Most discussion forums eventually find that they need to have some guidelines or rules. But if there are too many rules, few will read them. Therefore there is a quest for a concise, readable, yet effective set of rules.

Here are some examples of discussion forum guidelines (not all of these are concise, readable, and effective):

moderation guidelines

Related to this topic are moderation guidelines.

" a) Sure, there’s freedom of speech. Anyone who wants it can go start their own blog. On Yog’s board, Yog’s whim is law. b) Yog is an ancient ghod of chaos and evil. And he doesn’t like people very much. c) Moderation is a subjective art, and the moderator is always right. d) The moderator may have minions. They need to have a private area where they keep the buckets of Thorazine and the cold-frosty bottles of cow snot. e) The minions speak with the voice of Yog. Yog backs his minions up. f) There is always someone awake, and in charge, when Yog isn’t around in person. The minions know who the Duty Yog is. g) If someone starts off as a spammer, troll, or flamer, he is a spammer, troll, or flamer forever and is liable to instant deletion/banning with no recourse and no appeal. h) If the moderator ever needs inspiration, he can re-read Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and recall that the posters are sinners and he is Ghod. i) Rules? In a knife fight? Yog and his minions have standards, but they don’t need to tell the posters, lest some of them attempt to game the system. Attempting to game the system is, all on its own, a deletable offense. j) ALL CAPS posts are deleted on sight, unread. Mostly ALL CAPS POSTS are ALL CAPS. k) Anyone who doesn’t space after punctuation marks is insane, and can be deleted/banned on sight. l) Personal attacks against Yog and his minions are ignored. Personal attacks against anyone else are deletable on sight. " -- (todo, read comments on that post)


other random examples that didn't make it into the main list above:


" October 4, 1957 Moderation, community, and rules I’ve added since 2005 Posted by Teresa at 12:00 AM * 8 comments

Virtual Panel Participation, January 27, 2005:

Patrick and I were invited to be on a panel called “Spammers, Trolls and Stalkers: The Pandora’s Box of Community,” at the 2005 South-by-Southwest conference. (The shorter Jay Lake panel description: Virtual community, good. Trolls, bad. Anonymity, enabling. Whither the internet? Only time will tell.) Since we couldn’t attend, I posted my panel remarks on Making Light.

It is an inescapable truth that for some people, the most interesting way to participate in online discourse is to kick holes in the conversation. Others have such a sense of entitlement that they think having an opinion means the rest of us are obliged to listen to it. Others clearly enjoy dishing out verbal abuse, and look for venues that will allow them to do so. And so on and so forth; there’s an entire bestiary of trolls.

Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space:

1. There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting your front yard to automatically turn itself into a garden.

2. Once you have a well-established online conversation space, with enough regulars to explain the local mores to newcomers, they’ll do a lot of the policing themselves.

3. You own the space. You host the conversation. You don’t own the community. Respect their needs.

4. Message persistence rewards people who write good comments.

5. Over-specific rules are an invitation to people who get off on gaming the system.

6. Civil speech and impassioned speech are not opposed and mutually exclusive sets. Being interesting trumps any amount of conventional politeness.

7. Things to cherish: Your regulars. A sense of community. Real expertise. Genuine engagement with the subject under discussion. Outstanding performances. Helping others. Cooperation in maintenance of a good conversation. Taking the time to teach newbies the ropes.

All these things should be rewarded with your attention and praise. And if you get a particularly good comment, consider adding it to the original post.

8. Grant more lenience to participants who are only part-time jerks, as long as they’re valuable the rest of the time.

9. If you judge that a post is offensive, upsetting, or just plain unpleasant, it’s important to get rid of it, or at least make it hard to read. Do it as quickly as possible. There’s no more useless advice than to tell people to just ignore such things. We can’t. We automatically read what falls under our eyes.

10. Another important rule: You can let one jeering, unpleasant jerk hang around for a while, but the minute you get two or more of them egging each other on, they both have to go, and all their recent messages with them. There are others like them prowling the net, looking for just that kind of situation. More of them will turn up, and they’ll encourage each other to behave more and more outrageously. Kill them quickly and have no regrets.

11. You can’t automate intelligence. In theory, systems like Slashdot’s ought to work better than they do. Maintaining a conversation is a task for human beings. (Which doesn’t mean automated moderator tools are a bad thing. They’re swell. I want more.)

12. Disemvowelling works. Consider it.

13. If someone you’ve smacked down comes back and behaves, forgive and forget their earlier gaffes. You’re acting in the service of civility, not abstract justice.

Further theses for the door, November 06, 2010:

14. Not every site is a natural for conversation and community, and not every site that tries to attract it gets it. Some sites that do succeed in attracting it are surprised to discover that online forums need maintenance, and dismayed by the uninhibited behavior of the participants.

What to do? For starters, don’t throw a party you aren’t going to attend. If you can’t imagine talking to people who hang out in online forums, don’t invite them to hang out in yours. And if you ask for feedback and suggestions, don’t be surprised if you get it.

15. Every forum that has developed great conversations and great community (the WELL, Ars Technica, Daily Kos) is firmly moderated. Apparently reader/commenters like the rule of law, or more precisely prefer sites that enforce it. This should come as a shock to no one. If people really wanted to settle all their online disagreements via “open public debate,” they’d still be hanging out on Usenet.*

16. Maintaining online civility is user-friendly. A great deal more interesting conversation has been lost to trolls and general unpleasantness than has ever been lost to moderator interventions.

17. Three non-negotiable site needs that make human moderators necessary:

    — a. Killing hardcore trolls. A cohesive and self-aware online community can argue with trolls and try to run them off, but that quickly becomes exhausting. Also, while it’s going on it’ll dominate site conversation, and be alienating and offputting to users you’d rather keep. On the other hand, a moderator can block or ban most trolls within minutes.

They’re essential, they require a human moderator, and a community of unempowered base-level users can’t deal with them.

18. Rule Sets

19. Sitegeist: “Fail fast, fail cheap, fail often” is not a workable approach to community management. Users are always evolving an overall sense of the site and its purposes, habits, quirks, and rules. If you mess with that too often and too arbitrarily, you’ll break their sense of the site, and their emotional connection to it.

20. Good comments are attracted by high perceived value. People don’t like feeling that their time, effort, caring, and creativity are being wasted. If they’re going to go to the trouble of writing smart, well-informed comments, they want them to be read by smart, well-informed people. They won’t engage with a community and its conversation if they think that at any moment it might get trashed by random vandals.

21. Site design:

22. Not all sites are or should be communities.

23. “Real” names encourage good behavior because their owners are invested in them, not because of their ontological status.

24. The most accurate user profile is the full text and history of their participation on the site. Plus their IP address.

25. Building from zero:

26. Communicating with users in private email:

27. Moderators are a type, and can recognize each other. I don’t know what to make of this, but it’s true.

28. Moderation isn’t free. Real people have to give it consistent (possibly constant) attention, and take consistent, appropriate action. That’s a lot of reading and writing and thinking. The fact that in the past it’s often been done by volunteers doesn’t mean it’s trivial or valueless, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it can be taken for granted.

29. Big sites need muscular moderation, in terms of both man hours and moderation tools.

30. The idea that moderators should be invisible non-participants, and should intervene as unobtrusively as possible, is an inappropriate import from the style of moderation used in public panel discussions. It doesn’t apply to online forums. Insisting that it’s the only right and proper moderation style is a sure sign that the person speaking has no idea what they’re talking about.

31. A moderator who isn’t interested in the conversation for its own sake will be slow to notice when it’s turning sour.

32. Volunteer moderators arise from the community, and are active participants in it. They defend it because they value it. Other users accept their authority because they know them.

33. Be wary of potential volunteers whose chief desire is to run things, and who don’t understand that power is a momentary role in events, not a possession or a state of being. You want the ones who understand that being in charge is 95% responsibility.

34. If your site gets a lot of conversation, has no resources to spare, and is attracting flamers and trolls, the only cheap automated mechanism I know of that’s effective is to require site registrations to post comments, and automatically delay registration confirmation by 6 - 24 hours. This won’t keep out all the nogoodniks, but it will reduce their numbers considerably, limit their maneuverability, and help you keep track of them.

35. To the extent that I bear any responsibility for the idea that “community moderation” is a cheap cure-all for everyone’s moderation and community management needs, I most heartily repent.

36. Users take their cues from what they see when they come to the site.

A little intervention, early on, does more than a lot of intervention after things have blown up.

Intervention doesn’t just dissuade the culprit you’re working on. It also dissuades the potential culprits who are watching.

There are always people who’ll misbehave no matter what, and people who’ll misbehave the minute your back is turned. There are always people who’ll behave because it’s right, and people who’ll behave because it’s prudent. And then there’s the majority that’s in between. If they see virtue praised and rewarded, they’ll aspire to it. If they see misbehavior unpunished, they’ll figure that anyone who follows the rules is a chump or a goody-goody, and venture upon some misbehavior of their own.

