Forum policy review 2018

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-05, 17:06

kevin wrote:As I understand the process, the decision about warning/tempbanning/etc. only happens after the post has been removed. But I agree, just writing a simple note to say at least "Something was removed here while we decide whether it was a policy violation" would be nice and shouldn't be a big deal.


I don't see a problem there, but it might be trickier when a whole thread is moved.


linguoboy wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:
kevin wrote:I also still think that keeping spam accessible isn't a good thing, even if it's just for users. Most people certainly wouldn't want to see that subforum.

I don't understand why that's a problem. Do most language forum moderators or global mods or even admins want to see that subforum? But it's there in case we do.

So do we retain all spam here instead of deleting it?


Sort of. I'll quote myself:

Luís wrote:Posts made by spammers are moved to the Spam forum (but that one gets auto pruned after 60 days IIRC).
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Car » 2018-03-05, 20:22

Luís wrote:
kevin wrote:As I understand the process, the decision about warning/tempbanning/etc. only happens after the post has been removed. But I agree, just writing a simple note to say at least "Something was removed here while we decide whether it was a policy violation" would be nice and shouldn't be a big deal.


I don't see a problem there, but it might be trickier when a whole thread is moved.

We could create a special thread for that, though, and write stuff like "Thread X has been moved for reason Y". Unless the title already contains something that violates the forum rules, though.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-09, 21:41

Here's a first draft of the forum policy to get the discussion going. Feel free to comment and propose changes.

I'm also not sure how to add some of things that were discussed here to the policy, since many of them are related to how things are done (and what penalties are applied) and don't exactly concern the rules themselves.

1. User accounts

    1.1 Do not choose an offensive username.

    1.2 You are allowed to have only 1 account. If you create any others, they will be banned and there will be consequences. If you have a deactivated account, see 1.6; you are to ask for that to be reactivated instead of creating a new one. If you forgot your username/password, you can contact a forum administrator asking for your account to be reset.

    1.3 Contact the forum administrators or global moderators via PM if you want to change your username. It may only be changed once in any 6 month period, and three times in a 2 year period.

    1.4 If you for any reason can't log into the forum and need to contact the forum administrators and global moderators, send an e-mail to unilang@unilang.org
    Ex. Your account is deactivated, you've forgotten your password and can't reset it using “I forgot my password”, or you're currently banned.

    1.5 If you haven’t made any posts from your account and it's older than 6 months, your account may be deleted in an account purge, without your consent.

    1.6 If you have made at least one post, you may deactivate your account by contacting the forum administrators or global moderators.
      • This is is done instead of deleting an account, since deleting the account completely destroys the ability to follow threads.
      • All it leaves is the account’s username. However, all posts will remain.
      • Your account must remain deactivated for at least 6 months.
      • You must contact the forum administrators or global moderators for reactivation. You can do so via the contact form or e-mail.
      • If you discuss it with the forum administrators or global moderators first, deactivation for a period of less than 6 months is possible with a good reason.


2. Behavior and general rules

    2.1 General guidelines:
      • Be nice to other members and visitors to the forum.
      • Treat people the way you would want to be treated.
      • Be civil, show respect for other members and their views.
      • Use normal netiquette.

    2.2 Do not:
      • Ridicule, mock or insult other members.
      • Post for the sole purpose of getting reactions from other members (in other words, do not troll).
      • Fill the forum with a lot of meaningless posts.
      • Speculate that someone is a troll or spammer or call their posts trolling or spam.
      • Do any backseat moderating, that is to tell other members what to do or write, how to behave, that they are breaking the rules or should be banned.
    2.3 Language - We do not censor language. Cursing is permitted as long as it is not used to offend another.

      2.3.1 Examples of what is allowed:
        • “That’s fucking great!”
        • “This book is fucking stupid!”
      2.3.2 Examples of what is forbidden:
        • “You’re a fucking idiot!”
        • “Fuck you!”

    2.4 If you think that someone is breaking the rules:
      • Report the post, there is a button for that in the header of all posts.
      • Do not comment on it or reply to it in the thread itself.
      • Private messages are reported in the same manner as posts.
      All communication between users and moderators is strictly confidential


3. Promotion and spam

    3.1 Allowed:
      • Linking to a blog, personal or commercial website which contributes to a post or topic.
      • Linking to a survey with an academic purpose, if you ask the forum administrators or global moderators for permission first.
      • In signatures, links to non-commercial sites that have to do with languages.
      • In signatures, links to a personal blog or website, as long as it’s non-commercial.

    3.2 Forbidden:
      • Posts whose sole purpose is promoting any website or blog, non-commercial or otherwise.
      • In signatures, links to commercial websites.
      • Unauthorized posts whose sole purpose is getting answers for a survey.
      • Private messages advertising commercial goods or services, as well as non-genuine romantic private messages, seeking to mislead another user.
      • Joining for the sole purpose of promoting a website or a blog, non-commercial or otherwise.


