Forum Rules & Notes (Read this before posting!)
Forum Notes:So, here we are on the Bonus Points forum and you want to know a few of the key bits of functionality to use whilst posting here...
General Chat:On our old forum we had a "General Chat Thread" but on the Bonus Points forum the entire "General" category can serve this same purpose. Got random thoughts you just want to get out there in some form? Something you want to talk about from your life? Random observations? Start a new discussion in "General" and post your heart out. This way there's not a single thread that dwarfs all the others, a monolith of jumbled interactions that might be daunting or outright difficult for a new member to jump in on, etc. I want to try and keep the "General" category alive and beating beyond just a single thread.
Discussions:Discussions can be displayed in many different views. Recent Discussions provides a general view of our most active discussions, sorted by the time of the last post within them. My Discussions will provide a list of any discussions which you were the original poster of. Participated will provide a list of any discussions which you have posted in that were not your own. Finally, Categories will list all of the forum categories so that you can access only a single category's discussions.
Replying:On our previous forums we used the age old "quoting" method of replying to people. It's a good way of highlighting what you're responding to, of course, but it was prone to abuse (as mentioned in our rules here) and it could get unwieldy and ugly after a few levels deep.
So, bring on the FUTURE said Iko, and borrowing from Twitter and the like I bring you... the @ reply!
To respond to the last post of another user, simply enter the @ sign followed by their username, this will then add a link to that user's profile to your post which when hovered over will provide a snapshot of the content of their last post. No more huge sprawling quotes, instead a simple popover speech bubble of glory!
Activity:The forum exists as something of a hybrid between typical bulletin board and social hub. In this way, the Activity section is where you will find a list of the latest happenings with regards to users joining our boards, etc. and you can comment on them. In the Activity tab and on your own profile page you can also post public status updates, and people can reply to those too. You can post on other user profile pages in this manner as well. This allows for a degree of interaction outside of just discussion threads.
Flagging:The moderation team can't be everywhere at all times, unfortunately, so it falls to the users of the forum to help us find any violations of the rules that we might miss. To do this you can flag any post that you feel is in violation of the rules by clicking the "Flag" link in the top right of any post. When you flag a post, please explain why you are doing so, as repeated usage of the flagging system without due cause is itself a breach of our spam rules.
Flagged posts will then be checked by our moderation team and we will determine if further action needs to take place.
In the past when it has come to forum rules we have attempted to use a limited number of rules to try and retain a friendly and informal atmosphere where possible. However, over time it became clear that this informality has been a disservice to those who frequent our forums and has been open to inconsistent interpretation by both visitors to the site and members of the moderation staff.
In an effort to remedy this issue a new set of rules has been written up that we hope will provide clarity and leave only less serious matters open to interpretation.
Respect and what it means...Otherwise known as "you should be at least thirteen to post on this forum, or at the very least act like you are."
Previously our first rule was "respect fellow members of the forum" and apparently this one was way too ambiguous, leading to frequent 'edge cases' where something might possibly be breaking the rule but it required forum staff to sit and discuss the matter over a longer period of time than we were comfortable with.
So now we shall define this core rule in multiple parts:
- Insults and cursing directed at other forum members during discussions will result in an immediate formal warning.
- Responding with a tone of anger at another forum member during a discussion will result in an informal warning followed by escalation to a formal warning should the behaviour continue.
- Using "fix'd" or variations thereof on the forum. Please do not quote the post of another and edit the words or phrasing to something other than what they actually said. This is considered disrespectful and will result in an informal warning followed by escalation to a formal warning should it continue.
- Posting meme pictures in discussions will result in an informal warning followed by escalation to a formal warning should the behaviour continue. (This rule will be subject to moderator discretion in threads within the General category.)
- Links, videos or other such content posted without written context will result in an informal warning followed by escalation to a formal warning should the behaviour continue. (This rule will be subject to moderator discretion in threads within the General category.)
- Derailing a thread to a discussion which is not at least tangentially related to the original discussion is to be avoided. You will rarely get a warning for this, but it's not considered helpful. An example of this would be derailing a discussion about Xbox Live to a discussion about Doctor Who, as compared to a discussion about Xbox Live becoming a discussion about Microsoft.
- Tangents happen as a natural function of conversation, however if a tangent - even a related one - becomes dominant in a thread for a long period it is good etiquette to consider posting a new thread for that tangent. This will of course be open to interpretation.
- For all intents and purposes this is considered derailing, but on a much more serious level. If you would like moderation staff to take action on the behaviour of another forum member report that behaviour with the services available and under no circumstances post reference to it in the thread itself. This includes anything from “I have reported you for that” to “I think this topic should be locked.” Please do not do it, continued breaking of this rule will result in a formal warning.
- Posting images, links or videos without context outside of the General category. We generally prefer that if you are going to link something on the forum in a new thread, that you give a context for your posting it, some form of discussion prompt, etc.
- Posting threads asking for the opinion of others without also providing an opinion of your own. Again, generally we prefer that threads be for discussions, as such providing some context beyond just a question is good etiquette.
- Posting threads with no explanation in the OP what the thread is actually about. (And no, making a thread with a question in the title is not sufficient.)
- Anything posted via a bot or to advertise a product not related to video games. If you suspect a bot post, please flag it using the report tools available.
- Double posting in quick succession. If you wish to add more to a post that you have made only a short amount of time afterwards, and there has been no subsequent responses, please make use of the edit function.
- Posting simply to increase post count.
- Using the Flag function repeatedly without due cause.
Ignorance is NOT bliss...So, having read through this post so far you've already lost this as a defence anyway, but under no circumstances is it considered acceptable to say "Well I wasn't aware of that" with regard to information posted in forum information threads such as this one.
It is standard discussion board etiquette to, at the very least, seek out rules threads upon arrival and to keep informed of any changes made to those rules.
Enforcement of rules...Now, when it comes to the enforcement of rules and further repercussions after repeated warnings, this will come down to the discretion of the moderation team.
In the past we have tried a "three strike" approach to rules enforcement, whereby after three warnings a user would be faced with a suspension. But this was found to be unsustainable as a means of stopping negative behaviour.
As such, the number of warnings a user may receive before being suspended (and how long they are suspended for) will be flexible and at the control of the moderation team. Warnings will be judged based on both frequency and severity and if the moderation team feels as though a particular user needs to be suspended or banned based upon these factors then that will go ahead.