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Rules 👮 Cyburbia Forums rules and policies

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Dear Leader
Staff member
Updated 30 August 2021

Forum rules summary

• Be excellent to each other. Alternatively, don't be a jerk.
• Keep a working email address that doesn't block mail from cyburbia.org.
• Make new threads somewhat meaningful, and keep followup posts reasonably on topic.
• Don't spam or troll.
• Approach sensitive topics with civility and mutual respect.
• Criticize ideas if you must, but not other members. Unless they're really being a jerk.
• Don't spread hate, prejudice, or bigotry.
• Don't make others feel like they have to walk on eggshells.
• Make content safe for work.
• Try to treat everybody as if they're part of the "in group", even if they're new users, or don't share all your beliefs.
• Respect intellectual property rights, and other peoples' privacy.
• Don't hack Cyburbia.

These rules help:

• Keep the Cyburbia Forums useful, fun, and welcoming for as many people as possible.
• Maintain a civil, constructive, and creative space.
• Encourage the free flow of ideas and discussion from a broad range of experiences and viewpoints.
• Discourage disruptive or toxic behavior that can undermine these goals.

Forum rules aren't meant to micromanage posting activity, or cover every possible situation. We use a flexible, yet rational common-sense approach for interpretation and administration. Don't try to creatively exploit or evade these rules, or play "rules lawyer".

❶ Accounts

1.1 Accounts 🖥
You can have one user account on Cyburbia, by default. You may have a second account only for the following:
  • Posting feature or blog articles, and responding to any comments, using your real name (if the username for your main account is a nickname or handle).
  • Posting about problems signing into your original account. (We'll delete the second account after you're able to sign in to your original account.)
  • On special occasions (April Fools Day, etc), only when Cyburbia staff allows it.
If we find multiple accounts from one person, and there's no evidence the they're using the other account(s) as a "sockpuppet" or to deceive other Cyburbia members, we may merge the older account(s) into the newer account.

1.2 User names 📛
A user name may be your real name, nickname, or anonymous handle. A user name can't be inflammatory, or take the form of an ad.

1.3 Email addresses 📧
Your user account must have a current working email address, and be able to get receive email from cyburbia.org without bouncing it or sending a challenge/response notice. The email address can't be from a disposable or receive-only email service.

1.4 Avatars 🖼
Your user account may have an avatar image. Avatars must be static, and safe for work.

1.5 Signatures in posts 🖊
Post count is the basis for the ability to have a signature, its length, and whether it can have links to other Web sites.

❷ Content

2.1 Language 🔠
• Posts should be in English, so moderators can understand them.
• If English is not your first language, don't worry about spelling, grammar, or perfect usage. English is easy to learn, but we know it's hard to master, even for native speakers.

2.2 Thread titles 🏷
Threads in subforums in the Planning and the Built Environment category must have descriptive, accurate titles.

2.3 Threads and interactivity 💬 🗨
Threads should elicit member participation and discussion. New threads should not be one-way announcements. Exception: job listing and announcement subforums.

2.4 On-topic posts and threads 🎯
Threads should be in the appropriate subforum for the topic. Followup posts should remain somewhat on-topic, but natural tangents are welcome. On-topic humor and memes are acceptable.

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

2.6 Post padding / low content posts ⚪
Don't make a post with no content, just to increase your message count. Exception: special occasions, such as threads to celebrate 1000-post milestones by other members, and New Years Eve.

2.7 Old threads and posts 🕸
• You may post a message in an old thread at any time. Use common sense when responding or following up to old threads.
• You may bump a thread (make a short "bump" post to bring it to the top of the subforum front page) once.

2.8 Advertising and spam 💩
• Members with 20 or more posts may post job listings. RFPs and RFQs, conference and seminar announcements, calls for papers, and other planning-related announcements in the Planning Jobs and Announcements subforum.
• We encourage members to post about projects they worked on. Members who have been active for a while may do some limited self-promotion.
• Otherwise, we don't allow general advertising, spam, guerilla marketing, astroturfing, black hat search engine optimization (SEO), hidden text and links, or chain letters in content or messages. Cyburbia is not a marketing platform. We will ban spammers, and people who register with the main intent of spamming.

2.9 Bigotry and hatred 😠
• Posts, articles, and messages must not demean or marginalize a particular race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, or sexual orientation. This is regardless of whether the content "punches up" or "punches down".
• This rule is not intended to stifle sincere, civil discussion of issues related to identity, class, cultural values and practices, equity, and so on. Self-deprecating humor is okay.

