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Author Topic: Conduct on the Board: Official Guidelines  (Read 5010 times)

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February 15, 2015, 09:49:20 am
Equestria Forums is a place where we want people to be free to be themselves, to have fun, and to feel safe and secure in the presence of friends and those who respect them. Therefore, for the sake of everyone here, it is important that people keep in mind a few simple guidelines about conduct on the board, to make this forum as good as it can be for everyone. These pointers should be seen to supplement and eventually supplant the old Board Guidelines.

These rules are subject to change; this is merely a first draft!

User Accounts

Keep your username family-friendly.
The usernames of our members are one of the first things that any visitor will see; please avoid swear words or explicit language in your username, along with anything likely to cause offence. If you truly want to be known as "ThrobbingManSausage_666" then don't expect others to take you seriously.

Don't impersonate another member.
Impersonating another member is slandering their name and both confusing and misleading other people on the board; some people are inevitably going to have similar usernames but deliberate attempts to mimic another member's profile or posts will be met with a ban. This does not apply to agreed-upon pranks that all parties involved are happy with.

One user account per person.
Each member is permitted one account, and one account only; any dupe accounts found will be deleted. Exceptions to this will be permitted if the original account is irretrievable for any reason, but please make staff aware of who you are.

Keep your signatures under 500 pixels high.
Signatures are a great way to express your forum identity, but please keep them under 500 pixels high, as they can end up being larger than most posts and make threads hard to read, particularly on mobile devices. You can have one large image in your signature; use your common sense and also try not to overdo .gifs as these can cause lag on some computers. If you want to include more content in your signature, put it under a spoiler tag.

We'll let you know when we want to appoint new staff.
Every so often we look to appoint new staff members; we'll tell you when this happens and how to go about registering your interest or nominating others.

Rules about respect also apply to Private Messages.
PMs allow members to contact eachother in private and we can not stop you from using PMs to vent about other members, share adult material or do other things which would not be permitted on the forums. However, this does not mean you are free to use PMs to insult, harass, dox or otherwise disrespect other members, or to share offensive or illegal material. If someone sends you a PM which you find threatening, offensive or insulting then either contact a member of staff or report the PM directly to the administrator, who will take appropriate action.

Posting

Have courtesy and respect for other members.
The golden rule here is to treat others how you yourself would wish to be treated. People are going to disagree and things can become heated, but do not attack other users, treat them as though they are beneath you, patronise them or make mean-spirited jokes. Be nice; you don't have to be friends with everyone here but don't go out of your way to antagonise others.

"Joking" isn't an excuse for being an offensive jerk.
You're entitled to have fun but try to keep it in good taste; if you're going to make the odd off-colour joke then be sure that people are in on the joke. No-one wants to hear how edgy you are because you made a lazy anti-Semitic joke. If your only defence for offending or upsetting people is that others are too sensitive and/or you dislike "political correctness" then think again before posting; it doesn't make you look hardcore, it makes you look childish.

Don't post if you have nothing to say.
Not every post here has to be a comprehensive essay but don't just post for the sake of posting. We will be cracking down harder on this; whatever your intentions, make your posts count for something more than chewing up bandwidth.

No gimmick posting or roleplaying outside of the roleplaying boards and threads.
Roleplaying can be fun but it has no place in discussion threads not dedicated to it; making your entire forum experience in-character as Princess Celestia shows some dedication but it is confusing to other users. This also applies to "tulpas", spirit animals, headmates or any other alternate identity; post as these if you must but clearly indicate so, and expect to be held accountable for actions your "tulpa" performs.

Respect others' right to comment on what they want.
We all need a helping hand or kind listening ear sometimes and if you would like to talk to someone then you are free to kindly ask if someone would like to PM you to discuss it. However, do not try to guilt-trip people into responding to you or fill up "say [something] about [member]" threads with demands that people write something about you; it is annoying and makes other members feel uncomfortable.

What happens off the board, stays off the board.
If a member has been giving you a hard time off the board - either in person or elsewhere on the internet - then speak to a member of staff about it but do not use this as an excuse to attack or slander this person on the forum. Be better than them.