Working notes and unincorporated bits

    history is identity, and vice-versa.
    Plebiscite vs. Editorial models of comment value. Web 1.0 vs. 2.0.
    What makes a pile-on, how they work.
    A word on a page continually shouts its own name.
    Does community and online discourse pay off? In terms of site profitability, not much. Sometimes. Good on yer if you can make it work. It pays off like building schools and roads pays off.
    Live Journal and Facebook, for all their drawbacks, allow their users some control of their conversational space. Zillions of people use them. There’s a lesson in that.
    We’re primates. We learn by watching each other.
    Bad actors have less variability.
    Sense of investment and ownership. Having a stake in the site. The more committed your community is to your site, the more they think they own it. They’re not wrong, or shouldn’t be. You can make a new site a lot faster than they can make a new community.
    1:10:100:10000:Jo Walton.
    Awards and badges only work if your regulars agree with them.
    Odd strategies:
        I am troubled by the apparent gender bias of trolls. However, I’m not so troubled by it that I’m going to ignore it.
        Healthy communities develop games or other favorite amusements.
        Civility is the original open-source interface that everyone can use.
        If users are misusing post count features, you’ve been emphasizing the wrong things.
        Sockpuppets. Authors and academics are forever imagining they’re the first ones to think of it.
        Concern Trolls.
        Talking pointers.
    Practices that raise or lower perceived value
    R Strong moderation. This forum is worth the labor it takes to maintain it.
    R Cleaning up trash text, usually comment spam. ” ” keep it clean.
    N Tolerance. One person’s laudable tolerance is another’s excessive lenience.
    R Long-term regulars. This place is worth coming back to.
    R Community moderation. It’s not a train station. It’s a place with known rules which can be learned. There are interpersonal mores.
    R Respecting the community. The community has clout and commands respect. You can be part of it.
    L penalizing backseat moderation. “only we hand out honor” “you have no social weight or authority”
    L Ignoring, disrespecting, or mistreating the community. It must not be worth anything.
    L Publicly penalizing users for no discernible reason.
    R Goodness brought from elsewhere by other users
    L Badly written rules. It’s tacky, like old cheap wallpaper.
    L Arbitrarily shutting down threads before their time
    L Scolding or penalizing users for posting to old threads
    L Accusing users of posting to old threads to bring them to the top of the page
    L Scolding or penalizing users for attracting attention to themselves
    L Making it difficult to navigate, find, and browse
    L Bugs that cause comment posting or site registration to fail, esp. after the user has worked on it
    L Skimping on necessary services
    L Trashing community-built structures or message bases
    L Allowing bad moderation practices “we don’t care if some officious prick mistreats you”
    L Allowing ignorant and inept moderation “we don’t care who runs this place”
    L Hiring dweebs and idiots to run your organization’s site. They’re your voice, and they’re saying stupid things.
    L Failing to discipline users who consistently skirt the edges
    L Making a big deal out of your ownership of the site if you don’t hang out there: “someday this will go away”
    L Fraudulently selling the individuals or the community or information about them
    L Deleting old conversations
    L Failing to maintain old conversations
    L Making old conversations hard to access
    N Keeping or deleting messages at the user’s request
    L Making empty threats, especially legal ones
    L Exceeding your legal rights
    L Chopping the conversation into short pages loaded with ads: “We’re selling you by the yard”
    R Promoting good comments
    R Being polite to your readers
    L Referring to your readers as computer geeks, propellerheads, internet addicts, or people who have nowhere better to go.
    L Moderating behavior without regard to content or context
    R Explaining.
    L Letting trollishness and gratuitous nastiness remain on the page
    R Removing worthless trolling and nastiness. Showing good judgement.
    R Personalized public correction that works
    L Letting users game automated moderation systems
    R Seeing misbehaving users turn into well-behaved regulars
    R Well-judged public forgiveness
    R Seeing regulars switch in and out of moderation roles
    L Allowing concern trolls, debate trolls, or other misbehaved species to take over and trash a lively conversation
    R Subtly shifting the rules to defend or maintain an outstanding conversation
    L Allowing participants to be mocked for their contributions
    L Shutting down what had been an excellent thread because some unpleasantness broke out.
    L Mass deletions because some users have misbehaved, or are alleged to have done so.
    L Deleting message bases without giving users an opportunity to collect their writing.
    L Displaying messages one at a time.
    L Making it impossible to find concatenated versions of users’ public contributions.
    L Using a generic rule set that’s badly suited to the site
    R Site-specific rules that make sense
    R Making the user feel ill at ease, like they don’t know what’s going on
    R Making the user feel left out
    R Failing to leave out zero-value contributions
    N Games
    R Poetry
    L Pile-ons
    L Rules made hastily and without thought in the wake of dust-ups
    R A ghodlike moderator who seems to be fair and understandable
    L A ghodlike moderator who is actively unfair, or incomprehensible
    L Frequent and/or contradictory rule changes “You don’t know what you’re doing”
    R Rules evolving as part of comprehensible process
    R Special rules for special events “You really know what you’re doing”
    L Whiny, dissatisfied tone
    L Frequent anger
    R Happiness, real laughter, being emotionally moved, shared sorrow, small personal interactions, real help
    L Failure to acknowledge invasions or other site events
    R Acknowledging site events; community helping to cope with them.
    L Threading: “your contribution isn’t valuable to the conversation as a whole”
    L Bottom-to-top message order: any random comment is more valuable than the conversation
    L Zillions of forum topics with a handful of messages in each: “no one will read what you write here”
    R Good site navigation mechanisms: “We expect that people will want to go back and find comments posted here”
    L Site navigation that makes it hard to go back to a thread: “conversation and community aren’t that important”
    L Making it difficult or impossible to link to a specific comment: “You’re yard goods. No one will care.”
    L No decent search mechanisms: “interest in these comments will quickly wane”
    L No way to find all of a user’s comments: “identity and history don’t matter”
    L Old comment threads full of spam: “this is a deserted subdivision”
    L New threads full of spam: “We aren’t bothering to block it.”
    R New comments in old threads: “Your comments will still be read and discussed in the future.”
    R Packed page layouts. The measure of an interesting page is whether you can see something interesting at that moment. The more you can see at once, the better the chance that some portion of it is interesting.
    R Sleek, clear, unobtrusive layout and design, which continually broadcasts “This is a cool place maintained by smart people who devote real resources to it.”
    L Bad design, fugly design, hard to read layouts, advertising being too obviously privileged.
    L Headlines and entry titles that are incomprehensible on their own. That’s all you see in RSS and archives.
    L Not enough space for extended text because the page is crowded with site advertisements.
    L Badly formatted text obviously meant for some other site.
    R “Related item” lists that are genuinely helpful and interesting.
    L Forum software where the user info, icons, badges, etc. eats 40% of the space, and forces the conversation to be spread across too much space.
    L Too much and too many Digg/Reddit/Facebook/etc. link bits: “If you like something here, take it elsewhere.”
    L “Join the community” messages where there is no community, and registration mechanisms that too urgently want you to put up a personal profile and link to other sites.
    R People using their real names.
    R Users obviously knowing each other.
    R Users who’ve been here a long time.
    R More latitude and privilege being given to regulars and well-known participants.
    L Deleting a user’s message base, points, honors, awards, or other site indices.
    L “click here to update your status on multiple social networks at once!”
    L Cues that this site isn’t intended for you.
    R Good writing, good information, good comments, good community
    L One bad entry. Readers are merciless.
    R Links to good, interesting, valuable, pertinent sites
    L Automated context links
    L Trashy advertising
    L Google advertising for trashy, fraudulent, or otherwise objectionable entities
    L Broken advertising
    L Advertising that interferes with reading
    L Importunate site pop-ups
    R high-end advertising
    R site-specific advertising
    R high-end site-specific advertising
    R bloggers and other site owners participating in conversations
    R good comments being promoted
    R other commenters being made to look smart
    R comment areas that are part of the main pages, not hived off to another area
    R comments in the same typeface as the site’s main pages
    R Commenter identifications at the start of their comments “your comment is important; you are more important”
    L Moderators dealing ineffectually with trolls and vandals
    R partially disemvowelled comments, demonstrating fine judgement
    L public arguments about who did what in email, or revealed stuff from email
    L comments about material that has disappeared without any acknowledgement
    L Moderators who aren’t. Not everyone is a born moderator, but they can feel the difference.
    L Wimpy, overwhelmed moderation mechanisms on a large site
    L Overworked moderators coming in way too late.
    R Moderators who are part of the conversation: “this is something you’re a part of, not a product you consume”
    R Other participants following moderators’ lead
    L Moderators who only appear when there’s trouble
    L Moderators who seem clueless about what’s been going on
    L Earless scolds
    L Fruit punch committee minions
    L completely anonymous moderation: “god knows who’s running this place”
    L Moderators publicly making slighting remarks about the forum
    R Moderators keeping their temper when provoked
    N Brief incursions by flying monkeys: “This site is worth attacking.”
    L Flying monkeys making a hash of things: “Why should I invest my writing here?”
    N Some difficulty registering an account, as long as it succeeds in the end.
    N Moderation mechanisms that only convey negatives
    L Moderation mechanisms the regulars won’t use, but bad actors will
    L Intervention long after the situation has blown up
    R A well-made forum the first time they visit.
    R Moderators teaching by example.
    L Moderators breaking the site rules.
    R Being able to watch a problem arise and be satisfactorily dealt with
    R Watching other users’ good behavior that they learned from the moderators
    L Pile-ons.
    L The three words you can’t say
    R A sense of investment, having a stake in the site
    R other users applauding when someone is honored
    L incomprehensible badges and point systems
    L rating systems that don’t find excellence
    L “Bozo” moderation tools. They falsify the site experience. They raise the question of why the site owners can’t just deal with the guy. And the moment you imagine yourself being the one bozo’d, you feel insecure about the site.
    R Site-specific tools. Double points for site-specific user tools.
    L Audience swiping.
    L Collecting on debts not owed.
    L Tolerating users who, no matter how untrollish they sound, always disrupt the conversation and turn the focus on them.
    N Hapless souls. Always difficult. Be kind, but be firm, but be kind.
    R Troll suppression. It doesn’t validate the troll. It validates the people whose conversations aren’t trashed.
    L Misused post count or rating features. These aren’t the cool kids; these are obsessive geeks.
    L Tolerating sockpuppets. Even if users can’t recognize them for what they are, they lower the tone of the joint.
    L Talking pointers. Again, they lower the tone of the joint.

Welcome to Making Light's comments section. Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Moderation, community, and rules I've added since 2005:

  1. 1 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 01:26 PM:
    R Making the user feel ill at ease, like they don’t know what’s going on
    R Making the user feel left out
    R Failing to leave out zero-value contributions

Did you mean "L" here?

  1. 2 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 06:55 PM:

The date at the top of this post is "October 4, 1957." Were poorly-moderated blogs an issue for many people in 1957?

  1. 3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2011, 07:41 PM:

Hey, they were a problem back in the days of early fanzines (aka The Very Slow Internet). Yeah, there were problems then -- they just didn't know how big they could grow.

And get off my lawn, you new kids! (harumphs, waves cane)

" --


Modular blogger code of conduct proposal

" We present this Blogger Code of Conduct to promote personal expression and constructive conversation. We believe open conversation need not lack civility.


Create your own code by selecting the modules you want:

    Responsibility for our own words
    Nothing we wouldn't say in person
    Connect privately first
    Take action against attacks
    a) No anonymous comments OR b) No pseudonymous comments
    Ignore the trolls
    Encourage enforcement of terms of service
    Keep our sources private
    Discretion to delete comments
    Do no harm
    Think twice - post once 


" Responsibility for our own words ...


 To the extent there is any inconsistency between the Terms of Use and this Code of Conduct, the Terms of Use shall take precedence. You agree that we may modify terms of this agreement from time to time at our sole discretion, which we will do by updating this page. If you do not agree with the terms below, you should stop using our site immediately.






 Please do not give you are password to anyone else. Also don’tleave you arelogin forlong time andwhenyoufinishusedon’t forget to sign out .


 You will show courtesy and good will towards other members and users. 
  2. You will not post content that is offensive to our community, such as photos, videos, messages, or events that promote racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual. 
  3. You will not harass or advocate harassment of another person, such as by sending inappropriate messages, stalking, or posting inappropriate comments. 
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  6. You will not use the site to obtain personally identifiable information, or to solicit, sell, or promote to any member inappropriately. 
  7. You will not impersonate another member, celebrity, or otherwise falsely represent yourself. We appreciate members that are proud of who they are at all times.
  8. You will not copy or reuse other members' content, such as their photos or videos, without their permission. 
  9. You will not engage in "friend spam" (amassing a large number of contacts on the site for promotional purposes or personal gain). 
  10. You will not create "trolling" posts (deliberately posting false or provocative information in order to elicit responses from people who would not respond if they knew the motivation behind the post). 
   We will review and may act immediately upon any complaints from our members. We reserve the right to investigate and take appropriate legal action, in our sole discretion, against anyone who violates these terms.

