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RPG.net Rules & Guidelines (Revised 10/28/2018)

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Contents of this thread:
Post 1:

Values/Rules & Off-Site Conduct

Post 2:
How To Interact With Moderators and Moderator Decisions
How to use Trouble Tickets
What are reports, reporting?
Other Media Negativity Policy

Post 3

Banned Topics

Post 4 - Helpful Lore

Guidelines and Clarifications
Peace of the Forum?
What are personal/group attacks?
Derailing and suppression of sexism-related discussion
Where can advertisements be posted?
What is inappropriately explicit sexual content?
What is ‘holdoing’?

Post 5
Administrators and Moderators

Rule 0: The mission statement of this forum is "Keep the forums friendly and welcoming to as wide a range of gamers as possible." This principle guides all moderation. To the extent that the letter of the rules conflicts with the mission statement, the mission statement takes priority. The moderators may engage in moderation when necessary that is not based on the text of the following rules in order to keep the forums friendly and welcoming. Adherence to the letter of the following rules or “being right” is no excuse if your participation is destructive.

Rule 1: Don’t break the peace of the forum or otherwise sabotage the forum/its mission as stated in Rule 0. Some examples: Trolling, edition warring, personal attacking or group attacking other users, revenge fantasies, ‘Just Asking Questions’/’JAQing off’ or threatening legal action against the forum or other posters. (See Post 4 for clarifications on these examples.) The onus is on the poster to be clear.
Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist posts will not be tolerated.​
Support of Gamergate, racial supremacist groups, the redpill/incel movement, or any other hate group is a direct challenge to the lives and well-being of our other users and will result in a permanent ban.​
If you see a post that is a problem, report it instead of responding to it. The Report function should not be used to complain about official mod actions; use the admin email. The Report function is in the lower-left part of the post, looks like the word Report, and it will send an alert to the moderation staff.​
When reporting a post, please say why it's a problem ("Attack on Canadian carpenters") and give any necessary context ("Bob Wizardpants has been insinuating that all carpenters are reptoids earlier in the thread.") and/or quote the post itself, so that a mod who hasn't been following the thread can understand what's going on.​

Rule 2: Your posts should contribute to appropriate discussion. Post in the appropriate forum. Do not post on the current banned topics (see Post 3). Do not make posts empty of content; particularly, the Original Post (OP) of each thread should include some basis for discussion. Do not post or link to pornography or any form of inappropriately explicit sexual content.

Rule 3: Do not post anything illegal under U.S. law, or encourage others to break U.S. laws or the laws of their country of residence. Our board values the time, energy, and skill of the people who create the games we love and we believe they should be compensated. Do not advocate for piracy or provide links to pirated materials.

Rule 4: Respect the privacy of your fellow gamers. Do not post emails or private messages without explicit written permission of all those involved. Do not use any posts or part of posts from these forums for commercial purposes without the express permission of each person involved. “Doxxing” anyone is cause for an immediate permanent ban.

Rule 5: Do not share your account with anyone, as you will be held responsible for all posts made by your account. Sockpuppets (the same person having multiple accounts) are allowed with moderator permission. If you have been banned, you are not allowed to make a new account - use the appeal process instead. Making a sockpuppet to evade a ban is grounds for an immediate permanent ban, and appeals are usually not granted in such cases.

Rule 6 ("Rule 9"): Do not ask for medical, legal or other professional advice. Do not offer medical, legal, or other professional advice. Do not request emergency crisis counseling or solicit personal financial donations. If you're not sure if what you'd be asking counts, ask yourself "If the advice here is bad, is someone going to be harmed?" [If someone refers to "Rule 9", this is what they mean. That’s because “Rule 9” has become a part of rpg.net standard vocabulary.]

Values/Rules & Off-Site Conduct: We draw a distinction between our site’s values and rules. We infract based on rules violations if they occur on our site. If you call someone a shitbag in TRO, that is a rules violation on our site and you’ll probably catch an infraction. If you call someone a shitbag on ENWorld, that’s their problem. However, values matter regardless of where the conduct occurs, and social media now makes drawing distinct lines between identities across multiple online platforms impractical. If you are an alt-right racist, self-identified incel, white supremacist, Nazi, sexual predator, stalker, doxxer, or otherwise demonstrate offsite that you hold values incompatible with the RPGnet community, and we can identify you to a reasonable degree of certainty, we will ban you from RPGnet as based on the fact that you posting to RPGnet is a violation of our values.

