I think we should make a distinction between spammers (most of them are not even real users, but rather bots) and regular users. We ban a few of the former everyday and I don't see any reason to change that.
So, here's my opinion on every single point of the current policy:
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.
Seems reasonable, although I'd probably get rid of the part that says "and there will be consequences".
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.
This has been working fine so far and all changes are usually approved as far as I can remmber. The time limit is there to avoid users changing their name every other week.
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 email@example.com
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.
No issues here.
1.5 If you haven’t made any posts from your account and it's older than 2 months, your account may be deleted in an account purge, without your consent.
I don't think anyone has cleaned up the database in a long time, but if that happens, then it makes sense that users with zero posts who haven't logged on in a long time are probably the first to go. Maybe the time can be increased to 6 months or something like that.
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.
No issues here. Maybe the 6 month period can be changed, but I suppose it's there to avoid people from making us go through the account deactivation process only for them to change their minds the next day.
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.
I'd say this is just common sense.
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.
In principle, I agree with this, but of course the whole thing is highly subjective. However, a simple majority of mods is needed for any action to be taken. How can we make the system more impartial?
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.
• 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.
• 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.
I think this is fine as well.
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.
No issue here, these are very general guidelines that make the forum more organized but not following them is not that big of a deal.
• 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]”.
This is serious stuff, though.
• 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.
This should stay, for obvious reasons.
• 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
• 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
I think most of these restrictions are for legal reasons, but I'm open to hearing other people's opinions.
4.8 Editing posts
• Correcting typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors.
• Clarifications of what you meant, before too many have answered.4.8.2
• 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 should these rules be continuously broken or ignored.
Doesn't seem problematic to me.
• 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
• 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.
• Forwarding a private message to the forum administrators and global moderators if a rule violation is suspected.5.3
• Posting any private message on the forum without expressed consent by the author.
Regarding the ban policy, it's a pretty diagram but it's probably too complex and inadequate for the current level of activity of the forum.
I'd be in favor of a simpler system everyone can remember and understand (a "three strikes and you're out" kind of thing)
Regarding the changes, I can't speak for other mods, but I'd be in favor of submitting the final draft to a voting (anonymous Yes/No forum poll).