No explicit adult content.
We have a blanket ban on pornography or detailed descriptions of sexual acts. This includes "clop" images and stories. The board aims for a "PG-13" rating; there are plenty of other MLP sites that allow and encourage sexual content so if you must go down this route, take it there. By the same token, scenes of intense graphic violence and gore are not allowed; if you are in any doubt then put something under a spoiler tag, or contact a staff member in advance for advice. Swearing is allowed but be sensible about it; a post where every other word is "fuck" only makes you look stupid.

Be legible.
People need to be able to understand you! English is not the first language of everyone here so we don't expect perfect grammar or spelling but please avoid "leet" or "text speak", or writing in any sort of code. Don't use other languages as a way to passive-aggressively attack other members without them realising.

Be legal.
It should go without saying, but this is a public forum and people should be mindful of what they post here; any sensitive information, such as personal details (names and hometowns are fine, but no addresses or contact details) or explicit descriptions of illegal acts planned or committed by members will be deleted. EqF does not want to become Exhibit A in your eventual trial.

Handling Issues

Assume good faith.
Not everyone is out to get you; most people are here to talk with like-minded members and make friends. If someone says or does something that you find troubling, then politely ask them what they meant by it, don't immediately go on the offensive and assume the worst. If someone is being problematic then the truth will out and they will be dealt with.

EqF is not Tumblr.
This one is a doozy. We want to be a safe space for people of all kinds; we have a long and positive history of accepting and providing support to LGBT individuals, people of colour, people of various religious faiths, those from poorer backgrounds and those with both physical and mental disabilities. Anyone seen to attack another member on the basis of their race, sexuality, gender, class or disability will be severely dealt with. This works both ways; do not think that it is acceptable to laugh at, demean or attack white cisgender males on the site on the basis of their privilege. This is a My Little Pony forum where we want people to feel happy and safe, we are not trying to single-handedly reverse the status quo of every social group in the world. We can not stop people here from holding discriminatory views, but those who act on these views to spread hate or attack others will be dealt with. If someone says something that you find problematic then feel free to debate this with them but we can not ban people for holding a different view if they don't act on it; this does not make the staff prejudiced themselves, but it is not our job to police the social outlook of every member on the board.

Respect that some people are ignorant to things.
On a related note to the above, if someone refers to, for example, the existence of "two genders" then this does not mean that this person is transphobic and needs to be attacked for it; many people are simply ignorant to certain things, from social causes to pop culture, and try to keep an open mind about this. As mentioned above, assume good faith. This also applies to cases where someone hasn't heard of something; not everyone here is well-versed in United States law, history or pop culture, and if people are not then that doesn't mean that they're stupid or deserving of being patronised. Sure, maybe they've not heard of the War of 1812, but have you heard of the German Revolutions of 1848? No-one knows everything.

Use the report function.
If a member has done something wrong then always use the report function and allow a staff member to take a look at things. Moderators are appointed for this reason; let them do their job. Dealing with troublemakers yourself may be satisfying but it can cause problems to escalate and even land yourself in trouble.

Not all reports will lead to action being taken.
Sometimes a report is made that is seen by the staff as being unworthy of taking further action against. All reports are seen by staff and none are ignored on principle, so please respect this decision; it does not give you permission to "take the law into your own hands". If you want to talk to a staff member about why action was not taken then feel free to PM them.

Behave like an adult.
Don't feel that you must have the final word in any dispute, or that you must always be seen to "come out on top". Don't passive-aggressively bitch about things happening elsewhere on the board. Don't throw a tantrum when things don't go your way. Forget it and move on. The board atmosphere is more important than your fragile ego.

Comply with mod instructions.
If an admin or mod tells you to do something, do it. If you feel that their demands are unjust then feel free to appeal the decision by contacting another member of staff, but do not ignore or outright reject the staff's instructions as this will likely lead to further warnings or an outright ban.