TL;DR: We don’t police off-site rules violations, but we will ban people over unbridgeable divides in values as demonstrated by off-site conduct.
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How To Interact With Moderators and Moderator Decisions: The Moderators are a group of volunteers who are empowered to curate the forums as they see fit. The existence of a body of rules should not be read to mean that they must, or can only, act within the bounds of those rules. The Mods can do what they feel is necessary in their best judgment to promote the well-being of the forums. When posting in normal text, they are like any other user, and should be treated like any other user. When they post in colored text-boxes, they are acting as moderators. When giving orders in Trouble Tickets, the moderator is assumed to be speaking in redtext, unless otherwise noted.
  • Failure to follow moderator instructions, breaking the rules, being a bad fit or bad citizen of the forum can result in suspension or permanent banning of user accounts. Don’t PM a moderator about red textboxes or infractions they have issued. Don’t reply to red textboxes in-thread. Questions about policies or technical issues go to Trouble Tickets. Appeals or complaints about moderation go to the admin email account: admin.rpgnet@gmail.com. Do not use the Report Function to complain about official mod actions; use the admin email.
  • If there is an administrative thing that you'd like to have done (edit your thread title, move a thread to the different forum, something like that) you can either report the relevant post, or post a thread in Trouble Tickets. Either is acceptable. Either way, make sure to explain what you're asking the mods to do, and why. If posting a request in Trouble Tickets, make sure to include a link to the thread so the responding mod can find it easily.
  • If your question about the rules emerges from red text or an infraction you have just received, it almost certainly should be sent to the admin email. Admin time is limited - your appeal, question, or concern should be stated shortly and plainly. We will ignore wall-of-text emails to the admin without compunction. Admin response times can be lengthy - it generally isn’t worth your time to appeal short suspensions or thread bans. Things are likely to have moved on by the time we get to it.
How to use Trouble Tickets
  • Trouble Tickets is for inquiring about site policies, asking if you can do something, posting technical issues or requesting moderator help on things like moving a thread or changing the title of a thread. (You can also use the Report function to request thread moves, title changes, et cetera.)
  • Don’t pretend to be staff if you’re not — this means you shouldn’t answer questions on behalf of the staff in Trouble Tickets, nor should you use the Red Text or Guidance Text boxes in your posts. We have had too many posts in Trouble Tickets giving misinformation, which then propagates through the rest of the board.
  • The moderators may occasionally have an open thread where the board's opinion is asked. These will be marked with the [Be Mindful] thread title tag.
  • Trouble Tickets is not to be used for appeals on red text or infractions. That's what the admin email is for. Any post relating to a past or current infraction will be closed as a press conference.
Red-text/Purple-text: Currently we are using the large boxes of color to indicate mod-speak. When posting in normal text outside of Trouble Tickets, mods are like any other user, and should be treated like any other user. When mods post in colored text-boxes, they are acting as moderators. Do not reply to red-text. Guidance (purple) text is used for policy statements, or things that the RPGnet staff think as staff should be taken into consideration by the users, as opposed to infractions. You can reply to purple text if you really feel it's necessary, but please do so sparingly. Regular posters may not use these colored boxes. Red-colored text is still off-limits for regular posters as well, until further notice.

Moderator Text:

This is an example of redtext.


This is an example of guidance.

