Debate Policy will remain an adult based forum where you are free to post your views on any number of subjects. These rules aren't in place to limit anyone's ability to post their views, but rather to keep a sense of decency about the board. While we like to remain hands-off as much as possible, there will be times where a staff member will need to step in and keep things within the parameters we feel are best for the board.
Debate Policy Rules & Guidelines
Freedom of Speech - This has been, and always will be, the main vision of mine for the community. All points of view are tolerated here, and liberals and conservatives are equally welcome. Members will never be punished in any way because of their political affiliation. Freedom of speech does not mean things can be posted that are detrimental to the board.
Copyright Infringement - When posting something as fact, it's always best to supply a link to your source if possible. While we encourage the use of linking to sources, please refrain from posting articles in their entirety. The first paragraph or 2 would be fine with a link to the rest of the article. This is acceptable under the fair use doctrine but copying of entire articles will likely result in copyright infringement, and your post may be removed and/or edited to protect the community.
Spamming - Anyone who joins the board solely to place a link and advertise will be banned permanently and their offending post deleted. * Additionally, taking a particular post and pasting it in various threads as a means of repeating is considered "spamming" the board and offending posts will likely be moderated and at the discretion of staff can be thread banned or board banned based on offending members history.
Images/Attachments - Various forms of attachments are available when posting, and size limits are in place. Please do not upload copyrighted material. No pornography, and I would consider full nudity to be off limits. I believe common sense should prevail here.
Signatures - Standard font should be used at all times although an alternate color is acceptable. Images are acceptable up to 200x200. Images shouldn't contain nudity or anything offensive. Please refrain from using signatures to attack/flame other members of the board. Signatures show up on every post of every thread you participate in and we would like to keep them clean and non-confrontational.
Language - Signatures and Posts will be in the English language. Posts will not be in foreign languages where others cannot understand.
Private Messages - Any communication between members and/or staff via the private message system will remain private. Discussing of PM's on the forum without explicit permission will result in disciplinary action . The PM system should also not be used to harass other members. Although we do not read PM's, members can forward them to staff if they feel they are being harassed. Staff does not have the ability to directly read PM's, nor will they ever. Members can share so long as both parties involved agree to it.
Reputation System - Should not be used as a means to harass someone. Please avoid vulgarity, threats or over the top comments. Staff can view comments and have the ability to delete comments. Additionally, reputation comments should be treated as private, and therefore comments left should not be discussed on the board.
No dual accounts - Each member is allowed one registered account. Anyone found abusing this will have all accounts banned. You can not re-register on the board just because you are banned, even if only temporarily.
Report Post System - There is an "exclamation point" icon above each and every post. If you feel a post is breaking the rules, or that staff should be aware of a particular post, click on this icon and report it. This will email every member of staff, as well as create a new thread about the post in our administration forum. Each reported post will be looked into. Action will be taken if necessary, and reporting party will be notified of the outcome. This is not a method of playing "tattle tale". Please only report posts that you feel break the written rules, or are detrimental to the continuation of the forums.
Formatting of Posts - we don't mind if on occasion a member makes portions of their posts in larger letters, or bold, or changing the color, but we don't want this to be a consistent change of the default text. Members cannot make every single post in a different color than default, which is black. Nor can members make every post bold, or in different sizes. The board has default text formatting and this should be respected, as it makes it easier for everyone to read posts and threads. Staff reserves the right to change the formatting on posts back to default if it gets out of hand, and we will ask members to refrain from doing so going forward. This is simply to make the board easy to read for the entire community in mind.
Profile Messages - When viewing another profile, when you click on "Send a message", there are now 2 options available: a) "Post a visitor message" and b) Send a private message. Being that the visitor messages are posted publicly on the users profile, all board rules pertain to these messages. Harassment via someone's profile will not be tolerated.
Personal Feuds - No surprisingly, members can sometimes get involved in personal feuds. We ask that these be kept off the boards. Please don't derail threads by going "after" someone you don't like. Don't start threads just to rile someone up. Don't harass other members. Please PM staff if you need assistance.
Flaming - While in heated debates, we understand that it can become emotional and sometimes we let that get the better of us. The board will tolerate such outbursts to a degree. So long as it doesn't get out of hand, and become a habitual occurrence, it will be tolerated. If this is abused, the member will be issued a warning via PM and asked to refrain from further abuse. Sarcastic comments are not considered flaming. Not discussing the subject and attacking the poster in a nasty manner would be. We're all adults here, so let's again allow common sense to prevail here. There will be no flaming of another members family, whether directly or indirectly. This applies to all sections of the board, private messages and reputation comments. If the family member is not here to defend themselves, then they should not be attacked in any manner. Even if a member discusses their own family, they remain off limits.
Steel Cage - There is a forum towards the bottom of the board labeled "Steel Cage". For the most part this is an unmoderated forum. If you want to call out another member, it goes in here. If you're debating with someone and feel the need to take the level of discourse below what some would call acceptable, post it in here. Basically, if you want to "fight" or "flame" - it goes in here. Privacy restrictions and discussion about staff and/or decisions still won't be tolerated in here, but the rest is free game. There will be no discussion of the cage in other forums, as some members might wish to completely avoid this atmosphere. Debate and discussion go in the regular forums and trash talk goes in the steel cage. While we may end up moving a thread here from time to time, I am asking members to refrain from the vulgarity and calling out of other members throughout the board. You have an opportunity to post as you wish within this forum, so please don't litter anywhere else on the board. We WILL take action if any member chooses to ignore this option and starts to degrade the regular forums.
Board Policy and Decisions - Any questions, concerns or complaints about board policy or decisions should be handled via the private message system. You may contact any staff member directly and voice your concerns. Airing "dirty laundry" is not good for the forum, or any forum for that fact. We don't have a forum called "complaints", which means it shouldn't be aired publicly. I'm very lenient when it comes to the rules and implementing them. I bend a lot based on member feedback and set the rules accordingly. My stance on this issue is very firm though, and it will be dealt with each and every time. We have the PM system and reporting system for these instances. Take the time to voice your complaints or concerns privately and we will be happy to discuss with you. Post it on the forums and receive a 24hr ban.
Board Discipline - From time to time it is necessary to remove people from participation on the forums. Most of the time this is just temporary. Consider it a "time out" period where the member can cool off and hopefully return in a better frame of mind. These will be issued when a member receives a warning about their actions, and continues to act inappropriately as per the rules. Permanent bans are very rare, and reserved for those joining just to spam the forums, or if a member goes off the deep end and only returns here to start trouble. Again, these decisions will not be discussed on the forums, not by the banned member and not by other members.
Racism - Unfortunately this needs to be addressed. We won't stop folks from using racist words here, we are all adults. But we aren't going allow words to be used to turn us into a racist board. There is a big difference between using a handful of words once, or within the context of a particular story. But to post all the time using such words in an insulting manner, in a trolling manner, won't be tolerated. We're all adult enough to know when enough is enough.
Photos - from time to time we post photos that are on the edge of being appropriate here. No nudity of course. But sometimes there are photos posted of dead people. This is generally within stories about terrorism. While it is always frowned upon, we try to allow such photos within the context of a story. But to post the photos just to share photos of dead people? Too gross and disgusting for a "family" oriented political site.