Harmful Conduct

 Although as an online service provider, we are not responsible for the conduct of our users, we want AMYC to be a safe place on the internet. Therefore, in using AMYC, you may not:



" We take responsibility for our own words and reserve the right to restrict comments on our blog that do not conform to our standards.

We are committed to the "Civility Enforced" standard: we strive to post high quality, acceptable content, and we will delete unacceptable comments.

We define unacceptable comments as anything included (but not limited to) or linked to that:

    is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
    is libelous or knowingly false
    infringes upon any copyright, trademark or trade secret of any third party. (If you quote or excerpt someone's content, it is your responsibility to provide proper attribution to the original author. For a clear definition of proper attribution and fair use, please see The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers.)
    violates an obligation of confidentiality
    violates the privacy of others 

We define and determine what is "unacceptable content" on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. " (empty, was:)

" We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.

Unless we are trying to protect a confidential source, in which case, we may omit certain private details or otherwise obfuscate the source of the information.

Unless in real life you would face physical intimidation, whereas online you could avoid it. There is a basic understanding for freedom as well -- your right to swing your fist ends where someone else's nose begins. We must be as responsible and civil we are in the real world. And for criminals in virtual world, well that's a real law enforcement issue. But as civilised citizens we should follow some rules. " (empty)

" If tensions escalate, we will connect privately before we respond publicly.

When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the internet, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved--or find an intermediary who can do so--before we publish any posts or comments about the issue. Bloggers are encouraged to engage in online mediation of unresolved disputes. will provide mediators. " (empty)

" When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we will take considered action.

When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we'll tell them so (privately, if possible) and ask them to publicly make amends, unless it is considered that doing so will only inflame or worsen the situation. If those published comments could be construed as a threat or of an illegal nature, and the perpetrator doesn't withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with local law enforcement regarding those comments and/or postings.

Comments or posts that are deemed offensive will result in a request - private, if possible - that the commenter or poster make public amends, if practical. If those published comments could reasonably be viewed as illegal (threat or otherwise), we will report the comments and commenter to police.

This is very important to build a civil online society where people feel free and protected as we feel in real world by our neighbours. While the doctrine of 'agree to disagree' applies, we must build a trust among each other. " (empty)

" We do not allow anonymous comments

We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name. " (empty)

" We do not allow pseudonymous comments, but will allow anonymous ones.

We require commenters to supply a valid email address or OpenID? before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves as anonymous, rather than use their real name, which is the difference between pseudonymous and anonymous. We can always trace someone pseudonym. " (empty)

" We ignore the trolls.

We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don't veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them -- "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. (George Bernard Shaw)" Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them. " (empty)

" We encourage blog hosts to enforce more vigorously their terms of service.

When bloggers engage in such flagrantly abusive behavior as creating impersonating sites to harass other bloggers the host of the abuser blog should take responsibility for its clients' behavior. " (empty)

" We reserve the right to keep our sources private

We will only divulge such information upon order of the court. " (almost empty)

" Discretion to delete comments

While it is very important for blog owner to take responsibility for what appears on that blog, the blog owner has sole discretion for determining whether a particular comment is unacceptable. "

" Do not incite violence or attempt to force a point of view on someone.

Control strong language like hate.

Remain civil at all times even when you disagree with someone.

Remember you are communicating with a human. Behave as you would in normal society. "

was: " Do no harm

A blogger must not use his or her blog to willfully cause harm. A blogger must consider the impact of his or her actions on others. A blogger must not send his or her audience to harass other bloggers or people. " (empty)


the first draft was :

" We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.

    1. We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.
    We are committed to the "Civility Enforced" standard: we will not post unacceptable content, and we'll delete comments that contain it.
    We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
    - is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
    - is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
    - infringes upon a copyright or trademark
    - violates an obligation of confidentiality
    - violates the privacy of others
    We define and determine what is "unacceptable content" on a case-by-case basis, and our definitions are not limited to this list. If we delete a comment or link, we will say so and explain why. [We reserve the right to change these standards at any time with no notice.]
    2. We won't say anything online that we wouldn't say in person.
    3. We connect privately before we respond publicly.
    When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved--or find an intermediary who can do so--before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.
    4. When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action.
    When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we'll tell them so (privately, if possible--see above) and ask them to publicly make amends.
    If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn't withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.
    5. We do not allow anonymous comments.
    We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves with an alias, rather than their real name.
    6. We ignore the trolls.
    We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don't veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them--"Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it." Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them.

anythinggoes2.jpg We also decided we needed an "anything goes" badge for sites that want to warn possible commenters that they are entering a free-for-all zone. The text to accompany that badge might go something like this:

    This is an open, uncensored forum. We are not responsible for the comments of any poster, and when discussions get heated, crude language, insults and other "off color" comments may be encountered. Participate in this site at your own risk.


other discussion:

" The "code of conduct" needs to be much more modular

Where we fell down, apart from the negative framing given by the Sheriff's badge, is the lack of granularity in the proposed assertions and associated images. There are actually several different values that a site might or might not want to express. For example, a site aspiring to a higher level of journalistic integrity might want a logo that linked to a statement of their fact checking policy; a site that allows anonymity for good reasons might want a logo that links to their commitment to protecting the identity of posters; a site that wants to enforce civility might want to say so. The advantage of a widely agreed-on set of "rules of engagement" with associated logos is that people don't have to read someone's "terms of service" to understand what the policy is on a given blog. It's conveyed by shorthand via a symbol. "


" John at librarything wrote:

    "One technical suggestion, employed by my employer: letting users flag inappropriate comments, which then become click-to-see. This lowers the visibility of the trolls, without censoring them. For an example, see this thread:
    Message 5 is no longer immediately visible, because it was flagged by a certain number of users as inappropriate. But it can still be seen, if you want to, by clicking on the 'show' link. It's a compromise, but perhaps a practical one.
    Similarly, it might help the situation to let users configure whether or not they want to see flagged content, and set the default for flagged content to some sort of reduced visibility.

I really like this, as it addresses one of the biggest hesitations I personally have about deleting comments, namely that deleting part of a conversation can make it impossible to reconstruct what really went on. And there have also been problems in the past with blog owners selectively editing conversations to present themselves in the best possible light. A mechanism that preserves comments while hiding them "in the back room" so to speak would seem to me to be a really useful tool. "

apparently disemvoweling is also good


" Constructive Anonymity vs. Drive-by Anonymity

Another place where we clearly erred in the first draft is in the suggestion that anonymity should be forbidden, as there are most certainly contexts where anonymity is incredibly valuable. (Some that come to mind include whistleblowing, political dissent, or even general discussion where someone might not want to confuse their personal opinions of those of an organization to which they belong. As one commenter remarked, it might even be useful for a shy person to whom anonymity gives a bit of courage.)

That being said, there is a strong connection between "drive-by anonymity" and lack of civility. Jaron Lanier just sent me a pointer to a thoughtful article he wrote for Discover Magazine in March, shortly before this controversy erupted:

    People who can spontaneously invent a pseudonym in order to post a comment on a blog or on YouTube are often remarkably mean. Buyers and sellers on eBay are usually civil, despite occasional annoyances like fraud. Based on those data you could propose that transient anonymity coupled with a lack of consequences is what brings out online idiocy. With more data, the hypothesis can be refined. Participants in Second Life (a virtual online world) are not as mean to each other as people posting comments to Slashdot (a popular technology news site) or engaging in edit wars on Wikipedia, even though all use persistent pseudonyms. I think the difference is that on Second Life the pseudonymous personality itself is highly valuable and requires a lot of work to create. So a better portrait of the culprit is effortless, ­consequence-free, transient anonymity in the service of a goal, like promoting a point of view, that stands entirely apart from one’s identity or personality. Call it drive-by anonymity.
    Anonymity certainly has a place, but that place needs to be designed carefully. Voting and peer review are pre-Internet examples of beneficial anonymity. Sometimes it is desirable for people to be free of fear of reprisal or stigma in order to invoke honest opinions. But, as I have argued (in my November 2006 column), anonymous groups of people should be given only specific questions to answer, questions no more complicated than voting yes or no or setting a price for a product. To have a substantial exchange, you need to be fully present. That is why facing one’s accuser is a fundamental right of the accused.

Furthermore, sites make traffic tradeoffs when requiring registration versus the additional flow they get from not requiring it. And of course, on the net, identity is very easy to spoof, so even if an email address or other form of identification is required, it doesn't mean that there's a real or easily traceable person on the other side.

However, sites that have problems with vandals disrupting their online discussions may prefer to make the choice to require proof of identity in exchange for participation rather than shutting down comments entirely.



There are some nuanced legal issues to be looked at

Jeff Jarvis makes the claim that the code of conduct I've proposed "threatens to give back the incredible gift of freedom given us in Section 230." He points to the EFF page explaining section 230 and says "Go read about that," but he didn't follow his own advice, since the page says, among other things: "Courts have held that Section 230 prevents you from being held liable even if you exercise the usual prerogative of publishers to edit the material you publish. You may also delete entire posts."

That being said, I can see that when I converted the wording of my original exhortation to "take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog" into the statement that begins "We take responsibility..." I might well be proposing something that would weaken legal protections.

(A reminder about the context of the original statement. It was inspired by Chris' Locke's assertion regarding the threatening images of Kathy Sierra that had appeared on his site that he wasn't responsible for what anyone else said or did on the site. That seemed to me to be an abdication of responsibility.)

A site owner obviously doesn't want to take legal liability for the actions of commenters on their site. But at the same time, it seems to me that we need to eschew the idea that we bear no responsibility for the tone that we allow on our site. A site owner does have the ability to delete inappropriate comments, to ban IP addresses, and to impose moderation systems or shut down comments entirely if the greifers get out of hand.

Still, the legal implications do need some attention. A lawyer of my acquaintance wrote in email:

    Under US law, there's potentially an overlap/conflict between some aspects of the proposed code and existing legal protections for ISPs, bloggers, and others who provide forums for user-generated content. It's worth thinking about how to take those protections into account in discussing the code. Issues include:
        how to avoid losing or weakening legal protections against liability for infringement (and even defamation, in some circumstances) that now exist for ISPs, bloggers, and others, and that are partly based on the assumption that posted content is not being monitored
        coordinating the code with existing legal tools--such as the DMCA take-down procedure under Section 512--that benefit people who provide forums for user-created content
        avoiding situations that force people into making legal judgments in public about [issues] that they really aren't prepared to make, or that force them into appearing to have made legal judgements (e.g., explaining that they've removed a post because it's
        infringing or libelous, when it's really not)
    Also, outside the US, things are different.
    If it hasn't happened already, it might be worth convening a small group of congenial and sensible lawyers to talk about it. 

