New Code of Conduct

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As everyone will have noticed, the new Code of Conduct has been rolled out today. (Random day too, right?)

This thread is meant to be a centralized location for all questions and comments you may have for the new document.

So.. ask away!

EDIT: It goes without saying that in discussing specifics and context for the Code of Conduct, this thread is going to have posts in with examples of potentially offensive material, clarifications on rules, and a bit of discussion about whether or not a rule is effective. Given that, parts of this thread will ironically be in breach of the Code of Conduct, and for the purposes of those discussions, it's okay.

That said, willfully abusing this good will, attempting to use this mild amnesty to pick consequenceless fights, or use this as grounds to blatantly violate rules will have the typical infractions applied.

-Mod

Could you post a change list? I don't want to be a rules lawyer but it would be helpful too know what changed

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

Can we get clarification on this bit? Are we talking about 'here's my fetish' perverted, or 'show me your Insert Body Part?'

For that matter, what's the minimum on the sexist/racist bits as well? Are we talking about people who have 'unfortunate' beliefs, or just throwing around slurs?

Albino Boo:
Could you post a change list? I don't want to be a rules lawyer but it would be helpful to know what changed

I'm not going provide a bulletpoint-by-bulletpoint breakdown, but if it interests anyone I can provide this:

The old version is available here: http://archive.is/SSJ8t
And the new version is (of course) here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/codeofconduct

So yeah, just compare them with each other if you so desire.

Looks pretty good from a quick scan over, I like how it's nicely laid out rather than a wall of text like the last CoC. I'm curious about one thing though, I can't see low content posts mentioned anywhere on the new CoC. Has the rule against them been scrapped?

Albino Boo:
Could you post a change list? I don't want to be a rules lawyer but it would be helpful too know what changed

A quick check, for you and anyone else who wants one.

1. 'Rule Zero' has been more clearly spelled out in the new CoC. It ultimately gives Moderators the ability to do anything, giving them wide discretion in how they deal with the forums, even concerning things that don't violate the letter of the law. You can, however, still contest their decisions.

2. Forum offences have been divided more clearly into several categories, each level of which has a different penalty.

3. Better defined 'Illegal Behavior.'

4. Necroing removed from the listed 'crimes'

5. Excessive profanity is now grounds for a warning.

6. Backseat moderating (Attempting to 'punish' people for violating the rules') is now an offense.

EDIT:

7. ...

IceForce:

One more thing that's been removed; that whole bit about content creators and how they're allowed to "say, do, and provoke" whatever they like in their content because "they are entertainers", but "forum members do NOT have the ability to act in the same way."

8. Low Content Posting is no longer an offensive, as long as what you've posted contributes to the thread. Word count no longer relevant.

n0e:

So long as your post contributes in some positive way to the discussion, it's fine and there's no minimum level of text required. Just try not to make a habit of it. We want to see discussions, not just acknowledgements.

Besides that, the changes seem to largely be in presentation.

Questions for n0e

Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

AccursedTheory:

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

Can we get clarification on this bit? Are we talking about 'here's my fetish' perverted, or 'show me your Insert Body Part?'

For that matter, what's the minimum on the sexist/racist bits as well? Are we talking about people who have 'unfortunate' beliefs, or just throwing around slurs?

Also, does this mean no more dick jokes? Because I love me some good dick jokes...

OT: What the fuck exactly constitutes "Excessive Profanity"? That area seems a little fucking vague...

AccursedTheory:
A quick check, for you and anyone else who wants one.

-points snipped-

One more thing that's been removed; that whole bit about content creators and how they're allowed to "say, do, and provoke" whatever they like in their content because "they are entertainers", but "forum members do NOT have the ability to act in the same way."

That clause never sat right with me. I'm glad to see it gone.

(Although, all the Adblock stuff is still in there, which is a bit silly in this day and age, imo.)

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

What about other minority groups? This site has had a pretty active LGBT population for years, and it's rather disheartening to see this not mentioned, as it can pertain both to comfort AND safety of a significant number of users here.

AccursedTheory:

Albino Boo:
Could you post a change list? I don't want to be a rules lawyer but it would be helpful too know what changed

A quick check, for you and anyone else who wants one.

1. 'Rule Zero' has been more clearly spelled out in the new CoC. It ultimately gives Moderators the ability to do anything, giving them wide discretion in how they deal with the forums, even concerning things that don't violate the letter of the law. You can, however, still contest their decisions.

