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Thread: Cyburbia Forums rules and guidelines

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    Cyburbia Forums rules and guidelines

    Executive summary
    • Don't be a jerk.
    • Keep a working email address that doesn't block mail from cyburbia.org.
    • Don't share user accounts or create sockpuppet accounts.
    • Don't spam, astroturf, troll, try to convert non-believers or believers, or post illegal content.
    • Don't make ad hominem attacks; flame ideas, not people.
    • Avoid post padding and low-content posts.
    • Avoid offensive and non-safe-for-work posts, images, links and profile details.
    • Don't steal bandwidth by hotlinking images from sites that don't allow it.
    • Don't maliciously hack the board or the site.
    • Respect copyright and intellectual property rights.
    Please discuss and ask questions about board rules and guidelines in this thread.

    These rules are general guidelines and are very flexible, as is their enforcement and amendment. Please do not try to cleverly circumvent them. We are not going to spell out the rules in legalese or cover every possible interpretation or situation. The rules will evolve as we are presented with new situations, and we'll update them periodically to reflect these changes.

    These rules are intended to keep the Cyburbia Forums useful and fun for as many people as possible. The rules may appear longer, more organized and more detailed here compared to some other message boards. However, many forums have long sets of unwritten rules, which may be inconsistently applied. We want to ensure there is no ambiguity, so everything is written down in one place. If the rules seem overly strict, we recommend a pint of locally-brewed beer.

    The rules of the Something Awful Forums and UnaBoard have provided some creative inspiration for the Cyburbia Forums rules.

  2. #2
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    1 Accounts

    1.1 Accounts

    1.1.1 One account per person: A person may have only one account. Only one person may use an account. Account sharing is not permitted.

    1.1.2 Multiple accounts:
    •  Intentional use of multiple accounts (sockpuppets) may be grounds for revocation of a user's right to post under any screen name. Users creating another account while they are suspended may be subject to a longer suspension or permanent ban.
    •  Unintentional multiple accounts will be merged or deleted upon discovery.
    •  Second accounts are permitted only for front page article authors who otherwise have semi-anonymous user names, used only for responding to comments about the article; and for board maintenance and testing by staff.

    A sockpuppet is an additional account of an existing member of an Internet community to invent a separate user. This may be used for fictional support of separate people in a vote or argument by falsely using the account as a separate user, or for acting without consequence to one's main account. It is often considered dishonest by online communities.

    If you have a Cyburbia Forums account and can't remember its user name or password, do not create a second account. Email staff at forums (at) cyburbia (d0t) org.

    Sockpuppets may be permitted on special occasions, for example April Fools Day, by Forums staff after a formal announcement.

    1.2 User names
    •  User names may be a real name or an anonymous handle.
    •  User names must not be confusing, misleading, offensive, inflammatory, or in leetspeak.
    •  User names intended to advertise products or Web sites, or including a domain name, are not permitted.

    If you plan on discussing sensitive issues, controversial issues affecting the community where you work or one of your clients, or workplace related issues, we recommend using a semi-anonymous handle.

    1.3 Email addresses

    1.3.1 Email address guidelines:
    •  Addresses for accounts must remain current and working.
    •  Accounts with email addresses that are invalid or which reject incoming email will be suspended until the user fixes the problem.
    •  New accounts with email addresses that are invalid or rejecting email, or from disposable and receive-only email accounts (DEAs), will be deleted.

    Cyburbia will never spam users, non-users, or distribute user email addresses to others. Never. Please read our privacy policy.

    1.3.2 Challenge-response email:
    •  Users with challenge-response-based spam blocking must add the cyburbia.org domain to their safe lists before they register.
    •  Accounts with email addresses that reject or challenge email from cyburbia.org will be suspended until they update their safe list and notifify staff.
    •  New accounts with addresses that reject or challenge email from cyburbia.org will be deleted.

    One of the top pet peeves of Cyburbia staff is bouncing, rejected and challenged -mail. Challenges will not be answered by Cyburbia staff; we will not "click on the link to be added to this person's whitelist."

    1.4 User profile details

    1.4.1 Avatars and profile pictures:
    •  Avatar images must be non-animated, ≤80 pixels in any dimension, and ≤3 KB.
    •  Profile pictures must be non-animated, ≤250 pixels in any dimension, and ≤25 KB.

    Users may have an avatar after they have made 25 posts.

    1.4.2 Signatures:
    •  Text signatures should be short; preferably three lines or less. Font size must be ≤3.
    •  Signature and userbar images are strongly discouraged. If a signature image is used, it must be tasteful, small, and not animated; one image only, ≤10,000 pixels total, ≤32 pixels vertical, ≤350 pixels horizontal.

