Here at the NOW Forum, we’re discussing the future of our world, and with that, comes conflict. We understand that topics can get heated and that we all, particularly when arguing on the internet, can be bolder and blunter than in face-to-face real life settings. We’re here to have a conversation, to debate and to argue, but discussions might get a little heated at times. Here are the FORUM RULES to follow and please note that we will add a sticky under Forum News for any updates.
1. Remain on Topic
Nearly all topics will drift, and this is something that all moderators are aware of. It’s what makes debates interesting, BUT the act of outright thread hijacking is not permitted. An example might be a debate on sustainable water practices and someone deciding to use that as an excuse to talk about how fun the beach is. Perpetrators will be asked to form a new thread on the subject (in the Off-Topic board, for example) and persistent thread hijackers may face temporary suspension or permanent banning.
2. The Affairs of Other Forums Do Not Concern Us
This rule is designed to prevent the development of politics or factionalism within NOW or on the parts of NOW posters against or regarding other forums. Occasional references and signature links to other forum boards are permitted, but rampant speculation, demagoguery, and mass hysteria about the existence or events of such Forum Boards are not. Discussion and launching “invasions” are totally unacceptable.
3. In Serious Debates, Standard Debating Practices and Etiquette are in Effect?
In a debate, posters are expected to back up their claims with reasoning and fact. At the same time, demands for evidence which moderators deem insincere – that is, whose purpose is to derail a productive conversation or to harass other posters – are infractions. The nature of a debate is subjective, and moderators are expected to use their own common sense to guide their judgment on the issue.
4. No Flaming?
Flaming, as far as policy is concerned, is about personal attacks in debate or discussion. As a rule of thumb, this is considered to have gotten out of hand when the integral points being discussed have degenerated to a secondary position to the personal attacks being thrown. Debates do get heated, and all moderators take this into account, but they should never reach the point where insult takes precedence over the points raised.
5. No Pornography or Excessive Violence?
This mostly applies to the Off-Topic section of the Forum, but is important for everyone to keep in mind. Pornography is the posting of pictures, artwork, or text depicting nudity or sexual acts. Erotic roleplay of any kind is strictly prohibited. Excessive violence refers to pictures, videos, or text which contain real or realistic use of excessive gore and which can be far outside commonly accepted rules of decency and would be unsuitable for minors (again, <18). With regards to either sort of material, this includes links as well as partial-links. Links and partial-links that connect to a different site that itself hosts either sort of material within easy and direct access from there are also forbidden. This is sometimes referred to as the “Two Clicks Rule”. This is two clicks counting from the click on NOW, rather than a potential click on the linked page. (So, it’s NOW -> linked page two clicks, not NOW -> linked page -> page linked on linked page). In general, NOW is to remain a completely safe-for-work site.
6. No Spamming
Spamming includes but is not limited to nonsense posts (posts without content) and posts that are commercial in nature. A little bit of fun here and there is usually good for the NOW Forum, but as with the Flaming Rules, if the actual points being debated have become secondary to the nonsense being thrown around, then they have reached an unacceptable limit. Commercial advertisement from Forum Members is never acceptable or permitted without having first received approval from the Head Moderator.
7. No Piracy
Don’t share or try to find files at NOW that you do not have the legal right to. There will be no exceptions to this Piracy Rule.
8. No Hate Speech
This includes the advocating of genocide or active discrimination of a race, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation, political party or ideology, and so on. We are willing to allow for many unconventional and unpopular opinions to be discussed on our forums but NOT to the point where one could be hate-mongering. An example of this would be the proposition to nuke the Vatican, or Mecca, or cheering on others in advocating or taking such actions. If you discuss topics bordering on hate speech you will be expected to have solid and factual reasoning to back up your opinions.
9. Plagiarism will Not be Tolerated
Members posting material they did not write must provide proper sources, and claims of plagiarism will be seriously investigated.
10. Harassment is Not Permitted
If someone does not want your company to harass them outside of the Forum (or inside, via PMs), you have no right to force yourself on them. Members are under no obligation to respond to your IMs or PMs. If you have a bad history with another person from real life or another forum, don’t bring it to NOW. Members found to be outright harassing another can find themselves under Moderator review, and possible permanent banning.