What are reports, reporting?
  • If you see a post that is a problem or needs to be brought to moderator attention (maybe it’s attacking you or another user, it has something NSFW, the thread needs to be moved to a different forum, it’s spam that needs to be deleted, it’s an old thread that needs a Necro added to the title, the 2000 post limit on a thread has been reached, a typo in the title, etc), report it instead of responding to it. Do not use the Report Function to complain about official mod actions; use the admin email.
  • If you see a post that is a problem, report it instead of responding to it. The Report function should not be used to complain about official mod actions; use the admin email. The Report function is in the lower-left part of the post, looks like the word Report, and it will send an alert to the moderation staff.
    When reporting a post, please say why it's a problem ("Attack on Canadian carpenters") and give any necessary context ("Bob Wizardpants has been insinuating that all carpenters are reptoids earlier in the thread.") and/or quote the post itself, so that a mod who hasn't been following the thread can understand what's going on. A message of "What is this?" or "Huh?" or "Less of this, please" or "Well, then" or “I guess this is okay, now?” is not helpful.
  • In terms of posts that you think clearly should have been moderated, please don't assume a mod has seen them. Posters outnumber mods approximately a thousand to one and keeping up with everything is tricky. Even if there's a mod posting in the thread, that still means that another mod not involved in the thread needs to look at it.
  • Remember that mods are volunteers, who live in different time zones and have lives away from the forum. There may not be an immediate response to your report on the forum. There may not be any response at all if the mods disagree with your interpretation of whether a Rule was broken and in need of a response. If you disagree with a moderation call, please address this to the admin email.
Safety: Safety is one of our values, and it’s why we don’t allow people who threaten or stalk or doxx other people to continue to be on our site. There are some other parts to this.
  • S-block ([sblock=XXX] [/sblock]) pictures of spiders, snakes, graphic gore, animal abuse, etc.
  • Do not drift unrelated threads into topics of child abuse, sexual violence, or domestic violence. For example: If a thread is not about rape in gaming, do not bring up rape in gaming.
  • Threads that are going to be about child abuse, sexual violence, or domestic violence should have a content warning (CW) in the thread title. Further, if you want to start such a thread, it requires prior moderator approval of the OP. Even if you get approval from the mods, the CW is needed in the title.
  • Do not drop the n-bomb or use other racial/ethnic/religious/ableist/sexist/ phobic/whatever slurs on RPGnet. If you're posting an article or quote, try to get used to using the word REDACTED.
Other Media Negativity Policy: Due to an increasing negativity in regards to a variety of different media, we will be cracking down on excessive negativity that does not contribute anything to a thread except to gloom/doom, make others feel bad for liking something or other ways that cynical up-onemanship can bring on. Think of it like the extra diligence given to the D&D forums for edition-warring.
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professionally dissatisfied
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Over the years, we have found that the following topics create more harm to the forum than we wish to deal with, so we do not want these discussions had here. Feel free to have them elsewhere.

Banned Topics:
  • Fred Phelps / Westboro Baptist Church
  • Discussions even remotely related to "homosexuality: nature vs. nurture" and/or "does God really hate gays?"
  • Should transgender people really be considered the gender they say they are?
  • Spanking children as a disciplinary measure.*
  • Typical male circumcision.*
    *These two topics are not banned in the Parents & Parenting subforum
  • As per discussion, the moderation staff has decided that discussions about gun control and points related will not occur in threads about mass shootings; they can be spun off as a separate thread as normal. (12/3/2015)
  • The rpg game ACKS and the game company Autarch, as the designer of the game and owner of the company, Alexander Macris, has threatened the board with legal actions multiple times. (7/6/2018 for explanation from ShannonA)
  • Support for President Donald Trump and his administration - please see this post/thread for our reasoning on this and the clarifications as to what this means. (10/29/2018)

  • While not a banned topic, the moderators will no longer mod group attacks against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Border Patrol. (see post here) (6/19/2018)
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The Lore:
Helpful lore for posting on RPGnet

