Welcome to the Moderation FAQ. This thread was created to clarify the moderation process so please consult it if you have any rules-related questions. If you can't find what you're looking for here, take a look at The Moderation Team User Group. Our mods check it regularly for questions and suggestions.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct before continuing since this FAQ is based on it. It's is always good to be aware of the rules. Keep in mind that certain forums have specific rules, they can be found in stickied threads such as this one in User Reviews.
Forum policy is implemented by the Community Managers, JonB, s0osleepie, and by the moderation team. Moderators are volunteers dedicated to helping the community. They have blue names, whereas staff members have golden ones.
Our rules and moderation team are established specifically with the intent to maintain a safe environment, encouraging discussion and community.
I'm not sure if what I'm about to post will get me in trouble or not, how can I be sure?
As a rule of thumb, if you feel you have to ask, please rethink if it is really necessary to risk it.
Disagreeing with a person or topic and explaining why is perfectly acceptable, but to judge someone based on their ideals or preferences is not. For example: Saying you dislike something is okay, but saying you dislike the people that like it isn't. Personal attacks are unacceptable, but having a differing opinion is not. Consider whether your post can offend someone and if so, please amend it.
If you are still unsure, feel free to ask a moderator via PM. The mods are a part of the community and will gladly help make things more clear, or at the very least, the reasoning behind how something could be offensive. We're people too, so just ask.I want to post a controversial opinion, what should I do to avoid mod wrath?
Our cardinal rule is that it is more about how you say something, not what you say. Always make sure to explain your reasoning and to be respectful of other users, no matter their opinion. We do not usually punish people for someone else being offended; we punish them for being purposely offensive.I think another person is being stupid, can I tell this person that?
In short, no.
The most common result of this, regardless of context, is argument. In the best light it is potentially encouraging a flame war, in the worst case it is starting a fight that could leave the thread and carry a grudge into the forum at large, or aggressive PMs.
Report and move on if you feel yourself to be the victim of trolling.I want my own thread locked, what should I do?
Please PM a mod. Keep in mind that only the creator of a thread can request it to be locked.Can someone jump punishment levels for harsher infractions?
Yes. Spambots, advertisers and extreme trolls are banned immediately, however it is rare for a normal user to incur a greater punishment.If someone obviously isn't and never will be a competent member of this forum, will they get insta-banned regardless of moderation history?
No, we will always give users the benefit of the doubt. There are however instances when users can jump punishment levels, see the question above for more information.
If you are bothered by a specific user, use the 'ignore user' function on your profile. It will hide any posts that that specific user makes (which you can then expand at your leisure), allowing for you to not be bothered during your forum experience here.I have a problem with a feature or contributor, what should I do?
Criticism for featured content or contributors follows the same rules as discussion on the forums. Disagreement is inevitable and encouraged, while being offensive is not.
Most importantly, just make sure that your criticism is constructive.I'm new here and you're scaring me, what if I accidentally break the rules?
We understand that it can be intimidating to handle all these rules. Just start posting! Even if you make a mistake, rest in the knowledge that everyone does, and that the best thing you can do is learn from it. Starting out on a big new forum can be a bit daunting, but we have all been there. Do not worry, simply post comfortably, the rules are there so you can do just that. If you still have questions, feel free PM one of the mods listed above.
I think the moderators/rules are too harsh, why is that?
We practice open moderation and any post that has broken a rule is clearly marked. This can lead to an illusion of a lot of moderation, since these posts stand out more. If you are uncomfortable with it, feel free to PM a moderator to ask why. We are available, and more than willing to explain the reasons for rules.I received punishment I don't think I deserve, what should I do?
Please contact our appeal board to appeal the moderation action against you. These appeals are handled by the staff and not the moderation team. You need only submit one request at a time. Remember that this is a request to review your case, not a 'Get out of jail free' card! Polite and well written messages are easier to read, and will likely be met with more leniency. Be aware that it takes time to process an appeal and it can take several days before a reply, especially on a weekend. The reply will be handled via e-mail, not the Escapist PM system, so keep that in mind as you may need to check your spam folder.Why did one user get a different punishment than another user, even though they had similar posts?
We always take context and previous history into consideration. Also remember that the moderation team is comprised of many different individuals and, as a result, inconsistencies are inevitable. If you feel an error has been made, please contact our appeal board as mentioned above.I have a problem with a specific moderator, what should I do?
If you believe a moderator is doing something wrong, is unfit, or whatever other grievances you may have, please contact our Community Managers JonB or s0osleepie with your problem. As when contacting the appeal board, politeness and clarity is greatly appreciated and will go a long way for your cause.
Please note that any complaints about a specific moderator should only be voiced to the Community Managers. To complain in the forums, to other users or to the moderator in question may be considered mod sass, which is against the rules. 'Don't be a jerk' is the rule that covers this, regardless of whether it is about a staff member, moderator, forum poster, or even banned member who comes up in conversation. Respect is equal for everyone, mod or not. Arguments just make this a worse place, regardless of who is involved.
That said, there is nothing wrong with having complaints about moderation in general and voicing them. The best place to voice your concerns about moderation in general is The Moderation Team User Group..What happens when I click the report button on the forum?
The post is added to the Moderation Queue, a list of posts that may need moderator attention. The more reports a single post has, the higher up it climbs in the queue, and the more attention it will receive.What happens when I click the report button for a PM or user?
This is not handled by the mods, it is handled by staff members. Otherwise it is treated just like any other report.I reported someone and nothing happened, even though this person was blatantly breaking rules, what gives?