4. Forum posts

    4.1 Keep posts on topic, if you feel the need to discuss something that is not, do so where it is appropriate, or create a new thread. If a discussion goes off-topic for more than one page, the moderators may split it into a separate thread.

    4.2 Do not post in old threads unless you have something that contributes to them. Similarly, do not create a new thread unless you have something to contribute about the topic.

    4.3 Do not create a new thread if one already exists, however exceptions can be made for threads that are very outdated, and should be made for threads which have had their topic completely changed through off-topic posts.

    4.4 Do not write posts with identical or very similar content in multiple sub-forums. If you want input from speakers of several different languages or people from several different countries, post it in the General Forum, the General Language Forum, or in one of their sub-forums, which one depends on the topic and type of thread.
    4.5 Information about other users

      4.5.1 Allowed:
        • Using the given name of another user if it is already common knowledge.
        • Posting the personal details of a non-user that are public knowledge.
        Ex. “The President of the United States lives in the White House”, “Elvis lived at Graceland”.
      4.5.2 Forbidden:
        • Posting another user’s personal information.
        Ex. Account details, addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, etc.
        • Giving away another user’s identity without permission.
        • Exchanging any personal details of a non-user that are not public knowledge.
        Ex. “Zhang Ziyi, the lead actress in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon lives at [her address]”.

    4.6 File-sharing and piracy

      4.6.1 Allowed:
        • Links to torrents or downloadable material in the public domain, or material to which the user owns the copyright.
        • Explaining how torrents work for users who wish to download legal material.
        • Links to streaming content which does not break any other terms.
        • Discussions about piracy.
      4.6.2 Forbidden:
        • Explaining how to obtain illegal or pirated material.
        • Linking to downloadable illegal or pirated material.
        Ex. Copyrighted books, films, music, software, etc.

    4.7 Sexual and romantic content and nudity

      4.7.1 Allowed
        • Non-sexual flirting, regardless of gender.
        Ex. “You’re cute”, and “I’d take you out for dinner”.
        • Posting sex-related posts in the appropriate thread.
        Ex. The random threads, but not in threads with a specific, non-sexual subject.
        • Clearly artistic historical works depicting nude people.
      4.7.2 Forbidden:
        • Sexual flirting.
        • Graphic depictions of sex.
        • Graphic depictions of body parts and fluids.
        • Pictures or drawings that:
          - are clearly pornographic
          - show pubic hair (including the mons pubis if there is no hair)
          - show nudity with the genitalia covered by a hand or object
          - show exposed breasts
          - show genitalia

    4.8 Editing posts

      4.8.1 Allowed:
        • Correcting typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors.
        • Clarifications of what you meant, before too many have answered.
      4.8.2 Forbidden:
        • Deleting all of the content.
        • Twisting the content so that the actual meaning of it becomes something else.
      4.8.3 The ability to edit your posts will be taken away for a year can be restricted should these rules be continuously broken or ignored.

    4.9 Pictures

      4.9.1 Allowed:
        • Posting a picture which you hold the right to, unless another Unilang member is visible in it, in which case you need that member’s expressed consent.
        • Posting a picture which you don’t hold the right to if you have been given permission by the person who does.
        • Posting a picture belonging to the free domain.


5. Private messages

    5.1 The rules for behavior on the forum also apply to private messages.

    5.2 Allowed:
      • Forwarding a private message to the forum administrators and global moderators if a rule violation is suspected.
    5.3 Forbidden:
      • Posting any private message on the forum without expressed consent by the author.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-03-09, 22:30

• All communication between users and moderators is strictly confidential

Does this mean that, for instance, a PM I send to you on a forum is confidential between me and you or does it mean that it's confidential between me and the moderator team? That is, do moderators reserve the right to share communications to and from members with other moderators if they need advice and support in coming to a moderational decision?

And is this mutual? That is, am I not allowed to share the contents of anything I communicate to the moderators with anyone else, either on the board or off?

Does confidentiality apply only to the contents of a communication or also to the fact that any communication took place?

Under what conditions can confidentiality be broken without the consent of the other person? If, for instance, one party accused the other of being abusive, how would that be adjudicated?
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-09, 23:14

linguoboy wrote:Does this mean that, for instance, a PM I send to you on a forum is confidential between me and you or does it mean that it's confidential between me and the moderator team? That is, do moderators reserve the right to share communications to and from members with other moderators if they need advice and support in coming to a moderational decision?


In the context of reporting a post or a user (which is what section 2.4. deals with) I'd say between you and the moderator team. I suppose someone could ask to remain anonymous, though.