Guidelines and Clarifications:
  • RPGnet is privately-owned but public-facing. It is filled with many thousands of gamers from all over the world and all situations in life. Remember that your audience is highly diverse and do not universally share your beliefs, values or context. Do not post under the assumption you’ll be automatically understood.
  • Think before you post. It can sometimes be hard to determine where acceptable conversation ends and attacks or other rules violations begin, especially in the heat of a debate. If you are unsure whether a post might cross the line, feel free to PM a moderator or administrator for advice — especially before making a post you might regret later.
  • The rules apply to all uses of the forums, including the content of signatures, thread tags, social/public groups (and their related discussions), profile comments, PMs and reports.
  • Context matters. Intent is not a shield. We are not mind readers. Looking deep down into your heart of hearts for your intent and how ill it is or not is not our highest priority. Our higher priority is whether or not your actions and words make this forum unwelcoming for others, a worse place for discussion, or similar.
  • It is the responsibility of posters to be as clear as possible in their posts. Remember that sarcasm and many forms of humor do not translate well to the medium of online forums. When posting on sensitive topics, remember to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask how they might read what you say. We cannot discern the intentions behind your post. We will moderate your posts based on their impact on the forum and its user. If you are infracted for something you posted with the best of intentions, please take that as a lesson for improving your posting style in the future.
Peace of the forum?
  • Be a good citizen of the forum. Trolling, edition warring, personal or group attacks on posters, ‘Just Asking Questions’/’JAQing off’/sea-lioning, tone arguments, overly large signatures are all examples (but not an exhaustive list) of sabotaging the peace of the board. These actions damage the quality of discussion and are not acceptable. "Being right” is not an excuse to engage in behaviour that degrades the RPGnet experience.
  • Don’t threadcrap. If you disagree with the thread’s reason for existing, don’t post that you think that it shouldn’t exist.
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist posts will not be tolerated.
  • Support of Gamergate, racial supremacist groups, the redpill/incel movement, or any other hate group is a direct challenge to the lives and well-being of our other users and will result in a permanent ban.
  • Please keep your signature short. 6 lines of regular text, or 8 lines of small text, including spacer/blank lines. Images are not allowed in signatures. Personal promotions or requests for funds can be linked in .sigs but should not be made into their own threads.
What are personal/group attacks?:
Challenging arguments and ideas is fine, but not attacking the people holding them. This includes attacks on an individual poster, or groups that any reasonable person would expect includes fellow RPGnetters. Game industry figures/designers are considered as posters, for the sake of personal attacks. Revenge fantasies are also prohibited on the forums. “But it’s truuue” is not a defense. Examples:
"That thing you said was shitty because [explanation]" is attacking an idea/statement.​
"You are shitty" is a PA.​
"People who do [thing you totally just did] are shitty" -- very likely to read as a PA. Context matters.​
"Your demographic is shit" is a GA​
"Your ideology is shit" -- nontrivial chance of being read as a GA. Context matters.​
"This thing your ideology promotes is shitty because [explanation]" is attacking an idea.​

Also, the posts from here:
In terms of further explaining the reason behind the policy, it is a compromise between two concerns.

One is that we don't want personal attacks on people on this board. It makes it a shittier place. Game industry figures are included here both because it's not always obvious when one of them is posting here, and because it's generally good for the board to have them around because they tend to be able to contribute a lot, both about their games and about game design in general.

The other is that we want it to be possible to discuss ongoing issues in the community. If Bob Wizardpants keeps starting kickstarters and not fulfilling, that's something users should be able to know, so they can decide whether to contribute toward the kickstarter for Advanced Weasels and Warplanes. This is also relevant to harassment (sexual or otherwise) of folks by industry figures.

So we try to fit the policy as narrowly as we can between the two. Users can talk about things industry figures have said or done, because that is at least in gaming terms a matter of public concern. But they have to stop there. Going a step further and drawing conclusions about the industry figure as a person is a step too far, both because of our general policy of avoiding personal attacks, and because opinions don't have the same value. There's benefit in folks being able to know about the things that Bob Wizardpants has done, but there isn't the same sort of need for people to know what you think about Bob.
and here, in regards to harassment accusations:
At least right now while the mods figure out what context-providing stuff we feel like we can review, I'm going to discuss a general pattern that has occurred in threads about harassment in the industry, and that the mods have discussed before.

To start off, there's a harasser. Someone with well-documented cases of sexual harassment or even assault, often with a non-apology that basically confirms everything.

Harasses has friends. I get the impression that a lot of these folks are basically charming in other areas of their life, and sometimes it's really hard to not defend your buddy when he's being attacked in public. I dunno, but it's a thing.

Now, we have two or more harassers, each of whom has defenders. Bob Wizardpants and Greg Possumfang, say. Whenever there is a thread that bears on either of these people even slightly, or just harassment in general, Team Wizardpants will present themselves as the defenders of justice against the evil Possumfang in an effort to distract from what their harasser-buddy has done, and Team Possumfang will do the same thing against the perfidy of Wizardpants. Each side will employ the rhetoric and righteous indignation you would see from a good-faith effort to stamp out harassment. Often the concerns they raise are genuinely valid!

