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Alright, everyone. The part none of us like to go over, but also the most important part of what makes a good forum tick: the general rules and guidelines regarding behavior and actions of board members. Things are pretty lenient here. However... that does not mean we will be completely loose. It is our goal for this site to remain considered "Safe For Work", as we are aware that kids may find their way here.
That said, you will find that we have considerable freedoms here as long as the community exercises them in moderation and without abuse. The more members treat these freedoms (and other members) with respect and common sense, the more smoothly the community will function and thrive.
Depending on the rule you break and the severity of the action, the appropriate disciplinary action will be determined by the majority of the staff. In reasonable situations, you will never be banned without warning (exceptions to this would include the example of a new user -- with no posts -- spamming the forum or a member's inbox, or a member whose violations are beyond normal circumstances).
Every Moderator will have the ability to WARN you in an official capacity for every rule infraction. So, for every non-severe rule broken, you will have a warning issued and viewable in your profile. NOTE: Only you and staff members will be able to view these warnings...they are not made public, though your number of warning points *IS* view-able to the public.
If a member obtains 10 total warning points (where points, usually ranging 1-3 at a time, are distributed based on the severity of the violation), that member will either be suspended or permanently banned.
Other possible disciplinary actions may include the flagging of a member's posts for review by a Moderator, as well as the temporary suspension or extended/permanent banning of a member from a specific topic or sub-forum, rather than the whole forum.
Remember: these guidelines are put in place to protect you and this community. We want everyone to help do their part in maintaining and building a thriving, healthy, and inviting community for new users in addition to our established and veteran members.
The Golden Rule: Treat and respect others as you would like to be treated and respected. Which leads to...
No Personal Attacks: If you post something that is meant to tease or hurt someone in *any* way as defined by the Moderators, it will not be tolerated. This can include, but is not limited to, name-calling. Please note that if someone is attacking or bullying you, you should use the “Report” button to submit to the post for review by the forum staff. Flaming and trolling are not allowed... PERIOD.
What is"flaming", and "trolling"?: Anything meant to be overly-provocative and/or intentionally disrupt the natural, civil nature of a topic or forum. If you have to be warned consistently for either of these, you risk being temporarily suspended or permanently banned.
Addendum on Bullying: Repeated and monotonous attacks or otherwise "hateful" comments about a person--whether they are a member of this forum or not--may be interpreted as bullying and/or trolling and therefore be subject to potential warnings.
In other words, feel free to share your opinion on an actor, but don't abuse that freedom with non-constructive subjective insults that have no relevance to the discussion and/or the forum and its purpose. We're not going to go on a witch hunt for everyone dissing actors or political figures, but please be as civil and respectful as possible when talking about real life human beings. They're people, too.
It's like our rule on profanity: ranting against someone is allowed so long as you don't abuse that privilege.
ONE Account Per Person: If for some reason you need to make a new account, as long as you don't use your old one anymore you will be fine but you MUST contact a moderator to let them you have made a new account. That way, we can close your old one. If a user is caught using more than one account without having previously spoken to a staff member, you will be made to choose one account and stick with it.
If by any chance you are using a public computer--which means the IP address may be shared with other users--please inform any of the staff members. These particular guidelines are designed to protect the board against spammers and other disruptive users.
Swearing: Allowed in moderation. If you drop the "f-bomb" every other word in a post, common sense would dictate that to be far from "moderation". If you're dropping f-bombs in a high volume of your posts, your account will be flagged for review. Ultimately, this is subject to the opinion of the staff. Just don't go overboard, and never swear at someone in an insulting or intentionally offense manner. If you do, you will be banned from the forum.
Additionally: No derogatory (racial, ethnic, abusive, or otherwise) slurs allowed -- period. Violation of this rule can result in a permanent ban.
If the luxury of swearing is abused on a consistent basis by a significant number of members, filters will be put into place.
Pictures: Keep them "PG-13". Most pictures should be safe to view at work. If you create a thread where you plan to post pictures that are PG-13, but not pictures that should be on a school or work computer, then you must add a warning (something like "Not Safe For Work") in the Topic Title or Topic Description. Please do not post any pictures that may get people into trouble due to not having that warning.
Also, keep your signatures and avatars safe-for-work. Pictures that are "R-rated" will not be allowed in signatures.
Any type of pornographic imagery is strictly prohibited and will result in the member who posted it getting banned from the forums.
Lastly, we ask that you please don't go overboard with pictures, smilies/emoticons, or animated GIFs on posts, signatures, avatars, or anything else. This can create a very messy, cluttered board that decreases the visual appeal of the forum, as well as hogs more bandwidth than necessary. Use your best judgment.