11. No Trolling
Trolling is defined as making inflammatory or provocative posts for the purpose of stirring up trouble rather than merely sharing one’s opinion or engaging in reasonable debate. This also includes posts that don’t take part in a debate, but criticize or add insult to someone participating in it while hiding behind one of the main participants, and hit-and-run posts (where a person will often drop a highly provocative and inflammatory post and leave a thread entirely, especially when they do this repetitively). Trolling also overlaps with other unacceptable behavior. Repeated flames, repeated spamming, and willful ignorance of debate etiquette are also regarded as trolling.
12. Do Not Undermine the Security and Stability of The Forum or Main Website
Obviously, attacking the software of the board in any way is not permitted. Nor is the creation of sock puppets, any collaboration with banned members to further their participation in the site, any behavior that could have legal repercussions for the board, or any effort to use up more of the site’s bandwidth than is necessary for normal posting.
13. NOW is not a Chan
NOW is not a chan, as such chan behavior will lead to punishment. Chan behavior means anything specifically or primarily associated with chans (websites such as 4chan and 8chan) posting – reaction images, greentext, “newfag/newfan,” etc. Furthermore, if an offense against any of the other sections of the NOW Rules is deemed by the moderator to be the result of chan behavior you may face punishment for that infraction as well.
14. No Necromancy or Bumping
After two weeks of inactivity, any posts to a thread must substantially advance the topic as presented in the OP. This might be an update to a news story, a thoughtful response to an on-topic post in the thread, commentary on the next episode or match of a series, and so on; in general, it should be obvious whether a post adds something to the discussion. “Bumping” a thread, posting to fake attention/activity in a thread, harassing people about updating, are all not allowed. Finally, those gleefully posting nonsense (“+1!” or “in before the lock!”) in a necro’d thread will be warned and infracted similarly to the actual necromancer. Report it, and then go back to whatever you were doing before.
15. No Dogpiling
This refers to established forum personalities holding unpopular opinions, who have become the targets of abuse based on how posters expect them to act, how they may have acted in past, or opinions and proclivities they hold that are not the specific subject of a given thread. This will not be tolerated. Respond to what people say in the thread you are posting in and in the post you are replying to, and do not widen a given debate into some meta reflection on any given poster’s general opinions or behavior. Moreover, if a poster is already engaged in a debate with two or three other posters, consider carefully whether opening another line of debate with that poster will contribute to the discussion of the OP.
Your signature should not be longer than five lines of normal text at 1366×768 resolution.
17. The Rules Are Not a Weapon
Rules lawyering – that is, nit-picking with the moderator over interpretation of the rules – is not permitted. Neither is taunting other NOW Forum members, putting them on “ignore,” posting “concession accepted,” or attempting to use the moderator to compel agreement on a contentious point by reporting someone for not being convinced by your arguments.
18. English Is the Official Language
English is the language the NOW Forum. This means public discussion needs to be in English for sake of fairness and effective moderation. This does not absolutely forbid other languages, merely requiring that using them be kept minimal and translated so that everyone can be on the same page.
19. Public Disclosure of Private Messages needs Mutual Consent
Nobody should bring up message from PM conversation (convo) in public, be it copy+paste or otherwise, without the explicit consent of all parties involved in each PM. Involved parties include anyone that is a participant in the PM convo that are mentioned in a specific PM in that convo. The only exception is if you need to report a PM to the moderator (such as for harassment or other abuses), who will in turn be obligated to keep such confidential. Be advised, the moderator intentionally does not have the power to examine entire PM conversations, not even the Admins, so you do need to report each individual PM to the moderator.
20. Posting of Articles
When posting any kind of news article, a research article, a blog post, etc., if you don’t own it or have explicit permission to post it in its entirety, the following rules must be adhered to: You cannot post more than 1/6th of the total article, or 3 paragraphs, whichever is shorter. You must provide a link back to the source, if online, or provide the source, if offline. This will ensure that any articles posted on the NOW Forum fall under Fair Use. Posting a full article, with or without attribution is considered copyright infringement, and does not fall under Fair Use.
Content not adhering to these guidelines are subject to removal, and infraction if this rule is violated repeatedly. Fair Use rules of defense are vague and often difficult to determine the exact lines where it’s acceptable. The guidelines provided here should generally fall well within Fair Use, and should avoid us having to remove posted articles for copyright infringement.