- Be civil and respectful
While lively discussion and heated debate are encouraged, rudeness, insults, racial, ethnic and sex slurs, personal attacks, threats and purposeless, inflammatory posts will not be tolerated.
- Keep it clean
This forum is aimed at a general mature audience. Frank discussion about sexuality and occasional mild profanity are OK, but pornographic images/videos and excessively vulgar language are not permitted.
- Don't be a nuisance
Trolling, spamming and advertising are strictly forbidden. This includes using the forum email and private message system to harass other members.
- Use facts and evidence
All statements must be backed up by reliable sources. Making unsupported or poorly supported claims, particularly if they're controversial, will be considered trolling/spamming.
- No sock puppet accounts
Each member is allowed one login account. Registering with multiple accounts to troll or get around a ban/suspension is not permitted.
- All posts and topic titles must be in clear, well-rendered English and consistent with "normal writing", that is, written in complete, properly capitalized sentences that are organized into paragraphs, without an excessive amount of punctuation (e.g. !!!!!), SHOUTING, emoticons, large, small or colored text etc.
- New topics are to be started in relevant sections and given appropriate, descriptive titles. Read the section descriptions carefully before posting, and let the other topics in each section be your guide.
- If you start a topic about an article, study etc., don't just post the link. Copy and paste the text. If it's a very long item, either bold the important parts or just copy a few excerpts.
- Stay on topic. Sometimes threads flow organically from one topic into another related topic, and that can be OK. But don't introduce something completely foreign that will derail the thread. Start a new one instead. And don't engage in chit-chat about yourself, your travels, other members, avatars and signatures etc. Personal matters belong in The Lounge or in private messages.
- Refrain from posting meaningless threads, one word (or short) nonsense replies, and the like.
- Avoid quoting long posts in your replies, especially when they contain a lot of images. Learn how to use the quoting system to quote only the part(s) you're replying to.
- Preview and proofread your posts before submitting them to make sure they're formatted correctly and don't contain errors. The Firefox browser has a built-in spell checker that can be helpful.
- Don't bump topics, especially not your own and especially not repeatedly. This usually happens with Guessing/Classifying topics, and the best way to keep those at the top of the list is to answer the replies. If you don't get any replies, wait at least 24 hours and then politely ask once for more guesses/classifications.
- Don't start more than one Guessing/Classifying topic for yourself. If you want to be classified after being guessed, or re-classified at a later date based on new photos, use the same topic.
- Never give away the answer to someone else's Guessing Origins thread if you happen to recognize the subject. Don't even boast that you know it because your own ancestry and posting history could be a clue.
- Avoid "blanking" your posts by editing out all of the content. It's understandable if the content is private photos for guessing/classification but when it comes to text, think before you post to avoid having to do that. Another option is to place the content you want hidden between [member][/member] tags so that only registered users will be able to see it.
- Don't post photos of other members, or members of other forums, without their permission, even if they've posted them here themselves. And certainly don't Photoshop the photos to mock people.
- Avoid referring to members by names they've used in the past, at other forums or by their real names (if you happen to know them). Refer to them by the names they're currently using here to avoid confusion.
- Host your images at a service like ImageShack, TinyPic or PhotoBucket so that they'll always show and won't use up other sites' bandwidth. You can also upload them as attachments.
Profile and Reporting Rules
- Don't enter false or "joke" information into the profile fields. You can leave them blank to protect your privacy, but misrepresenting yourself is trollish and leads to confusion.
- Don't request name changes on a regular basis, or make multiple requests in a short period of time. After a while, they'll be denied. Select an identity and stick with it. If you've become well established under a particular name, it's urged that you not change it.
- Members who violate the rules can be reported via the Report button (), but only report legitimate rule violations. Reporting posts that you disagree with or simply don't like to try to get someone banned is an abuse of the system.
- Don't overuse the Report system. If you notice multiple violations for the same member, just file a single report and mention or link to the others in your report.
- Don't engage in the behavior you're reporting. If you report someone for insulting you, but you insulted them first or you insult them in the following post, you'll also be reprimanded.
Penalties for Rule Violations
- Members will be issued a series of warnings for rule violations. They can keep track of their warn level and the reasons for the warnings next to their posts or in their profiles.
- Members who continually violate the rules will be suspended for a period of time to be determined based on the severity and frequency of their violations.
- If behavior doesn't improve following suspension(s), members will be permanently banned from the forum.
- Telltale bad behavior (e.g. immediate and persistent trolling or spamming) may result in a direct ban without warning or suspension.
- While these rules and guidelines cover most common situations, they cannot anticipate everything. Consequently, Forum Staff reserves the right to take any actions deemed appropriate to ensure the forum is not disrupted or abused in any way.