Terms of Service and Rules
Last Revision: Jan 6, 2015
PoliticalForum.com is a public forum website, open to all individuals of all political persuasions, dedicated to the discussion of politics in general. People from all walks of life are welcome to join the discussions in the tradition of vigorous respectful debate. The purpose of this forum's rules and guidelines is to help create an environment that is inviting to as wide a spectrum of people as possible from all parts of the world, but that does not restrict the ability of users to express their political views, even if those views are controversial or unorthodox. In a world often filled with intense political turmoil and polarization of beliefs, PoliticalForum.com attempts to bring opposites together to relate their views and learn from one another.
1. ENGLISH IS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THIS WEBSITE
We warmly welcome members from all over the world, and value their insights and perspectives. And, we understand that communicating in English can be difficult for people who did not grow up speaking the language. Nevertheless, we ask that people post their public messages in English so that everyone can understand them, and that material linked on Youtube or other websites also be in English.
2. PERSONAL ATTACKS AND INSULTS
Personal attacks and insults are not tolerated here. When replying to a post, your own post must be about the post to which you are replying, not the poster themselves. Any personal remark about another poster that - in the judgment of a moderator or administrator - could reasonably be regarded as an intentional insult in the context of that discussion will be subject to infraction. Please also keep in mind that simply saying something that's not very nice is not necessarily an insult, nor does the fact that you are offended necessarily mean that you have been insulted.
The rules regarding personal attacks extend not only to individual posters, but to groups as well. For example, calling all Republicans idiots is the same as calling every Republican on the board an idiot, and will not be tolerated. A certain amount of latitude may be granted in discussing the policies and the practices of a political party or other political organization, but posters should be advised that this is thin ice, and be cautious about making remarks that personally insult the members of such parties or organizations. And again, simply saying, "I hate Republicans" does not constitute an attack or an insult against Republicans. "I hate Republicans because they are corrupt" is an attack, because it is attacking the character of all Republicans.
Attacks against public officials, political figures, celebrities, etc, are allowed, as long as they do not violate the guidelines concerning threats or incitement to violence (see below.)
Posts or images that, in the judgment of a moderator or administrator, are specifically intended to provoke emotional responses or personal attacks from other posters, rather than civil discussion, will be considered flamebaiting.
4. HARRASSMENT, BAITING, TAUNTING
Stalking or harassing other members is forbidden, whether in the public forums, through PMs, or in social groups or albums. If you don't like someone, leave them alone or put them on ignore. Any attempts to bait or taunt another poster will be considered infractions, including posters who are banned from the forum or banned from a thread, and thus unable to reply. This includes quoting other members in your signature without permission, or mischaracterizing their statements by quoting them and changing the quotes. Disclosing personal or confidential information about other posters or staff - including but not limited to personal identities - or disclosing confidential communications may be considered harassment.
5. TROLLING OR DERAILING A DISCUSSION
If you don't want to discuss the topic, stay out of the thread. Posts that are, in the judgment of moderators or administrators, intended to disrupt a discussion rather than actually contribute to it will be considered trolling.
6. THREATS OR INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE
Any post that expresses a direct, indirect, or veiled threat to anyone - whether it be another member, some other individual, or a group in general - or an incitement to violence will be dealt with severely, may result in an immediate permanent banning, and may be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency. This includes (but is not limited to) what are known as "indirect threats," such as (for example) wishing that public officials or police officers come to harm, or expressing a desire for armed insurrection against the government.
7. RACIAL, ETHNIC, HOMOPHOBIC, GENDER, OR RELIGIOUS SLURS
Any post or image that is - in the judgment of a moderator or administrator - a slur against any such group will be subject to infraction.
8. ATTACKING OR CALLING OUT STAFF OR ADMINISTRATION
Moderators, Advisors, and Greeters are volunteers who work very hard and make a number of personal sacrifices to make the community as welcoming as possible. They may not always be right, because they're human - but they will always act in good faith and with the best of intentions, and this forum would not be possible without their efforts. When they're posting on the forums, feel free to debate and argue with them just as you would any other poster, but attacking or calling out a staff member who is acting in their official capacity is against the rules.
We welcome constructive criticism or complaints, but the public forums are not an appropriate venue for criticizing the staff, administration, or ownership of the site. If you have questions about a specific moderator decision, feel free to send a PM to that moderator, an administrator, or the site owner. Or, alternatively, members can always start threads in the Feedback forum to ask the entire staff questions about specific moderator actions or general questions about forum rules. Please be aware that the rules prohibiting personal attacks against staff also apply in the Feedback and Disputing Banning Resolutions forums.
9. PROFANITY, ADULT CONTENT, AND GRAPHIC IMAGES
Any posts, signatures, or images that are considered obscene or profane are forbidden, as well as any links to any such material. This includes (but is not limited to) profane language, nudity, and pornographic or excessively graphic images. Keep in mind that profanity in a relatively obscure language is still profanity. We'll allow as much latitude as we reasonably can for images or quotes that are directly related to a legitimate event, but if in doubt, you might want to check with a moderator before posting. This website employs a filter to block out banned language, and any attempt to circumvent that filter (including the use of asterisks) will be considered an infraction of this rule.