The moderation of the forums is time volunteered by many different individuals, living all over the world, in different time zones, and who also have other commitments. As a result, there may be instances when a post is not seen immediately after it is reported. The more reports a post gets the sooner it will be handled, but some posts just takes more time, whether it is a busy day, a lot of mods being on vacation, or maybe just something that requires further investigation. Don't worry, it will be dealt with it as soon as possible.I accidentally clicked the report button, what should I do?
Nothing. As long as no rule has been broken the mods will realise a mistake has been made and clear the report from the Moderation Queue.If I got permanently banned, is there a way to come back to the site?
If you really want to come back, you can contact the appeal board, but permanent bans are not taken lightly. Please keep in mind that banjumping is a bannable offence.How does one become a moderator?
You do not come to us, we come to you. If you do right by this community and show that you know the rules and how to handle yourself, we will find you. Keep in mind that it is tough work, and it may not be as fun as you might expect.
I disagree with the rules, could you change them in any way?
We are not unreasonable, and we will hear out discussion in The Ideas for the Escapist Group.. We may not be able to implement every idea, but valid points will help us understand how our rules can work with everyone's best interest in mind.Why is my forum health bar visible to everyone?
We practice open moderation here, and thus have chosen to make certain aspects of moderation visible to all users. This is in the hopes of avoiding concerns regarding inconsistencies. They were also made visible to everyone to encourage users to ask about the punishments others have received. It is intended that, by asking around, people will be able to learn from others what is and is not acceptable. It is all a part of the learning process.The 8 strike system seems unfair, what if you repent?
We have an amnesty system for that. After six 6 months without any infractions, your forum health meter will drop a level. After two years without any infractions your forum health meter will reset. Keep in mind that although it is possible to reset your FHM, your infraction history remains, and will be taken into consideration if ever another infraction is made.Is the Forum Games & RP forum exempt from the rules?
No, but they are exempt from the low content rule.Are groups and RPs exempt from rules?
No. We generally let groups and RPs moderate themselves, but no one is exempt from the rules and we will intervene if necessary. Keep in mind that this does not mean that if a group states it, certain rules are exempt, it simply means that users are allowed to enforce supplementary rules so long as they do not break the Code of Conduct. If you are having trouble self moderating, please contact a moderator.Are PMs exempt from the rules?
No, but they are handled by the staff members, not the mods.Are mods, admins and contributors exempt from the rules?
No, but they are handled differently, so just because you do not see the result does not mean that nothing happened. Once again, for these issues please contact JonB or s0osleepie.Is featured content exempt from the rules?
Yes. Featured content may break the rules if the creator wishes to do so, but remember that featured content is solicited material with intending to evoke discussion. The comment thread however is part of the forums and subject to moderation.Are Facebook comments exempt from the rules?
No, but they are exempt from low content. Please go there for low content comments.What about jokes?
Because you are engaged in a text-based discussion, you need to consider the fact that it is entirely possible your post will be taken literally and/or out of context.If a thread or OP is low content, does that mean that the posts in that thread are exempt from the low content rule?
No, the same principles apply here as in regards to trolling: simply report and move on.How about the unofficial standards, things like no versus threads or repeat threads?
These things are less about breaking the rules and more about respecting the community and avoiding threads with little-to-no discussion value.
Regarding repeat threads, you will not receive an infraction, but the thread may be locked. To avoid repeat threads please use the 'Search Forums' button, commonly referred to as the search bar.
Versus threads are, just like everything else, judged on a case by case basis. Versus threads are generally considered flame-bait, but if it has genuine discussion value then it will likely be allowed to remain.
What exactly does the low content rule refer to and how is it moderated?
Remember that this is first and foremost a discussion forum. If you aren't discussing something, don't post it. Nobody wants to read a bunch of "First" and "this" and "lol"'s strung together. Similarly, links, videos and images should always be used to strengthen a stated opinion. It's more about what you say than how many words you use to say it.Is the images in spoilers rule really necessary?
Yes, but it is mostly regarding big or obtrusive images. Not everyone has haxxorz bandwidth.How unreadable does a post have to be to qualify for an infraction?
There are many people on this site with English as a second language. Spelling mistakes happen. However, posts that are intentionally cryptic or annoying, such as typing in ALL CAPS or l1K3 s0 can be punishable if done in excess.Why are ad blockers in the same category as illegal acts, does this mean you think it's as bad as drugs or murder?
Of course not, it is simply categorized that way for simplicity.Why is advocating ad blockers against the rules?
The Escapist makes its money on advertisements. In order to keep the site free-to-use, we inevitably must advertise. We are aware that adblocking happens, we just ask you not to endorse it on our soapbox.
If you use ad blockers, please consider adding The Escapist to your white list.
Having said that, you have the option to subscribe to The Publisher's Club, which is ad-free.Why are rants against the rules?
All posts should add to or encourage discussion. This rule only applies to nonsensical, rage-filled rants that do not encourage discussion.According to the Code of Conduct, posting something offensive is against the rules, but since practically everything can be offensive to someone, how is this handled?
Moderators will try to assess if the comment was purposefully offensive rather than accidentally. Intentionally being offensive is quite different from simply stating a controversial opinion, and the moderators will do their best to determine which is the case.What's the policy for jokes in relation to low content?
Although posts are dealt with on a case by case basis, generally jokes do not contribute to the discussion and therefore are considered low content when by themselves. If a joke is a part of the post, rather than the whole and fall within the Code of Conduct, they are fine.
We work hard to make this a nice community, but in the end it's all up to you, so please, enjoy yourself and let the discussion flow.