These are the rules and posting guidelines in effect in PO (revised August 25, 2011). The normal rules of RBR apply as well of course.

Keep in mind this is an old community, with lots of water under the bridge. If you are new here, it might seem a shocking place, but if you understand how things run, you will understand it better. You might not like it though!

This board is primarily about debate. Attacking other's ideas cannot be restricted. Still, allowing the attacking of other people is a very bad idea.

Now, we can debate the technical meaning of "attacking a person" for a very long time. Or we can move on to some simple procedural rules I will be using effective now, and in the future as modified in this post.

Rule 1) Don't attack people that post here. Calling names is right out. So is overtly challenging their sincerity, honesty, or intelligence.

In addition, NEVER take someone's comment in PO about some public figure or public event as the basis for inferring something unpleasant about their personal life or secret desires. Just don't go there.

Rule 2) Attacking the arguments people make here is expected. You can feel free to contribute to the arguments of others too, if you are feeling constructive.

Rule 3) The moderator(s) will enforce cases of rule breaking of Rule 1 as they see fit, with the default action being a 24 hour ban. Bans can be longer as well, up to forever depending on circumstances. Attacking the person is the single thing that makes threads go "Boom!" fastest, so it is best not to head down that road. Can you push the line? Sure. But if you push the line, you take the risk.

I will generally issue a warning before issuing a ban, but if things are blowing up in the forum or if the violation is really egregious, I may ban the poster without warning.

Also, I won't get involved in the "he started it first" argument. If you are both attacking, you will both be dealt with.

Rule 4) the terms "imbasil," "moreon," and "asshat" and the phrases "your a idiot" and "retarded ewok" (with those spellings) are ritual insults in Politics Only, and we all agree they are meaningless. Feel free to use them ritually. Tip your asshat when you do. Feel free to never use them if it's not for you. Other insults in a similar vein will be tolerated at the moderator's discretion. If you think you can get away with them, you'd better have been posting here long enough to know how we think. Speaking only for myself, I tend to give older posters more latitude.

However, the well-known picture of a man with his head up his ass will henceforth be considered a very strong personal attack and will result in a ban with no further warnings, regardless whether you think it's equivalent to the ritual "asshat" insult.

Rule 5a) Gratuitously provocative posts (trolls or flames) may result in a thread being locked, a post or thread deleted, or in extreme cases, a ban.

Specific note about flamebaiting: Calling out posters by suggesting how they would feel, think, or respond in a thread to which they have not even participated will be considered flame baiting by this particular mod. I cannot think of a singular reason to do so besides to launch a veiled personal attack, or to incite a personal argument.

Now, if one were to say "So and so should see this", or "I wonder how so and so would see this" as some on here have specific expertise, well, that might be applicable, and that is acceptable....but saying that a specific poster would feel a certain way, or would respond a certain way is akin to changing someones remarks....

What constitutes trolling or flaming is somewhat in the eye of the moderator, so there is no firm rule, but the characteristics of a troll are a very provocative post with little content, or a post that appears to the moderator to be intended more to provoke inflammatory responses than to generate reasonable argument.

Rule 5b) trolls are kept as pets only if they are interesting and don't bite.

Rule 6) if a moderator locks a thread, especially if he or she does so with a warning to let a topic drop, starting a new thread on the same subject will result in a ban and the deletion of the new thread.

Some guidelines for making threads work better:

First, when replying to a post, please hit the "quote" button. That will thread your reply below the post you are replying to. Some people don't use the threaded structure, some do. This will make it easier to follow for everyone. Otherwise it can be hard to understand who you are responding to, and confusion can be the result. We have enough confusion as it is!

Second, when including quotes, please only include the parts that are relevant. Reposting 10 paragraphs of information in a quote and saying "Agree" just makes people scroll further to participate, and adds nothing to the conversation.

Third, do not change the words in the quote. The quote box says "Originally Posted by name", and if a person did not write the words but they are shown as being posted by them, is it right to make it look like they said something they didn't?

Some people alter a quote and follow that with something like "Fixed it for you", which is usually intended to be humorous. If the person involved does not object, no problem. If they object, we will delete the entire offending post.

Fourth, if you see someone else getting heated up, you don't have to wait for a moderator to notice and intervene. You can post a constructive suggestion to calm things down or use the "Bad Post" button to report it to the moderators.

Special guidelines about pasting material from other web sites:

First, if you paste things here, provide a link to the source.

Second, do not paste the entire article unless you have very good reason for doing so. If you want to use some information from and article from another website, please post a small part of the article to make your point and a link for people to follow. A good rule of thumb for most things is 3 paragraphs or less.

There are two reasons for this rule: Copying entire articles is a violation of copyright law. Also long cut and paste posts usually hurt the discussion. Pasting a 15 paragraph story is almost always a sign of laziness, showing that you couldn't be bothered to excerpt 3 paragraphs (with a link to the whole article) and add some commentary that you actually wrote putting the excerpt in context and connecting it to the post to which you're responding.

Third, do NOT paste the full HTML code of the source material. Post the text, and nothing else. If you post the full HTML, you may include things that I will frown on. These include advertisements. Advertisements can be purchased on this website and other Consumer Review sites, please don't give people freebies. If the images are relevant, and not copyrighted, then feel free to post them.

Also, when you paste the full HTML you may unintentionally paste some bad code, or even hostile code, and that can crash people's browsers and computers. It is not needed for anything, so stick to the plain text and format it as needed with the tools provided on this site.

Further, the full HTML will often include images and other objects that require downloading from other websites, and the more servers that must be contacted for each RBR page load, the slower the load time for EVERY user. Please be considerate of those you wish to debate.

If you post entire articles, or go very much longer than 3 paragraphs without a VERY good reason, your post risks being deleted.

Finally, pasting long articles without adding anything original is boring and boring the moderator is a mortal sin in PO.

Complaints

We are happy to look into any complaints if people think they are being attacked or insulted. But it will be our call to make and we will judge cases individually.

Good governance starts with accountability and the PO moderator is accountable to all of you who post here. If you have a problem with the way , or the other moderators are moderating, I would ask that you send me, MarkS, or Fixed a PM, and we can discuss it off line. Threads about moderation tend to get nuked on this site, and often for good reason.

If you feel that I, or the others, do not respond appropriately to your criticism, you may complain to one of the administrators: Thien or Gregg. This is your forum and the moderator's role should always be in service to keeping the discussion lively but civil.