11. THREAD CREATION
The opening post of a thread sets the topic and the tone of the discussion. It should contain a member's opinions or questions with sufficient elaboration to establish a foundation for respectful discussion and debate. Threads should not be posted in the wrong forum, or be duplicates of other threads and/or topics (creating multiple threads with fundamentally the same topic is not allowed). Images, links, quotations, etc., should be used to support a member's opinion, not to replace it. Quoting from an article is optional. If a quote is added, it must be clearly distinguishable from the personal commentary. Quotes may only contain a small portion of the article. We do not allow the entire article to be posted. Personal commentary must be a paragraph with at least 3 sentences of respectful elaboration. Thread titles should be a description of the thread topic (and if not they may be altered by the moderators). Whether a thread has sufficiently set a basis for respectful debate on the thread topic will be at the discretion of the moderators. All other board rules apply to thread titles and creation. Threads may be deleted, merged or closed for not meeting any of the requirements listed.
There are additional rules for "Latest U.S and World News" and "Current Events": All thread titles must be copy/pasted from source article titles. Article titles that are too long to fit, should be abbreviated, keeping as close to the original title as possible. No personal opinions are allowed within thread titles. Threads must have a sourced article or news video, and the full article/video must be accessible upon clicking. (Content behind a paywall does not qualify as a source.)
Avatars and profile pictures are governed by the same rules regarding other content - images that are obscene, insulting to any individual or group as defined in Rules # 7 or 9, or violate Rules # 3, 4, 6, or 9, are not allowed and are subject to infraction.
Signatures must comply with all applicable forum rules, especially those on 'Flamebaiting' and 'Personal Attacks'. The use of quotations from other members in a signature is subject to the express consent of the member being quoted. Member signatures should not contain links. Staff signatures should contain internal (PoliticalForum) links only. In order to keep signatures reasonable in size (to prevent them from overpowering the posts in a thread) the normally accepted criteria is that they should not be larger in total than 4 lines at normal (size 2) text size.
14. MULTIPLE USER ACCOUNTS
Multiple user accounts are not allowed. The use of anonymous proxy IP addresses and systems, which are often used to hide identities for the purposes of creating multiple accounts, is also prohibited. Usage of these tools can lead to immediate and permanent banning.
15. LINKS, ADVERTISING, IMPROPER QUOTING, AND COPYRIGHT VIOLATIONS
No commercial advertising is permitted anywhere on the forum - links in posts must be relevant to the discussion, and must not be intended simply to direct members to another website. Quotes, links, and images should be used to support a member's opinion, not to replace it - all posts containing them should also contain the poster's own comments as to their relevance. All quotes from other sources must be given appropriate credit, preferably with a link to the original article - long articles should be quoted from and/or summarized, not quoted in their entirety. Content copied from other sources must meet "fair use" guidelines, and violations of copyright will be deleted and subject to infraction. When quoting other posters, we ask that you use the site's "quote" function, so that other members can backtrack the conversation if they wish.
Linking to websites that require user registration is discouraged, but where it cannot be avoided notice should be given that that is the case. No links should involve any sites or material that are illegal or pornographic, and warnings should be posted with any links to material that might be considered 'graphic' or 'offensive' (and such links should only be posted when strictly relevant to the discussion).
|Copyright infringement||2 points||1 month|
|Failure to meet thread creation guidelines||2 points||1 month|
|Signature rule violation||5 points||1 month|
|Inappropriate avatar or profile picture||5 points||1 month|
|Bypassing or circumventing the profanity filter||5 points||6 months|
|Deliberately derailing threads||10 points||3 months|
|Posting obscene or graphic images or links||10 points||3 months|
|Baiting, taunting, stalking, or harassing other posters||10 points||6 months|
|Insulting or personally attacking other posters||10 points||6 months|
|Inflammatory or insulting posts directed at groups,
including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs
|10 points||6 months|
|Trolling||10 points||6 months|
|Divulging confidential information or communication from or
about members or staff
|10 points||6 months|
|Spamming/advertising*||10 points||6 months,
possible immediate permaban
|Calling out or attacking moderators or other staff||20 points||6 months|
|Divulging personal information about members or staff||20 points||6 months,
possible immediate permaban
|Threats or incitements to violence, whether directed
at other posters or anyone else in general
|20 points||6 months,
possible immediate permaban
TEMPORARY & PERMANENT BANS:
Any time a poster reaches a total of 30 active infraction points, they will automatically receive a temporary ban. (See table below for lengths of bans; the length of the temporary ban is determined by how many times the person has been banned before.) Temporary bans will also trigger automatically at 35, 40, or 45 points. Anyone reaching 50 points will automatically be permanently banned. What this means is that anyone who's reached 30 active infraction points is essentially on probation until the points begin to expire and they drop below 30 again, because once you're sitting at 30, almost every additional infraction will result in another temporary ban of increasing length.
Members who wish to dispute an infraction should open a thread in the Feedback forum. Please explain (in as much detail as possible) why you feel the infraction was unwarranted, and check back frequently to see if we have any clarifying or followup questions. Staff will discuss the appeal, and typically the decision will be made within 24 hours unless we have more questions for you. You'll be informed of the decision in the Feedback thread.
|First Offense||3 Days|
|Second Offense||7 Days|
|Third Offense||1 Month|
|Fourth Offense||3 Months|
|Fifth Offense||6 Months|