In short, there's some thinking to be done here, but it's better done by real lawyers rather than the all-too-common would-be lawyers of the net. "


There's a lot of strong feeling on the subject, but civility still matters

A number of posters are obviously not familiar with Godwin's Law, and in particular, the idea that (per Wikipedia), "There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically 'lost' whatever debate was in progress." Even apart from that strike against their argument, those commenters who equate the idea of a code of conduct with censorship seem to me to fail to understand what I proposed: not some kind of binding code that bloggers would somehow be required to follow, but a mechanism for bloggers to express their policies.

That being said, I am trying to encourage a kind of social self-examination on the part of the blogging community. Many people have written to say that they have no compunctions about deleting unpleasant comments. But I believe that there's a strong undercurrent on the internet that says that anything goes, and any restriction on speech is unacceptable. A lot of people feel intimidated by those who attack them as against free speech if they try to limit unpleasantness. If there's one thing I'd love to come out of this discussion, it's a greater commitment on the part of bloggers (and people who run other types of forums) not to tolerate behavior on the internet that they wouldn't tolerate in the physical world. It's ridiculous to accept on a blog or in a forum speech that would be seen as hooliganism or delinquency if practiced in a public space. "

bayle: maybe what the world needs is just someone to restate the idea with a title like 'online civilty badges' instead of 'code of conduct'. then we could expand it to include things like my friend ROF's proposal for structural rationality rules. It probably won't catch on though until ROF's idea takes off, that is, for third parties to tag sites as deserving of various badges, which as ROF and i saw, should be generalized into an assertion server, which requires a lot of technical work.

See [1].




interesting response to censorship:


this guy says that meritocratic 'levels' were useful on a Battle for Wesnoth forum:

however the comment indicates that these were purely informal

this guy proposes a site-global system of levels and interviews to establish this hierarchy:


i once said, "If i started a forum, i'd relegate topics X, Y, and Z to a certain forum".

A friend replied, "I'd ask the community what they wanted in that regard and do it, then ban the trolls and the complainers (because complainers are like trolls."

I replied, "But what if the community wanted you to tolerate the trolls and complainers, in the name of avoiding censorship?"

My friend replied, "They only say that because they want to appear as good people. In an anonymous vote, they would want to ban a troll. I'd hold an anonymous vote".


probably not quite the place for it, but other interesting SoftSecurity?/MeatBall?-ish practices:


survey of user levels:,-moderation,-and-reputation.

from reddit:

do not post personal information, phone numbers, email addresses, names, etc, real or fake, or you will be banned without warning

random ideas of mine:

Be kind

Be polite

Use Your Real Name, or be "anonymous", but don't use a pseudonym. And, if you are "anonymous", we might reveal your information in certain circumstances.

The moderators sometimes censor

Contain the following topics to the relevant forums:

Don't feed the trolls; if you see something that offends you, flag it, but don't respond. If you feel you must respond, respond only in the 'application of the rules' forum.

Do not shame others for refusing to take a stand on an issue

Flaming and trolling are shameful

Do not post personal information, phone numbers, email addresses, names, etc, real or fake, or you will be banned without warning


details on 'Use Your Real Name, or be anonymous, but don't use a pseudonym'

details on 'If you are anonymous, we might reveal your information in certain circumstances': If you choose to post "anonymously", bear in mind that the site admins may choose to reveal (to law enforcement, or publicly) what information they have about you, for example if:

details on 'The moderators sometimes censor' The mods sometimes:

details on "Contain politics and "spreading awareness" to the relevant forums"

details on 'Contain personal, non-professional, or offtopic discussion to the relevant forums':


another idea instead of Use Real Names:

you can use pseudonyms only by application. A pseudonym may be admitted if: (a) this pseudonym already has a substantial "reputation" elsewhere on the net; something that would provide you with a substantial incentive to behave well here; and you can prove that you control it there; and you are willing to publicly let it be known that that user account and this one are to be taken as "the same" pseudonym (b) the mods review the "reputation" of the pseudonym to determine if it is "substantial" (this evaluation is purely subjective and the criteria may change inconsistently over time) (c) the mods review the "reputation" of the pseudonym to determine if this is the sort of personality that they want here (this evaluation is purely subjective and the criteria may change inconsistently over time)

in other words, we are willing to give people using their real name the benefit of the doubt a little more.


i noted while reading that i found the following annoying:

(sorry to start criticizing other ppl's specific writings here but i need some example material, and this is a discussion in a community i am not part of so maybe it won't cause any acrimony)

"So what we have here from Wilber is no documented facts, no relevant details, just his "Einsteinian" authority, his rampant hyperbole, and a laughable appeal to other discredited "thinkers" to back up his own claims to expertise."": use of the word "laughable", quotes around the word "thinkers" : "The scholarship in these criticisms is so deranged as to be laughable (or pitiable, it’s hard to say), were it not for the perverse attention it receives, usually from those even less gifted (colossally difficult as that is to imagine).": the use of the word "laughable", "pitiable", picking on the reader with "usually from those even less gifted", picking on the other authors with "even less gifted (colossally difficult as that is to imagine)".

"simply suck my dick": crude

"One of the most loudly aired criticisms is that developmental studies are in trouble—are, in fact, in “complete disarray,” as one critic quaintly put it.": what does it matter if some field or other is "in complete disarray", we need to advance and refute specific propositions; saying that some field is not respected is useful information outside the context of debate, but in the context of debate we need to address specific propositions, since the different people in a field may believe different things, so it's hard to know which propositions you are supporting/opposing when you talk about the field in general.

"(Incidentally, that critic’s level of scholarship is so mediocre that his book manuscript and his many articles have been rejected by more book publishers and journals than I have digits—which means at least 11, if I’m really turned on, but who’s counting? One of his articles submitted to an academic journal where I sit on the board had some truly horrid evaluations, from official readers and others, ranging from “outdated” to “prejudiced” to “badly misinformed” to “childish.” Myself, I found it all four, reflecting my integral attempt to pull things together.)": again, informally, it's useful to say "Look this guy has a reputation of spouting nonsense so just ignore him"; but in the context of debate that doesn't count; what would count is to say "this particular article has not been peer-reviewed"

"Some critics are fantastic in the number of new truths you can learn from them; and some critics are just worthless—I mean Meyerhoff is adolescent postmodernism 101 with an attitude; I’ve already gone over his ideas 10 times more acutely than he has, and I did so years ago.": again, this would mean something if particular propositions were identified, but just saying it this way is just a personal attack with no (or unknown) substance

My goals in the above are to distill these examples into fallacy-like rules for debate. As i've said elsewhere, i find the usual fallacies too broad.





voting for or "supporting" a speaker is distinct from being able to "independently confirm" a fact


people say that journalism officials has all of these (often ignored) ideals about 'journalistic integrity'. What are they, exactly?

notes from

stuff i've heard from other sources:

five modes of source (provenance) publicity modality:

NOTE: different people use the terms below in different ways (eg [2]); if you are talking to someone, you should define the mode you are referring to rather than using the vocabulary below and assuming that the listener understands it to mean the same thing you are talking about. Typically these modes exist as an agreement between reporter and source; the source cannot just assert 'this is off the record' and continue without getting the reporter's assent to that.

links: [3] [4] [5] [6]


i havent seen this anywhere but it drives me insane when ppl say things like "let the downvotes ensue" when they think they're saying something un-PC. that sort of thing should be banned. At least, if you have to metadiscuss like that, it should have to be a separate comment, in reply to your original comment


no discussion on this meta-topic could be complete without a reference to:


Coinbase's prohibited businesses:

    Operating as an unlicensed money transmitter, money service, payment service provider, e-money, or any other financial services business which requires licensure, including but not limited to exchanges of virtual currencies, sales of money orders or traveler's checks, and escrow services
    Counterfeit products or any product or service that infringes upon the copyright, trademark, or trade secrets of any third party
    Stolen goods
    Narcotics, controlled substances, prescription and pharmaceutical services, drug paraphernalia, or any substances designed to mimic illegal drugs
    Gambling, except where permitted by Coinbase
    Sports forecasting or odds making
    Prostitution or illegal escort services
    Violent acts towards self or others, or activities or items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others regarding the same
    Funding any of the items included on this Prohibited Businesses list
    Extortion, blackmail, or efforts to induce unearned payments
    Unlicensed sale of firearms and certain weapons
    Engaging in deceptive marketing practices
    Any business that violates any law, statute, ordinance or regulation



stripe (a payment processor)'s prohibited businesses:

Financial and professional services Investment & credit services Securities brokers; mortgage consulting or debt reduction services; credit counseling or repair; real estate opportunities; lending instruments Money and legal services Money transmitters, check cashing, wire transfers, money orders; currency exchanges or dealers; bail bonds; collections agencies; law firms collecting funds for any purpose other than to pay fees owed to the firm for services provided by the firm (e.g., firms cannot use Stripe to hold client funds, collection or settlement amounts, disputed funds, etc.) Virtual currency or stored value Virtual currency that can be monetized, resold, or converted to physical or digital products and services or otherwise exit the virtual world (e.g., Bitcoin); sale of stored value or credits maintained, accepted and issued by anyone other than the seller IP Infringement, regulated or illegal products and services Intellectual property or proprietary rights infringement Sales, distribution, or access to counterfeit music, movies, software, or other licensed materials without the appropriate authorization from the rights holder; any product or service that directly infringes or facilitates infringement upon the trademark, patent, copyright, trade secrets, or proprietary or privacy rights of any third party; use of Stripe intellectual property without express consent from Stripe; use of the Stripe name or logo including use of Stripe trade or service marks inconsistent with the Stripe Marks Usage Agreement, or in a manner that otherwise harms Stripe or the Stripe brand; any action that implies an untrue endorsement by or affiliation with Stripe Counterfeit or unauthorized goods Unauthorized sale or resale of brand name or designer products or services; sale of goods or services that are illegally imported or exported Gambling Lotteries; bidding fee auctions; sports forecasting or odds making; fantasy sports leagues with cash prizes; internet gaming; contests; sweepstakes; games of chance Regulated products and services Marijuana dispensaries and related businesses; sale of tobacco, e-cigarettes, and e-liquid; online pharmacies; age restricted goods or services; weapons and munitions; gunpowder and other explosives; fireworks and related goods; toxic, flammable, and radioactive materials; products and services with varying legal status on a state-by-state basis Adult content and services Pornography and other obscene materials (including literature, imagery and other media); sites offering any sexually-related services such as prostitution, escorts, pay-per view, adult live chat features Unfair, predatory, or deceptive practices Get rich quick schemes Investment opportunities or other services that promise high rewards Mug shot publication or pay-to-remove sites Platforms that facilitate the publication and removal of content (such as mug shots), where the primary purpose of posting such content is to cause or raise concerns of reputational harm No-value-added services Sale or resale of a service without added benefit to the buyer; resale of government offerings without authorization or added value; sites that we determine in our sole discretion to be unfair, deceptive, or predatory towards consumers Products or services that are otherwise prohibited by our financial partners Aggregation Engaging in any form of licensed or unlicensed aggregation of funds owed to third parties, factoring, or other activities intended to obfuscate the origin of funds Drug paraphernalia Any equipment designed for making or using drugs, such as bongs, vaporizers, and hookahs High risk businesses Bankruptcy lawyers; computer technical support; psychic services; travel reservation services and clubs; airlines; cruises; timeshares; prepaid phone cards, phone services, and cell phones; telemarketing, telecommunications equipment and telephone sales; drop shipping; forwarding brokers; negative response marketing; credit card and identity theft protection; the use of credit to pay for lending services; any businesses that we believe poses elevated financial risk, legal liability, or violates card network or bank policies Multi-level marketing Pyramid schemes, network marketing, and referral marketing programs Pseudo pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals and other products that make health claims that have not been approved or verified by the applicable local and/or national regulatory body Social media activity Sale of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, YouTube? views, and other forms of social media activity Substances designed to mimic illegal drugs Sale of a legal substance that provides the same effect as an illegal drug (e.g., salvia, kratom) Video game or virtual world credits Sale of in-game currency unless the merchant is the operator of the virtual world Use of Stripe in a manner inconsistent with its intended use or as expressly prohibited in the Terms of Service Use of Stripe principally as a virtual terminal (e.g., submitting card transactions by manually inputting card information); processing where there is no bona fide good or service sold, or donation accepted; card testing; evasion of card network chargeback monitoring programs; sharing cardholder information with another merchant for payment cross-sell product or service




