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The following was written by our new Community Moderators. Thanks in advance for your patience and co-operation!


We consider this a "family site" and the guidelines we use to moderate the discussion forums are based on the "PG-13" rating for movies. Obviously, this means that there is a certain amount of subjectivity at work here. Moderators are given wide latitude and you can expect that we will make some mistakes from time to time.

As a family oriented site and in keeping with what would be considered a PG-13 rating, we do ask that profanity be kept to a minimum. While we certainly don't intend to moderate every single instance of mild profanity, certain things are not acceptable at any time. Profanity with sexual connotations is completely prohibited and will be removed, with a warning or infraction given, as soon as it comes to our attention. Excessive use of milder profanity within a post or thread in general will be edited and a warning issued to those involved. What constitutes "mild" profanity" as well as "excessive" is at the discretion of the staff, so if you are unsure, you should err on the side of caution.

All of this should make it clear that we cannot, nor do we try, to please everyone all the time. Our goal is to establish a happy medium that will keep the largest number of people pleased with their experience here. One way for you to make a positive impact towards that goal is to remember that not all members here are alike. In addition to the range of opinions in the discussion forums, you will also find a wide variety of ages, native languages, nationalities and cultures. One of the most common sources of conflict is simply the failure to understand and appreciate who you are addressing. If you remember that when you post, and choose your words with a respect for our differences, many disagreements can be avoided.

While we do our best to listen to the concerns of every member, it is important to understand that if you feel attacked (by name calling, belittling, sarcasm, etc.), YOU need to report the post in question rather than respond to it. Verbal attacks will not be tolerated. Moderators will review a reported post, considering its content, context and tone. We expect that you will not fuel the fires of offensive behavior by responding in kind.

Participants must understand, however, that relationships develop here that result in some fun between friends. At first glance, these may appear to be verbal attacks but they are allowed as long as they do not exceed the concept of good fun. What constitutes "good fun" will be determined by the Moderators and violations will be reprimanded. For this reason, then, if you are not the recipient of a verbal attack, please do not report the post -- it may all be in fun.

Other members may, of course, report a post that violates any of the site-wide TSG rules. We expect that you are already familiar with these rules but they are always available here. We do anticipate, however, that many violations will be self-corrected by the participation of our members. Like any environment, the discussion forums are healthiest when everyone involved is paying attention.

And we remind all participants that both the guidelines and the report buttons here are not meant to allow you to try and enforce your personal feelings about appropriate behavior.

Should you disagree with a moderating decision or a Moderator's actions, in either Random or Civilized Debate, and wish to make this known, you are expected to do so in a constructive way that both appreciates why that team is in place, and respects its authority. Failure to do so will quickly become a "time out" offense. When we consider these topics to have run their course and have closed the discussion, you are expected to comply with the closure and end the discussion, in any form, of the incident. An inability on your part to comply will have swift consequences, though we recognize that you may still be dissatisfied with the outcome.

If you are dissatisfied, you may make your case via PM (private message), using the following protocol: First, contact another Community Moderator. Should that fail to resolve the issue for you, contact an Administrator. And lastly, if you still feel it warranted, contact TechGuy himself. It is expected that all communication will respect the privacy of the members involved and that the information exchanged in the PM process will not find its way back into the public forums.

Be mindful of the sign at the door of the Civilized Debate forum (it says don't enter here unless you have thick skin). Our Moderators are here to preserve a constructive atmosphere in an environment that allows for a free discussion of controversial issues. Some people feel very passionate about these issues and will express their opinions forcefully. While we expect common sense rules of respect and courtesy to apply, we also recognize that the PG-13 guidelines allow for a degree of banter that may offend some people. Therefore, if you're not really keen on actually participating in any of the debates, where you would be expected to actively support your assertions, which can be quite intimidating, then perhaps CD is just not right for you. If that's the case, then there is an alternate forum called "Current Events" which is not designed to be confrontational that may be more suited to your posting style. You are welcome to post in both forums if you like, but be mindful that each has its own distinct set of expectations. If you wish to debate points raised in the "Current Events" forum, for example, you will be expected to start a new thread in the Civilized Debate forum for that purpose.

For the same reason, it's important to understand that some members here view these forums more as a playground; a place where they feel comfortable "unwinding." This can take a variety of forms, according to individual personality and style. As a consequence, you will find jokes and innuendo of all kinds scattered throughout these forums.

We chose the PG-13 guidelines to help everyone understand the limitations of acceptable content in their posts. But Moderators are not here to enforce a particular view of "taste." The "ignore" button is provided to help each user do that for themselves. We expect each member to use it if they find another member to be particularly offensive. Similarly, we trust that each member is capable of choosing what kind of content is acceptable to them. If you find a topic or a post that you consider to be morally or ethically reprehensible, then our advice is not to respond to it unless you are willing to discuss your value system in a challenging exchange of opinions.

Thus, we expect that each member will examine the tolerance of their own value system before choosing to enter a particular thread.
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