2. Forum offences have been divided more clearly into several categories, each level of which has a different penalty.

3. Better defined 'Illegal Behavior.'

4. Necroing removed from the listed 'crimes'

5. Excessive profanity is now grounds for a warning.

6. Backseat moderating (Attempting to 'punish' people for violating the rules') is now an offense.

Besides that, the changes seem to largely be in presentation.

Questions for n0e

Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

Thanks for that. I think the necro rule was deliberate, I know Kross has been against it. In the tradition of the escapist blame Kross.

AccursedTheory:

Questions for n0e

Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

It was intentional, as with the lack of "low content" posts being something to be concerned with. Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

So long as your post contributes in some positive way to the discussion, it's fine and there's no minimum level of text required. Just try not to make a habit of it. We want to see discussions, not just acknowledgements.

AccursedTheory:

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

Can we get clarification on this bit? Are we talking about 'here's my fetish' perverted, or 'show me your Insert Body Part?'

For that matter, what's the minimum on the sexist/racist bits as well? Are we talking about people who have 'unfortunate' beliefs, or just throwing around slurs?

On perversions: Detail is key. The more accurately or intimately you detail a going-on, the more it'll skirt foul of the Code of Conduct. PG-13 isn't a bad guide to think of. Implied fetishistic discussion or "I really enjoy the look of [body part]." is pretty okay. "My favorite thing about rope bondage is the specific interplay between [body part] and gravity, and how it <elicits response> of [intimate discussion of arousal reaction, and further detailing of the desired response to sexual activity]." would be over the line. Same for imagery. Posting a nude figure drawing work in an art thread is cool, posting detailed, erotic, sexual art in a thread about "What do you like about the furry community?" would be over the line.

On sexism, racism, and beliefs: Beliefs are anyone's to have, behavior is limited by the Code of Conduct. Saying things like "I'm uncomfortable in black neighborhoods" isn't, by itself, offensive. Saying "Black neighborhoods should be outlawed" can be, depending on how it's framed. "People should be allowed to chase <racial slur>s out of their towns if that's what they want" cannot be read any other way than offensively, and is obviously against the Code of Conduct. In the former, having that belief is fine as long as it's relevant and shared in an alright way. The second belief will be subject to Rule Zero on a case-by-case basis. The third is against the Code of Conduct, and will be infracted. Hopefully that's clear enough?

JoJo:
I can't see low content posts mentioned anywhere on the new CoC. Has the rule against them been scrapped?

It's addressed in among the Minor Issue Offenses, specifically in the "Pictures, Images, and Videos" subhead. "Purposeful use of jokes, images, or videos are allowed if it serves to enhance the thread, whereas posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not."

AccursedTheory:
Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

Unattended threads are now locked automatically after a period of days. (Either 60 or 90, don't remember which.) So thread necromancy is no longer possible, and is subsequently no longer needed.

n0e:
It was intentional, as with the lack of "low content" posts being something we worry about. Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

So long as your post contributes in some positive way to the discussion, it's fine and there's no minimum level of text required. Just try not to make a habit of it. We want to see discussions, not just acknowledgements.

One of the things the low-content rule guarded against was people quoting someone and just putting "This" under the quote with nothing else added. That sort of posting behavior can often be seen on other internet forums which have no low-content rule.

Are "This" -style posts still being moderated?

NewClassic:

AccursedTheory:
Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

Unattended threads are now locked automatically after a period of days. (Either 60 or 90, don't remember which.) So thread necromancy is no longer possible, and is subsequently no longer needed.

I was wondering why half my bookmarks suddenly got locked. Thanks.

Backseat Moderating

Please allow our moderators to do their jobs. If you encounter someone breaking the rules, please click on the flag in the top right corner of their post for our team to review. It's not up to you to enforce the rules, only to obey them.

Thank the gods for this. Seriously, this has been the source of so many problems these past few years. If this rule is consistently enforced it'll cut down on a lot of unnecessary drama around here.

BreakfastMan:

AccursedTheory:
[quote]Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

Can we get clarification on this bit? Are we talking about 'here's my fetish' perverted, or 'show me your Insert Body Part?' Translation: Keep your mind out of the gutter is what it means

[quote]
For that matter, what's the minimum on the sexist/racist bits as well? Are we talking about people who have 'unfortunate' beliefs, or just throwing around slurs?