Links & Advertising: You may have ONE (1) link to your own site in your signature and profile as long as the site is not-for-profit. If you would like to advertise with BoxOfficeTheory.com and/or the forums, please contact the Administrator.
Also, do not spam the personal inbox of board members with advertisements for your site.
Illegal Content: No stolen, pirated, or otherwise illegal content may be posted on the site. Glorification and encouragement of illegal acts will not be allowed either, including the glorification of drugs and other illegal paraphernalia. If you witness or suspect anything of the sort, please contact the Administrator.
Copyrights & Posting News Items: When you post news or content of any kind that does not belong to you and/or is under copyright, you must provide a link to the source material. Never post the entire contents of an article, column, news post, etc. Only post an excerpt. Posting an entire article is not only a violation of board policy, it is disrespectful to the author of the work and infringes upon their copyrights as it is viewed as theft of their work without permission.
In the case of public domain articles that are not under copyright, those are excluded from this rule and may be posted freely (so long as they do not violate any other forum rules).
Common Sense: If something isn't specifically listed before or after this rule, but it would reasonably be against any of the rules, then consider it just that: against the rules. Use your best judgment and common sense. Don't abuse any of the site features, and simply have a good time!
SPOILER POLICY: Spoilers are STRICTLY PROHIBITED unless otherwise noted in a subforum and/or topic! Please read these guidelines as violation of our spoiler policy WILL result in disciplinary action from the Moderators--such as suspension or banning.
Spoilers must be posted inside spoiler tags to hide them from public view (where a member has the option to manually reveal the spoiler or choose not to).
A spoiler is defined as any plot, character, or setting information not specified within a film's officially released synopsis or by the film's director.
In other words, if a movie has no synopsis available, and the director hasn't confirmed any info his- or herself, all details related to that movie are considered SPOILERS and must be hidden in spoiler tags.
A "spoiler" is considered as such until four weeks after the North American release of a film. In the case of spoilers being posted outside a film's respective thread, they must be tagged until the movie has been has been released on home video in North America. From then on, public spoilers for new movies--within reason--will not subject you to disciplinary action. But... please be considerate of others who may not have seen the movie yet and post warnings in advance of spoilers (or tag it anyway).
As a forum for movie fans, we have a responsibility to protect the moviegoing experience (to the best of our ability) for our members wishing to go in unspoiled--as was intended by the filmmakers. We understand that human error comes into play sometimes, and that the excitement of analyzing a movie is part of what makes this place fun, but we also take this as seriously as any other crucial rule in our community.
Please work with us to help prevent spoilers from remaining in public view and use the Report button on any offending posts!
NOTE: Spoilers are allowed in the Review That Movie forum at any given time. Otherwise, only spoiler-designated threads (written in the thread title) are exempt from spoiler rules. When there is a spoiler thread, no spoilers are allowed in the main thread.
As for non-movie spoilers, the rules go as follows:
SPORTS: Comments on live sporting events are allowed as long as they aren't specific to the outcome or scoring of the game. Actual results of that nature must be spoiler-tagged unless they are in the Sports subforum. This rule applies for 24 hours after the end of any given sporting event.
TV SHOWS: Spoilers must be hidden for any show until the beginning of a new season/series, unless otherwise noted in the thread title (in some cases, open spoilers are allowed in the TV forum).
ONLINE DISTRIBUTION/VOD/TV MOVIES : For these projects, we will assume a reasonable 2-month "theatrical" window where spoilers will apply. For example, if Netflix releases a movie on Jan. 20, spoilers would need to be tagged until March 20.
Members are REQUIRED to post in English. If you get caught writing an insult or attack in a foreign language, you will be banned from the site.
Disclaimer: These rules and guidelines may be updated at any time by the Administrator and/or other members of the staff. When this happens, we will do our best to inform members but it is ultimately each person's responsibility to be well-educated on what is and is not allowed. If you ever have a question about something, please don't hesitate to ask one of the Moderators (or you can post a question in the Help Desk forum as long as it is appropriate for public).
As you are aware, this site has rules. It's up to the staff to try their best and enforce them. They try to do this to the best of their ability, but it seems like some people aren't aware how we enforce them. here's a brief explanation of how the staff works and a promise to you of how we'll work:
On Any Significant Punishment: For the most part, unless it's such an obvious detraction or have gotten into trouble a lot in a short period of time, the staff will typically act when a majority of the staff agrees the punishment is necessary. This includes bannings, suspensions, topic bans, and warnings. If you receive a warning, it's not just the individual staff member who has increased your warn level. It's something that the entire or majority staff has agreed on.
This is important to know because some members feel that because a staff member dislikes them, they are being targeted unfairly. Friendly verbal warnings usually aren't voted upon, but the staff is aware when they occur.