mb outlaw any personal attacks whatsoever outside of a special forum reserved for disciplinary matters:

eg on hackernews i recently saw:

"For a mathematician you sure like fallacious arguments."

this sort of thing just makes ppl angry and doesn't improve the discussion






there are some links to various codes of conduct buried in here:


rules of reddit


" reddit is a pretty open platform and free speech place, but there are a few rules:

    Don't spam.
    [+] What is spam?
    Don't ask for votes or engage in vote manipulation.
    [+] What does vote manipulation look like?
    Don't post personal information.
    [+] What might be personal information?
    No child pornography or sexually suggestive content featuring minors.
    Don't break the site or do anything that interferes with normal use of the site.
    [+] Tell me more.

You should also be mindful of reddiquette, an informal expression of reddit's community values as written by the community itself. Please abide by it the best you can.



" [–] What is spam?

    NOT OK: Submitting only links to your blog or personal website.
    OK: Submitting links from a variety of sites and sources.
    OK: Submitting links from your own site, talking with redditors in the comments, and also submitting cool stuff from other sites.
    NOT OK: Posting the same comment repeatedly in multiple subreddits.

Don't ask for votes or engage in vote manipulation.

[–] What does vote manipulation look like?

    NOT OK: Buying votes or using services to vote.
    OK: Sharing reddit links with your friends.
    NOT OK: Sharing links with your friends or coworkers and asking them to vote.
    NOT OK: Creating submissions such as "For every upvote I will ..." or "... please upvote this!", regardless of the cause.

Don't post personal information.

[–] What might be personal information?

    NOT OK: Posting a link to your friend's facebook profile.
    OK: Posting your senator's publicly available contact information
    NOT OK: Posting the full name, employer, or other real-life details of another redditor
    OK: Posting a link to a public page maintained by a celebrity.

No child pornography or sexually suggestive content featuring minors.

Don't break the site or do anything that interferes with normal use of the site.

[–] Tell me more.

    NOT OK: Creating programs that request information more than once every 2 seconds or violate any of our other API rules.
    AWESOME: Responsibly reporting security issues to us."



These types of content are prohibited [1]:

    Anything illegal (i.e. things that are actually illegal, such as copyrighted material. Discussing illegal activities, such as drug use, is not illegal)
    Publication of someone’s private and confidential information
    Anything that incites harm or violence against an individual or group of people (it's ok to say "I don't like this group of people." It's not ok to say, "I'm going to kill this group of people.")
    Anything that harasses, bullies, or abuses an individual or group of people (these behaviors intimidate others into silence)[2]
    Sexually suggestive content featuring minors

There are other types of content that are specifically classified:

    Adult content must be flagged as NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Users must opt into seeing NSFW communities. This includes pornography, which is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it.
    Similar to NSFW, another type of content that is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it, is the content that violates a common sense of decency. This classification will require a login, must be opted into, will not appear in search results or public listings, and will generate no revenue for Reddit.

[1] This is basically what we have right now. I’d appreciate your thoughts. A very clear line is important and our language should be precise.

[2] Wording we've used elsewhere is this "Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them."

[–]XIGRIMxREAPERIX? 948 points 12 hours ago

/u/spez I am confused on the illegal portion. Are we allowed to talk about pirating, but not link it in /r/tpb Can we have a discussion in /r/trees about why we should produce marijuana, but no how to produce it?

This seems like a very large grey area in terms of everything.

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[–]spez[S,A] 1026 points 11 hours ago

Nothing is changing in Reddit's policy here. /r/trees is totally fine. At a very high level, the idea is that we will ban something if it is against the law for Reddit to host it, and I don't believe you examples qualify.

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[–]diestache 1651 points 11 hours ago

State that clearly! "Content that is illegal for us to host is not allowed"

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[–]spez[S,A] 786 points 10 hours ago

Appreciate the feedback.

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[–]obadetona 803 points 12 hours ago

What would you define as causing harm to others?

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[–]spez[S,A] 855 points 12 hours ago*

Very good question, and that's one of the things we need to be clear about. I think we have an intuitive sense of what this means (e.g. death threats, inciting rape), but before we release an official update to our policy we will spell this out as precisely as possible.

Update: I added an example to my post. It's ok to say, "I don't like this group of people." It's not ok to say, "I'm going to kill this group of people."

    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply

.. Filling someone’s inbox with PMs saying, “Kill yourself” is harassment. Calling someone stupid on a public forum is not. ..

Mocking and calling people stupid is not harassment. Doxxing, following users around, flooding their inbox with trash is. ...

I can give you examples of things we deal with on a regular basis that would be considered harassment:

    Going into self help subreddits for people dealing with serious emotional issues and telling people to kill themselves.
    Messaging serious threats of harm to users towards themselves or their families.
    Less serious attacks - but ones that are unprovoked and sustained and go beyond simply being an annoying troll. An example would be following someone from subreddit to subreddit repeatedly and saying “you’re an idiot” when they aren’t engaging you or instigating anything. This is not only harassment but spam, which is also against the rules.
    Finding users external social media profiles and taking harassing actions or using the information to threaten them with doxxing.
    Doxxing users.

It’s important to recognize that this is not about being annoying. You get into a heated conversation and tell someone to fuck off? No one cares. But if you follow them around for a week to tell them to fuck off, despite their moving on - or tell them you’re going to find and kill them, you’re crossing a line and that’s where we step in.

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[–]Senray 643 points 11 hours ago*

    The content creators one is an issue I’d like to leave to the moderators. Beyond this, if it’s submitted with a script, it’s spam.

Uh, this would ban all bots


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[–]spez[S,A] 606 points 10 hours ago

I meant specifically in regard to "content creators." For example, it used to be common that a site would write a script that automatically spammed multiple subreddits every time they wrote something.

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[–]mobiusstripsearch 824 points 12 hours ago

What standard decides what is bullying, harassment, abuse, or violent? Surely "since you're fat you need to commit suicide" is all four and undesirable. What about an individual saying in private "I think fat people need to commit suicide" -- not actively bullying others but stating an honest opinion. What about "I think being fat is gross but you shouldn't kill yourself" or "I don't like fat people"?

I ask because all those behaviors and more were wrapped in the fatpeoplehate drama. Surely there were unacceptable behaviors. But as a consequence a forum for acceptable behavior on the issue is gone. Couldn't that happen to other forums -- couldn't someone take offense to anti-gay marriage advocates and throw the baby out with the bath water? Who decides what is and isn't bullying? Is there an appeal process? Will there be public records?

In short, what is the reasonable standard that prevents anti-bullying to become bullying itself?

    permalinksavereportgive goldreply

[–]spez[S,A] 621 points 11 hours ago

    "since you're fat you need to commit suicide"

This is the only one worth considering as harassment. Lobbing insults or saying offensive things don't automatically make something harassment.

Our Harassment policy says "Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them," which I think is pretty clear.

    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply


 Promote ideas, protect peoplePosted by the reddit admins at 09:32
Labels: everyone free to express, great responsibility, remember the human

TL;DR: We are unhappy with harassing behavior on reddit; we have survey data that show our users are, too. So we’ve improved our practices to better curb harassment of individuals on reddit.


[–]zk223 1585 points 12 hours ago

Here you go:

    No Submission may identify an individual, whether by context or explicit reference, and contain content of such a nature as to place that individual in reasonable fear that the Submitter will cause the individual to be subjected to a criminal act. "Reasonable fear," as used in the preceding sentence, is an objective standard assessed from the perspective of a similarly situated reasonable person.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply


Because of this, we are changing our practices to prohibit attacks and harassment of individuals through reddit with the goal of preventing them. We define harassment as:

    Systematic and/or continued actions to torment or demean someone in a way that would make a reasonable person (1) conclude that reddit is not a safe platform to express their ideas or participate in the conversation, or (2) fear for their safety or the safety of those around them.



" Code of Conduct

In order to foster a friendly and cooperative atmosphere where technical collaboration can flourish we expect all members of the Libav community to be

    courteous, polite and respectful in their treatment of others,
    helpful and constructive in suggestions and criticism,
    stay on topic for the communication medium that is being used,
    be tolerant of differences in opinion and mistakes that inevitably get made by everyone.

Plus, we expect everybody to not

    flame and troll,
    be offtopic or
    disruptive of our communication channels.

While we hope to keep disciplinary action to a minimum, repeated violations of this policy will result in offenders getting temporarily or permanently removed from our communication channels.

" --

--- :

" Rules & Posting Guidelines


" "


poloniex's trollbox guidelines:

" ... In an effort to keep the chats civil and fair, we have implemented important guidelines for all Trollbox participants. Our Moderators have the ability to ban users for the following:

    Excessive lewdness
    Being nasty
    Religious or ethnic intolerance
    Trying to scam people
    Soliciting personal information
    Impersonating a moderator or another user
    Spreading misinformation about Poloniex
    Excessive use of capital letters
    Evading a ban by registering a new account
    Being a chat bot

Before a ban occurs, a Moderator will issue a warning. Repeat offenders may receive no warnings before they are banned. ... "



Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated. " --


    Your account
    Support Community Code of Conduct Code of Conduct

Welcome to the Discussion Forums! These forums are here to provide you with a friendly environment where you can discuss ideas, give game play advice, role-play, and converse about any other aspects of games with other players. Community forums are at their best when participants treat their fellow posters with respect and courtesy. Therefore, we ask that you conduct yourself in a civilized manner when participating in these forums.

