AnandTech Forum Guidelines

DerekWilson

Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2003
2,921
1
0
#1
AnandTech Forum Guidelines

Introduction

In an effort to make our management of the forums as transparent as possible, we have refined our member and posting guidelines and we have created a set of moderator guidelines. It is our hope that we can better satisfy members by being upfront and clear about what we expect from everyone.

We want to give all our members as much freedom as possible while maintaining an environment that encourages productive discussion. It is our desire to encourage our members to share their knowledge and experiences in order to benefit the rest of the community, while also providing a place for people to come and just hang out. To accomplish this, we have decided that a set of guidelines interpreted by our moderators is the best way to move forward.

Micromanaging every member, thread, post, or word is not something we are interested in. Every situation is unique, and we don't feel we can provide the type of forum we want by strictly defining the subject matter and content we allow here.

We also intend to encourage respect and responsibility among members in order to maintain order and civility. Our social forums will have a relaxed atmosphere, but other forums will be expected to remain on-topic and posts should be helpful, relevant and professional.

In order to accomplish the goals we have set forth, members will be expected to abide by the Member and Posting Guidelines provided here. Failure to do so will result in our team of moderators taking action. The options available to a moderator in managing apparent violations of our guidelines will be set forth in our Moderator Guidelines.

Member and Posting Guidelines

Do not use our Forums to post any material, or links to any material, which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law. Special exception to the restrictions on vulgarity and profanity are granted ONLY in the social forums. Additionally, special exception to the restriction on sexually oriented material is granted ONLY in the Love & Relationships forum.

All Terms of Service must be followed at all times, or a ban will be instated. Length and permanence of the ban will be set at moderator discretion.

We ask for respect and common decency towards your fellow forum members. This includes adhering to the following guidelines which will be enforced via a combination of member request and moderator discretion.

1) No trolling, flaming or personally attacking members. Deftly attacking ideas and backing up arguments with facts is acceptable and encouraged. Attacking other members personally and purposefully causing trouble with no motive other than to upset the crowd is not allowed.

2) No pornographic material is permitted. Material of a mature nature is allowed on a limited basis ONLY in our Love and Relationships forum, but we ask that members use care and discretion when posting sensitive material. Offensive, objectifying, and overly explicit posts with little or no substance will not be permitted.

3) No sharing or requesting pirated software. Discussions addressing piracy are allowed, but using the Forums as a hub or a school for pirates is not.

4) No posting of other's copyrighted material. Discussions of copyright are becoming increasingly important, but we will not allow the Forums to be used to violate any US law.

5) Spamming will not be permitted. On topic references to your personal commercial matters are permitted on a limited basis and at moderator discretion. Multiple quick nef posts, posts designed to generate traffic to specific web sites, and flooding the Forums will not be tolerated.

6) Foul language in topic titles, summaries or sigs and excessive foul language is not permitted. With uncensored language comes an increased requirement for responsibility among users. Moderator discretion applies.

7) Members must maintain a valid email address. We currently block some email providers, and we will not allow members to use disposable email accounts (designed to expire in a matter of hours or days).

8) Only one account is allowed per person. If you've been given a vacation or a ban, do not create a new account. Instead, please discuss the matter with our moderators via the Moderator Discussions sub-forum which you will still have access to for the duration of your vacation. We have various ways to check if accounts were started by the same person. We will also permaban new accounts based on strong circumstantial evidence or the appearance that they may be secondary accounts.

9) Respect other users' privacy and do not post personal or private information of any other user without their express permission, regardless of the source. This also includes PMs between two or more members. The contents of those PMs cannot be posted in the forum unless all parties agree to it.

10) Post in the right forum. Topics posted where they don't belong will be moved. If the subject matter of a topic is broad or vague enough to fit into more than one category, please only pick the one that seems to be the best fit. Threads on the same topic are not allowed to be cross-posted in multiple forums unless members in one forum suggest taking it elsewhere after addressing the issue.