I think Nuke did a good job answering this question.

[quote]
OT: What the fuck exactly constitutes "Excessive Profanity"? That area seems a little fucking vague...

Example:

Topic: FUCK fuck Fuckity Fuck Fuck

Content: I fucking hate this fucking thing. So fucking annoying. FUCK!

^^ Would be considered excessive use. When profanity takes the focus from the rest of the topic, it's excessive.

On the subject of profanity, I just noticed this:

Excessive Profanity:
Swearing is permitted on the forums, but only in moderation within posts, and never within titles of topics.

That last bit, that's new. Was that added because thread titles appear on the site's front page? (And you don't want swear words appearing on the front page?)

Did you just write the thing and realize how impossibly wishy washy and poorly defined it was before deciding to throw Rule Zero in there?

When you get down to it forum guidelines and rules are irrelevant anyway. It all comes down to how good the moderators are. Outside of some questionable warnings (for others, not myself) they seem fine to me but I don't know what the track record is since this forum has been going for a long long time.

Something Amyss:

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

What about other minority groups? This site has had a pretty active LGBT population for years, and it's rather disheartening to see this not mentioned, as it can pertain both to comfort AND safety of a significant number of users here.

It would fall under sexist comments if a comment attacks a sexual nature and racist if it attacks the LGBT community itself. Race is rather loosely defined this day and age

Example; Jews, when it comes to debates and discussions are considered a race of people when, in fact, it's a religious preference.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

When you get down to it forum guidelines and rules are irrelevant anyway. It all comes down to how good the moderators are. Outside of some questionable warnings (for others, not myself) they seem fine to me but I don't know what the track record is since this forum has been going for a long long time.

We have now some of the best moderators the site's had, at least since I've been here. We used to have some truly atrocious people running the show here, particularly before the warning bar was implemented.

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Did you just write the thing and realize how impossibly wishy washy and poorly defined it was before deciding to throw Rule Zero in there?

When you get down to it forum guidelines and rules are irrelevant anyway. It all comes down to how good the moderators are. Outside of some questionable warnings (for others, not myself) they seem fine to me but I don't know what the track record is since this forum has been going for a long long time.

Honestly, we're tired of folks skirting the rules just to give us the proverbial finger when it comes to actions against them for doing so.

If you're deliberately walking the line between breaking and not breaking a rule, Rule 0 is enacted and the moderators are allowed, and encouraged, to make the decision if it should be acted upon or not.

AccursedTheory:
Word count no longer relevant.

But it never really was. This was reworded with the last change of the rules already, I believe, but even before that - contribution hasn't been down to a word count but informational content.

IceForce:

n0e:
It was intentional, as with the lack of "low content" posts being something we worry about. Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

So long as your post contributes in some positive way to the discussion, it's fine and there's no minimum level of text required. Just try not to make a habit of it. We want to see discussions, not just acknowledgements.

One of the things the low-content rule guarded against was people quoting someone and just putting "This" under the quote with nothing else added. That sort of posting behavior can often be seen on other internet forums which have no low-content rule.

Are "This" -style posts still being moderated?

This is also something I thought had been in effect for a long ago - the "^this" posts don't contribute to the discussion thus merit the low content warning.

EDIT: Wrong quote...

EDIT EDIT: Also, forgot to mention, I thought the "^this" style comments were falling under the general Forum Conduct section, however, I would agree that missing a specific "offence level" for them may be slightly misleading. I thing, or rather hope, the content-less posts are still not allowed - as I said, they go against the spirit of Forum Conduct, but there is not a specific entry for them. They should be at the same level as "Topic-less Thread Creation", as they are more or less similar in nature.

NewClassic:
"My favorite thing about rope bondage is the specific interplay between [body part] and gravity, and how it <elicits response> of [intimate discussion of arousal reaction, and further detailing of the desired response to sexual activity]."

I've reported you for that. It's against the new Code of Conduct[1].

OT: Happy to see "backseat moderating" added, and "low content" removed. Also echo what Something Amyss said, about including other minority groups.

[1] To be clear: I haven't really.

n0e:

Something Amyss:

Sexist, Racist, or Perverted Remarks
As it pertains to the comfort and safety of other posters, please keep sexist, racist, or grossly perverted remarks out of your posts.

What about other minority groups? This site has had a pretty active LGBT population for years, and it's rather disheartening to see this not mentioned, as it can pertain both to comfort AND safety of a significant number of users here.