    Users may have a signature after they have made 25 posts. Signatures are meant to make a statement without detracting from the discussion in the thread. If your signature is too long or distracting, staff may ask you to change it and/or change it for you. Signature images are enabled only for paying members.

    1.4.3 Profile details in general: Avatars, titles, locations and other profile details must not be misleading, offensive or inflammatory.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    2 Posting

    2.1 Language

    2.1.1 Se habla inglιs: Posts should be in intelligible English, so moderators can read and understand them.

    2.1.2 OMG mor rulz 4 u!!!1!: Posts should not include chatspeak, leetspeak, ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, all lowercase letters or StUdLycApS, except in a humorous context.

    2.2 Thread titles
    Thread titles must be descriptive and meaningful. Thread titles must not be ambiguous or misleading. "Teaser" titles are not permitted, except in the Friday Afternoon Club subforum.

    2.3 Threads and interactivity
    New threads should elicit member participation and discussion. New threads started with posts that are intended as one-way announcements are strongly discouraged outside of planning-related job listings and announcements in the Job Board and Announcements subforums.

    2.4 On-topic posts and threads
    Threads should be started in the subforum most appropriate for the topic. Followup posts should remain somewhat on-topic, but natural tangents in the flow of discussion are welcome.

    2.5 Multiposting / crossposting
    A new message or thread may be posted only once, in one subforum.

    2.6 Post padding / low content posts
    Post padding, considered making a post with no real purpose or content, out of laziness or just to increase post count stats, is not permitted. Post padding includes, but isn't limited to:
    •  Counting, "roll call," "last poster wins", and "control-v"- type threads.
    •  A URL alone with little or no commentary.
    •  Short followup messages that contribute nothing to a thread; e.g. "Me too", "O RLY?", .

    Mods reluctantly allow "post parties" to honor 1000-post milestones (Teh Clube, one "b" for every 1000 posts), and birthday greetings to active users.

    If you need to make an addition shortly after posting, edit the message instead of making a new post.

    2.7 Bumping
    Threads may only be bumped once.

    2.8 Homework
    Specific questions about parts of a homework assignment, and requests for general advice and/or guidance, are permitted. Requests to complete homework assignments are not.

    2.9 Advertising and spam
    Job postings may be posted in the Job Board subforum. RFQs, conference and seminar announcements, calls for papers, and other planning-related announcements may be posted in the Announcements subforum.

    Otherwise, advertising is not permitted. This includes:
    •  Spam and general advertisements.
    •  Guerilla marketing, stealth marketing, and astroturfing.
    •  Black hat search engine optimization (SEO), including link spam, profile spam, hidden text, and SEO contest keywords.
    •  Chain letters and pyramid schemes.
    •  Personal ads.
    •  Posts with hidden links.
    •  Other messages and solicitations primarily intended to promote a cause, venture, organization, event (except Cyburbia and other planning and urbanism-related events), or Web site not directly related to planning, or other entity or activity, whether or not money is involved.

    Users posting inappropriate advertising will be banned.

    The Cyburbia Forums moderators usually delete spam just minutes after it's been posted; they do a fantastic job at combating inappropriate posting and advertising. Posts from new users are looked at more critically than those from regular or established users If you're a new user, and want to post a link to a planning, architecture or built environment-related Web site, please e-mail or PM a mod first.

    2.10 Heated discussion and flaming
    •  Threads about sensitive topics may get heated. Users are free to express their views in a forceful manner, provided they remain composed, civil and respectful, even with topics they are passionate about.
    •  Flaming, name-calling or making ad hominem attacks against other users is not permitted; unless the subjected user is being a true jerk. Criticize ideas, not people.
    •  Libel and slander are not acceptable under any circumstances.
    •  Constructive criticism is acceptable if it is tactful and sincere. Belittling or condescending attitudes are unacceptable.
    •  Swarming, piling on or badgering users who express a viewpoint that is unpopular or which runs counter to prevailing ideology among a group is strongly discouraged, unless they are being a jerk.

    2.11 Single issue posters / one-trick ponies
    The Forums are not intended to furnish people with a venue for single-mindedly promoting their personal agenda. Staff may ask users to limit or refrain from posting on a certain topic.

    This rule is intended to keep people from derailing or hijacking threads by constantly posting about their pet topic, not to stifle discussion and debate.

    2.12 Cranks
    Users that consistently exhibit crank-like or kook-like behavior (posting about conspiracy and tinfoil hat theories, ludicrous beliefs, and so on) may be suspended or banned.

    2.13 Bigotry and hate speech
    Hate speech, race baiting, and demonstrations of bigotry are not permitted. This includes inflammatory comments directed at a particular race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

    This rule are not intended to stifle sincere and civil discussion and debate of issues related to race, gender, religion, class, sexual orientation, cultural values and practices, and so on; nor mocking of LARPers, furries, otherkin, and the like.

