Code of Conduct The forum rules are posted at the bottom of every page on the forum and I highly recommend that every member of the community read them in full to understand what is expected while using this website. We've outlined a very clear set of rules and policies for posting here. With that, we have also adopted a code of conduct that we believe is important to running a diverse and vibrant community. We are committed to making participation in this community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality. Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include: The use of sexualized language or imagery Personal attacks Trolling or insulting/derogatory comments Public or private harassment Publishing other’s private information, such as physical or electronic addresses, without explicit permission Other unethical or unprofessional conduct Moderators and staff members have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject comments, posts, messages, profile posts, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, or to ban temporarily or permanently any member for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful. Moderators and staff members will try and communicate with posters on this website in regard to what is appropriate or not through communications, warnings (both public and private), and the posted rules/guidelines/and code of conduct. Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior may be reported using the "report" function that is available on all posts and profiles on the website. All complaints will be reviewed and investigated and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances. Staff and moderators have been instructed to maintain confidentiality with regard to the reporter of an incident. We recommend the use of the block function on the website if you wish to not engage with a particular user. To avoid issues we recommend this test: don't say anything you wouldn't say aloud in a normal, regular bar, in any random city in the United States. Disagreements, arguments, and sarcasm are sure to be found within the threads of this forum, but our aim is to raise the level of discourse away from ad hominem attacks and to a debate or discussion of the ideas themselves. This policy is adapted, in part, from the Contributor Code of Conduct version 1.3.0. Moderation Policy One of the goals of the forum is to be as transparent about our moderation policy as possible so that every member on the site knows the rules, the expectations, and the potential warnings and punishments that moderators have available to them. If you have an issue with a user on the website, please report the post so that a moderator can take a look. If you have a constant issue with a user, we definitely recommend the block feature on the forums. If there's an issue with a moderator, please reach out to another moderator, forum moderator, or staff member (you can find those here). One of the more difficult things for a moderator is determining severity of an issue and how to respond. Our goal is to be as consistent as possible; however, there are a variety of different moderators, we're all human, and we're doing the best we can. Please realize that when moderation issues arise. We know that it's usually a very contentious moment and tempers are raised. We encourage everyone to try and take a few deep breaths in these situations as acting out of anger or lashing out really only leads to more issues. If a moderator is trying to let you know something isn't ok — escalating the situation will only cause more problems. If what has led to a moderator needing to step in is not super over the line, you're not going to be banned immediately for small offenses, but your odds of that being what happens increase if you become more and more hostile. We also understand that there will be arguments and discussions on the website that are intense. Our goal is not to stop difficult conversations from happening; however, we want the discussions to be proactive and productive and not filled with insults, name calling, or attacks. Thread Bans One of the tools moderators have to use are thread bans. These bans prevent certain users from accessing certain threads for, usually, a limited amount of time. The point of a thread ban is to give people time to cool off and make it clear that the current conversation isn't productive, is causing issues, and should cease. The goal of a thread ban is to let a member know that right now it's time to take a little timeout from that particular thread. At the moment, you're not being banned from the website, you're not being given any warning points, and the best course of action is to take some time away from the specific thread. Usually thread bans are one to three days, depending on severity, and if you think a thread ban is too severe or long, please reach out to staff or other moderators to discuss. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to go to other threads and continue the behavior that got you thread banned to begin with. If that happens, the next step is almost always going to be more harsh. The point of a thread ban is to say, "time out", and try let some space and distance bring everything back to a more even ground. Warning Points Moderators also have the ability to give out "warnings" for certain infractions on the website. Most of the time this is how moderators will be letting people know things aren't ok and trying to make sure our code of conduct is upheld. There are rare occasions where a user will be immediately banned. Using sexist, racist, or homophobic language is in this category. Trolling, doxing, or harassing other members is in this category. Creating fake or duplicate accounts to do any of these things is in this category. For other infractions, warnings will be given. These warnings may be private and your account getting an alert to tell you about the warning is our way of letting you know something is not ok. Please take these warnings seriously as they can add up and lead to bans on the site. These warnings may also be public. A moderator can attach a warning to a post so that others reading a thread know a certain post was flagged and seen by a moderator. This also lets others reading a thread know that the kind of behavior in a specific post was over the line. Moderators have, at their discretion, the ability to apply infraction points when they issue warnings. These points are almost always issued one at a time. These points almost always expire after one month. These points are only available for moderators to see and give out. Here's what happens when they accumulate: When an account reaches three points, it's three strikes and that's a 3 day ban from the website. This is meant to be a wake up call, a signal that there are some issues with how you're posting and things need to change if you want to continue being a member of this website. After the three day ban, we hope, you'll never get any more points. However, please be aware that those points probably don't expire for a month, so, if you get one more, you're once again banned for another three days. If an account reaches five points, it will be banned until the points expire and it's back under five. At eight points an account is permanently banned from the website. If you get to this point, you've been warned, you've been banned temporarily multiple times, and clearly you didn't learn. By and large this is how moderation is handled on the website. Where deviations occur are when there are clear cases of harassment or bigotry. A troll joining the forums and throwing around slurs is not going to get three warnings while they continue to harass people. They will simply be kicked off the site. Discussing Warnings or Bannings If you think you've been given a warning unfairly please don't post about it in public and other threads, this never leads to productive conversations. Instead, please message a staff member or other moderator so they can discuss it. Other moderators and staff can reverse warnings if need be and can look at things that you feel were applied unjustly. You can also reach out to me personally either on this site or via email or Twitter if you need something looked at. The goal here is to be a community that is tolerant, understanding, and willing to have hard conversations, but built on mutual respect. We know that it's impossible for everyone to get along all the time, but if we walk into it with good intentions, are willing to give others the benefit of the doubt, I think we have a chance to really make something special here. You can find all of the forum moderators here.