11) Respect individual forum specific rules. Some of our specialized forums have additional guidelines posted within that are expected to be understood and followed. This is especially important in our For Sale/Trade, Want to Buy/Trade For, and Hot Deals forums.

12) Do not contact individual moderators. Please report violations of these guidelines by using the "report" feature located at the bottom of each post. Please direct all questions about specific moderator actions to our Moderator Discussions sub-forum. Please be patient with moderation requests and inquiries. Users found in violation of this directive will be given only one warning and pointed in the right direction before further action is taken.

13) Baiting moderators will not be tolerated nor will Mod Call Outs. Any action that reasonably can be considered baiting a moderator, or multiple consecutive actions that heavily push the boundaries of any of these guidelines will result in an instant short term vacation. Repeated violation of this rule may result in a permaban.

14) No price checks allowed

15) To access our FS/T forum, members must have a minimum post count of 25 along with being a registered member for 7 days.

16) Signatures
a) You may have up to 6 lines of no more than 90 characters each. Blank lines count in the 6.
b) The default font size will be set at 2. You may go smaller, but not larger.
c) No url shorteners or profanity will be allowed.
d) You may have no more than one short, simple, self-promotion link.
e) You must have 25 posts before a sig is allowed.

17) Do not start a begging thread in any forum or sub forum. This includes asking for money, for a loan, for computer parts, or for anything material. If a member makes such a thread, it will be removed immediately.

The tone of our Forums is expected to remain at least at a "basic cable" level. This is just a general yardstick for users and moderators to get an idea of what we expect. Content that crosses this line, as interpreted by our moderators, will be subject to moderation.

Our moderators are volunteers who work hard to keep the forums a hospitable place for everyone. Please respect their dedications and commitment to fair and balanced treatment of our members.

Moderator Guidelines

From our pool of regular members, we will invite a number to participate on the forums as moderators. These will be upstanding members of the community willing to help us make the forums the most hospitable environment for everyone. Moderators will help assist AnandTech in enforcing our member and posting guidelines, and are expected to use their abilities to manage threads and users with rationality and responsibility.

It is important to remember that moderator discretion is necessary. We cannot rigidly define all moderator actions with a set of rules that could just as easily run as a script. Every situation is different and every member deserves the fairest treatment under the circumstances. As it stands, we need a human touch to treat each situation as fairly as possible.

While flexibility and discretion are important in moderation, we must also have guidelines in place that help promote moderator consistency, fairness, and appropriate treatment of forum members. In addition to helping support and enforce moderator actions, these guidelines will serve to let our members know what they can expect from their moderators.

Moderators have a title listing the forums they moderate. They are able to moderate in other forums, but are encouraged to do so only in extreme and obvious cases of a violation or when a thread needs to be moved. Moderators are expected to remain in good standing with the community and uphold all of our member and posting guidelines.

Senior Moderators, who will also be noted by title, have jurisdiction over all forums. Included in the hierarchy of Senior Moderators are those moderators retaining the title "Super Moderator", "Administrator", or "Forum Director". In addition to normal moderation, Senior Moderators are responsible for making decisions concerning permanent bans, advising moderators on actions, reviewing member complaints about moderator activity, and generally making sure moderation at AnandTech is run fairly and efficiently.

All moderators will take various actions to enforce our Member and Posting Guidelines. The type of action moderators take will depend on the type and severity of the violation and moderator discretion will apply. The types, indications and procedures of the actions moderators can take are as follows:

Thread and Post Moderation

1) Moving threads and posts ? Threads started in the wrong forum will be moved. Notices will be sent to the original poster and thread participants. Posts may also be merged into another thread (if they are very similar) or split off from a thread (if the topic changed in the middle of the thread). After the move, the moderator will post in the thread indicating where the thread came from and why it was moved, merged or split. In the case of a split, a link to the original thread will be placed in the new thread.