If it's a regular PM between you and me or any other user, I guess common sense applies i.e. you probably should ask the other person first.

linguoboy wrote:And is this mutual? That is, am I not allowed to share the contents of anything I communicate to the moderators with anyone else, either on the board or off?


The rationale here is to protect users by not allowing moderators to reveal information they were told because of their role in the forum. If you're the one doing the revealing, I don't see any problem.

linguoboy wrote:Does confidentiality apply only to the contents of a communication or also to the fact that any communication took place?


I'd say both

linguoboy wrote:Under what conditions can confidentiality be broken without the consent of the other person? If, for instance, one party accused the other of being abusive, how would that be adjudicated?


Being abusive in the context of reporting something? I'm not really sure what you mean here.

I'd appreciate the help of an English native speaker when it comes to putting all this into a less ambiguous wording in the forum policy :P
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Salajane » 2018-03-10, 11:35

1.5 If you haven’t made any posts from your account and it's older than 6 months, your account may be deleted in an account purge, without your consent.

Did this account purge happen recently?
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-10, 12:13

Irusia wrote:
1.5 If you haven’t made any posts from your account and it's older than 6 months, your account may be deleted in an account purge, without your consent.

Did this account purge happen recently?


Sort of. I'm in the middle of doing some maintenance cleaning of the database at the moment. Mostly users who a) never activated their account b) never logged in after registering c) have 0 posts and haven't logged in several years

I also deleted orphaned attachments and reorganised the database a bit. Hopefully this will free some space and make everything run smoother.

Regular users shouldn't be affected in any way.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-03-30, 9:14

I had overlooked this post before, so here goes...

Naava wrote: I've tried to read the map on the forum policy thread but... does anyone else think the picture is confusing? I feel like there's arrows everywhere. :?


Yes and that's part of the reason why we probably need to change it to something simpler ;) I think a couple of people suggested something like a "three strikes and you're out" system that would be both easier to understand and keep track of.

Naava wrote:I have a few questions about the ban policy, too.

1st: Is there any time limit for how long afterwards you can give penalties? If someone found out now that I broke the rules ten years ago, would I be punished for it today? This is hypothetical, I didn't even know about Unilang in 2008. :P


I don't think there's any written rule about that, but no, you wouldn't be punished for something you did ten years ago (or even a month ago). That has been the praxis so far. It can be written down in the new forum policy, though.

Naava wrote:2nd: "You may receive a number of PMs from administrators or global mods, or blanket reminders in threads, before an official reminder is given, depending on the infraction and severity."

Should there be some rules for this, too? Now it sounds like it's up to the mods whether they care to warn you that you're breaking the rules before giving the official warning. That "depending on the infraction and severity" doesn't tell much about when you'll get unofficial warnings and when you'll get the real warning.


Yeah, that' pretty discretionary. We're talking, for instance, about using the moderator tag, like so:

admin

This is an example warning


New users (that still don't know very well how the forum works) are more likely to get "unofficial" reminders, though.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby JackFrost » 2018-03-31, 2:55

Luís wrote:I had overlooked this post before, so here goes...

Naava wrote: I've tried to read the map on the forum policy thread but... does anyone else think the picture is confusing? I feel like there's arrows everywhere. :?


Yes and that's part of the reason why we probably need to change it to something simpler ;) I think a couple of people suggested something like a "three strikes and you're out" system that would be both easier to understand and keep track of.

Honestly, Luís. We need to toss that chart out. I've never been a fan of it because it's just complicated for no good reason. Yet, I've never complained about it as I rarely had to refer myself to it to make sure I wouldn't screw up.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-04-14, 15:16

Not sure if it's too late but can we add a rule that says all languages should be written with their conventional orthography (where one exists)? Y'know, just to make sure that what happened a few months ago won't happen again... Of course the rule wouldn't apply:

- to isolated spelling mistakes
- when someone is butchering the spelling to denote sarcasm
- when someone is giving examples of a reformed spelling (e.g: <<I would spell "debt" as "det">>)

Also, everybody should have the right to create their own thread where they can use a non-conventional orthography.

What d'ya think?

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-04-14, 23:29

IpseDixit wrote:Not sure if it's too late

I don't think so. This is supposed to be a very long discussion from what I understand, and it began less than two months ago.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby TheStrayCat » 2018-04-15, 0:32

IpseDixit wrote:Not sure if it's too late but can we add a rule that says all languages should be written with their conventional orthography (where one exists)? Y'know, just to make sure that what happened a few months ago won't happen again... Of course the rule wouldn't apply:

- to isolated spelling mistakes
- when someone is butchering the spelling to denote sarcasm
- when someone is giving examples of a reformed spelling (e.g: <<I would spell "debt" as "det">>)

Also, everybody should have the right to create their own thread where they can use a non-conventional orthography.