The guidelines and rules listed below explain what behavior is expected of you and what behavior you can expect from other community members. Note that the following guidelines are not exhaustive, and may not address all manner of offensive behavior. As such, the forum moderators shall have full discretion to address any behavior that they feel is inappropriate. Also, suspension or banishment from the game will always result in the same in regard to forum access. Your access to these forums is a “privilege,” and not a “right.” Blizzard Entertainment reserves the right to suspend your access to these forums at any time for reasons that include, but are not necessarily limited to, your failure to abide by these guidelines.

We reserve the right to evaluate each incident on a case by case basis. The action we take may be more lenient or more severe than those listed under each category:

    Racial / Ethnic
    Account Trading
    Extreme Sexuality / Violence
    Real-Life Threats
    Distribution of Real-Life Personal Information
    Sexual Orientation
    Posting Cheats, Hacks, Trojan Horses or Malicious Programs
    Impersonating a Blizzard Employee
    Posting Unreleased Content / Hacking Data Files
    Obscene / Vulgar
    Inappropriate Language
    Harassing or Defamatory
    Major Religions or Religious Figures
    Illegal Drugs or Activities
    Spamming or Trolling
    Creating Duplicate Threads
    Cross Linking Threads
    Discussing Disciplinary Actions
    Circumventing a Suspension / Ban

Racial / Ethnic

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Promote racial/ethnic hatred
    Are recognized as a racial/ethnic slur
    Allude to a symbol of racial/ethnic hatred

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be temporarily banned from the forums
    Be given a final warning, after which any further Code of Conduct violations may result in a permanent ban from the forums

Account Trading

This category includes both advertising your account or characters for sale or trade, or advertising that you are looking for an account or characters to purchase through:

    Forum posts
    Linking to eBay or other online marketplaces
    Listing you have something for trade and then offering your contact information

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a final warning, after which any further Code of Conduct violations may result in a permanent ban from the forums
    Be permanently banned from the forums

Extreme Sexuality / Violence

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Refer to extreme and/or violent sexual acts
    Refer to extremely violent real life actions

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be permanently banned from the forums

Real-Life Threats

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Refer to violence in any capacity that is not directly related to the game world

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be temporarily banned from the forums
    Be given a final warning, after which any further Code of Conduct violations may result in a permanent ban from the forums

Distribution of Real-Life Personal Information

This category includes:

    Releasing any real-life information about other players or Blizzard Entertainment employees

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be permanently banned from the forums

Sexual Orientation

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Insultingly refer to any aspect of sexual orientation pertaining to themselves or other players

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be temporarily banned from the forums
    Be given a final warning, after which any further Code of Conduct violations may result in a permanent ban from the forums

Posting Cheats, Hacks, Trojan Horses or Malicious Programs

This category includes:

    Posting links to cheats, hacks, or malicious viruses / programs
    If you would like to report information regarding cheats or hacks to Blizzard, send it to Do not post it to the forums.

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be permanently banned from the forums

Impersonating a Blizzard Employee

This category includes:

    Passing yourself off as a Blizzard employee to post false information

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a final warning, after which any further Code of Conduct violations may result in a permanent ban from the forums

Posting Unreleased Content / Hacking Data Files

This category includes language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Show unreleased in-game items, equipment, or areas that have been unlocked by hacking into client data files
    Show the results of hacking or any tampering of the game’s MPQ files
    Discuss, or display any data not available through normal game play

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be permanently banned from the forums

Obscene / Vulgar

This category includes both clear and masked language in posts, signatures, and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Are an inappropriate reference to human anatomy or bodily functions
    Are pornographic in nature

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

While these repercussions may seem harsh, we feel very strongly that this behavior has no place on the forums due to its extremely offensive and inappropriate nature. Inappropriate Language

This category includes language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Are a mildly inappropriate reference to human anatomy or bodily functions
    Are otherwise considered objectionable
    Bypass the Mature Language filter

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Harassing or Defamatory

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Insultingly refer to other characters, players, Blizzard employees, or groups of people
    Result in ongoing harassment to other characters, players, Blizzard employees, or groups of people

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Harassment takes many forms, and is not necessarily limited to the type of language used, but the intent. Repeatedly targeting a specific player with harassment can lead to more severe action. The idea behind this is to prevent any one player from consistently being uncomfortable in the forums. Major Religions or Religious Figures

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Negatively portray major religions or religious figures

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity


This category includes language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Promote national hatred
    Are recognized as national slurs
    Allude to symbols of national hatred

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Illegal Drugs or Activities

This category includes both clear and masked language and/or links to websites containing such language or images which:

    Reference to abusing illegal drugs
    Reference to performing illegal activities

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Spamming or Trolling

This category includes:

    Excessively communicating the same phrase, similar phrases, or pure gibberish
    Creating threads for the sole purpose of causing unrest on the forums
    Causing disturbances in forum threads, such as picking fights, making off topic posts that ruin the thread, insulting other posters
    Making non-constructive posts
    Abusing the Reported Post feature by sending false alarms or nonsensical messages
    Numbering a thread, IBTL, TLDR, or any other fad statements

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary or permanent ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Creating Duplicate Threads

This category includes:

    Creating threads about existing topics
    Creating a separate thread about an existing topic for further discussion in more than one forum

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Cross Linking Threads

This category includes:

    Linking to threads from other forums
    Creating threads with the sole purpose of linking another post

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums


This category includes advertisement of:

    Any non-beneficial, related businesses, organizations, or websites

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

Discussing Disciplinary Actions

This category includes:

    Creating posts or threads to discuss disciplinary actions taken against a player, including chat logs and email correspondence between a player and a Game Master (GM)
    Creating posts or threads to discuss disciplinary actions taken against a character or account on the forums

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be given a temporary ban from the forums, depending upon severity

If you have questions or concerns:

    Submit a Support Ticket

Circumventing a Suspension / Ban

This category includes:

    Posting on another account
    Having someone post on your behalf

If a player is found to have participated in such actions, he/she will:

    Be permanently banned from posting on the forums


    Repeatedly violating any area of the Blizzard Terms of Use or Forum Code of Conduct, including the areas detailed above, will often result in permanent banishment from the forums.
    This policy is not language-restrictive. Language that falls under this policy will always be subject to the repercussions listed, whether it is inappropriate in English or any other language.

The bottom line is that we want to be a fun and safe environment for all players. While playing on and posting on its forums, you will encounter thousands of other players who share different experiences and come from vastly different backgrounds. While certain language and images may not be offensive to you, consider the fact that that same language and images may have a completely different effect on someone else. We’ve done everything we can to make this a great environment – now it’s up to you! " --


league of legends video game:

" Punishable offenses

The following actions are violations of the Summoner's Code and considered punishable offences:

    Explicit use of hate terms, racial slurs, cultural epithets, etc.
    Players who deliberately and viciously insult other players.
    Repeatedly negative, nonconstructive attitudes.
    Players whose teasing crosses the line, and who persist after being asked repeatedly to stop.
    Deliberately disruptive gameplay, such as intentional feeding or otherwise assisting the enemy team.
    Offensive summoner names.
    Honor trading. 

It is important to note that occasionally having bad games is not considered a punishable offense, but it is possible to receive suspensions if deemed appropriate by a riot customer service representative as stated in the Tribunal FAQ. " --


" Rules to Remember

    Remember asking for votes is strictly prohibited.
    No begging for bitcoin. Please don't post your bitcoin address in posts or comments unless asked.
    No Referral links or URL shortening services are allowed.
    No Doxing. Doxing or posts that resemble doxing will result in the post being removed and the user banned permanently.
    Scams, Spam & Blatant User or Mod Abuse will result in removal of posts and in some cases the user will be banned.
    Heavy Altcoin discussion should be posted in its respective subreddit or places like /r/cryptocurrency." --


how lambdaconf dealt with an application by a speaker with extremely controversial political views:


" Safety Exception. If the staff or a committee appointed by the staff believes that attendees might reasonably feel physically unsafe if in the presence of someone, then we will reserve the right to ban the person from the conference. Our initial ideas include the following criteria for evidence:

    Trust Exception. If the staff or a committee appointed by the staff believes that a person is untrustworthy, and will not uphold the pledge of conduct, then we will reserve the right to ban the person from the conference. Our initial ideas include the following criteria for evidence:
        If a person has broken the code of conduct at another conference, then such a person will not be allowed to attend LambdaConf for some period of time after the last violation (with some statute of limitations to allow for social rehabilitation, say 5 years?)."

Their pledge of conduct is:


LambdaConf? is a supportive and welcoming environment, where differences are celebrated, and where people discuss ideas graciously and respectfully, even when they disagree. To help foster this nurturing community, we require that all attendees, volunteers, and speakers make the LambdaConf? Pledge of Conduct.

As a participator in the LambdaConf? event, I hereby pledge the following:

    That in the words I speak and the actions I take, I shall demonstrate respect, dignity, and empathy for my fellow human beings; that when I disagree with ideas, I will do so constructively, respectfully, and graciously; and that I will communicate non-violently with empathy and honest self-expression;
    That I shall embrace and celebrate the abundant diversity in the human species, and refuse to feel threatened by those different from me;
    That I shall not talk or act in ways that could make minority groups feel bullied, harassed, intimidated, stalked, stereotyped, or belittled; examples of minority groups include women, people of color, lesbians, gays, and people who are disabled, bisexual, transsexual, asexual, intersex, transgender, and gender-variant;
    That if I become aware of any behavior by others which is inconsistent with this pledge, I shall take immediate action to report such behavior to event organizers;
    That if there comes a time I no longer wish to keep this pledge, or if I wantonly behave in a manner inconsistent with these promises, I shall immediately cease participation in the event, without expectation of refund or redress.

I hereby acknowledge that my status as participator in this event may be terminated at any time if, in the sole opinion of the event organizers, I have been determined to break this pledge.

NOTE: All LambdaConf? staff members will be wearing red t-shirts marked "STAFF", or individuals may text 303-921-5784 with any questions or concerns. "

--- 's (a Reddit for supporters of US presidential candidate Donald Trump) rules:

note: the "Don't post people planning to assassinate Trump" rule was imposed against their will at the behest of Reddit, b/c ppl were posting the personal information of "people planning to assassinate Trump", and posting people's personal information is against Reddit's rules

note: they also ban post links to outside the 'Trumpire' "to prevent accusations of brigading which can get this subreddit banned by the admins of reddit"

some explanation of these rules is at

"Trolling is defined as, "sowing discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community." "

(todo: determine some top reddits for other political candidates, add notes about their rules here)


later, has a new set of rules:

I Site-wide Content Policy Do not violate Reddit’s site-wide content policy. You will be banned. Reddit's policy can be seen here

II Trolling & Concern Trolling No type of trolling will be tolerated on The_Donald. Official Announcement on the issue here

III Racism and Anti-Semitism Racism and Anti-Semitism will not be tolerated. You have been warned.

