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Bend Weekly Forum Netiquette Statement

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Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject: Bend Weekly Forum Netiquette Statement Reply with quote

In an effort to promote worthwhile discourse and to ensure civility on our message boards, Bend Weekly has formed a group of volunteer moderators (monitors), the purpose of which is to evaluate content contributed by forum members and enforce our Terms Of Service (TOS). These volunteers are themselves active members of this forum, and are not paid employees of Bend Weekly or the DCEI Online Network. The monitors operate under designated anonymous screennames and their sole mandate is to facilitate appropriate and courteous interaction among all members of this forum. Recommendations of the moderators are subject to review of Bend Weekly.

In particular, we would like to bring this passage from our TOS to your attention:

It is a condition of your use of the Service that you do not use the Service to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law.

In plain terms, the primary goal of the monitoring group is to curtail "flaming" -- personal attacks on other forum members in the form of insults, name-calling, threats and similar abusive language. Other violations of TOS are also subject to action by the monitor group, so all members are advised to review our Terms Of Service periodically to ensure awareness and compliance.

First Amendment Issues

It should be noted that by monitoring the boards Bend Weekly is not engaging in censorship, nor placing any significant restriction on your constitutional right to free speech! As far as the monitoring group is concerned, there are no "right" or "wrong" opinions regarding any appropriate topic. If a post stays on-topic and discusses the issue at hand (however heatedly), it is considered valid and not subject to action by the monitoring group.

However, if in our view a post drifts off-topic and/or contains language which constitutes a "flame" as defined above, it is then considered to be in violation of our community standards (as expressed in TOS and this statement), and therefore subject to action on our part.

Actions We May Take

Depending on the severity of a TOS violation, action(s) we reserve the right to employ include:

* posting a "friendly warning" in the thread, quoting the violation, with advice to curtail such language in the future
* advising the poster of the violation, with a request that the poster promptly edit the post themselves
* editing the post inhouse, removing the inappropriate language
* moving the post to another location, or hiding it from public view
* deleting the post altogether
* cancelling the poster's membership to the boards, and/or banning them from future participation.

When any such action(s) are taken by a board monitor, the poster may be notified via Private Message and/or email. This notification will include a link to the thread, a quote of the inappropriate language used, any action(s) taken by the monitoring staff, any action(s) requested of the user, and advice regarding how to avoid similar TOS violations in the future.

Netiquette - How To Avoid A TOS Violation

Most of the TOS violations we see are simply the result of users exhibiting obnoxious or rude behavior in anonymity which those same people would probably never express face to face with another human being in real life.

While we are all interacting within a virtual environment in these boards, this does not mean that basic interpersonal courtesy (netiquette) is inoperative. If anything, we need to be particularly aware of the words we use, since other keys to meaning such as facial expression, gesture, inflection and tone of voice are absent.

As a member of our forum, you need to be aware of the need to express and/or argue any opinion (on any topic) without attacking another member in a "personal" fashion. Proper netiquette means to impersonally discuss the topic. For example, if someone posts, "I disagree, and here's why...", this is clearly NOT a TOS violation, but simply a divergent opinion. But if someone posts, "Not only are you wrong, but you're a bonehead for writing such drivel!", then the line has clearly been crossed. The poster is confusing the message with the messenger, and the discussion has drifted from the topic at hand to a shouting match between the users themselves, which is where the flaming begins.

In short, try to remember the venerable old Golden Rule -- "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." By keeping this simple saying in mind, you should be able to monitor your own posts and experience no enforcement action by the monitoring group.

Other Points To Consider

In addition to not indulging in "flames", you should also observe the following:

* "Spamming" (multiple posts of the same content) is inappropriate. It is a waste of other members' valuable online time (and an abuse of our bandwidth) to pepper identical messages in multiple threads or categories.
* "Trolling" (repeated posts of a disruptive or frivilous nature) is inappropriate. While levity and humor are welcome additions to the boards, chronically pointless disruption is not. The Bend Weekly Forum is primarily intended to serve the needs of mature minds wishing to express (and read) considered opinions, and NOT as an online playground for the capricious.
* Avoid submitting unattributed quotations of another's work (plagiarism). If you have found a textual passage by another author which you feel perfectly makes your point, by all means copy and paste it into your post, but please provide the name of the original author, preferably including a link back to the source page, if available.
* Maintain a valid email address in your profile. If we need to email you regarding a TOS violation and do not receive a reply in a timely fashion, we reserve the right to consider your account "inactive", delete your content and cancel your membership.

Thanks For Your Cooperation!

We hope that all users of our forum understand Bend Weekly's need to ensure a pleasant, worthwhile experience for all our members. Our forum is a dynamic, informative adjunct to the Bend Weekly, and provides us all with a valuable tool for self-expression and learning. Bend Weekly's desire is to encourage healthy discussion of the issues we face within our community, and to do all we can to discourage counter-productive and inappropriate behavior and content, for the benefit of all members.

You may direct your questions or concerns regarding this statement to Bend Weekly Forum Supervisor.
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