Do not feed the trolls.
This is a big one; if you see a member suspected of being a dupe of a banned member, or simply a troll here to cause trouble, just report them, ignore them, and move on. Don't "play along" with their games or make a scene out of mocking them, no matter how tempting it may be; trolls crave attention, if they are ignored and their attempts to join the board met with nothing more than cold indifference they are more likely to give up.

Use the Ignore function.
If a member's posts are bothering you, or if you feel you are being harassed through PMs, then you are entitled to add that member to your Ignore list. You will no longer see posts by them and they will be unable to send you PMs.

Yes, members are allowed to use the Ignore function.
If you discover that someone has added you to their Ignore list then handle this like a mature adult; don't bitch about it on the board, or report them to the staff, because they are free to do so if they wish. If you wish to find out why someone has Ignored you then try asking another member to speak to them on your behalf, but don't make a scene and definitely don't create a dupe account to speak with them; the dupe account will be deleted and you will be warned.

You are allowed to appeal your warning, but be sensible about it.
If you feel that you have been warned in error - maybe the moderator responsible was mistaken or confused - or that it was otherwise undeserved, you do have the right to appeal this with either the moderator in question or another member of staff. However, be mature about this; explain calmly and rationally while you feel the warning was unwarranted, don't attack the mod who warned you or start complaining about it elsewhere on the board, or else you may find yourself facing further warnings.

The rest of the internet probably doesn't care about your time here.
If you are warned or banned, it's inevitable that you might want to vent about it elsewhere, but trying to stir up some sort of personal army on Tumblr or MLP Forums calling for your triumphant comeback is more sad than noble. We obviously can't control what you do off the board but if we feel that you are trying to slander the board or particularly its members then we may contact the staff of other forums to discuss your behaviour with them. Know when to let things go.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 10:30:20 am by The Derpy One »

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February 15, 2015, 10:43:15 am
Reply #1
These are good rules guidelines, readable and sensible. :D
After years of piecewise amendments, a fresh rewrite does wonders.
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Using my fancy mathematics to model the issues since 2013.

February 15, 2015, 01:10:01 pm
Reply #2
I suppose it was about time for an update to the rules. Sure, they're longer and it takes more time to read, but it definitely covers a lot more ground on what is or isn't acceptable. Nice work to everyone that helped set these rules up.

The only one I'm a bit unsure on is this one

Quote
No gimmick posting or roleplaying outside of the roleplaying boards and threads.
Roleplaying can be fun but it has no place in discussion threads not dedicated to it; making your entire forum experience in-character as Princess Celestia shows some dedication but it is confusing to other users. This also applies to "tulpas", spirit animals, headmates or any other alternate identity; post as these if you must but clearly indicate so, and expect to be held accountable for actions your "tulpa" performs.

What consistutes as "clearly indicating so"? Does it mean placing one's name before text, a change of color (with maybe a guide in a person's signature to help the reader), or something else? We've had multiple reasons for people using alternate identities on one account aside from simply roleplaying, so a little more clarification would be nice.
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February 15, 2015, 01:22:56 pm
Reply #3
The only one I'm a bit unsure on is this one

What consistutes as "clearly indicating so"? Does it mean placing one's name before text, a change of color (with maybe a guide in a person's signature to help the reader), or something else? We've had multiple reasons for people using alternate identities on one account aside from simply roleplaying, so a little more clarification would be nice.

Thank you for your feedback!

My main concern is that members who post as multiple "personas" will end up causing a lot of confusion, as has already happened on several occasions; I know that for me personally, it was a long time before I recognised what the deal was with Salnalus and "Ember" in his posts, for instance, and I know that others expressed similar confusion, not knowing if there was another member they should be aware of or if he was roleplaying in a non-roleplaying context. Not everyone is going to be up-to-speed on every member's own quirks, so it's best to be comprehensive.

As a rule I think it would be a good idea that people who do frequently post under different names or identities to have a note in their signature about it, at the very least; most members who do this do at least use different font colours, which helps, but I feel like when posting outside of threads where people are aware of the gimmick (such as Chit Chat, or the RP boards), I'd ideally like to see it avoided or at least highlighted if possible.