But what results is that it's impossible for anyone else to talk about their concerns, because everything turns into a proxy war between the cheerleaders of two or more harassers or abusers. I suspect everyone who has been following these threads here has seen this happen multiple times. It's bad for the good-faith discussion of problems in the gaming industry, and it's bad for the board.

This is an example of one way that someone can be saying things that are directed at real wrong-doers, but in a way that is corrosive to discussion and bad for the issue and the board. This is not true of all of the people who have been banned here, but it is a factor that has been involved in the consideration.
Derailing and suppression of sexism-related discussion
We’ve previously had a serious problem with female gamers being made to feel unwelcome on the forum by systematic derailment and suppression of discussions of sexism. As a result we have identified a number of behaviours that we will infract.

These behaviours are largely covered by Rule 1 anyway, and not limited to the area of sexism, but we are devoting extra scrutiny to their contribution to this particular problem. They include:
- Threadjacking discussion from the female experience to the male experience of an issue​
- Denying the experiences of female posters​
- Demanding to be educated on the subject​
- Concern trolling (such as "But I'm concerned discussion of sexism will drown out discussion of the good things about $GAME")​
- Questioning the validity of sexism as a phenomena or a topic of discussion at RPGnet​
- Demanding that the debate be reframed (e.g. "This debate is too emotional"/"This should only be about solutions, not criticisms" etc.)​
- Accusing other posters of looking to be offended​
- Accusing male posters of "White-Knighting" or otherwise arguing against sexism solely for the approval of women​

Where can advertisements be posted?
The Glamorous Unrestrained Hype Machine forum or The Bazaar of the Bizarre forum as appropriate. Posts elsewhere judged to be advertisements rather than discussions will be moved. Advertisements in signatures are allowed within reason.
Please be warned that we suffer high volumes of spam, and routinely delete posts and ban posters we believe to be spam. Try to ensure your advertisement looks like it comes from a human and not a spam-bot, particularly if it’s your first post.

What is inappropriately explicit sexual content?
Do not post or link to pornography. There is a difference between 'searching for porn' vs 'let's discuss this specific NSFW work/creator'. Please do not solicit for erotic material. We prefer threads not use 'porn' in the title unless they're actually about pornography (ie. don’t use ‘gun porn’ in your title of a thread about looking at pictures of cool-looking guns.)
For images, the standard is that which might upset the average American, because this forum is based in the USA, and which may be summarized thus: no pubic hair, no female nipples, no genitalia, no perinea or anuses. This is not an exclusive list and interpretation is subject to moderator decisions. Out of consideration to casual browsers and others, we ask that you place nude and sexy NSFW pictures that do not break the rules behind sblock tags, like this: [sblock=XXX] [/sblock]

What is ‘holdoing’?
From here.
Specifically, this:
Incidentally, Holdoing is also the term we're using for "How mods that are known to be women get multiple times as much pushback on their calls as mods who are believed to be men, consistently, regardless of how polite and well-considered they are in comparison to the bad old days, when we did all kinds of crazy shit that isn't considered best practices in 2018."

I have reached the end of my rope on this. The moderation staff has my permission as admin to swing the hammer on Holdoing. If we think that a mod is getting pushback because of their gender, or if we think (in our considered opinion and after putting a couple extra eyes on it backstage) that media criticism is coming from a place of misogyny, we're going to warn or suspend people.
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Administrators and Moderators
The admins are a subset of the moderator staff, with additional software privileges and authority. It is their responsibility to review moderator actions, including processing appeals against infractions and ensuring moderators have acted appropriately. Moderators/administrators often have black circle-incorporating avatars, along with badges that say moderator, administrator and/or staff member.

Administrators are still moderators and perform moderation duties as normal. An appeal against an infraction given by one administrator will be handled by the others.

There is a general Forum Administrator account that is used for some announcements.

The current staff are:
Future Villain Band​
Hello Kaiju​
The Wyzard​

VB (Technical) Admin:
Cannibal Smiley

ANT Pogo​
BD Flory​
Law Orc​
Lee Casebolt​
Miss Atomic Bomb​
Patrick Y.​
Sphinx of Black Quartz​
Steamed Bun Love​
Stephen Lea Sheppard​
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