What d'ya think?


I don't know what happened a few months ago, but wouldn't most of such cases fall under the trolling rule?

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-04-15, 10:11

TheStrayCat wrote:I don't know what happened a few months ago


So basically this guy came along and saw fit to write his posts using a whacky reformed spelling of his own creation. After a while the admins intervened because it was getting very annoying and asked him to stop, which he did. He now only writes in his own thread.

I was thinking it would be easier to deal with this kind of misbehavior if we had a clearly stated rule in the forum policy. And yeah, I know this is something that doesn't happen every day but prevention is better than the cure.

but wouldn't most of such cases fall under the trolling rule?


I think you totally misunderstood what I wrote. The cases which I listed are those ones where I think the rule that I'm proposing should not apply. So no, I really hope that sarcasm and a mere spelling reform proposal don't fall under the trolling rule.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby TheStrayCat » 2018-04-15, 19:02

IpseDixit wrote:
I think you totally misunderstood what I wrote. The cases which I listed are those ones where I think the rule that I'm proposing should not apply. So no, I really hope that sarcasm and a mere spelling reform proposal don't fall under the trolling rule.

Of course by "those cases" I meant the bad-faith cases that do not fall under the exceptions you gave. I'm sorry if my post was confusing.

IpseDixit wrote:I was thinking it would be easier to deal with this kind of misbehavior if we had a clearly stated rule in the forum policy. And yeah, I know this is something that doesn't happen every day but prevention is better than the cure.

Wouldn't such a rule be too specific for the general policy? What I mean is, for someone who wants to troll or deliberately irritate others without directly violating the rules it wouldn't take a lot of ingenuity to find a way around no matter how detailed we make the policy. There are no rules prohibiting, for example, inappropriate use of fonts, numerous pictures in forum posts, abusing text colors in posts, mixing different languages for no apparent reason, and so on and so forth. Sometimes using common sense can be a good substitute for trying to include any theoretically possible bad thing in the policy.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-04-15, 21:31

TheStrayCat wrote:Of course by "those cases" I meant the bad-faith cases that do not fall under the exceptions you gave. I'm sorry if my post was confusing.

To be fair, I don't think the case in question happened in bad faith. He just didn't see how irritating it was for others.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-04-15, 21:59

kevin wrote:
TheStrayCat wrote:Of course by "those cases" I meant the bad-faith cases that do not fall under the exceptions you gave. I'm sorry if my post was confusing.

To be fair, I don't think the case in question happened in bad faith. He just didn't see how irritating it was for others.


Agreed.

@TheStrayCat, you seem to assume that I'm talking about trolls but I'm really not, for example this guy, as kevin says, was not in bad faith or trying to irritate anyone intentionally. He genuinely thought there was nothing wrong with writing with his own orthography (or at least I was under this impression).

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby TheStrayCat » 2018-04-15, 23:16

Okay, I just found the user and it looks like he didn't have any bad intention. Then maybe we can handle further cases just like this one: if a user demonstrates behavior that is seen as annoying by a significant number of users, we explain to them why, and if they knowingly persist, they get officially warned or blocked for trolling?

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Ashucky » 2018-04-16, 7:16

Perhaps rather than than having it as a hard rule it could be more of a guideline? So instead of "do not post in a non-standard orthography", it could be "it is recommended that posts be written in standard or conventional orthographies", and any cases with non-standard orthographies could then be dealt with individually, either by admins or language moderators if it happens in a language specific subforum.

Otherwise I don't think it's something that should really be restricted, and like TheStrayCat said, any further cases can simply be handled the same way the previous one was.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-04-16, 18:04

Ashucky wrote:Perhaps rather than than having it as a hard rule it could be more of a guideline? So instead of "do not post in a non-standard orthography", it could be "it is recommended that posts be written in standard or conventional orthographies", and any cases with non-standard orthographies could then be dealt with individually, either by admins or language moderators if it happens in a language specific subforum.

I agree. And I'd be in favour of expanding that statement with an explanation to the effect that a lot of users here are learners for whom nonstandard spellings would be confusing or worse. (I think in the specific case under discussion, the mods did include such an explanation in their request, but I'm not certain about that.)

I actually use nonstandard spellings here fairly regularly when writing Irish or (Cajun) French. But I guess because these are based in dialect usage, they don't raise people's hackles in the same way.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-04-16, 18:16

linguoboy wrote:I actually use nonstandard spellings here fairly regularly when writing Irish or (Cajun) French. But I guess because these are based in dialect usage, they don't raise people's hackles in the same way.

Well, you write (or at least make an honest effort to write) Irish and French in ways that native speakers actually write them themselves, right? I think that's a pretty important difference.


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