You have the right to define your own experiences and feelings. However, moderators are not thought police. When judging whether or not something is demeaning or marginalizing, we'll consider context and intent, and err on the side of caution and reason.

2.10 Politicized, controversial, and sensitive topics 🔥
Discussion about sensitive topics should generate more light than heat. Members may express their views about sensitive topics with passion, if they remain civil and respectful towards other members. Followup posts should add value and different perspectives.

Cyburbia will not be a culture war battleground, nor territory to be claimed by one group or another. Our aim is to have many different viewpoints represented here. This does not mean we "tolerate intolerance" or "include non-inclusiveness", though.

2.11 Toxicity ☢
Actions and tactics that disrupt or silence discussion, foster groupthink, increase divisiveness, or otherwise hurt the sense of community and camaraderie on the Cyburbia Forums, are unacceptable. Some examples of toxic forum behavior are:
  • Trolling, flaming, or name calling.
  • An overly confrontational, incendiary, condescending, or antagonistic discussion style.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Attempts to break down our "big tent", and build or enforce ideological conformity.
  • Making sweeping generalizations to vilify a group you dislike.
  • Using rhetorical tactics that derail, deplatform, or shut down discussion.
  • Taking part of a message out of context; or over-analyzing it to find some malicious intent or meaning.
  • Spreading exaggerated claims of wrongdoing as a means to call out or cancel others.
  • Shaming, including privilege shaming.
  • Pile-ons, mobbing, or inciting vigilante action.
  • Bullying and crybullying.
  • Us-versus-them divisiveness.
2.12 Obsessive single issue posting 🚇 🚇 🚇 🚇 💤
Cyburbia is not a venue for single-mindedly promoting a personal agenda. Moderators may ask you to limit or stop posting about a certain topic.

2.13 Kooks and cranks 🤪
A moderator may suspend or ban a member who exhibits crank-like or kook-like tendencies. Cranks also include those who are virulently opposed to the planning profession.

2.14 Misinformation and woo 👽
Don't promote or spread misinformation, obvious falsehoods, conspiracy or tinfoil hat theories, woo, and the like. (Examples: COVID-19 miracle drugs, Agenda 21 conspiracy theories, Capitol insurrection false flag theories, Holocaust / Holodomor / Armenian Genocide denial, and so on.) You may discuss misinformation in a meta sense, but not imply they're true.

2.15 Profanity and not-safe-for-work content 🍆
• Don't use profanity in thread titles. Limit expletives in posts where appropriate.
• Don't post porn or other "not safe for work" content. Occasional "cheeky" content is fine, as long as it follows all the other forum rules.

2.16 Religion, proselytizing and witnessing 🛐
Discussion and debate of religion or personal spiritual beliefs is welcome. Proselytizing or "witnessing" is not.

2.17 Homework 🏫
Members may post specific questions about parts of a homework assignment, and requests for general advice and/or guidance. Don't post requests to complete homework assignments.

2.18 LMGTFY 👩‍🏫
Don't answer a question by only dropping a link, telling them to "use the search engine", or saying "just Google it." Add a summary of the link or answer the question yourself.

An answer to a question may seem obvious, but sometimes members post a simple question because of the nuance that engaging in conversation supplies.

2.19 Revealing personal information / doxxing 🕵
• Respect the privacy of other Cyburbia members.
• Don't reveal personal information of another member, or the content of email or private messages, unless the other member gives permission, or repeatedly or recently makes the information public on Cyburbia.
• Don't doxx another Cyburbia member, or promote doxxing someone else.

2.20 Links to other Web sites 🔗
• Spam: see 2.8.
• Don't post direct links to potentially not-safe-for-work (NSFW) content.
• If you know a site you're linking to automatically plays sound, post a courtesy warning.
• Don't link to hate sites; screamer or shock sites; warez sites; or sites spreading viruses and/or malware.

2.21 Copyrighted material ©️
• Respect intellectual property rights.
• If you're reposting copyrighted content, follow the spirit of the Fair Use doctrine in United States law, or the terms of the Creative Commons license if applicable.
• You may post potentially ephemeral copyrighted content (example: newspaper article), with credit to the author, and a link to the original source.
• Don't post copyrighted material from a source without credit, citation, or specific references.
• Don't post copyrighted materials that are otherwise being sold in their digital form by their copyright holders.

2.22 Forum-specific rules
There are forum-specific rules in the Job Board and Announcements forums.

❸ General behavior

3.1 Creating an inclusive community 🍻
We want every member to feel welcome, and a part of our community. Cliques are natural, but should not intimidate new members or make others feel like they're "on the outside looking in." Don't post popularity contests, reveal members of a friends list, or make similar posts that can make someone feel like an outsider or less of a Cyburbian.