2) Locking threads ? Threads that violate user or posting guidelines or degrade into flame wars or are full of nef posts will be locked. Locking will always be preferred to editing or deletion where possible. If a thread is meandering off topic and could still be saved, moderators may issues a warning in the thread that it is in danger of being locked. Otherwise, when locking a thread, the moderator will post a reason before the lock.

3) Editing posts ? Posts that contain content that violates our posting guidelines may be edited by moderators to remove the offending content. If an entire post is blatantly in violation of our guidelines, moderators reserve the right to delete all the text in the post and make any kind of witty comment they feel appropriate. Edits will also be signed by the moderator making the change. Users who post content that needs to be edited will have action taken against them. Initially this will be a warning, but repeated offenses could result in stiffer penalties.

4) Deleting threads and posts ? Pure spam or troll posts will be deleted. Threads that are entirely offensive or detrimental to the community will be deleted. Deleting threads will be a last resort for cases where most posts would otherwise need to be edited or deleted to remove inappropriate content. We prefer locking and editing where possible. Users whose posts need to be deleted may or may not receive a warning before some sort of ban.

User Moderation

1) Warning members of a violation ? For isolated incidents, first time offences, or minor infractions, moderators will issue a warning to a user in the form of a Private Message (PM). Along with this, a note may be made in the users profile about the incident and warning issued. Warnings will be given at moderator discretion based on member behavior or the need to moderate a member's threads.

2) Temporarily banning a member (vacation) ? If a member receives multiple warnings, or commits a serious violation of our guidelines, the member will be temporarily barred from posting on the forum. A note will be made in the users profile about reasons and length of vacations. Initially vacations will be short (a week), but if a user has received multiple vacations, moderators can grant longer vacations (multiple weeks or months in extreme cases).

3) Banning a member (permaban) ? Members who have had many warnings and multiple vacations for the same offense, heavy spammers, bad traders, or those who have violated one or more US laws are eligible for a permanent ban from the Forums. Permanent bans will not be given lightly and only as a last resort for members who severely disrupt the community. Beyond usernames and email addresses, we may also ban IP addresses. Only Senior Moderators are given permission to permanently ban a member.

Any intentional use of any tool available to a moderator for anything other than appropriate moderation will result in the immediate demotion of that moderator. Depending on the severity of the action, banning may also be imposed at the discretion AnandTech. Decisions made by AnandTech in matters of this nature will be permanent, irrevocable, and not subject to debate.

In the course of evaluating and enforcing violations of member/posting guideline #13, or in any situation in which there is conflict between a member and a moderator (perceived or otherwise), only uninvolved moderators will handle making the final call on what (if any) action is taken. Our moderators are also encouraged to avoid moderation in threads they are active in unless absolutely necessary. These specific guidelines are in place to protect our moderators from accusations of personal bias in moderation.

In cases where members feel personal bias has been an issue, please create a thread in the Moderator Discussions sub-forum. Complaints in this area will be evaluated by our team of Senior Moderators.

Restickied
-Fern
 
Last edited by a moderator:

DerekWilson

Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2003
2,921
1
0
#2
unlocked for comments ...

let us know what you think.
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,518
2
106
#3
I'll start things off I guess.

I'll be honest here, I think that some parts of this are good, other parts are bad. I like the clearer rules, we've needed those for a long time. I also really like the moderator guidelines as this further clarifies things for what the moderators will be watching. Furthermore I really, really like the public list of banned URLs because we've had problems with sites such as ChiefValue and eBay being blacklisted for reasons that not even the moderators could answer well.

I am less enthusiastic in the changes to how moderation is done however. I fear that by having non-anonymous moderators, we're going to see a concentrated effort to drive out the mods in places like Politics & News and Video Cards, where political and video fanboys respectively will do their damnedest to run out the mods whenever they feel slighted or feel the mods don't have a "neutral"(i.e. matching) bias. Similarly, with rigid rules I could see the guilty parties trying very hard to walk the line and cause as much trouble as they can by doing something that's on the line, getting moderated for it, and then complaining to the senior mods about all of this. In short it's a private forum and the mods need to be able to be authoritarian at times to maintain order, and this may undercut that.