IV Personal Information / Doxxing Releasing of personal information (aka Doxxing) is not allowed.

V Vote Manipulation Vote manipulation, brigading, and asking for votes is not allowed.

VI Trump Supporters Only This forum is for Trump supporters only. If you have questions about our president, our way of thinking or other discussion questions, post on r/AskThe?_Donald, where we will gladly answer. This forum is NOT for that.

VII Linking to other Subreddits No posts about being banned from other subreddits allowed. No linking to other subreddits.

VIII Ban Appeals, Suggestions, Concerns To appeal a ban, make a general suggestion, or voice a concern, message the Moderators here. This includes asking for a particular thread to be stickied.

IX Threats towards Government Officials All threats of violence, including assassination threats towards the President, his cabinet members and other officials should be reported immediately to the FBI, please include a screenshot, and an “Archived” link. We recommend

X Behavior outside The_Donald Outside of this Subreddit, and Reddit in general, we ask you not to behave in such a way that would reflect poorly on us.




Please do:

Please don't:

In regard to voting:

In regard to promoting reddit posts:

In regard to new submissions:

In regard to comments:

defn spam


more on that:

" "It's perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website, it's not okay to be a website with a reddit account." - Confucius

... tl;dr: Don't just spam out your links, and don't blindly upvote your own content or ask anyone else to! ...

Things that should go without saying

You may never offer money or compensation to anyone to promote anything on reddit for you. Things should be submitted on reddit by redditors who have found your content organically and submitted it because they found it interesting. You should never run a contest to see "who can get a link highest on reddit" or ask anyone to submit links on your behalf.

You should not spam in any way, especially through private message. You should not hide your affiliation to your project or site, or lie about who you are or why you like something. You should never, ever buy votes or ask for votes - if you stuff is good enough, people will vote for it naturally. If all of your employees or contributors vote on all of your links, their accounts and possibly your domain will be banned.

Don't use sockpuppets to promote your content on reddit... "

--- ("Discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men"; note: this probably goes without saying but i am not endorsing and am not a member of most of the communities whose rules i have notes on):


No moralizing: Nothing in TRP prohibits you from having and following a code of ethics. You're welcome to discuss why certain morals or values might exist, or their benefit in the context of strategy, however arguments that stem from morality (i.e. this is evil, therefore) are strictly prohibited.

Personal advice questions go to /r/asktrp...

No concern trolling. Concern trolling is the act of complaining or attempting to gain the support of others by appearing to have the best interest in the subreddit in mind, hoping only to change small details ("it's too xyz," "can't we just"). Concern trolling is banned because it can be used to derail the topic of discussion, and in itself does not add to the quality of discussion.

Full description of concern trolling (link; excerpt: Any more posts that start with: "... lately I've seen TRP slipping..." or "... it's supposed to be about self improvement..." or "... can't we just talk about.." or "... ok trp, let's talk about ..."...will end in a ban.")

Do not insult or harass members. If you have a point to be made, you can make it with a well reasoned rationale, or not at all. Calling members "beta" or "bitch" brings the level of discourse down to preadolescent schoolyard bickering. Additionally, individuals with special flairs are members of the community who have proven themselves to add valuable content to our forum. We want them to stay. If you try to make their participation unpleasant, you will be banned. Feel free to disagree with them, but do so with courtesy.

No examples from fiction or lyrics. Fiction, pop songs, daytime television freakshows, and reality tv do not present useful examples of typical human behaviour, and thus cannot be learned from....

No requests for financial help....Long-standing members of the community MAY sell goods or services, allow others to voluntarily "tip", link to advertising-support websites, etc... but any money must be received in exchange for value, not requested out of need.

Address the Community Properly. Do not address the community with imperatives, platitudes, or shocking titles. If you have a hypothesis to address, do so with respect. Bad titles: Do x Raise Yourself Go out alone Become x Stop doing x Ignore x. Good titles: Why doing x is beneficial Learning to x is important Strategy x can help with y

Posting Guideline.... ((lots of links to longer guidelines))

Remain "sexless" while posting.... If you are female, do not say "woman here," or "as a female" or anything that identifies you as such. Your comments and posts should be able to stand on the merit of your ideas alone. "


todo: identify (a) the most popular and (b) the most popular controversial reddits, and take notes on their rules


one thing that irritates me is that in many political discussion threads online you see the quote:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

this is usually unhelpful, for the following reasons:

note: a related fun quote is "Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced." -- H.L. Mencken. If used in the same places that I see Sinclair's quote being used, it would be just as useless. But as a quote, at least it includes the wisdom that it's useless to just walk up to someone whom you think is biased, and say 'you're biased', and expect them to change their mind with no further evidence.


r/AskHistorians? , which is offered by as an example of a well-moderated subreddit.

    Upvote informative, well sourced answers
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To nominate someone else as a Quality Contributor, message the mods. Upcoming Events


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back to the wiki index Subreddit rules

/r/AskHistorians? aims to provide serious, academic-level answers to questions about history. We have written these rules to support this aim and maintain the high standard of discussion this subreddit has become known for.

Please note that /r/AskHistorians? is actively moderated. Moderators regularly take action to enforce these rules. Civility

All users are expected to behave with courtesy and politeness at all times. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, or any other forms of bigotry. This includes Holocaust denialism. Nor will we accept personal insults of any kind. Scope

Submissions to /r/AskHistorians? must be either:

    A question about the human past
    A meta post about the state of the subreddit. Anyone may start a meta post, but please check with the moderators if you aren't sure you're using the label correctly. Short questions (e.g. clarification of moderation policy) that don't require discussion are better sent to the mods directly.
    An AMA ("Ask Me Anything") with a historical expert or panel of experts. These should be arranged with the moderators beforehand – please message us if you're interested.

The moderators also post weekly feature posts on a variety of themes. No current events

To discourage off-topic discussions of current events, questions, answers and all other comments must be confined to events that happened 20 years ago or more, inclusively (e.g. 1996 and older). Further explanation on this topic can be found in Rules Roundtable. If your question was removed for current events, a non-exhaustive list of subs you may wish to consider include /r/Ask_Politics, /r/NeutralPolitics?, /r/GeoPolitics?, /r/IRStudies, or /r/CredibleDefense?. Questions

People asking questions should make every effort to ensure that their questions are clear, specific, and novel.

Questions should be about an event or person or culture in history. They can be direct questions such as "What events led up to the War of 1812?", or they can be indirect questions such as "How historically accurate is Assassin’s Creed?". Please put your question in the post title; if you put something like "A question for you all (details inside)", you may not attract the interest of the historians you want. Make sure your main question gives a clear idea what you're asking about. You can then expand on the question using the text box. For more information on the best way to format a question, check out our handy guide!

Questions may also be about historical method (e.g. “How should we deal with the biases in primary sources?”) or the “world of history” more generally (e.g. “What are the major collections, archives and museums in your field of research?”).

Please note that there is no such thing as a stupid question. As long as it falls within the guidelines here, feel free to ask it, even if you think it's obvious. And, if you see a question which looks stupid or obvious, remember that everyone comes to learning at their own time; we're not all born experts.

Posts that ask for reading recommendations are allowed. You may also wish to check the book list.

Check your ego at the door; a large part of asking questions is accepting the possibility of being told things you didn't know.

Some good questions:

    "When did the modern concept of borders and customs start?"
    "What were the consequences for the British in choosing to hold on to Northern Ireland after World War I?"
    "Roman historians -- how do you approach and interpret ancient sources regarding Catiline?"
    "What sort of training regimes did Greek or Roman warriors follow?"

Some bad questions:

    "What were the most disputed borders in history?"
    "Was it a good idea for the British to hold on to Northern Ireland after World War I?"
    "Tell me about Catiline."
    "How buff looking were warriors from ancient Greece or Rome?"

Is this the right place for your question?

    Questions should be about what did happen, not what could have happened. Questions of that type should be posted in r/HistoryWhatIf.
    While we welcome questions about mysterious objects you may have found, you should also try asking about them in r/WhatIsThisThing. They have a much better track record!
    Questions about current events and politics may be more appropriate for r/AskSocialScience. Their political scientists, lawyers, economists, sociologists, and more, would be glad to receive your question.


Our users aren't here to do your homework for you, but they might be willing to help. Remember: AskHistorians? helps those who help themselves. Don't just give us your essay/assignment topic and ask us for ideas. Do some research of your own, then come to us with questions about what you've learned. For further discussion and explication of the rules on homework questions, check out this Roundtable Discussion.

You can also consider asking the helpful people at r/HomeworkHelp?. Popular Questions

History may not repeat itself, but questions about history sure do! We maintain a list of frequently asked questions and the most useful answers to them on the popular questions wiki page. Please check this before you post your question: you may find the answer you want without having to wait. However, you are still welcome to ask your question if it has been asked before: you may get new answers from different people.

If you spot a question that gets asked often but isn't in the popular questions, please do message the moderators so we can add it to the list.

You can find more information about the Popular Questions in this [META] thread. NSFW content

If your question contains (or is likely to contain) adult topics or language, please try to keep title as SFW ("safe for work") as possible and make use of reddit's NSFW tag. You can tag a question as NSFW after you post it by browsing to your post and clicking the "nsfw" link below the title. Questions with NSFW titles will be deleted and we will ask you to repost it with a different title.

This is to help anyone browsing the subreddit for whom NSFW text may be a problem, and to allow people to know that a question contains NSFW content before they view it. Only the title of the thread is relevant; the body of the question and comments in reply to it are free to contain NSFW content. No "poll"-type questions

"Poll"-type questions aren't appropriate here: "Who was the most influential person in history?" or "Who was the worst general in your period?" or "Who are your Top 10 favourite people in history?" If your question includes the words "most" or "least", or "best" or "worst" (or can be reworded to include these words), it's probably a "poll"-type question. These questions do not lend themselves to answers with a firm foundation in sources and research, and the resulting threads usually turn into monsters with enormous speculation and little focussed discussion - and, as such, are banned here.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on "poll"-type questions, check out this Roundtable Discussion. No "Trivia Seeking" Questions

One of our key principles regarding questions is that they should be as precise as possible; we do not want threads that will attract only bad answers, or are so generalized that they cannot be answered to the standards we ask for here. We will therefore remove questions that are seeking trivia rather than informed answers.

Our guiding principle is that if a thread can be summarized as "tell me random stuff about X" then it falls into this category of trivia seeking rather than looking for in-depth answers, which is this community’s main focus. Questions likely to be removed are those asking about all history and all places at once. Questions likely to be removed are those which are not bounded by a reasonably defined time and/or place, which do not ask a specific question but rather seek random facts, or otherwise lack clarity that would allow for a comprehensive answer to address the question in its entirety. If your question includes the phrase "In your area of expertise", "examples of [X] throughout history", or "What are some facts about [X]", strongly reconsider posting it, or else spend some time to narrow down the scope of what you are asking.

