Please read these rules carefully. Our intent is to provide an intellectually challenging environment for rational, polite discussion. To that end, we need the cooperation of all users.
Forum Rules and Acceptable Use Policy
The administrators reserve the right to modify these rules as necessary. Public notice will be given when changes are made to the rules.
While the administrators and moderators of this forum will attempt to remove or edit any generally objectionable material as quickly as possible, it is impossible to review every message. Therefore, you acknowledge that all posts made to these forums express the views and opinions of the people posting them and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster (except for posts by these people). Neither The New England Skeptical Society, the moderators, administrators, or technical staff will be held liable for any content posted on this forum by persons other than themselves.
By registering for this forum, you agree not to post any abusive, obscene, libelous, hateful, threatening, sexually explicit, or illegal content that violates any applicable laws. Doing so may lead to your user account being immediately and permanently banned. The IP address of all posts and all users is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. The webmaster, administrators, and moderators of this forum reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should they see fit.
Each person is allowed one login account, which is registered using a valid e-mail address. Registering multiple accounts is prohibited; extra login accounts will be deactivated. Exception: Administrators and Moderators may have a single additional account for forum testing purposes, or for posting as a regular user, in which case the Administrator or Moderator account is to be used for "official" forum business only.
Accounts used to impersonate someone else will be removed.
As a registered user you agree to any information you have entered during registration, in your user profile, in your publicly posted messages, or in your private messages being stored in a database. This information will not be disclosed to anyone unless required by law. Information stored in the forum database includes:
Password (encrypted in the database)
IP at time of registration
IP at time of each post
Optional, voluntary information
This forum uses open-source software. The webmaster, administrators, and moderators cannot be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to the data being compromised. Although we do keep the software up-to-date and have installed various security measures, there is always the risk of a successful hacking attempt. Therefore, we urge you to minimize the amount of private information you post here publicly or in private messages and strongly recommend that you take steps to protect your privacy.
The webmaster, administrators, and moderators agree to hold all information provided by users during registration and all private communications from users in confidence, not to be disclosed to any third party, except as required by law.
You may not post pornography or obscenity.
Pornographic or obscene content, and hyperlinks to pornographic or obscene content will be removed.
While we do not prohibit profanity, we do ask users to avoid using excessive foul language. Generally, we will consider "weighted phrases" such as those often used to advertise x-rated websites as content that will definitely be disallowed as well as truly obscene content.
We do prefer people to avoid using foul language, but we won't worry about isolated usage. We trust that the forum will not be swamped in a deluge of "bad words." A user who posts a lot of foul language is likely to have their posting privileges restricted or removed.
You may not encourage others to commit violence or suicide.
Any forum user who posts a credible threat of bodily harm to another user of this forum will be banned immediately.
You may not post or link to computer viruses or malicious code.
Forum Disruption and Verbal Abuse
It is valuable for the forum to have active posters with a broad range of opinions and that forum members be able to express themselves in any manner that they choose within the parameters of other forum rules and limitations. We recognize that debate often leads to spirited discussion. While it is not our intent to govern minor squabbles, serious verbal abuse may occur, harming substantive discussion. Examples of abusive, disruptive behavior are:
Bickering: When one or more posters in a thread stop responding substantively, and instead primarily make abusive or insulting comments. This often takes the form of an escalating, two-sided use of accusations, insults, derision, namecalling, sarcasm, mockery, and other forms of abusive language.
Spill-over: When a poster starts threads or interrupts other threads in order to further the bickering or abuse started elsewhere. This is an abuse of the forum when it creates sufficient "noise" to defeat bystanders' reasonable attempts to ignore the disruptive posters involved. This applies to posts and topics on this forum only. For example, if two users on this board engage in an abusive exchange on a different message board, and continue it here, only the posts on this forum apply to determinations of "spill-over". For our purposes, "spill-over" means abuse or bickering in a topic on this board that is continued in or distributed among other topics on this board.
Harrassment: When bickering or abuse is continued elsewhere in the Forum or in Private Messages. Harassment will be considered a particularly harmful attempt to reduce participation on the forum.
