An internet oasis of open discussion without personal attacks
Old Forum Rules wrote:These rules apply to all of the on-topic categories of the Philosophy Forums:
1. No excessive or unnecessary vulgarity or profanity. No racial slurs or other slurs. Posters must use alternative terminology without the offensive connotation in place of pejoratives or derogatory terms when possible. For instance, instead of using the connotatively loaded, offensive term bleeding heart liberal one might in its place use the essentially synonymous non-pejorative phrase excessively sympathetic liberal.
2. No insults, flames, personal attacks, libel, slander, or ad hominems. Please keep discussion focused on the issues of the specific threads and topics, and not on the character of those discussing the issues. Remember, debates about a person's deeply held values, beliefs, or way of life must be tempered with a high level of respect and civility. These debates have been some of our most interesting over the years, and they work, or not, based upon the level of mutual respect and honesty extended by each side. If your motive is to ridicule members, or spread bad feeling, please do not bother to post. Try to be as respectful and sincere as possible. Posts that have a rude or ridiculing tone or otherwise seem to have the intent of offending others as opposed to having productive exchange of ideas will be deleted. Even borderline posts will be deleted. When disagreeing with another poster, it is generally considered an off-topic insult to speculate whether they are lying, ignorant or stupid etc. or otherwise why they hold an allegedly false belief; the issue is whether the belief/proposition is false or not and why it is allegedly false not specifically why a specific person believes or argues it.
3. Posters must genuinely try to use proper spelling, basic grammar, and punctuation. If a poster is sloppy with his or her spelling and grammar, then the value of the post is probably just as low. All posters must proof read their posts before posting them. If you are not good at spelling and basic grammar, you must use a spell checker. (Firefox has a built-in spell-checker.)
4. These are discussion forums not an instant messenger. Please do not use instant-message short-hand, such as "u" instead of 'you' or "str8" instead of 'straight'.
5. All posts must be on topic. Posting irrelevant asides, snide comments, or generally trying to derail a discussion, is not in the spirit of the forum and is strictly prohibited. If you have nothing to contribute to a discussion, move on, start a new thread, or just be happy reading what other people have posted. Polite, kind off-topic remarks within a post (e.g. "hi," "thanks," "I enjoy your writing") are tolerated but most of the post must be on topic and absolutely no rude, off-topic or offensive off-topic remarks will be tolerated at all. Telling someone to 'go research' something is off-topic and insulting and strictly prohibited. This includes posting links to research aids like Wikipedia (as opposed to credible sources) or telling someone to use a search engine like Google.
6. No single word posts, or meaningless posts. No posts that simply say "yes", "no", "bump", or "I agree". Your post needs to contribute an on-topic point or on-topic question to the discussion.
7. Before posting a thread, search the forum and see if there is already a thread on that topic. All new threads must be at least 45 words and must be at least 3 sentences (not counting quotes). Do not post a thread which only asks for one-word answers. Poor quality threads will be deleted. When posting a new topic, you must pose some sort of philosophical argument or question. You can use an article, video, short poem or other quote as the basis for your own philosophical argument or question or as elaboration of one of your points, but you still must add your own philosophical question or argument in your own words. In regards to searching the forum for duplicates before posting, remember, you can always make a thread about a specific topic that is related but different. For instance, the topic "Is democracy beneficial to citizens?" would be different from the topic, "Is democracy truly possible?" And the topic "Is jumping off cliffs immoral?" would be different from the topic "Should jumping off cliffs be illegal?" If there is already a thread about a topic, you could also start a thread about a specific subtopic of that topic, but make sure it's clear that the new thread is only about that specific subtopic.
8. Irrelevant threads will be moved to a relevant category or deleted. Irrelevant posts will be deleted.
9. No spam. No advertising. No selling. Do not post the same link at the end of all your posts. Do not circumvent the automatic block on posting URLs as a new user by typing out the address of a website, e.g. onlinephilosophyclub(dot)com. Do not post any irrelevant links.
10. Do not post a thread that just links to an article or video somewhere else, or that requires readers to click on a link to join the discussion. Quote or summarize the essential parts, and add your own philosophical comments or questions. Generally, it is off-topic to post an entire non-philosophical article. If you want to use the information, opinions or arguments in a non-philosophical article as a base for philosophical points and philosophical questions, then generally it is more effective to summarize it or quote only the essential parts of it. (You can always post non-philosophical articles--such as almost all news reports, conspiracy theories or political editorials--in the off-topic section of the forums.)
11. Formatting: Use the quote function to quote other users. Make sure to use two line breaks between paragraphs so there is a full line of blank space between the paragraphs. Do not put all of your posts in bold, italic, colored or underline print; those features are for emphasizing certain text. Do not write in poetry format; the forum is for posting clear, concise arguments in understandable language; not for posting poetry or riddles. (Poetry and riddles can be posted in the off-topic section.) Do not write in all capital letters. If your post is formatted incorrectly, i.e. does not follow these standards, it will be deleted 'for not being properly proofread.'
12. When creating a new thread, make sure to use a descriptive and specific title so that other users know the topic. Do not use short non-descriptive titles such as, "Question," "Please help," or "Please read." Almost always a one or two word title is not descriptive enough. For instance, the title "Joe Shmoe" isn't descriptive enough if the thread discusses specifically whether or not Joe Shmoe is honest; in that example you would want to use a title like, "Is Joe Shmoe Honest?" This makes it much, much easier for other users to sort through all the many threads on this forum and distinguish one thread from another. Do not make a single thread for multiple unrelated topics; make a different thread for each different topic.
13. Name-calling, mean-spirited mockery, and irrelevant personal attacks made against people not on this forum are also not allowed. For instance, you could not call Michael Moore "Michael Moron," or call Dick Cheney "Darth Vader," or refer to a certain race, age-group, religion etc. with a pejorative term or purposely insulting name.
14. Do not reply to rule-breaking posts, do not tell others they are violating the forum rules and especially do not quote rule-breaking posts. Simply use the report button (the exclamation point on the upper-right-hand side of the post you wish to report) to report the post and then ignore the reported post until a moderator closes the report or deletes the reported post. Dealing with rule-breaking posts is multiple times more difficult when others have quoted and replied to it. Moreover, these replies only draw more attention to the rule-violating post and away from the on-topic discussion.
Posters who violate these rules will be warned or banned. A warning system exists that will send an automatic PM to a member when they have been warned by a moderator and will track how many warnings each user has gotten and for what. As of now, there is no strict rule on how many warnings will lead to a ban. If you get warned it is not that big of a deal in itself, it is simply a notice so you do not make the same mistake in the future and so it does not become a big deal in the future.
The staff can and will modify or delete any posts at their discretion. Also at their discretion, the staff can and will suspend or ban any posters. All of a user's posts will generally not be removed on request by that user. When you submit posts, you give the website unconditional, permanent permission to display, modify or delete the posts. Discussions and archives become distorted when posts are missing; reading archives can then feel like listening to one side of a phone conversation or missing every other scene in a movie.
Please note, the off-topic sections of the forum are generally exempt from all the forum rules except 1, 2, 9, 12, and 13.
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