It would fall under sexist comments if a comment attacks a sexual nature and racist if it attacks the LGBT community itself. Race is rather loosely defined this day and age

Example; Jews, when it comes to debates and discussions are considered a race of people when, in fact, it's a religious preference.

I feel like it shouldn't be assumed that people will read that rule and think that it also applies to LGBT people, mostly because you have to twist how sexism and racism are generally understood (while declaring that LGBT people are now a race) to make it apply to them. It's not like it would be difficult to just add homophobic and transphobic onto it.

Well, the thing I instantly noticed was that "passive-aggressive responses" are now explicitly against the rules.

That gets a HUGE +1 from me.

(And it will certainly be interesting to see how certain people's -- not naming any names -- posting styles are going to change to accommodate this new rule.)

For the Backseat Moderating change: This might be a stupid question, but I'm a bit confused. Does this include when you are not trying to moderate the person yourself, but rather help them avoid moderation? For example, "fyi, the mods will probably give you some wrath for that MLP gangbang picture. Might want to remove it before they get to it."

LetalisK:
For the Backseat Moderating change: This might be a stupid question, but I'm a bit confused. Does this include when you are not trying to moderate the person yourself, but rather help them avoid moderation? For example, "fyi, the mods will probably give you some wrath for that MLP gangbang picture. Might want to remove it before they get to it."

In the mod team chat there is a lot of "discussion" by non mods as to what mods should or should not do. This has lead to the chat being full of opinions about the rules rather the bringing to attention of the mods problems, which is the purpose of the chat.

LetalisK:
For the Backseat Moderating change: This might be a stupid question, but I'm a bit confused. Does this include when you are not trying to moderate the person yourself, but rather help them avoid moderation? For example, "fyi, the mods will probably give you some wrath for that MLP gangbang picture. Might want to remove it before they get to it."

Those kinds of posts, while sometimes helpful to new people (who confirmed they read the rules), are almost always irrelevant to the actual discussion and can derail or otherwise clutter the thread (compounding the original post with other posts that aren't relevant to third parties participating in the discussion).

Send them a private message if you care about their posting habits enough to be their friend. :)

LetalisK:
For the Backseat Moderating change: This might be a stupid question, but I'm a bit confused. Does this include when you are not trying to moderate the person yourself, but rather help them avoid moderation? For example, "fyi, the mods will probably give you some wrath for that MLP gangbang picture. Might want to remove it before they get to it."

It's all about how you present yourself. Giving people friendly advice when they are new to the community is not a bad thing, when it comes to newbies for example, would be quite welcome I imagine.

However, backseat moderating can be harmful and not very constructive. 'Mods should delete this' or 'I think you should get banned for this', etc. etc. is neither constructive nor welcome.

With the new COC, we hope to put a little more common sense into things, really. If you're doing something for the right reasons, and not to be selfish, upset, troll, discriminate or generally make an ass of yourself, you'll be grand.

Rule 0
This needs to go. Either the mods/staff are always right and there's no need for an appeals process, or mod/staff are human that are capable of erring and the appeals process can make amends for their fallibility. Can't have it both ways. If you want to say that there's a time and place to appeal a penalty, and any discussion outside that arena will be met with further penalties, that's OK. But, your Rule 0 gives an air of being needlessly standoffish.

Topic-less Thread Creation
What about a deliberately vague title? "You'll never believe this..."
What won't I believe? That the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire? That Kristin shot JR? That it wasn't butter? That someone couldn't be bothered to come up with a Topic that reflected the discussion that wanted to conduct? Well, that last one is quite believable.

Official staff group discussion and communication
Are those groups addresses supposed to be url links? Because, as of now, they're just text.

n0e:
Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

Has there been some change to how the system treats locked threads? It seems that pages of threads have been set at locked, which would mean they automatically get deleted. I had suggested this a few times to the tech team (each time being met with a resounding /shrug) that the old threads simply remain sunk. That way any discussion could continue, but without that thread rising to the surface and interfering discussions on the top of the forum.

IceForce:
On the subject of profanity, I just noticed this:

Excessive Profanity:
Swearing is permitted on the forums, but only in moderation within posts, and never within titles of topics.

That last bit, that's new. Was that added because thread titles appear on the site's front page? (And you don't want swear words appearing on the front page?)

Correct!