    2.14 Dissenting opinions
    There are some people that register not to participate, but to disrupt civil discourse and promote a personal agenda. Posts critical of the planning profession phrased in a confrontational manner ("All you commie planners are freedom-hating social engineers who want to take away our cars and guns and force us to live in apartments", etc ) are not permitted. Users with a history of making such posts, even on other online venues, may be banned.

    This rule is not intended to stifle sincere "devil's advocate" type discussions, nor the voices of those whose ideology runs counter to the majority of Cyburbia members.

    2.15 Trolling
    Trolling is posting with the intent to incite controversy or cause offense. Trolling is not permitted. Polemic and devil's advocacy are welcome, but discussions should not deteriorate into shouting matches.

    2.16 Profanity
    Excessive foul and offensive language in posts and thread titles is discouraged, especially outside the Friday Afternoon Club.

    Profanity is not censored on Cyburbia. We're all adults here.

    2.17 Sexual content
    Sexually explicit or pornographic text is not permitted. The medical approach is okay, the Penthouse Letters approach is not.

    2.18 Religion, proselytizing and witnessing
    Discussion and debate of religion and personal spiritual beliefs are welcome. Proselytizing, preaching and evangelism are not permitted.

    This rule applies to both believers and non-believers.

    2.19 Message board invasions and e-mail campaigns
    •  Starting or encouraging a malicious message board invasion, or email or phone campaign, is not permitted.
    •  Posting a link to or on another Web site which could potentially incite their members to maliciously invade the Cyburbia Forums is not permitted.

    2.20 Personal information
    The privacy of other users must be respected. Personal information of another user (real name, employer, personal details, etc.) cannot be revealed unless they repeatedly or recently made the information public on Cyburbia. Content of email or private messages must not be revealed without consent of the sender.

    2.21 Linky linky

    2.21.1 Not safe for work (NSFW) sites: Direct links to potentially not-safe-for-work (NSFW) content is not permitted. The URL of the NSFW content with no hypertext link, or a link to a page that provides another link to the NSFW content, is permitted. A warning about any NSFW content is required.

    2.21.2 Intrusive sites: Links to pages with sound and/or pop-up windows must include a courtesy warning.

    2.21.3 Prohibited links: Links to the following types of Web sites are not permitted.
    •  Sites featuring primarily racist content, or operated by racist and hate organizations.
    •  Screamer or shock sites.
    •  Warez sites, or sites spreading viruses and/or malware.

    2.22 Forum-specific rules
    Some forums may have additional rules and guidelines. Those rules are linked below.
    •  Job Board
    •  Announcements

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    3 Images

    (This section does not apply to the Cyburbia Gallery.)

    3.1 Attached images
    One to four images may be attached in a post. Attached images may be deleted after the thread has been inactive for more than three months.

    3.2 Hotlinked/leeched images

    3.2.1 Hotlinked images (displayed with the vBcode [img] tag) should be smaller than 800 pixels horizontal.

    3.2.2 Hotlinked images should be hosted on Web space controlled by the user, or an image hosting service that allows hotlinking. If not, the Web site hosting the images must allow leeching, or permission to leech from that site's owner must be granted. Without permission, the [url] tag must be used instead of the [img] tag, so an image does not load every time the thread is read.

    3.2.3 Hotlinks to Web bugs are not permitted.

    We do not approve of bandwidth leeching and forcing other people to pay for bandwidth consumed by images in your post. Imgur, Photobucket and other free services should be used instead of leeching.

    3.3 Cyburbia Gallery use
    Gallery rules are linked from the Gallery Web page.

    3.4 Animation
    Animated images are not permitted. Exception: Friday Afternoon Club (off-topic forum).

    3.5 Work-safe images
    All images displayed in posts must be safe for work (SFW). Images not safe for work (NSFW) in the typical workplace are not permitted. This includes nudity, adult themes, graphic and macabre content, and inflammatory content. Goatse, Tubgirl, or similar images in a message or profile field, whether intentional or accidental, will result in immediate long-term suspension or banning.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    4 General behavio(u)r

    4.1 HaCk0rZiNg!!!!!1!!!one
    Hacking, flooding, vandalizing, or otherwise screwing around with Cyburbia will not be tolerated. Malicious hackers will be banned, and reported to their Internet service provider and local law enforcement agency.

    4.2 Harassment
    Harassing other users through email, instant or private private messages, cyberstalking or other means will not be tolerated.

    4.3 Scamming
    Scamming or deceiving other users, phishing, or persuading another user to reveal their password for any reason is prohibited and will result in immediate banning.