In the case of questions that are looking for trivia or for extremely general topics, users can turn to our weekly META threads; the Friday-Free-for-All thread in particular is well suited to many of these questions, as is the Tuesday Trivia thread, for which we are always open to topic suggestions. Many general questions have been well explored in the past, and you might find lots of interesting information in the archives of both Tuesday Trivia and Friday Free-for-All threads.

For more information, please consult this META thread. No "Soapboxing" or Loaded Questions.

This subreddit is called AskHistorians?, not LectureHistorians? or DebateHistorians?. While we appreciate your enthusiasm for the history of issues that play a role in your life, we are here to answer your questions about issues, not provide a sounding board for your theories or a podium for your lectures. All questions must allow a back-and-forth dialogue based on the desire to gain further information, and not be predicated on a false and loaded premise in order to push an agenda.


    Good Question: "People say that Nixon is the worst President of all time. Why is this so?"
    Bad Question: "Nixon was the worst President of all time. Why isn't Obama considered the worst?"

The bad question is a fishing expedition to try to start a debate about Obama's presidency. Most of these questions will break our 20-year rule, or try to set up a debate about an issue using a long wall of text in the main post.

Additionally when posting, we prefer that any posts that you make are well-sourced and directly address the asker's question. Do not take the opportunity to make claims that are politically or religiously motivated. All comments are expected to be sourced, answer the asker's question, and relevant.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on sopaboxing and loaded questions, check out this Roundtable Discussion. Privacy

Certain questions can lead to privacy concerns, and with this in mind, there are specific inquiries that we prohibit where, in our estimation, possible privacy concerns override the historical value of the question. As such, we do not allow questions which pose possible privacy issues for living, or recently deceased, persons who are not in the public eye. The cut-off for "recent" is 100 years, but even if a question does not meet the exact criteria above, we may remove at moderator discretion if we believe there nevertheless remains certain privacy concerns.

In the case of questions seeking military records, as well as seeking to identify service information from uniforms or photographs, try referring to our guide on Military Records and Identification. This thread provides more information and guidance on the rule. Additionally, /r/Genealogy provides an excellent resource on this site for researching family history. Limitations on Questions Concerning Historical Artifacts and Items

The goal of /r/AskHistorians? is to provide an educational forum for people who have questions for experts. Often, those questions include inquiries about items or artifacts which have come into their possession. It is our policy to disallow posts asking for further information on artifacts where there is a likelihood that the acquisition or possession of the item might be illegal, unethical, and/or run contrary to sound, historical practices. This includes, but is not limited to, items possibly taken from archaeological sites, or requests for appraisal in preparation for sale. It should not be taken as a ban on questions about any items, such as family heirlooms, or common collectibles such as books, stamps, or firearms. If at first, you don't succeed...

... ask again. You are allowed to ask your question again if a reasonable time has passed without receiving a useful answer. We recommend waiting at least 24 hours, to give everyone around the world a full day to see your question. On the other hand, please don't ask the same question every day. Use some judgement. Answers

Answers in this subreddit are expected to be of a level that historians would provide: comprehensive and informative. As such, all answers will be assessed against the standards of Historiography and Historical Method. You should cite or quote sources where possible. A good answer will go further than a simple short sentence. As described here, "good answers aren't good just because they are right – they are good because they explain. In your answers, you should seek not just to be right, but to explain." Sources

Sources are highly encouraged in all answers given in r/AskHistorians?. A good answer will be supported by relevant and reliable sources. Primary sources are good. Secondary sources are also acceptable.

However, tertiary sources such as Wikipedia are not as good. They are often useful for checking dates and facts, but not as good for interpretation and analysis. Furthermore, Wikipedia articles are open to random vandalism and can contain factual errors; therefore, please double-check anything you cite from Wikipedia. As outlined here, Wikipedia, or any other single tertiary resource, used by itself not a suitable basis for a comment in this subreddit.

It is also important to point out that you are not a source.

Even though sources are not mandatory, if someone asks you to provide sources in good faith, please provide them willingly and happily. If you are not prepared to substantiate your claims when asked, please think twice before answering in the first place. Please keep in mind that all posters who fail to substantiate their posts when asked in good faith run the risk of having their posts removed.

If you would like to provide a link to a book, please use WorldCat?, OpenLibrary? or any other non-commercial source for linking. The reddit spam filter is overly aggressive on bookseller links (especially Amazon!) and your good sourced comment may be auto-removed by the spam filter until a mod is able to approve it. Referral links (for Amazon or other referral sites) are firmly against the rules.

Here is a helpful guide[1] to providing in-line citations using tooltips.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on sources, check out this Roundtable Discussion. Write an in-depth answer

An in-depth answer gives context to the events being discussed so that someone who is unfamiliar with the area can understand. An in-depth answer is usually more than a sentence or two. Use a balanced mix of context and explanation and sources and quotations in your answer. Being able to use Google to find an article that seems related to the question does not magically make you an expert. If you can contribute nothing more than your skills at using Google to find an article, please don't post.

Ask yourself these questions:

    Do I have the expertise needed to answer this question?
    Have I done research on this question?
    Can I cite my sources?
    Can I answer follow-up questions?

If you answer "Yes" to all of these questions, then proceed. If you answer "No" to one or more of these questions, seriously reconsider what you're posting. No personal anecdotes

Personal anecdotes are not acceptable answers in this subreddit. They are unreliable, unverifiable and of very little real interest. For further discussion and explication of the rule, please consult this Rules Roundtable. No speculation

Suppositions and personal opinions are not a suitable basis for an answer in r/AskHistorians?. Warning phrases for speculation include:

    "I guess..." or "My guess is..."
    "I believe..."
    "I think..."
    "... to my understanding."
    "It makes sense to me that..."
    "It's only common sense."

If your answer includes any of these phrases, it is likely that you are merely sharing your opinion or speculating, and not posting a proper answer. No partial answers or "placeholders"

An answer should be full and complete in and of itself.

Do not post partial answers with the intention of prompting further discussion. You do not need to post a part-answer to prompt historians to answer the question; they will answer it if they can, regardless. The question is already the "starting point" for discussion; there's no need for anything more.

If you see a question without answers, do not provide a part-answer merely for the sake of putting something in the thread. If you can not answer the question fully, wait for someone who can.

Do not provide a part-answer as a "placeholder" to come back to expand on later. Wait and provide the good answer when you can.

This is not a race for karma: a good answer late is better than a bad answer early. Good answers take time, and that's okay. No political agendas or moralising

Answers should not include a political agenda, nor moralise about the issue at hand. This is not the place for you to say that communism is a failure and against human nature, nor that capitalism is evil and dehumanises people. Historians report the facts and events as neutrally as possible, without an agenda - moral or political.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on political agendas and moralizing, check out this Roundtable Discussion. Do not just post links or quotations

Do not just post links to other sites as an answer. This is not helpful. Please take some time to put the links in context for the person asking the question. Avoid only recommending a source – whether that's another site, a book, or large slabs of copy-pasted text. If you want to recommend a source, please provide at least a small summary of what the source says. (This does not apply to questions that are only created to request sources.) Linking to past /r/AskHistorians? questions is allowable.

Regardless of the quality of the source you are citing, an answer should not consist only (or primarily) of copy-pasted sections of text from that source. The intention in providing an answer in r/AskHistorians? is to answer as a historian: making a statement of your own, while using sources to support that statement.

A good answer will be a balanced mix of context and explanation and sources and quotations. Only links or only quotations is not a good answer.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on links and quotes, check out this Roundtable Discussion. No plagiarism

We have a zero-tolerance policy on blatant plagiarism, such as directly copying and pasting another person's words and trying to pass them off as your own. This will result in an instant ban.

For further discussion and explication of the rules on links and quotes, check out this Roundtable Discussion. Beware of historiographical fallacies

Historiographical fallacies include:

    The Historian's Fallacy
    Chronological Snobbery

Jokes and humour

A post should not consist only of a joke, a humorous remark, or a flippant comment. You can certainly include humour as part of a full and comprehensive post, but your post should not be made solely for the purpose of being funny.

There are a number of satirical and humorous history subreddits:



All comments should be related to the topic as outlined in the OP. Substantial digressions will be redirected towards a new thread. Follow-up questions

If you have a follow-up question to the original question, please feel free to ask it.

If you have heard or read something which might be related to the question, and you want to check it, then make sure you ask it as a question. Do not post "I'm not sure if this is true..." or "Someone will correct me if I'm wrong." If you're not actually answering the question, then make sure your comment looks like a question. AMAs

Please do not answer questions in an AMA when you're not the OP or are not on the AMA panel. An AMA is explicitly designed to offer a platform to specific, named experts. Pictures, videos and memes

Any comment which consists only or mainly of an image or a video or a meme will be deleted. Photos and documentaries which support an answer are encouraged, but generic images, gifs, and internet memes are not welcome here.

If you want to post any of these things, please go to these subreddits:

    For pictures: /r/HistoryPorn
    For memes: /r/HistoryMemes
    For rage comics: /r/HistoricalRage

Bots, usernames, and novelty accounts

We are not interested in bots and they will be banned on sight. If you operate a bot, please consider blacklisting /r/AskHistorians? to save us the trouble.

If your user account's name is something that would be unacceptable on a post - bigoted or hateful slurs, references to sexual violence, and so on - that user account will be banned on sight. We recommend you use an account with an innocuous name when posting on /r/AskHistorians?.

We are also not interested in "novelty" accounts. Users may post from novelty accounts provided they do not do so "in character". Moderation

This subreddit is actively moderated. Posts that break the rules will be removed to maintain the quality of the subreddit. Additionally, moderators may:

    Post a reminder of the rules, asking a user to shift their tone, improve their posting style, or provide sources for their claims – but without any suggestion that the matter is especially severe.
    Issue a formal warning for a serious infraction or for persistently breaking the rules. These will be marked by a serious, declarative command, e.g. “Do not post like this again.” Continuing to break the rules after a formal warning will likely result in a ban.
    Remove the flair of a flaired user who repeatedly fails to meet the expectations for someone with flair (making informed, well-sourced, and polite answers).
    Ban a user from the subreddit. Bans are reserved for:
        Users who ignore warnings and repeatedly break the rules
        Users who respond with hostility and rudeness to attempts to warn them*
        Users who engage unrepentantly in racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted behaviour
        Users who engage in blatant plagiarism
        Obvious trolls

If one of your comments has been wrongfully deleted, or if you feel you have been wrongfully banned, you can message the moderators and explain your situation.

These rules are subject to change at any time, though such changes will be publicly announced. Questions should be directed to the moderators.

revision by Georgy_K_ZhukovModerator?

Post-Napoleonic Warfare & Small Arms Dueling— 7 days ago



continued at notes-group-discussionForumCommunityGuidelines2