Out of curiosity, when you say that there are "multiple reasons" for using alternate identities aside from roleplaying, what do you mean?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 01:29:27 pm by The Derpy One »

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February 15, 2015, 01:31:32 pm
Reply #4
Out of curiosity, when you say that there are "multiple reasons" for using alternate identities aside from roleplaying, what do you mean?

There's a few members with Tulpas here, for one. Also, we've had members in the past who have Dissociative identity disorder/MPD.

If a note in someone's signature being required makes everything easier, I'm all for it. Just wanted an understanding of what members have to do under those situations.
My channel exclusive for ponies: http://www.youtube.com/user/PieDislikerSwag

Naturally. You dislike pie, so you must prefer cake.

I dislike cake, and thus prefer pie.

We were destined to be enemies. Unfortunately for you, I'm technically immortal.

February 15, 2015, 08:14:14 pm
Reply #5
It all looks like good stuff. I like the legible rule as I am not the only person who is dyslexic here I imagine and reading can be difficult when it's text speak or similar.

February 16, 2015, 01:24:56 am
Reply #6
Oh my. This is one finely crafted set of guidelines.

Your ability to put these into words is unparalleled. It would probably take me twice as many words to express the same ideas.

I can see now that you have a serious talent for this sort of thing. EqF is gonna be awesome again in no time.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 01:26:31 am by Queen Chrysalis »

February 16, 2015, 03:53:22 am
Reply #7
It all seems in order :)
Overall I think we've been heading towards a board which has hosted better topics and discussions than of the past, so hopefully this will keep the trend going on the up.
I think the homogenisation of topics into super-threads (like franchises in media) has done wonders of not only cutting down the amount of double-threads, but kept things on topic and smooth.
Also the new boards in MLP helped as well, they were a wise move.

PS. I am also assuming that "people of various religious faiths" also includes those of us who don't align with a faith?

February 16, 2015, 01:45:37 pm
Reply #8
Yeah I guess the rules are okay here I have no complaints here

February 16, 2015, 01:49:23 pm
Reply #9
Oh cool, this is very great and organized. Good one on you, Derpy One.

My main concern is that members who post as multiple "personas" will end up causing a lot of confusion, as has already happened on several occasions; I know that for me personally, it was a long time before I recognised what the deal was with Salnalus and "Ember" in his posts, for instance, and I know that others expressed similar confusion, not knowing if there was another member they should be aware of or if he was roleplaying in a non-roleplaying context. Not everyone is going to be up-to-speed on every member's own quirks, so it's best to be comprehensive.

As a rule I think it would be a good idea that people who do frequently post under different names or identities to have a note in their signature about it, at the very least; most members who do this do at least use different font colours, which helps, but I feel like when posting outside of threads where people are aware of the gimmick (such as Chit Chat, or the RP boards), I'd ideally like to see it avoided or at least highlighted if possible.

As soon as I saw that rule, I knew we were going to be brought up. It is the main case, and Ember and I are probably the reason for it. :(

It's not that we wish to have special privileges just because Ember's been a long-time part of the forum as much as I have been, which has been over 3 years. But she is a part of me that likes to express herself every once in a while. We've had problems and complications with it before, and yes, we do feel rather uncomfortable about it. She's afraid to come out because it might make me look bad or "crazy", as some might think, which is definitely not the case. I get looked down upon for something that's not my fault.


I really don't mean to cause any sort of trouble for Sal or anybody here.


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February 16, 2015, 03:10:31 pm
Reply #10
As soon as I saw that rule, I knew we were going to be brought up. It is the main case, and Ember and I are probably the reason for it. :(

It's not that we wish to have special privileges just because Ember's been a long-time part of the forum as much as I have been, which has been over 3 years. But she is a part of me that likes to express herself every once in a while. We've had problems and complications with it before, and yes, we do feel rather uncomfortable about it. She's afraid to come out because it might make me look bad or "crazy", as some might think, which is definitely not the case. I get looked down upon for something that's not my fault.


