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Old 1st March 2010, 04:03 AM   #1
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These are explanatory notes for the Membership Agreement, they will hopefully provide additional clarity and background on the rules and guidelines.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:02 AM   #2
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Rule 0: Be Civil and Polite

E1

As stated in its tagline, this Forum is meant as a place for friendly and lively discussion. While we accept that things may get a bit heated from time to time, that does not excuse constant or excessive bad behaviour. Examples of things that are certainly not allowed include threats of violence, telling or suggesting another Member to commit suicide, sexual harassment, gratuitous insults, as well as continuous low-level bickering.

Truth is not necessarily a defence against a breach of Rule 0 or Rule 12, for example a Member may well be proven to have lied, but that does not mean it is civil and polite to call them a liar in every subsequent response to them, especially in responses not directly related to their original lie.

This applies mainly to Members of this Forum, not to the general public or public figures and groups. Comments directed at groups in general or specific individuals who are not Members are allowed, even if it is cruel or hateful, in order that such topics viewpoints may be discussed (as long as such content does not encourage or incite violent acts). Some Members may find this offensive or distasteful however we believe it is necessary to allow such views to be challenged using the tools of critical thinking and scepticism.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:11 AM   #3
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Rule 4

E2


We have adopted a policy of treating all published material as if it was copyrighted regardless of its actual legal copyright status. This includes articles, images and other media. Under this rule content may be posted within the doctrine of "fair use" (see: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyrigh...pter9/9-a.html) - the quoting of brief portions of articles, books, emails, or bulletin board messages, relevant to discussion, is permitted. All quoted material should be credited to the original author or publisher and a link provided (when available) to the original work. It is not possible to declare precisely how much material may be quoted, as it will vary from article to article. We suggest quoting no more than a paragraph. Images and photographs are more problematic in that usually the entire image will be subject to copyright however if they are used as part of, or to make substantial criticism they may be used. But please be aware that such images may still be removed, especially if they contain a copyright notice in the image.

Legal issues arising from copyright are not the only reason for this rule. It is also intended to prevent the disruption that can be caused in a thread by having large tracts of text or many pictures pasted in, and to prevent the Forum from being treated as a personal blog or website. If material is available elsewhere online, it is preferable to restrict yourself to links and short quotes rather than copying and pasting everything, even if you have permission to do so.

Some material, such as jokes, may technically be copyright. However, posting of such will usually be allowed given that variations will likely exist in thousands of emails and websites anyway, and determining ownership would be impossible.

Authors of copyrighted material may post their own work, provided they hold publishing rights to the material.


Should legal issues arise, further action may be taken in addition to that covered by this rule.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:15 AM   #4
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Rule 5

E3

"Hotlinking" is using the [img][/img] tags to display an image from another website in a post. This uses the other site's bandwidth and is considered by many to be very impolite. Some website owners will go as far as changing the image to something offensive to punish people who do this. Some sites may allow hotlinking and even encourage it, especially image hosting sites, however it is up to the Member to ensure that is the case prior to using a hotlink to the content. It is not hotlinking to provide a link to content on another site.

It is not the responsibility of the moderator team to check up on website permissions. If you believe you have permission to hotlink to a website, you must provide evidence yourself. (Exceptions are well known hosting sites such as Photobucket, see: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=175376 for other common sites that allow hotlinking.) Even where hotlinking is allowed, it is still considered polite to provide a reference to the source of the image.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:19 AM   #5
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Rule 6

E4

This rule is intended to cover various kinds of disruptive posting, primarily posting of commercial advertisements and spamming or flooding the forum by repeatedly posting identical, or very similar, content. It also covers such things as posting extremely large pictures that cause the page to display in an unusual manner and using excessive amounts of formatting such as large fonts, colour, and smilies that can make a thread difficult to read or even inaccessible.

Members are not permitted to use the Forum for commercial purposes. This means that, aside from the exceptions listed below, Members must not solicit funds, goods or services for commercial purposes, and must not advertise or promote products for commercial purposes within posts.

Exceptions to this are:
- Incidental reference to personal commercial sites in the form of URLs is allowed in signature lines.
- Published authors, musicians and artists are allowed to reference their work (and its availability) within reason.

If in doubt whether something will be classed as a "commercial purpose" in regards to Rule 6 please contact a member of the moderating Team before making such a post or starting a thread.

Charitable activities are allowed however please check with a member of the Moderating Team beforehand.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:21 AM   #6
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Rule 7

E5

Allowing someone else to use your account is not allowed. Also posting on behalf of someone else, "posting by proxy" (especially someone who has been banned from the Forum) may be considered equivalent to allowing that person to use your account. If you know someone who wishes to comment on something they have read here please encourage them to join the Forum.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:22 AM   #7
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Rule 10

E6

This includes swearwords in any language or code. Benefit of the doubt may be given where a legitimate word in one language is offensive in another.

The forum has an "autocensor" feature that automatically replaces words considered swearing with asterisks. It is considered a breach of rule 10 to partially disguise a word in such a way that the autocensor does not recognise it, even if such practice is considered enough elsewhere. Note that just because swearing is disguised does not mean a post will not be in breach of other rules, such as rule 0 or Rule 12.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:26 AM   #8
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Rule 11

E7

This rule is intended to prevent discussions from being arbitrarily derailed, not to stifle thread drift, short asides, jokes, or similar things. If it appears that a poster often brings up a particular topic in threads in which it only has a tenuous, if any connection, that will be considered a breach. Responding to part of an on-topic post in such a way that leads to a different branch of discussion will likely not be considered in breach of the rules, but may be split to a new thread as noted under H1 and H2.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:28 AM   #9
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Rule 12

E8

This rule does not apply only to direct insults and attacks (which are often also a breach of Rule 0) but is intended to ensure discussion stays focussed on the topic at hand and not on the Members involved.
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Old 1st March 2010, 05:30 AM   #10
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Housekeeping

E9

This is an "Info Box":

Mod InfoThis is an Info Box, used for giving advice.
Posted By:Darat


This is a "Mod Box":

Mod WarningThis is a Mod Box, used mainly for warnings.
Posted By:Darat
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