Just because YOU don't see anything being done about a reported post doesn't mean nothing is being done about it. You might see other members consistently insulting other members and, figuring that because nothing is being done about it, think it's okay fr you to fire back or defend. The problem is those members have probably been warned for insulting members -- and you'll only join them in getting in trouble.
Sometimes we really aren't punishing members. This isn't because we are giving them special treatment -- it's because their actions haven't been reported to us. There's a report feature. If you really feel like there's people getting away with breaking the rules, then REPORT them.
Also: if you use the report feature, please don't post that you just reported someone. That only creates more problems for yourself.
Just because someone reports you doesn't mean you are going to get warned. Every report is seen and discussed and only if the staff agrees that the post should be warned, then the poster is warned.
Generally, we only warn people if they are truly causing a problem. If you consistently target posters calling them “idiots” then the staff will start to take action. We'll also generally warn people who resort to more "colorful" expressions of insults or attacks. It's up to the staff's discretion.
If you get warned, it's generally better to just accept it rather than argue with the staff. If you feel that we were in error by warning you, then feel free to let us know. But please don't waste everyone's time when you know a warning coming...
No one likes to get in trouble, but arguing only makes it worse. Here are the following arguments we constantly get that will not help your cause in any way but only make your case worse:
"Everyone else is doing it." As I said earlier, a lot of those members are getting punished or we don't know that they are doing it. You got caught and that means you got warned. We didn't just target you.
"The other person started and insulted me!" Chances are, that other person has been warned as well. We don't care who started it -- you still broke the rule.
"XXX is an actual idiot!" Well, that doesn't mean you have to tell them. If you don't like the person, ignore them. There's an actual “ignore” feature in the forum. Use it.
"The rules are stupid!" That's your opinion, but when you registered your account on this site, you agreed to follow the rules.
"So-and-so has it out for me!" Well, this has nothing to do with XXX's opinion about you. It has everything to do with you breaking the rules.
Clearly we won't ban you for suggesting that the staff might have made a mistake (although be careful not to insult a staff member since then you break a rule), but unfriendly messages and a lack of a strong defense won't get your warn level decreased. Honestly, it will only make us less sympathetic to you in the future.
So what can you expect of the Admin and Staff?
As stated, the staff member has to be in agreement before you get seriously punished. No one, therefore, has it out for you.
If you have a concern, we will respond and do our best to deal with your concerns.
We aren't perfect. We take every complaint, even about the staff, seriously. THEY SHOULD BE PRIVATELY DISCUSSED BY USING THE REPORT CENTER OR SENT TO ANY OF US BY PERSONAL/PRIVATE MESSAGE! If you complain publicly about the staff, this will not solve anything as you aren't communicating your problems to us directly.
We will be polite when responding to you.
If one admin or mod makes a decision, then it's the decision of every admin and mod. Asking Moderator A to revert a warning put in the system by Moderator B won't help you.
We will constantly do our best as a whole to be available for you. As it is, we are human.
Can't Post? Maybe you were recently warned...
So you are minding your own business on the site and decide to go here:
You open a thread to read it. You decide you want to reply but, alas, something is missing..
That's right, there is no Quick Reply box! Where did it go? Well, if you go to the top of the page, you'll see the following:
Click on "Reply this Topic" and you'll realize you got warned:
Is there anything you can do? Just click this button:
This way, you've acknowledged that you were warned. Now, you can post again. Just make sure to behave please.
Also, if you've been misbehaving several times recently, or the staff did something wrong, then you'll have to follow this process until you can post again.
NO SPOILER POLICY:
In accordance with our Spoiler Policy listed in the Forum Rules & Guidelines, please make sure that you provide a warning and hide ALL spoilers when making a post, especially in excerpts of reviews.
You can do this by one of two methods:
1) Use the smiley icon that has a black bar through its eyes, to the left of the Twitter icon in the reply window menu.
2) Type[spoiler]Your spoiler here[/spoiler]
We've had some issues with this in the past with reviews of high profile movies.
Also, please remember that it is against forum rules to post ENTIRE articles -- this includes things like weekend predictions or updates from Nikki Finke. It is a violation of the author's work and will result in disciplinary action by the staff.
Lastly, when posting clips of articles/columns, PLEASE MAKE SURE TO LINK TO THE SOURCE!
Our official spoiler policy on television shows: outside of the television forum please post any TV spoilers within spoiler tags until the season of the show has ended.
If you want to discuss television spoilers without tags, please go to the TV forum where you can post spoilers without tags after the West Coast feed has aired (so when the show airs PST).
This policy includes GIFs.
If an accident happens once, that's understandable -- just please proof-read your posts and correct any mistakes. If a member continues to post spoilers without warnings and without using spoiler tags, disciplinary action will have to be taken by the staff.