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Etiquette at The Forge (policy)

Started by Clinton R. Nixon, March 14, 2002, 08:32:07 PM

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Clinton R. Nixon

Etiquette at The Forge

Created by Clinton R. Nixon and Ron Edwards.

I. About the forums
   A. Purpose of the forums
The purpose of The Forge forums is to promote the design, development, and publication of independent role-playing games. We do not care if the game's sold in stores or given away from your website. Whatever the medium, if it's an independent role-playing game, we're here to talk about it.

In addition, we discuss actual play of role-playing games, especially independent role-playing games, in order to help game masters and players improve their game.

Participating here means engaging in discourse. Some of the rules of discourse include:

1) Acknowledging the validity of another's point, instead of merely switching topics if you've been refuted. Even if you disagree, show that you understand what the other person is saying.

2) Giving credit to others' input if you're drawing on those ideas, to the best of your ability.

3) Recognizing the question at hand and addressing it instead of side issues - granted, no one can do this all the time, but we should all try. For instance, if you want to talk about a new issue based on an existing discussion, it's perfectly OK to start a new thread and include a link to the old one in the first post.

4) understanding that to disagree with someone does not mean disliking or insulting them. We are talking about ideas, not about one another. You'll have to separate the integrity of your ideas from your self-image; getting the first ripped apart does not constitute an attack on the second.
   B. Administrators
The administrators of (The Forge) are Ron Edwards and Clinton R. Nixon. Ron is primarily responsible for editorial content and policies, while Clinton is responsible for system administration.   
   C. Moderators
Each individual forum has a moderator. You can see these on the main forums display page. This moderator has the ability to enforce Forge and individual policies within his or her own forum.   
   D. GNS and the forum
The Forge is here to discuss all independent role-playing games. We do discuss the "GNS model," a theory constructed by Ron Edwards to describe behaviors in role-playing games. You do not have to adhere to this theory in any way to discuss games here.
II. Accounts
   A. Choosing a name
Please consider using your actual name as your account name on The Forge. If you do not, we ask that you include your name in your post. This is strictly a recommendation, not a policy. You may choose any name you like, given that it is not blatantly offensive.
   B. Changing your account name
Users cannot change their account names on The Forge. Clinton, the system administrator, however can change your name for you. We will not do this unless you are changing to your actual name. If you wish to do this, contact Clinton at   
   C. Choosing to have account "hidden"
We have disabled the feature to have your account "hidden" on The Forge. We think this fits in with the atmosphere of intellectual honesty that we wish to cultivate here.
   D. Deleting accounts
We do not delete user accounts under any circumstances. We have in the past, and found it to be a process with no benefits. If you wish not to communicate on the Forge any longer, contact Clinton at He will disable your account, which will leave it intact, but stop you from logging in and will stop people from sending you private messages.   
III. Posting
   A. HTML vs. BBCode
We ask that you use BBCode for formatting in the forums. (More on BBCode can be found in the forum FAQ.) We have found that a combination of BBCode and HTML in a post can result in errors.   
   B. Off-topic posting
Off-topic posting can range from posting about topics that are in no way relevant to independent role-playing games, to posting about independent role-playing games, but straying from the topic of the current thread.

General off-topic posts (dealing with topics that are not relevant in any way to independent role-playing games) are not permitted. The poster will receive a warning. The thread may be locked if others join in the discussion.

Straying from the topic of the current thread is treated differently. We are all in favor of discussions mutating and covering other topics in role-playing games. We ask that you start a new thread if the topic changes too much, referencing the other thread in your first post on the new thread. If a moderator or administrator thinks that a thread has gone too far off-topic, he may "split" the thread, creating two threads out of the one.
   C. Profanity
Profanity is acceptable on The Forge, as long as it is not directed at a person or his or her works or ideas.
   D. "Flaming"
The Forge has its own standards for what constitutes a "flame." They are strict - including any dismissal of another's point without fair consideration, any expression of hostility even in response to perceived hostility, or even multiply posting to someone before they have a chance to get back to you, and anything similar. In other words, politeness and rudeness at the Forge follow the rules of conversation, not the general standards of the Internet.

If you are perceived as "flaming" someone, the following things will occur:

- You will be contacted via private message or e-mail and reminded of this guideline. We will ask you to make a follow-up post or (rarely) to edit your earlier post. You may argue your point with us privately. We are generally an understanding bunch, and will talk to you. Also, if the situation warrants it, an administrator will post in the relevant thread, letting everyone know that the topic has been taken to private discussion.
- If you do not respond within 48 hours, however, the administrators will post a note in the relevant thread detailing this.
   E. Line-by-line replies
Line-by-line replies are the online equivalent of interrupting someone after every sentence and arguing that sentence, taking it completely out of context. It is not only highly discouraged, but if used often, will be considered a flame.   
   F. Thread "resurrection"
If you find an older thread (not on the first page of the forum) that you wish to discuss, we ask that you create a new thread and link to the old one instead of "resurrecting" the thread. This helps everyone in terms of researching threads, and seeing where a discussion started and stopped.

   G. "Empty" posts
If you want to agree with someone but not add much content, please feel free. It's always nice to get positive reinforcement. It helps if you take the time to say why you agree, if you can, rather than just "Yeah!" But once in a while, an empty-agreement post isn't a terrible thing.

However, negative empty posts are strongly discouraged. Do not post only to say "You are wrong," or "I disagree," or anything similar without presenting your case and demonstrating that you understand the other person's case.   
IV. Other forum policies
   A. Post deletion
We do not like to delete posts, and will try every possible alternative first. Clinton, the site administrator, will delete duplicate posts for convenience. Otherwise, the only time a post will be deleted is when it is off-topic or "flaming," we have contacted you, and you have chosen not to respond.   
   B. Reporting a belligerent poster
If you have a problem with someone that is posting here because of issues on The Forge, please let Ron or Clinton know privately. Do not engage the poster yourself, and do not reprimand him, no matter how long you have been on The Forge.   
   C. Stricture and banning
We have not banned anyone from The Forge ever, and do not plan to. If someone ever warrants this, the administrators will let the forum know publicly.

edited by me to unlock and unsticky - RE
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games