LifeCharacter:

n0e:

Something Amyss:

What about other minority groups? This site has had a pretty active LGBT population for years, and it's rather disheartening to see this not mentioned, as it can pertain both to comfort AND safety of a significant number of users here.

It would fall under sexist comments if a comment attacks a sexual nature and racist if it attacks the LGBT community itself. Race is rather loosely defined this day and age

Example; Jews, when it comes to debates and discussions are considered a race of people when, in fact, it's a religious preference.

I feel like it shouldn't be assumed that people will read that rule and think that it also applies to LGBT people, mostly because you have to twist how sexism and racism are generally understood (while declaring that LGBT people are now a race) to make it apply to them. It's not like it would be difficult to just add homophobic and transphobic onto it.

True, but also, sucks to be them if they don't read the rules they agreed to.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to attack others for that opinion. If you can't communicate without using combative, aggressive, or passive aggressive responses, then consider that these may not be the forums for you. Focus your response on your disagreement with a person's opinion, not on the person.

Inflammatory Comments / Trolling
You may not post anything that is reasonably considered discriminatory towards other members. (i.e. homophobic, prejudiced or any other comments that would be deemed as hate speech)

If anything else, being a dick towards a group of folks of any sort is frowned upon. By frowned upon, I mean my banhammer will see action if they do it.

<- Strong supporter of LGBT rights.

madwarper:

Rule 0
This needs to go. Either the mods/staff are always right and there's no need for an appeals process, or mod/staff are human that are capable of erring and the appeals process can make amends for their fallibility. Can't have it both ways. If you want to say that there's a time and place to appeal a penalty, and any discussion outside that arena will be met with further penalties, that's OK. But, your Rule 0 gives an air of being needlessly standoffish.

Yeah, I mean, you're not wrong. "Rule Zero" effectively gives the moderators carte blanche to moderate whatever they like.

Then again, the "Don't be a jerk" rule (now gone) basically did the same thing. So I guess it's just another way of wording that.

n0e:
If anything else, being a dick towards a group of folks of any sort is frowned upon. By frowned upon, I mean my banhammer will see action if they do it.

Well, so long as it's enforced as such that's fine, though I'd still suggest for it to be included so that people know they don't have to worry about it here anymore. The Escapist hasn't exactly been the best place in that regard.

madwarper:
Rule 0
This needs to go. Either the mods/staff are always right and there's no need for an appeals process, or mod/staff are human that are capable of erring and the appeals process can make amends for their fallibility. Can't have it both ways. If you want to say that there's a time and place to appeal a penalty, and any discussion outside that arena will be met with further penalties, that's OK. But, your Rule 0 gives an air of being needlessly standoffish.

I'm in favour of it to an extent. This site has had a known problem with people skirting too close to the line and hopefully that will solve it. The appeals process, from what I gather reading around here, has been used a lot anyways so I doubt it'll be a new thing. It once took me a few weeks to get something of mine appealed and that was back in 2014-2015. I imagine it will be rather polarizing, though.

They've now directly addressed the passive-aggressiveness in the Personal Conduct heading. I'm happy.

AccursedTheory:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:

When you get down to it forum guidelines and rules are irrelevant anyway. It all comes down to how good the moderators are. Outside of some questionable warnings (for others, not myself) they seem fine to me but I don't know what the track record is since this forum has been going for a long long time.

We have now some of the best moderators the site's had, at least since I've been here. We used to have some truly atrocious people running the show here, particularly before the warning bar was implemented.

6 years is a long time so I'll take your word for it.

n0e:

RiseOfTheWhiteWolf:
Did you just write the thing and realize how impossibly wishy washy and poorly defined it was before deciding to throw Rule Zero in there?

When you get down to it forum guidelines and rules are irrelevant anyway. It all comes down to how good the moderators are. Outside of some questionable warnings (for others, not myself) they seem fine to me but I don't know what the track record is since this forum has been going for a long long time.

Honestly, we're tired of folks skirting the rules just to give us the proverbial finger when it comes to actions against them for doing so.

If you're deliberately walking the line between breaking and not breaking a rule, Rule 0 is enacted and the moderators are allowed, and encouraged, to make the decision if it should be acted upon or not.

Fair enough, I didn't look at it from that angle. I made a Trump thread once (went really well, who would have thought) and one page in it basically turned into the Escapist "insulting others while totally not breaking the rules" Olympics.

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