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Forge posting etiquette policy

Started by Ron Edwards, August 18, 2009, 10:16:59 PM

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Ron Edwards

I. About the forums

The purpose of The Forge forums is to promote the design, development, and publication of independent role-playing games. We do not care if the game's sold in stores or given away from your website. Whatever the medium, if it's an independent role-playing game, we're here to talk about it.

In addition, we discuss actual play of all role-playing games.

A. Intellectual integrity and courtesy
Participating here means engaging in discourse. Some of the rules of discourse include:

1) Acknowledging the validity of another's point, instead of merely switching topics if you've been refuted. Even if you disagree, show that you understand what the other person is saying.

2) Giving credit to others' input if you're drawing on those ideas, to the best of your ability.

3) Recognizing the question at hand and addressing it instead of side issues - granted, no one can do this all the time, but we should all try. For instance, if you want to talk about a new issue based on an existing discussion, it's perfectly all right to start a new thread and include a link to the old one in the first post.

4) understanding that to disagree with someone does not mean disliking or insulting them. We are talking about ideas, not about one another. You'll have to separate the integrity of your ideas from your self-image; getting the first ripped apart does not constitute an attack on the second.
B. Administrators
The administrators of (The Forge) are Ron Edwards and Vincent Baker ("lumpley"). Ron is primarily responsible for editorial content and policies, while Vincent is responsible for system administration. Historical note: the original founders of the Forge were Ron Edwards and Clinton R. Nixon; the original founders of the predecessor site, Hephaestus' Forge, were Ron Edwards and Ed Healy.
C. Moderators
Each individual forum has a moderator. You can see these on the main forums display page. This moderator has the ability to enforce Forge and individual policies within his or her own forum. For example, Ron is not the moderator of the Black and Green Games forum, but Emily Care Boss is. Moderators often have special rules posted for their own forums.
D. GNS and the forum
The Forge is here to discuss all substantive principles and possibilities of role-playing. We do discuss ideas that are often summarized as "GNS" or (better) the Big Model, to describe processes and outcomes in role-playing games. You do not have to adhere or refer to these ideas in any way to discuss games here. Conversely, if you want to discuss them, you certainly can. The ideas in question are always open to debate.
II. Accounts

A. Choosing a name
Please consider using your actual name as your account name on The Forge. It may be your full name, first name, first name and last initial, or anything of the sort. This is a recommendation, not a policy. If your account is already some other thing and you want to change the displayed name to your real one, there is an option in your profile to do this. If you do not, we ask that you include your name in your post, perhaps in your signature.
B. Choosing to have account "hidden"
We have disabled the feature to have your account "hidden" on The Forge. Hidden accounts are not consistent with the atmosphere of intellectual honesty that we wish to cultivate here.
C. Deleting accounts
We do not delete user accounts under any circumstances. We have in the past, and found it to be a process with no benefits. If you wish not to communicate on the Forge any longer, contact Vincent at He will disable your account, which will leave it intact, but stop you from logging in and will stop people from sending you private messages.   
III. Posting

A. HTML vs. BBCode
We ask that you use BBCode for formatting in the forums. (More on BBCode can be found in the forum FAQ.) We have found that a combination of BBCode and HTML in a post can result in errors.   
B. Off-topic posting
Off-topic posting can range from posting about topics that are in no way relevant to independent role-playing games, to posting about independent role-playing games, but straying from the topic of the current thread.

General off-topic posts (dealing with topics that are not relevant in any way to forum purposes) are considered spam. The thread will be sent to the Inactive File forum.

Straying from the topic of the current thread is treated differently. We are all in favor of discussions mutating and covering other topics in role-playing games. We ask that you start a new thread if the topic changes too much, referencing the other thread in your first post on the new thread. If Ron or another moderator thinks that a thread has gone too far off-topic, he or she may split the thread, creating two threads out of the one.
C. Profanity
Profanity is acceptable on The Forge, as long as it is not directed toward a person or toward his or her works or ideas. Another way to put this is that disrespect is not permitted here, but profanity for other purposes is all right.
D. "Flaming"
The Forge has its own standards for what constitutes a "flame." They are strict - including any dismissal of another's point without fair consideration, any expression of hostility even in response to perceived hostility, or even multiply posting to someone before they have a chance to get back to you, and anything similar. In other words, politeness and rudeness at the Forge follow the rules of conversation, not the general standards of the Internet.

If you are perceived as "flaming" someone, any of the following things will occur depending on the situation: (i) you may be addressed openly by the moderator in the thread, (ii) you may be contacted by private message), (iii) your post will be sent to the Inactive File forum.

E. Line-by-line replies
Line-by-line replies are the online equivalent of interrupting someone after every sentence and arguing that sentence, taking it completely out of context. It is not only highly discouraged, but if used often, will be considered a flame. In very rare cases, it will seem appropriate, but please first check with Ron or the relevant moderator by private message.
F. Thread "resurrection"
If you find an older thread (not on the first page of the forum) that you wish to discuss, we ask that you create a new thread and link to the old one instead of "resurrecting" the thread. This helps everyone in terms of researching threads, and seeing where a discussion started and stopped.

G. "Empty" posts
If you want to agree with someone but not add much content, please feel free. It's always nice to get positive reinforcement. It helps if you take the time to say why you agree, if you can, rather than just "Yeah!" But once in a while, an empty-agreement post isn't a terrible thing.

However, negative empty posts are strongly discouraged. Do not post only to say "You are wrong," or "I disagree," or anything similar without presenting your case and demonstrating that you understand the other person's case.   
IV. Other forum policies

A. Post deletion
We do not like to delete posts, and will try every possible alternative first. Vincent and Ron may delete duplicate posts for convenience. Spam goes too (you can help by clicking Report Post). Deleted posts typically go into the Inactive File forum.
B. Reporting a belligerent poster
If you think someone is breaking the rules of the Forge, whether topic integrity, courtesy, or anything else, please let Ron and Vincent know via clicking on the Report Post button. Do not engage the poster yourself, and do not reprimand him, no matter how long you have been on The Forge.   
C. Stricture and banning
We have not banned anyone from The Forge ever, and do not plan to. If someone ever warrants this, the administrators will let the forum know publicly.

This post was composed by Ron Edwards, drawing mainly upon the older Etiquette at the Forge sticky composed by Ron Edwards and Clinton R. Nixon.

edited by me to fix various formatting - RE