectionable material as quickly as possible, it is impossible to review every message. Therefore, you acknowledge that all posts made to these forums express the views and opinions of the people posting them and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people). The Skeptics Society, its officers, employees, and volunteers, including the moderators, administrators, or technical staff of this forum accept no responsibility or liability for any content posted on this forum by persons other than themselves, and accept no responsibility or liability for content at other websites, including content in search engine caches.

Level 1
  • Posting of or linking to child pornography of any kind
  • Credible threats of bodily harm
  • Posting of or linking to viruses or malicious code intended to cause damage or harm to any user's computer system
  • Posting of or linking to illegal copies of commercial software
  • Hacking attempts, denial-of-service attacks, and/or any attempt to compromise the security and/or function of the server and/or computer system upon which this forum resides
  • Attempts to access the accounts of other users without permission
  • Spamming, i.e. posting exclusively to advertise a product or services
Administrative action: Immediate, permanent ban; possible deletion of content; reporting of criminal activity to law enforcement agencies.

Level 2
  • Libel. For our purposes, defamatory statements about a person that may harm the reputation of that person in real life. Defamatory statements that identify the person by real name and are clearly defamatory and not merely offensive or insulting will be considered actionable.
  • Copyright infringement. Users may post very brief excerpts of content from other websites, with a link to the online source. This should be no more than a short paragraph, accompanied by commentary.
  • Harassment of other users in real life, i.e. harassing telephone calls or other actions
  • Posting of obscene text or images, i.e. rape scenes, sexual torture, excretory functions in relation to sex
Administrative action: Removal of offending content; locking of posts and/or topics. Repeated violations may result in the temporary or permanent ban.

Level 3
  • Harassment by means of continual, off-topic personal attacks, e.g. following a user from topic to topic and attacking them personally.
  • Severely abusive language directed at other users, i.e. streams of obscenities.
  • Defamatory, dehumanizing content directed at ethnic groups, racial groups, gender, heterosexuals or homosexuals.
  • Encouraging violence, i.e. suicide, homicide, or bodily harm to other people
  • Pornographic content, i.e. depictions of humans engaged in sexual intercourse
  • Posting of the personal private information of other users, i.e. information that personally identifies another user or their family
Administrative action: Warnings; Locking of posts and/or topics; moving of posts and/or topics; possible deletion of offending content. Repeated violations may result in lockouts from various parts of the forum and/or the loss of certain posting privileges. Personal private information will be removed.

Level 4
  • Repeated, off-topic personal attacks that continue beyond a single page in a given topic.
  • Personal attacks contained in topic titles.
  • Topics opened for the personal attack of another user.
  • Posting the same content more than three times within a single topic or in other topics.
Administrative action: Warnings; locking of posts and/or topics; moving of posts and/or topics. Isolated personal attacks within a topic will not be considered actionable. Challenges to arguments and statements will not be considered personal attacks.

The administrator reserves the right to take actions as necessary to protect himself or herself, the service provider, and The Skeptics Society, its officers, employees, volunteers and members, from legal actions that may result from content posted by forum members.

Updated May 30, 2010
Last edited by Pyrrho on Sun May 30, 2010 4:02 pm, edited 26 times in total.
Reason: Updated specific language in the Level 4 section. March 28, 2010

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Forum Etiquette

Post by Pyrrho » Sun May 15, 2005 4:47 pm

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with using message boards such as this one, and for those of you who are old hands at it, we provide here a set of suggestions for forum etiquette.


Never Forget that the Person on the Other Side is Human
Because your interaction with the network is through a computer it is easy to forget that there are people "out there." Situations arise where emotions erupt into a verbal free-for-all that can lead to hurt feelings.

Do not attack people if you cannot persuade them with your presentation of the facts. Screaming, cursing, and abusing others only serves to make people think less of you and less willing to help you when you need it.

If you are upset at something or someone, wait until you have had a chance to calm down and think about it. Hasty words create more problems than they solve. Try not to say anything to others you would not say to them in person in a room full of people.

Be Careful What You Say About Yourself and Others
Think twice before you post personal information about yourself or others. This is a public forum. Please respect people's privacy and protect your own by not posting private information.

Be Brief
Never say in ten words what you can say in fewer. Say it succinctly and it will have a greater impact. Remember that the longer you make your article, the fewer people will bother to read it.

Your Postings Reflect Upon You
If you can write, you can think; if you can think, you can think when you write. Take some time to make sure each posting is something that will not embarrass you later. Minimize your spelling errors and make sure that the article is easy to read and understand. Writing is an art and to do it well requires practice. Since much of how people judge you on the net is based on your writing, such time is well spent.

Use Descriptive Titles
The subject line of an article is there to enable a person with a limited amount of time to decide whether or not to read your article. Tell people what the article is about before they read it. Keep your titles short and to the point.

Be Careful with Humor and Sarcasm
Without the voice inflections and body language of personal communications, it is easy for a remark meant to be funny to be misinterpreted. Subtle humor tends to get lost, so take steps to make sure that people realize you are trying to be funny. Our gallery of "emoticons" can help you make this clear. No matter how broad the humor or satire, it is safer to remind people that you are being funny.

But also be aware that quite frequently satire is posted without any explicit indications. If an article outrages you strongly, ask yourself if it just may have been unmarked satire, or, ask the author to clarify their statements.

Only Post a Message Once
Avoid posting messages to more than one subforum unless you are sure it is appropriate.

Quote Selectively
It is common form to edit your posts to exclude those parts of another person's article that you are not addressing in your reply.

Edit Sparingly
It is considered impolite to edit a post in order to change the content long after it has been posted and replied to. Sometimes people do this in order to change the context of their original statements or to make it appear that they had said something completely different from their original statements. It never works. People always know, and it will reflect poorly upon your character.

Cite Appropriate References
If you are using facts to support a cause, state where they came from. Don't take someone else's ideas and use them as your own. You don't want someone pretending that your ideas are theirs; show them the same respect.

Mark Spoilers
When you post something (like a movie review that discusses a detail of the plot) which might spoil a surprise for other people, please mark your message with a warning so that they can skip the message. When you post a message with a spoiler in it make sure the word "spoiler" is part of the "Subject:" line.

Spelling Flames Considered Harmful
It is important to remember that we all make mistakes, and that there are many users who use English as a second language. There are also a number of people who suffer from dyslexia and who have difficulty noticing their spelling mistakes. If you feel that you must make a comment on the quality of a posting, please do so by PM, not on the public forum.

Posts or links that are "not safe for work"
If it is necessary for you to post content or link to content that could be considered "not safe for work", e.g. a discussion of scatological terms, or a link to a website that is likely to be blocked by censoring software, please insert the acronym "NSFW" at the head of your topic title or at the head of your post, as a courtesy to other users. For example:

NSFW A discussion of scatological terms



Using NSFW will let people know that if they read the text or click on the link, they are taking a risk, thus allowing them to make an informed decision. Please remember that "NSFW" does not mean users may link to obscene content or malicious computer code.

Adapted from "A Primer on How to Work With the Usenet Community" by Chuq Von Rospach. The original article is in the public domain.