3.2 Malicious hacking 💣
Don't maliciously hack, overload, vandalize, or otherwise screw around with or harm Cyburbia.

3.3 Harassment
Don't harass other members on or off the site.

3.4 Scamming 💸
Don't scam or deceive other members, phish, or persuade another member to reveal their password or other sensitive information.

3.5 Misrepresentation 👹
Don't fraudulently impersonate or represent another member, person, or party.

❹ Enforcement

Moderators and administrators may enforce these rules through these actions.

• Gentle reminder.
• Warning.
• Limiting posting about a certain topic.
• Time out: temporary suspension of posting privileges, in one or all of the subforums.
• Banning an account.

The First Amendment and private message boards

Contrary to popular belief, "freedom of speech" does not give one the right to say anything they want, anywhere they want. While we encourage free expression, there are topics and behaviors that are inappropriate for this message board. As on most message boards, staff can delete content they find inappropriate, and suspend or ban troublesome members. 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.

That being said, we've noticed that on many message boards and social media sites, there's a growing sense that one has to walk on eggshells to avoid the fallout from disagreeing or not marching lockstep with some dominant or right thinking view. We want to avoid this here. Cyburbia will not be an environment where members are overly cautious about what they say and how they say it, for the sake of accommodating easily offended people. However, we won't "tolerate intolerance", either.

Speak your mind. Just don't be a ass about it. Remember, there's a living, breathing human at the receiving end.
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Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
As the Cyburbia community has grown, it has acquired a wider variety of personalities and cultures. With that growth, misunderstandings and conflicts may occur between users. While the thoughts on Cyburbia internet etiquette (netiquette) is not a black & white forum rule, it does offer guidance on how Cyburbia can be a positive experience for all and can provide some insight into how forum rules are interpreted. "Cyburbia Thoughts on Netiquette" may be used as a moderation reference from time to time.

Link to Forum Rules and Guidelines

Though the following is not a hard & fast rule, you may discuss it in the Rules Discussion Thread

Cyburbia thoughts on Netiquette:

"Netiquette" is a term for online etiquette, and performing an online search for the term will provide much useful information for users new to the Internet forum world (or veterans that have selective memory). Not everyone is familiar with the challenges of communicating using nothing more than words on a screen. Tones of voice, subtlety, and facial expressions are quite difficult to ascertain, although the use of "smileys" helps. If this concept is new, please do yourself and your online friends a favor and take advantage of the opportunity for further research.

In general, etiquette is not difficult. The most important thing to remember is that every opinion expressed is from a real live person with real feelings, and deserves respect just like yours does. Even more than in real life, persuasion and constructive comments will go farther than putdowns or criticism. A bulletin board should be an open environment to share information, and can be a wonderful opportunity to remember that varying viewpoints exist.

Misunderstandings can happen, and if necessary, a quick and timely apology can easily prevent a more serious war. Just remember that if someone writes something that can be taken in two different ways, and one of those ways makes you sad, angry or unhappy, chances are he/she meant the other one.

If you believe someone has violated netiquette, send them a private message; do not post a follow-up to the offending post. Be polite. The offending author may not have realized their mistake, or may be a beginner. We are all adults here... If you work in a planning office, you probably don't appreciate feuding neighbors trying to use Code Enforcement to fight their war--the same holds true for the forum rules and administrator/moderator staff. Try to solve it yourself first, then if unsuccessful contact an administrator/moderator. Please remember the admins and moderators are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, not for profit or power. We do not play favorites--that would just make it more work for us.

Furthermore, a person who breaks netiquette over and over, may be doing it intentionally to disrupt the group (see trolling & one trick ponies in the forum rules), in which case public flaming over the violation would amount to what is termed "feeding the troll". When you feed a troll, you risk further derailing what might otherwise be an excellent discussion, frustrating other participants as they try to cipher through the thread for whatever useful tidbits might remain. Frequent flaming and trolling hurts the perception of Cyburbia and discourages others from participating in the forums.

Rules of Thumb:

  • Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive (no, we are not talking about political affiliations). Choose your words carefully and give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Remember the world is a big place full of very different people.
  • Never put in a message anything you would not put on a postcard.
  • Check your ego at the door.
  • If you find a topic that offends you, then don't join it.
  • If you find yourself in a thread that becomes offensive to you, leave it.
  • Don't assume that the inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an otherwise insulting comment.
  • If all else fails, contact an admin/moderator for assistance.


Dear Leader
Staff member
General forum policies

Privacy policy

There is a link to Cyburbia's privacy policy at the bottom of every page.

