We updated the rules (see theFretBoard Rules 2.0) recently, but they don't cover everything, so here's a bit more explanation as to how we expect the rules to be applied, and how we'll respond to breaches thereof.
When we (that's Lee, Nick, Andi and I) started this forum 2 years ago, we started out with various hopes for how it would work and evolve. It's exceeded many of those hopes.
But it's also fallen short in some areas.
We started out idealistically, hoping that the forum would self-moderate and that we'd only need to apply a very light and occasional touch to keep everything running smoothly. There are have been sporadic episodes when those hopes have been disappointed and it seems that the episodes are getting more frequent - perhaps because of our idealism and not being sufficiently clear about how we expect the forum to be used (and not used).
It's causing us ever more hassle in intervening and explaining, and taking more of our time that we'd prefer to be using more constructively (ie development of new functionality, bug fixes, etc). It's creating a petty, nasty (I've used that word before), childish atmosphere that is clearly driving some people away and putting others off from participating. Our stats are stagnant over the last 3-6mths, which is usually the on-line precursor to rapid decline. And finally, it means that we're not taken seriously by potential commercial partners.
So, we've called time, and we're clarifying what we expect and what we'll no longer accept in terms of content and behaviours here. Be absolutely clear, this is an explicit and deliberate change away from our previous laissez-faire attitude.
There's been a lot of recent threads which serve no useful purpose on a guitar forum;
- "man has sex with horse"
- "who has licked a butthole"
- "Hilary Clinton, Swamp Muncher"
- "Talkin pick cock"
In future, such threads will be deleted.
Threads that are trolling /baiting will similarly be deleted.
There have been numerous instances of petty behaviours through abuse of the frets freedback system. Call it stalking, call it bullying, it's just stupid and stops now.
The flip-side of the fret-stalking is the abuse of the flagging process to flag all comments by an individual. Flag a post if it breaks a rule or the standards described here. Flagged posts cause us (modmins) time and aggravation, so flagging-for-fun stops now.
Comments that are personally insulting, whether to other members or to "personalities" such as JoeB, Chappers, et al. Stops now.
Hounding of individuals across different threads and through time to perpetuate arguments and grudges. Stops now.
Our response to behaviours that we don't find acceptable is also changing. Yes, we'll be exercising our judgement, applying our standards and behaving like human beings rather than de-sensitised droids. It's our forum, and that's how we're going to manage it from now.
We'll not be asking posters to remove comments that breach the new standards, the modmins will do it in-thread, marking each intervention with [admin edit]. Repeated or gross breaches will result in an explanatory/warning PM. Ignoring a modmin PM, or responding in a way that suggests that the message has not been understood, will result in a week (stage1) in the cooler.
There have been a number of comments that cooler-time is really a ban. So, we're going to make it more like a ban. From now on, those in the cooler won't be able to use the PM system.
A subsequent breach gets a month (stage2) in the cooler.
A third breach gets a perma-ban (stage3). Your account is deleted and you don't get to come back.
We're retaining the process whereby stages "time-expire" after 6 months. IE, if you're at stage2, you go back to stage1 after 6 months. If you're at stage1, your "record" is cleansed after 6 months. Clearly, that doesn't apply once you hit stage3.
Yes, there will be judgement calls because we're not even trying to define every situation, in a rule, in advance. But we'll continue to be transparent about those calls and our reasonings.