ESCAPIST FORUM CODE OF CONDUCT --- Revised 4 September 2018

ESCAPIST FORUM CODE OF CONDUCT

Revised 4 September 2018

ABOUT US
The Escapist forums are different than most. We want our forums to be a place where people can gather to socialize and talk in a safe and welcoming environment. In order to make that happen, we have certain rules we ask all members of our community to adhere to. These rules will be vigorously enforced so that a handful of bad apples don't spoil it for everyone else.

RULE ZERO

Above all other rules is Rule Zero. D&D fans will likely appreciate and understand Rule Zero, which states that the DM (Dungeon Master) is always right. In the case of the forums, the moderator or staff member is always right. Period. Any other rule that appears to have a gray area will be subject first to Rule Zero, then to other aspects of the forum and personal conduct rules below.

If for any reason you feel you've been wronged by a moderator or staff member, you are entitled to appeal their decision if they imposed an infraction on your account. You are not allowed to openly argue with them about it. This is a privately owned forum that's open to the public. Whatever right you feel you have to speak your mind is a privilege here. Don't abuse it.

As an adjunct to RULE ZERO, don't sass the mods.

The moderation team is made up of ever present volunteer guardians who work very hard to keep the forums clean, according to the Code of Conduct. The moderators and Escapist staff are here to make the website a place you want to visit. While we will listen to your complaints and give you what information we can, please understand that there are just some things we simply cannot discuss, such as legal or financial matters, and some things we don't want to discuss, such as contributors' personal lives or political persuasions.

Neither the Escapist staff nor moderation team is to be used as a punching bag so you can vent your frustrations. If you have a problem with moderation or the rules, use the appeals system.

RULE ONE

We want Escapist Magazine to be a welcoming and safe place for creators and contributors of all backgrounds. Therefore criticism, harassment, shaming, or any action deemed by the moderators or staff to be inflammatory or abusive towards an Escapist Magazine staff member, contributor, or moderator is expressly forbidden. Anyone hired to work for, contribute to, or represent Escapist Magazine has been de facto approved of by management. If you take issue with the actions of a member of our staff, a contributor, or a moderator, you may send a letter to the editor. The forum is not the proper place for such activity, and it will be moderated harshly.

PERSONAL CONDUCT

HAVE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to abuse others for any reason. If you can't communicate without using combative, aggressive, passive aggressive responses, or ad hominem attacks, 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.

Disagreement is inevitable. However, this is not a license to misbehave. If you don't like a thread, the people in it, or anyone involved, don't post in it.

FORUM CONDUCT, CONTENT, AND COMMUNICATION
A well-made thread or a well-written comment engages its audience and facilitates discussion. We do ask that posters take just a little time to make their posts as readable as possible and keep their responses on topic. You should also take a moment to check spelling and grammar.

Our forums are not a place to advertise your blog, webpage, YouTube channel, or commercial enterprise. Similarly, posts including, advocating, or linking to illegal or adult material are a very quick way to end your time as part of the Escapist community. Post should generally be kept to a PG-13 standard.

ZERO TOLERANCE OFFENSES

This section of the Code of Conduct includes special circumstances that overrule any other type of warning and result in immediate removal of your posting privileges. Note: These circumstances cannot be appealed and will not expire.

Ban Jumping
If you attempt to post on multiple accounts to circumvent a ban or any level of discipline, you and any other account you use will be automatically banned.

Targeted Harassment & Bullying
Following a user from thread to thread so you can insult and harassing them, or sending them harassing private messages will be met with an immediate ban.

Illegal Acts or Materials
Posting, admitting to, or advocating any illegal act or content, such as footage or images of any crime, will lead to an immediate ban. All information will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities.

Advertising / Referral Traffic
The Escapist forums are not a place to advertise your website or a place to spam referral links of any kind. We consider any such post to be spam, and will remove it and your access as necessary.

INFRACTION OFFENSES

Any violation of the following rules will result in an infraction being placed on your account. For more information on how penalties work, please see the Penalty System section below. Those who are banned under this level may appeal the decision and have it overturned.

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)

"Extreme" Content / Offensive Posts
Posting of "shock images", obscene videos, text, or anything else that the moderators see as extreme or offensive is not permitted.

Piracy, Illegal Narcotics, or Ad-Blockers
Do not link sites for piracy, drugs, or ad circumvention, nor advocate or admit to the use of any of the above. While discussions of these topics may come up anecdotally, the proliferation of material is disallowed on these forums.