    4.4 Misrepresentation
    Impersonating or fraudulently representing another user, person, or party is prohibited and will result in immediate banning.

    4.5 Spam outside of posts
    Sending spam (unsolicited multiple commercial and non-commercial advertising, announcements, and other one-way messages akin to broadcasting) to other Forums users through private messages, or email targeted to other Forums users, is prohibited and will result in immediate banning.

    4.6 Creating an inclusive community
    Cliques are natural, but should not intimidate new users or make others feel like they're "on the outside looking in." Popularity contests, revealing members of a friends or blocked user list, and similar posts that may make some feel like "less of a Cyburbian" than others are strongly discouraged.

    4.7 Threats to Cyburbia
    Users threatening action against Cyburbia and/or its staff, including legal action, will be banned. This does not to apply to polite and reasonable DMCA takedown requests.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    5 Intellectual property

    5.1 Copyrighted material

    5.1.1 Intellectual property rights must be respected. Plagiarism or posting copyrighted material from any source without giving citation or specific references, or in a manner not in the spirit of Fair Use doctrine in United States law, is not permitted.

    5.1.2 Quotes from published material (newspaper articles, etc) should include only a paragraph or two (per Fair Use doctrine in United States law), credits to the original author and source, and a link to the article if it is available online. [quote] tags should be used for all quoted material.

    5.1.3 Freely sharing copyrighted materials that are otherwise being sold in their digital form by their copyright holders is not permitted.

    5.2 Member postings and copyright

    5.2.1 All postings in the Cyburbia Forums are the copyright of their authors. Users retain the right to republish their own work.

    5.2.2 Cyburbia Forums users grant Cyburbia and its successors a nonexclusive irrevocable right to reuse threads and posts in any manner without notice or compensation. Forums users also grant Cyburbia the right to publicly display posts forever, or until staff removes them. Forums users also assign to Cyburbia the right to remove, delete, hide, move, modify for content, quote, or edit any post or thread.

    5.2.3 Forums users assign to other Cyburbia users the right to reference the content of posts, in any manner allowed by the message board software; for example, quotes in message replies.

    5.2.4 The content of threads, posts and blog entries is solely the responsibility and liability of their authors, and not that of Cyburbia.

    5.2.5 The Cyburbia Forums is intended to be a useful resource for planners and those interested in the built environment. Information made available by altruistic users is the most important part of that resource. Cyburbia is not responsible for defending alleged copyright(s) if a party copies content from the site and uses it elsewhere.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    General forum policies

    User name changes

    Minor user name changes that still leave the online identity of the member recognizable (e.g. minor typo correction, simplification of long usernames, etc) are permitted anytime.
    Major user name changes that leave no trace of the original username may be granted for users with 25 or more posts, and once for users with 25 or more posts.
    Emergency name changes (e.g. evidence of cyberstalking) are permitted anytime.
    Requests for a major name change are at the discretion of staff, and may be denied. Repeated name change requests may not be granted.

    Because it will take hours, if not days, of tedious editing, we will NOT change messages that reference an old username. Sorry.

    Account deletion

    Accounts with zero posts may be deleted only at the request of the user to Cyburbia staff.
    Accounts with one post or more will not be deleted, to preserve the context of threads; however, all contact information and personally identifying information will be removed from the user profile upon request.
    Accounts that Cyburbia staff suspect are fraudulent or created by a likely spammer will be banned.

    Crisis situations

    Suicide notes and/or threats of violence will be removed immediately. While we take such things seriously, Cyburbia cannot take responsibility for anyone else's life-threatening behavior. We urge anyone who feels compelled to harm themselves or others to contact qualified emergency personnel immediately. In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255, the National Hopeline Network: 1.800.784.2433, or call 911 for local emergency services. Information on crisis centers in Canada is here. In the United Kingdom, call the Samaritans at 08457 90 90 90. In Ireland, call the Samaritans at 1850 60 90 90.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    The First Amendment and private message boards

    Message board administrators and moderators hear this argument a lot: "It's a free country! You Nazis are denying me my right to free speech! First Amendment! First Amendment! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

    The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    That clause is extended under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads:

    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States...

    Cyburbia is not the United States Congress or a state. It is a privately owned Web site.

    Contrary to popular belief, "freedom of speech" does not give one the right to say anything they want, anywhere they want. While free expression is encouraged, there are topics and behaviors that are inappropriate for this message board. As on most message boards, staff is empowered to delete content they feel is inappropriate, and suspend or ban troublesome users. The First Amendment does not obligate us to provide unlimited access for everyone to voice their opinion on any subject, or promote their personal agenda.

    The First Amendment only prevents the government from trampling on your right to free speech, not the people who run a message board.

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