But I think it's too early to completely judge the changes. This could work, so this may work, but everyone will need to keep an eye on how things are going before deciding if the new moderation changes are effective or not.
 

dennilfloss

Past Lifer 1957-2014 In Memoriam
Oct 21, 1999
30,550
6
0
dennilfloss.blogspot.com
#4
I see this as a positive development for a great site. Public moderation seems to work well at Ars (I understand the Ars crowd is a bit more 'reasoned') and BBR.

That should please most members but it might be disappointing for the lost souls who prefer the extra drama.

Yes, I think this is a good idea. :thumbsup:
 

DerekWilson

Platinum Member
Feb 10, 2003
2,921
1
0
#5
dumping the list of urls is not currently possible with our software, so it'll take some time to go through. we will have that and the other similar changes up as soon as we can get around to them.

one of our unwritten "suggestions" is that its a good idea not to moderate a thread you are debating in -- specifically for the video and p&n crowd. we want our mods to be able to participate as normal, and if they notice something that needs attention, they can tap another mod. this will not only pull the burden off of them, but it will also give them another set of eyes to make sure the appearance of "bias" doesn't leak into things.

every method of moderation has its issues, but I don't think we will be returning to anonymous moderation unless there are extreme circumstances. we will certainly be paying attention and adapting where necessary as we move forward with this.

also not mentioned is the fact that we will be allowing members of categories to nominate and vote for their own mods (except for the social forums). this way the members get a say in who moderates them to also help strengthen the relationship between moderators and members.
 

Rock Hydra

Diamond Member
Dec 13, 2004
6,466
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#7
I like it. I think it will work well.
 
Oct 30, 2001
12,134
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#8
I would only encourage that moderators be chosen by maturity and emotional stability, and not have it turn into moderators picking their buddies.
 
Mar 12, 2000
12,676
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#9
In the short-term this might lead to a bit of complaining in the heated discussion forums, but I think once people get used to it it won't be an issue at all.
 

n7

Elite Member
Jan 4, 2004
21,307
0
81
#10
Honestly, this is welcome change.

The way moderation has been handled here in the past is quite disturbing in some ways quite frankly...i'll not say more.

This allows for solid accountabilty, & based on what i've seen on many of the other forums i frequent, a far better level of respect between the moderators & posters, rather than a level of fear of what can & cannot be posted, etc.

I have to admit, i am very impressed with the changes i've seen here in the last while; improvement is always a good thing.
 
Apr 29, 2001
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#11
I'm impressed with the change, along with many others going on.
 

RossMAN

Grand Nagus
Feb 24, 2000
78,675
7
101
#12
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
also not mentioned is the fact that we will be allowing members of categories to nominate and vote for their own mods (except for the social forums). this way the members get a say in who moderates them to also help strengthen the relationship between moderators and members.
Great idea!

Off topic but I think allisolm would be a perfect Mod for the Hot Deals forum. This is assuming she is offered the position and is interested.
 

ForumMaster

Diamond Member
Feb 24, 2005
7,797
0
0
#13
First and foremost, I'd like to thank you Derek. the forum is now finally working properly.

As for the new guidelines, I have to agree with ViRGE on this one. I don't think that having non-anonymous moderators is the best idea. The anonymous identity that was known only as AnandTech Moderator had power because of the rarity of the comments and also because it was anonymous. Making the moderators known will weaken their power in my opinion. The various members of this forum will know who the moderators are and thus, respect for the moderators will go down.

Having solid guidelines for moderation is a welcome change indeed.

One question though: who chooses the moderators? You? the Senior Moderator? the AnandTech forums is big and many volunteers are needed to moderate it, but it is important to do anything possible to uphold the respect to the moderators.
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
49,248
72
106
#14
Originally posted by: RossMAN
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
also not mentioned is the fact that we will be allowing members of categories to nominate and vote for their own mods (except for the social forums). this way the members get a say in who moderates them to also help strengthen the relationship between moderators and members.
Great idea!