These are illustrations, and are not intended as a complete list of behaviors that may be considered abusive or disruptive. By "abusive", we mean the gratuitous use of insult, sarcasm, foul language, or cruelty directed at another user.
Abusive, disruptive behavior such as the above examples may lead to warnings, the splitting of threads, the temporary suspension of posting privileges, restriction of posting privileges, or permanent banning. These actions will be at the discretion of the Administrators, depending upon the severity of the disruption.
A certain level of give-and-take is to be expected in discussions of controversial issues. As with our rules regarding profanity, isolated mild insults may not result in administrative action. If someone repeatedly insults people, we're very likely to take action as described.
Although we do not approve of insults, we accept that people will be occasionally rude, especially in the midst of spirited discussion.
Not actionable in isolated cases:
Comments such as "You don't know what you're talking about," or "Obviously you have a comprehension problem."
One or two phrases focused on the perceived flaws of other users.
Isolated, incidental, mild namecalling.
Isolated, mild mockery.
Actionable when directed at another user:
Repeated insults, even if mild, especially if the same person posts a succession of insults.
Repeated or severe namecalling.
Any foul language directed at another user.
Abusive language directed at another user. Example: "Garbage like you doesn't deserve to live."
Sidetracking of topics with a series of posts in which even mild insults are traded.
Sidetracking of topics into a multiple-post discussion of the perceived shortcomings of other users.
More than one or two brief sentences or phrases focused on the shortcoming of other users.
This should not be interpreted as blanket permission to insult people.
You may not post copyrighted materials that are not of your authorship.
You may post your own work if the copyright is held by you. If such work is available online, we prefer that you post a link instead of the complete work. Brief quotation of copyrighted text not of your authorship is permitted, but only in the context of discussion of that text, as provided under the Fair Use provisions of copyright law. Credit to the original author must be included. Links to such work must be included if the work is available online.
The administrators reserve the right to remove any copyrighted materials from any given post. We consider any published material not known to be in the public domain to be copyrighted by the original author. This includes but is not limited to printed material or material published in electronic media, i.e. email messages, posts from other forums or message boards, posts on Usenet, blog content, or web page content.
You may not post the private information of any person without their permission, except your own.
This includes but is not limited to IP numbers, email addresses, or other private information that can be used to personally identify a forum user. Information publicly available on a web page, such as a person's resume or biographical profile, generally should not be copied and pasted here. A link to such a page would not be considered the posting of private information, however, we would honor the request of any person to remove links to pages on which their personal information appeared. Please obtain the other person's permission first.
A person's home address, home or business telephone number, social security number, names of spouses and and children, and similar private information would be considered private information that we would remove if prior permission had not been obtained, even if it is published on a web page.
Please do not post the same topic across several forums or subforums or post the same message repeatedly in the same topic or different topics. We will remove accounts that are used exclusively to post advertisements for commercial sites or that are used to send commercial emails or private messages containing advertisements to other users.
Posting links to events of interest will not be considered violations of this rule.
Regarding crisis situations:
Suicide notes and/or threats of violence will be summarily removed. While we take such things seriously, we cannot take responsibility for anyone else's life-threatening behavior. We urge anyone who feels compelled to harm themselves or others to contact qualified emergency personnel immediately. In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or the National Hopeline Network: 1.800.784-2433, or call 911 for local emergency services.
No set of rules can be all-inclusive. Situations may arise that are not covered by these rules but that may require administrative action. Although we prefer to act only on situations covered by the written rules, the administrators reserve the right to act as needed to deal with situations that are clearly disruptive of forum use.
Moderator/Administrative warning boxes
Anyone using the tag to create a moderator/administrative warning box will be sanctioned as seen fit by the administrators. These tags are meant to be used to differentiate between the personal posts of a mod/admin, and are not for use by other members.
Decisions made by the Administrator are usually final, but reasonable appeals will be considered.
By continuing to post on this forum you agree to be bound by these conditions.
(Rules adapted with permission from the Skeptics Society.)