I really don't mean to cause any sort of trouble for Sal or anybody here.
As David stated, though, you (and Ember) have the courtesy of using different font colors. Perhaps a note in your signature mentioning that Ember speaks in pink text, while you speak in blue, wouldn't be a terrible thing. Think of new members who don't know you, they may be very confused, but a small note would help. It's not causing any sort of trouble or anything, just trying to make sure everything is clear.
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February 16, 2015, 03:49:29 pm
Reply #11
As David stated, though, you (and Ember) have the courtesy of using different font colors. Perhaps a note in your signature mentioning that Ember speaks in pink text, while you speak in blue, wouldn't be a terrible thing. Think of new members who don't know you, they may be very confused, but a small note would help. It's not causing any sort of trouble or anything, just trying to make sure everything is clear.

*checks signature*

Max characters: 3000; characters remaining: 4

...Well, I'll have to clear space in my signature. I'll see what I can do.


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February 24, 2015, 10:47:43 am
Reply #12
Don't post if you have nothing to say.
Not every post here has to be a comprehensive essay but don't just post for the sake of posting. We will be cracking down harder on this; whatever your intentions, make your posts count for something more than chewing up bandwidth.
I don't think I understand what counts as posting just to chew up bandwidth.  I've reported posts that I thought were made for the sake of posting and nothing was done about it.  Please elaborate.

February 25, 2015, 09:01:24 am
Reply #13
I don't think I understand what counts as posting just to chew up bandwidth.  I've reported posts that I thought were made for the sake of posting and nothing was done about it.  Please elaborate.

Plural? I've only seen one report of you regarding this, and personally I don't think saying 'I share the same opinion' is posting for the sake of posting. This rule is something that can't really be modded on a one-post basis, I think. Everyone will make posts that don't really add much sometimes, and that's fine. Activity is usually good anyhow.

How I view this rule and how it's meant to be: Just a little something to fall back on when someone makes a lot of useless posts, but not something that needs heavy reinforcement. Just something we could remind someone of every now and then when their useless posting gets too out of hand - which we will do, but that's not something the regular members will see. It's fine to report posts like these sometimes if you think it's getting out of hand, but don't expect to see mayor impact because of it. It doesn't need to be all that strict, I mean, half of chit-chat would be banned if we gave a warning for every 'post'-post. But it is something we could use if it gets too much and we wish to be a little stricter on this, that's not solely up to me after all.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 09:11:01 am by Cadance »
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February 25, 2015, 10:26:58 am
Reply #14
Plural? I've only seen one report of you regarding this, and personally I don't think saying 'I share the same opinion' is posting for the sake of posting.

I think he means in the past, Wendy. I've seen reports like those back when I was still Mod, many times.


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February 25, 2015, 10:44:29 am
Reply #15
Sal got half my post out of the way for me.  Yes, previous reports, and all of them for the same user whom I'd say does nothing but post for the sake of posting and all outside of spam.  My logic is that since this is now against the rules yet postalot is still here then I don't understand this fully, and I still believe I don't understand this fully.

February 25, 2015, 10:50:38 am
Reply #16
the same user whom I'd say does nothing but post for the sake of posting and all outside of spam.

Subtle.

We actually are talking about it; putting our personal feelings aside for a moment, we do need good reason to actually take action against someone, there's still a kind of due process we must go through. These guidelines are something we can refer to as a general guide to good board conduct, and we are taking note of it and how it affects our judgement of members here, but it's not as black-and-white as "someone posted for the sake of posting, warn them" or what have you. As I said in the topic post, we do look at all reports and take them into consideration, nothing is ignored out-of-hand.

Please try and have faith that we want the same thing, but sometimes we do need to discuss the best way of handling a situation... that's why we have multiple staff, so we can talk about these things because we certainly don't always agree, and I don't think any of us are so arrogant as to suggest that we have all the answers.

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February 25, 2015, 10:53:33 am
Reply #17
I see, I mistook the guidelines as new rules.