Off topic but I think allisolm would be a perfect Mod for the Hot Deals forum. This is assuming she is offered the position and is interested.
Too slow, Joe.
You. ;)
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
49,248
72
106
#15
Originally posted by: Zugzwang152
I would only encourage that moderators be chosen by maturity and emotional stability, and not have it turn into moderators picking their buddies.
All of our buddies ARE mature and responsible.
Besides, as Derek said, you guys get to vote except in the social forums.
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,562
103
126
#17
Regarding the potential of harassment of public moderators in forums like Politics & News - I tend to disagree that this will lead to trouble. In fact, it's a very worthy self-correcting mechanism.

If User X knows that Moderator A tends to be pro-ATI and thus goes after him in all of the threads Moderator A posts in, there should be no problem swatting him down verbally without use of any moderator powers as long as Moderator A makes cogent, logical posts in that forum area - which should be guaranteed 99% of the time, else that person is clearly a bad choice to moderate that area.

In general, glad to see a post of specific rules. Requiring a reason to be written for a thread lock is fantastic, as it avoids so many "what did I do wrong" and "bias!" follow up posts by that member. As is the public list of banned IPs/usernames. Thanks for all of your work, guys and gals!
 

markgm

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2001
3,292
0
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#18
I have to say, that's one of the best write-ups I've read on a site. There have been a lot of changes here lately and, like all of the other changes, I can't wait to see how this changes the dynamic of AT, if at all. On one hand I liked having anonymous mods, because I felt that sometimes it's easier to enforce the law without having to worry about harassment, but then I can also see how some people feel this would lead to abuse. At any rate, thanks for all of the time and thought you've put into the changes.
 
Feb 4, 2002
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#19
I think I'll much prefer knowing who the moderator is. Also, getting a chance to vote on who they are is a great idea IMHO.
 
Jul 7, 2005
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#20
I think one rule is needed.

Moderators may not post in forums or have posted in forums for 24hours where they have moderated. Nor may they post under the username on any thread they moderated.


This is of paticular concern in P&N where we know who is who and their views are blatantly affecting what they moderate.
 
Apr 15, 2001
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#21
Originally posted by: Shivetya
This is of paticular concern in P&N where we know who is who and their views are blatantly affecting what they moderate.
Agreed.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,600
1
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#22
Originally posted by: Shivetya
I think one rule is needed.

Moderators may not post in forums or have posted in forums for 24hours where they have moderated. Nor may they post under the username on any thread they moderated.


This is of paticular concern in P&N where we know who is who and their views are blatantly affecting what they moderate.
You have had moderators posting in P&N before.

Go back and look at their posts and determine if they were out of line.


I can see that a Mod should not moderate a thread in which they are active in; but the Forum as a whole needs someone who has a feel for it.

If a new/unseasoned Moderator was to walk into P&N - roughly a third of the vocals would be in hot water.

 

Number1

Diamond Member
Feb 24, 2006
7,490
9
81
#23
Originally posted by: 1EZduzit
I think I'll much prefer knowing who the moderator is. Also, getting a chance to vote on who they are is a great idea IMHO.

I keep reading the OP and I can't find where it says we can vote on who becomes a mod.

?

How do we vote for moderators?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
When additional Moderators are determined to be needed, we will request input from the membership

Senior Anandtech Moderator
Common Courtesy


 
Dec 5, 2000
43,810
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#24
Originally posted by: Zugzwang152
I would only encourage that moderators be chosen by maturity and emotional stability, and not have it turn into moderators picking their buddies.
Not to rock the boat, but now that mods are known, some of them are definitely not mature and/or emotionally stable as it is. there are plenty of times where they've done stuff that a "normal" member would be punished for.
 
Apr 29, 2001
46,059
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#25
Heh, the voting thing is a fairly cool idea with the smaller forums. To bad there isn't a firearms forum, because thats my only area of expertise :D
 

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