Pornography
Any discussion of pornography will still be subject to the PG-13 standard. Linking to any pornographic material will be in breach of that standard.

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.

Pictures, Links and Videos
Posting pictures, links and videos is permitted as long as they are in context. Using jokes, images, or videos is allowed if it enhances the thread, which posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not.

Topic-less Thread Creation
We encourage our community to make posts that help nurture a healthy discussion or debate. Posting a thread without any discussion value, or with a deliberately misleading title, is discouraged. This includes creating a poll without an accompanying discussion or beginning a thread with an original post that does not sufficiently explain the topic.

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

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.

APPEAL SYSTEM AND COMMUNICATION

When you receive an infraction, a message will appear in your inbox with a link to the appeal system. This goes directly to a staff member and will use the email you registered your account with, so please refrain from abuse (and check your spam or junk folder).

Replies to appeals may take up to two days. If it takes a little longer, please be patient.

This copy of the rules, as penned by Russ Pitts on Site Announcements, is open to comments and concerns. This is not an open platform for attacks on the management nor is it the place to bring up individual cases of users moderated under previous rules.

"This is a set of rules for participating in a private forum. Further strawman arguments and/or rules lawyering will be ignored."

Please be courteous to site management/tech support as the site is in the process of being rebuilt and be mindful of RULE ONE if you feel your concerns are not being addressed adequately or quickly enough.

As a Moderator note, we will be applying moderation based on these rules pinned in the forums.

As to repeat my comment in the earlier thread.

Are we going to see a removal of infractions, or unbanning of those who were infracted for rules which are no longer being enforced?

For example, many users picked up "Low content" warnings over the years, and some of these depleted the health bar to the extent that it heavily contributed towards a user being banned, even though in retrospect it's generally agreed it was a not so great rule.

Whilst I know "Low content" hasn't been a rule for a while, we've not had a staff for a while either, so, these issues have fallen to the wayside.

And there's many other issues such as rules which were removed by this addendum, actions taken by moderators who were demodded for power abuse, rules which were no longer clarified, appeals that went unanswered and so on which means a lot of people may have had hits to their health bar which they really should not have.

The Lunatic:
Are we going to see a removal of infractions, or unbanning of those who were infracted for rules which are no longer being enforced?

Health bars are going to be phased out, so the infractions lingering aren't going to be that sort of issue going forward. As for existing mod actions, those rest for the time when the those versions of the rules were valid.

The Lunatic:
As to repeat my comment in the earlier thread.

Are we going to see a removal of infractions, or unbanning of those who were infracted for rules which are no longer being enforced?

For example, many users picked up "Low content" warnings over the years, and some of these depleted the health bar to the extent that it heavily contributed towards a user being banned, even though in retrospect it's generally agreed it was a not so great rule.

Whilst I know "Low content" hasn't been a rule for a while, we've not had a staff for a while either, so, these issues have fallen to the wayside.

And there's many other issues such as rules which were removed by this addendum, actions taken by moderators who were demodded for power abuse, rules which were no longer clarified, appeals that went unanswered and so on which means a lot of people may have had hits to their health bar which they really should not have.

Health bars are going away and will be ignored starting when practical. We will not be re-writing history. Infractions meted out under previous CoCs will remain in effect out of respect and recognition for the intentions and decisions of those in power at that time. *This is not a system of justice for a democratic society, it is a set of rules for participating in a private forum. Further strawman arguments and/or rules lawyering will be ignored.

NewClassic:

The Lunatic:
Are we going to see a removal of infractions, or unbanning of those who were infracted for rules which are no longer being enforced?

Health bars are going to be phased out, so the infractions lingering aren't going to be that sort of issue going forward. As for existing mod actions, those rest for the time when the those versions of the rules were valid.

Certainly, but there was a period in which, there was no way to appeal any infraction given, and you yourself have said that some of these infractions seemed unwarranted, are these to stay even though the system in place to contest them in the CoC was not functional?

What changed? It mostly looks the same, so I am curious what was removed or added, cause I cant tell.

Also health bars are going away? What is the intended replacement supposed to be? So far, the site actually seems to be improving, so I will try to be optimistic that the change will be a good one, but I would love to know ahead of time what the intention is.

As far as replacing the Health Bar system all I can say is that decisions are being made. You'll hear as soon as we've got a definitive answer. Promise. ^_^

Basement Cat:
As far as replacing the Health Bar system all I can say is that decisions are being made. You'll hear as soon as we've got a definitive answer. Promise. ^_^

Saelune:
What changed? It mostly looks the same, so I am curious what was removed or added, cause I cant tell.

