Obviously there is a lot of wiggle room with each rule, so, with your help, I'd like to provide some examples of what constitutes a rule violation and what doesn't.
Flaming, humiliating, ridiculing, or otherwise insulting other members.
This is probably the easiest rule to gauge. If you think a post was specifically meant to offend another member, it's a violation. Examples: "Why would you ask something so stupid?" or "If you can't figure out that puzzle, you're an idiot."
Discussion of illegal activities, including software piracy or other intellectual property violations.
This covers any posts about activities that would get the poster (or this forum) into trouble with the authorities. Since GameBanshee is a US-based company, US law is what would determine if a post falls into this category. Examples: "Can someone email me a CD key so I can install this new game I downloaded?" or "How do I burn a copy of Microsoft Office?"
There have been several serious topics about various narcotics over the years, which I don't have a problem with as long as members aren't trying to promote their use. I should also mention that No CD cracks are not technically illegal. While they can be used for piracy, there are plenty of reasons to use one even if you own the game. Unless the poster specifically states that they don't own the game, talking about a No CD crack should be allowed.
Posting profanity or sexually explicit content.
As long as everyone is OK with it, I think we should let the forum filter take care of profanity. If the word isn't included in the filter, it should be considered acceptable. If someone is purposely circumventing the filter by posting F@CK (or whatever), however, that would be a violation. Acronyms like "WTF" or "BS" are very popular in online games and such, so I think we should let these go. I suppose they could be abused, but that's something we'd have to monitor on a case-by-case basis.
As CE brought up before, there's a time when serious discussion about sex or the human anatomy is perfectly acceptable. However, if a member goes into *way* too much detail about their sexual escapades or over-the-top descriptions of pornographic material, that should be considered a violation. Sorry guys, but I'm not leaving any examples here
Post farming or bumping multiple threads without having something to genuinely contribute to them.
This covers posts that are only one or two words in length and are only designed to increase a member's post count or to force several topics onto the front page of a forum. Members should be able to bump a single thread, though, if the original posts are of great importance to everyone else in the forum. This is another case-by-case basis, really. Examples of violations would be "Hi." or "Wow."
There are times when a one word post might be legit, though. Some of the SYM games have required this and I'm sure there are unique cases when a "Hell yeah!", "Thanks!", or something similar shouldn't get the poster into trouble. I'm open to suggestions on how to better break this rule down.
Thread hijacking or spamming. Light spam is considered acceptable in the Speak Your Mind forum, though an excessive amount is frowned upon.
To me, hijacking a thread means taking it totally off course from its original meaning. Obviously there are different degrees of a thread going off course, so some discretion will have to be used here. If it's an innocent and (same) game-related post, such as the example I used earlier about a guy asking about whether or not Two Worlds was a decent game in a thread about Two Worlds items, I don't really think it should be considered a violation. Repeated "innocent" hijacking would be, though. Asking "Do you think George Bush is a good president?" in a thread about Two Worlds items would obviously be a much different scenario and would constitute a violation.
Spamming. This is one area that I think we've become more strict over the years. Since our Baldur's Gate II forum has been around a long time, I did a little digging through the archives. Here's one example
of a thread started by our very own Dragon Wench. Considering that the topic still relates to Baldur's Gate II, it wasn't considered spamming then and I don't think it should be now. "Light" discussion like this keeps people around.
Here are a few examples of topics that I grabbed from our search that have seen moderator intervention for spam - here
, and here
. Sorry Fable, you're in all of them
. To decide what should be allowed here, I've undeleted the deleted posts within them. I pose a few questions to all of you:
Should discussion of Revan's items in the first thread be allowed after the original question was answered?
Should Pellinore's response be allowed in the second thread?
Should Triline and Leet's responses be allowed in the third thread? Either way, I don't think the "use your brains" comment is necessary.
Should we allow game-related topics like the one in the fourth thread? To me, this is about the same as DW's thread in BG2 years ago.
Consistently posting new threads looking for answers that have already been made available many times previously. The forum has a great search feature, so please use it.
Personally, I think this rule should only be enforced if the person is asking a question that's already been answered in the last page of two of threads. The search function doesn't have as many advanced options as I wish it did and there may be times when the person needs additional help but don't want to bump a really old, dead thread. If we find that the same question is being asked a lot, then a sticky or FAQ at the top of the forum might in question be a good idea rather than handing out violations to everyone asking it.
Posting in a non-English language without providing a full English translation.
This one's self-explanatory. If a person posts a new thread entirely in German without an English translation, it's a violation.
Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum.
Those members who register here to post one thread advertising MMORPG goods or cellphones are obviously in violation of this rule. Their post and account should just be deleted.
We also have a lot of members who want to get some exposure for the mods, savegame editors, or extraction tools they've built. As long as the person isn't profiting from their work, I don't have an issue with creating a designated thread for it. A good example of this is the Dungeon Lords savegame editor one of our members built. That thread has gotten us a lot of exposure and people actually come here specifically to watch for updates. If the person goes around promoting the same tool in multiple threads, then that would be a violation.
If a member is trying to sell a copy of a game in the appropriate forum, then a simple move to Banshee Classifieds would be enough. I don't it's worth calling them out for a violation unless it's a repeated offense.
Registering multiple accounts. If you've forgotten your account name or password, make use of the forum's recovery option or contact a moderator or the administrator.
Another self-explanatory rule. If two accounts use the same IP and are obviously the same person, that's a violation. We need to make sure we can prove it, though, before we accuse the person of breaking the rule.
The only exception to this is Buck Santa. That guy is clearly a model citizen