Ownership and reuse of user-generated content
Ownership of user-generated content is shared between its authors/creators, and the Cyburbia Forums.

Authors/creators have the right to republish and profit from their own work.

Cyburbia (and any successor Web site) has the right to reuse user-generated content in any manner without notice or compensation. Cyburbia may keep a post online forever, or until staff removes them. Cyburbia also has the right to remove, hide, move, modify for content (but not context), or quote any post or thread.


User-generated content is available to others under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit the creator, and license their new creations under identical terms.

User-generated content is the responsibility and liability of its author/creator, not Cyburbia.

User name changes
See the privacy policy for more information about name changes.

Account locking and removal
See the privacy policy for more information about account removal.

We reserve the right to purge spammer accounts, and old inactive accounts, with no posts.

Spam prevention
The forum software queries the Stop Forum Spam database as part of validating new user registration. If there is a match, the forum software rejects the registration. We report all spammers, including profile spammers, to Stop Forum Spam. We may also ban new users whose registration details are typical of spammers.


Unfortunately, we don't allow new user registration from certain countries or IP blocks that, in our experience, have a high ratio of spammers to potential legitimate users. We know we're missing out on some potentially great new members from the countries we now block. However, the alternative is spending hours every day cleaning up spam -- time that we'd rather spend doing something else.

Crisis situations
If you threaten suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, we have the right to contact authorities for a wellness check. Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe. -- Talmud Sanhedrin
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Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Staff member
Addendum 1:

Please remember that posters on Cyburbia come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Cyburbians include professional "grunt" planners, planning directors, city managers, elected officials, planning & zoning commissioners, and interested John/Jane Q. Citizens. What may seem like a stupid question to someone with 20 years of planning experience may actually be a freshly elected city councilmember with no planning experience that is trying to educate him/herself on issues. Please keep in mind the following excerpts from the AICP Code of Ethics:

3. Our Responsibility to Our Profession and Colleagues

We shall contribute to the development of, and respect for, our profession by improving knowledge and techniques, making work relevant to solutions of community problems, and increasing public understanding of planning activities.

b) We shall educate the public about planning issues and their relevance to our everyday lives.

d) We shall share the results of experience and research that contribute to the body of planning knowledge.

f) We shall contribute time and resources to the professional development of students, interns, beginning professionals, and other colleagues.

j) We shall contribute time and effort to groups lacking in adequate planning resources and to voluntary professional activities.


Dear Leader
Staff member
Cyburbia member privileges

Registered users (≦ 4 posts, title: Member) can:
• Have an avatar picture.
• Start and post in threads (moderator approval if it has a link).
• Edit a thread title or post content ≦ 48 hours of posting.
• Like / upvote posts.
• See member profiles.

Registered users (5 - 19 posts, title: Member) can also:
• Start and post in threads, with no moderation if the post has a link.
• Start a poll (≦ 20 choices).
• Upload attachments (≦ 1 MB each) to a post.
• Start or participate in conversations (private messages) with one member (recipient) at a time.
• Have a signature with ≦ 400 characters and ≦ 3 lines.

Cyburbian users (20 - 199 posts, title: Cyburbian) can also:
• Start or participate in conversations (private messages) with ≦10 recipients per conversation.
• Have one link in their signature.
• Post and like messages on someone else's profile page.
• Receive messages on their profile page.

Cyburbian Plus users (≥ 200 posts) can also:
• Change their title from Cyburbian to something else.
• Start or participate in conversations (private messages) with ≦ 50 recipients per conversation.
• Have a signature with custom colors and fonts; and ≦ 4 lines, ≦ 2 links, and ≦ 2 smilies.
• Access to the Safe Space for Planners and Confidential Career Advice forums. (The forums are for confidential discussion about sensitive issues; not gossip.)

Cyburbian Emeritus users are formerly active Cyburbia members who passed away. Their accounts are inactive, and can't receive profile posts or private messages. We may give immediate family members or the estate of a Cyburbian Emeritus user limited access to their account, under certain circumstances.

Banned users don't have any of these privileges.
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Dear Leader
Staff member
Points (trophies)

Cyburbia users get one point or "trophy" for each of these milestones.

• Posts or threads: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, and every additional 1,000 posts afterwards.
• Posts with likes: every 50 likes. (Example: 150 posts with likes = 3 points.)
• Years of membership: 1 year + 50 posts, and every additional year + 50 posts. (Example: 4 years + 200 posts = 4 cumulative points. 4 years + 180 posts = 3 cumulative points).
• Birthday login (birth month and date must be set in your profile).
• More to come, depending on future XenForo capabilities.
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