Here's the basic rundown:

No change to the about us section.

Rule zero, paragraph three four and five are new to the section - parts four and five are from the former personal conduct section listed under "Have respect for the moderation team and escapist staff", while paragraph three is completely new. Four had its language expanded somewhat to also encompass the personal lives and political leanings of staff/contributors. The changes to paragraph four are basically rendered redundant by the new Rule 1, following here.

Rule one is completely new and seems to translate in simplest terms to "don't say anything bad about staff", and defines staff as anyone who has contributed to the site. It doesn't make a distinction with respect to past/present, but conventional logic would indicate that it applies past/present/future. There is no specific definitions of anything listed as off limits by rule one, but my read of the attitudes presented by the new wording is that anything pertaining to the person of staff construed as negative would be interpreted to be in violation of this one. As much as its a great big addition with a new heading, I doubt anything listed as unacceptable under rule 1 would have flown under the last CoC.

Personal Conduct got merged with part of Forum Conduct, and kind of had a reorganization. After losing a couple paragraphs to rule zero, it gained paragraphs three and four. Paragraph four had a sentence broken up, but no other changes to either. Paragraph one was expanded to include "ad hominem" under the things that aren't okay to do, and paragraph two was slightly reworded, although not in a way I would interpret to change the underlying meaning - they took out the requirement for reasoning and justification to statements, but I don't really see a functional difference.

Zero tolerance offenses hasn't changed, infraction offenses used to be split into two sections, where everything below pictures, links and videos used to be a non fraction offense unless you pissed someone off. Now that its one single section they all carry an infraction level. Also, they now make reference under the infraction offenses to a "penalty system section" for an explanation of how infractions work, but that isn't there anymore.

On that note the penalty system section was removed.

The appeals system hasn't changed.

We used to have a section on official staff group discussion and communication, and that is outty 9000. There was a mod one, a tech team one and an ideas for the escapist one. I don't know if those still exist or not anymore, but I can't imagine they were used much for a while now.

Well that killed half an hour. Time to go back to watching people fail forward in life on a construction site.

The Lunatic:

NewClassic:

The Lunatic:
Are we going to see a removal of infractions, or unbanning of those who were infracted for rules which are no longer being enforced?

Health bars are going to be phased out, so the infractions lingering aren't going to be that sort of issue going forward. As for existing mod actions, those rest for the time when the those versions of the rules were valid.

Certainly, but there was a period in which, there was no way to appeal any infraction given, and you yourself have said that some of these infractions seemed unwarranted, are these to stay even though the system in place to contest them in the CoC was not functional?

Asked and answered.

I see there's still a wrinkle in getting that old CoC setup to work. I thought with a Tech Team, they'd be able to fix it up proper. Oh, well. The redirect hack works well enough.

By the by, is it possible for thread titles to changed to different colors? If so, new stickies (and especially this one) should probably be red or something, and changed back to normal color after a couple weeks when they aren't new. As it is they tend to blend in a little too much.

Oh, so judging by the last part, did you find and/or fix the old appeal system? That alone is a vast improvement over the loss of said system.

I thought discussing GG was against the rules now. People were being moderated for it. Is it a secret rule?

Drathnoxis:
I thought discussing GG was against the rules now. People were being moderated for it. Is it a secret rule?

Given errors and typos, it would seem this is a rough first revision rather than the final revision. Perhaps it will be included in future revisions in some form. I do think it would be advisable to create some specific rule that could be understood as prohibiting the topic even if it was not explicitly named in the rules. The possibility of this being an official reinterpretation of otherwise unchanged rules would only create problems. Quite a bit of discussion regarding the topic would not fall under the existing Code of Conduct in even the most charitable interpretations. Certainly, if the intent is to ban all discussion of the topic regardless of one's position on it, they are not going to be able to argue any of these rules apply in every case. Not sure what kind of rule one could write that would include all potential discussion of the topic without severe negative drawbacks.

Drathnoxis:
I thought discussing GG was against the rules now. People were being moderated for it. Is it a secret rule?

Without making any commentary on the rule itself, I'd just like to say that having 'secret rules' tends to be the death of an internet forum. Mainly because it generally isn't very newbie-friendly, as you have new people joining and breaking rules they don't even know existed.

Just to note, as things transition with time, we will be referring to the rules hosted on the V2 site (as this will be where CoC updates occur now, rather than in these pinned threads). Please refer to this link for the up-to-date rules:

https://www.escapistmagazine.com/v2/code-of-conduct/

 

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