February 25, 2015, 01:16:42 pm
Reply #18
Please try and have faith that we want the same thing, but sometimes we do need to discuss the best way of handling a situation... that's why we have multiple staff, so we can talk about these things because we certainly don't always agree, and I don't think any of us are so arrogant as to suggest that we have all the answers.

We all want what's best for the forum. But we need to be careful with our actions and how we go enacting said actions. We want everyone to feel welcomed here, we still want activity from our membership. We can't jump head-first into unknown waters without first charting a map.
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February 25, 2015, 02:02:16 pm
Reply #19
Oh I don't doubt your intentions, but there is a small part of one of David's posts that's confusing me.


Don't post if you have nothing to say.
Not every post here has to be a comprehensive essay but don't just post for the sake of posting. We will be cracking down harder on this; whatever your intentions, make your posts count for something more than chewing up bandwidth.

The way I read this was that it was an already-decided rule that wasting bandwidth without contributing anything to conversation, information, or just plain ol' mood and atmosphere was against the rules and should be reported.  I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

February 25, 2015, 02:04:32 pm
Reply #20
The way I read this was that it was an already-decided rule that wasting bandwidth without contributing anything to conversation, information, or just plain ol' mood and atmosphere was against the rules and should be reported.  I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

I totally understand where you're coming from and I can see where you misinterpreted the rule. We should get that particular rule clarified to avoid any future issues.
| 3DS FC: 4055-4094-4151 | Living Pokédex COMPLETED: 6/25/2016 |
| Sonic the Hedgehog, The Simpsons and Pokémon Junkie | Graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania -- Class of 2016 |

"There's more to my head then just air, you know."

February 25, 2015, 02:17:06 pm
Reply #21
You weren't wrong to report it; no report is "wrong", we appreciate members taking the time to submit reports! As I also said in the guidelines, not every report is going to have visible consequences or necessarily be acted on as, in some instances, we decide that there's not enough of an issue to be worth actioning anything, but that isn't meant to serve as a deterrent to people reporting things in the first place. Just... know that we are well aware of the issue and some of us do sympathise with you on a personal level, but the staff do have the often less-than-desirable job of having to try and balance our personal views with setting up impartial policy.

I wrote up these guidelines in a bit of a rush so I'm sure there probably are loopholes in there, I will clarify things as we go along and as we (as in, the staff) ultimately decide what our stance on things will be. Under the Ancien Régime the old rule system became increasingly vague and outdated and the staff were forced to make up rules on the fly, we're trying to narrow things down to a set of broad guidelines that we can all get behind. I know that it sounds like random semantics but in my opinion, the trouble with hard-and-fast rules is that the staff would find themselves painted into corners a lot; ultimately, context is everything, and it's the right of mods to take whatever action they think is best in a certain situation. These are meant to be pointers for members rather than a list of possible transgressions and their appropriate punishments; more flexible, more allowance for context and motive, and more freedom for both members and staff.

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February 25, 2015, 02:25:50 pm
Reply #22
Keep in mind that many reports ARE acted upon, just not in a public manner. It's not necessary for everyone to see the results of every report they make. Please trust that we do take every report seriously, and discuss them amongst ourselves to decide on a proper course of action.
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February 25, 2015, 02:34:05 pm
Reply #23
Well, now that Andrew has pointed it out, I think that a sentence like "we will be cracking down harder on this" doesn't really belong in a guidelines document -- it's too likely to become outdated with the passage of (fairly little) time.

If you are going to crack down harder on pointless posts (which I would personally welcome, essentially agreeing with Andrew), then pretty soon the hard-crackdown will be the current state of the forum, and new members who then come in and read the guidelines shouldn't expect the rule to be enforced even harder in the future than what they're already seeing.

(And, of course, if the crackdown doesn't happen, then the sentence is already false.)

My impression is that the mods are more likely to crack down on pointless bumps of old threads than on pointless posts in threads with ongoing activity. Perhaps the guideline ought to reflect that?
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February 25, 2015, 02:45:03 pm
Reply #24
My impression is that the mods are more likely to crack down on pointless bumps of old threads than on pointless posts in threads with ongoing activity.
Good point.  Would the staff clarify this for us?