A Guide to Forum Etiquette
The purpose of this thread is to provide a reference point for generally acceptable forum behavior. It includes examples of both inappropriate behavior and appropriate behavior where necessary. Aside from the reposting of the guidelines, none of this is official from Maxis. If you have questions about something not included here, leave a comment and it may be added.
Section 1: The Forum Guidelines
All forums have a set of guidelines or rules that users are expected to follow. In most cases, following these guidelines will keep you out of trouble for the majority of your stay on a forum. It is for this reason that they are reproduced here in whole. If you know them, great! If you didn't bother to read them the first time, now would be a good time to sit down with them and get yourself acquainted, maybe go out on a few dates or stop over at a movie theater.
- Posting etiquette
• Keep subject titles direct, descriptive and accurate
• Use caps and repeated punctuation judiciously
• Do not create multiple threads for one topic or post your thread in every category
• Do not post blank messages
• Keep signatures limited to 500 characters max, and limit signature images to 670 wide x 128 high. Overall your entire signature should not exceed an area of 670 x 160px.
• Use bbcode to clean up extremely long signature links by displaying link text rather than URLs.
• Bump threads judiciously. If a thread has no new posts since the last bump, please don't bump it again.
• Limit embedded image dimensions to 680 wide x 544 high.
• Do not post unbroken text strings longer than 60 characters (this includes links - Use BBCode).
• Do not make posts requesting the locking of another user's thread within a thread. Please use the alert button or PM system to contact a moderator if you believe a thread is in violation of the forum rules. Note that you may receive an error after pressing alert, however the CS team will successfully be notified.
• Use search! Avoid posting duplicate threads about questions that have already been answered.
– Help keep the forums a fun place to discuss Spore
• Keep posts relevant to the topic of Spore
• Work out differences politely
• Be respectful when posting about religious, political, or otherwise controversial content
• Keep posts clean: free of vulgarity, racism, profanity, and bigotry
• No personal attacks: don't flame, troll, insult, harass, threaten, rant
• Do not impersonate others
• Do not post personal information about others
• No advertising/spamming
• Do not send repeated PMs or encourage other players to PM bomb any forum member
• Have a sense of humor!
– What to avoid
• Do not post copyrighted material
• We do not support posting links to images of creatures based on copyrighted materials
• Do not discuss illegal activities
• Do not share accounts
• Do not return to the forum on a duplicate account if any of your accounts is currently suspended
• Do not ask for or give out serial numbers
Moderators and Staff
– We’re here to help
• Respect the decisions of the moderators and staff
• Do not publicize private conversations between yourself and the moderators/staff
• If necessary, we may have to remove posts or users who repeatedly violate our rules
Section 2: Dealing with a Violation as a User
Scenario: You're minding your own business reading a thread or scrolling down the Recent Topics list and you come across what looks like spam, a troll, flaming, off-topic discussion etc. What do you
as the user do?
The answer: Don't get involved. Involving yourself in a violation results in both a continuance of the violation and the possibility that you might end up violating the forum guidelines too. Above each user's post, there is a small button that says "Alert." If there aren't any moderators around, go ahead and click it. If there are moderators around, send one of them a PM with a link to the page and a short line or two about what is happening.
If you PM a moderator and feel that the issue is still not resolved or the moderator isn't responding, go back to the Alert button and give it a click or you can always try another moderator if one is around.
Below are some examples of what not to do. There are no examples of positive action because that takes place behind the scenes. It's invisible; if you're doing something right, you're a ninja. Don't even post about it.
How not to respond to a forum violation
A Spammer wrote:SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM
Don't do this!
Spammer, you're spamming.
A Troll wrote:Insulting Youtube video!
Don't do this!
Response wrote:Obvious troll is obvious.
A Non-Spore-Related Pink Unicorn wrote:Hey everyone, let's play Wizards 101!
Don't do this!
Section 3: Arguing on the Internet is Like [Insert Meme Analogy Here]
You're advertising! STOP IT!
I'm telling an SM!
Arguing on the Internet is, in most cases, trivial. 9 times out 10 the person with which you are arguing is anonymous and has no reason to listen to your opinion other than for the purpose of telling you how terribly wrong you are or temporarily indulging you for entertainment. For this reason, it is best to avoid arguments entirely, with a few caveats.
1. If the argument is in a forum which encourages debate, so long as you keep things civil, it's perfectly alright to engage in it.
2. Well actually, there is only one situation where purposeful argument is going to get you anywhere.
If you feel it's absolutely necessary to start an argument with someone (especially over something trivial, i.e. you feel they have insulted you somehow), do it using the Private Message system and not by posting long walls of angry text that aggressively or passive-aggressively attack the other user in someone's pristine thread.
Section 4: Gray Areas (Thread Necromancy, Forum Karma, etc.)
Thread necromancy, or the practice of bumping old threads by means of a comment, is often frowned upon by forum users, however in some situations it is perfectly valid. I have a checklist below which will help you decide whether or not you should be posting in an old thread.
The Thread Necromancy Checklist
1. Is there a newer thread on the same subject? If not, continue on.
2. Is the original post still valid for discussion today? If so, continue on.
3. Do you intend to contribute a thoughtful post to the old thread consisting of more than two words or an emoticon? If so, continue on.
4. Double-check the above 3 items. Post away!
But what if a user fails to do these things? What should YOU do? In most cases, you should put your ninja mask on again and ignore it. If you've misplaced your ninja mask or have decided to become a pirate (or heaven forbid, a robot), it's OK to post a nice, short reminder to check the post date and relevancy of the thread or even post the checklist above. Remember, a NICE, short reminder. Leave your sarcasm at home or in the ship's hold. If someone has gotten to it before you and posted the NICE, short reminder, leave the thread alone or send the user a PM if you absolutely can't resist.
What shouldn't you do? Post something like this and snicker to yourself:
Don't do this!
Don't do this!
NECRO! YOU NECRO'D THE THREAD! WAY TO GO
Karma is that fun little system of stars under your username. The number of stars changes based on the overall average of your posts rated by other users. You can rate posts by using the drop-down box in the bottom right-hand corner of posts. And this is where the etiquette guide comes in. The karma system is one of the most-abused aspects of the Sporum. Below are some situations where the karma system SHOULD be used, whether the rating results in 1 star or 5 stars. 2,3, and 4 stars are generally not used.
Where you should use the karma system
Scenario 1: A user responds to a help section post with a really detailed step-by-step walkthrough to assist another user. Five star away!
Scenario 2: In the same thread, another user responds with a picture of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise facepalming. Don't turn to look at your computer and mouth the words "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot." Go ahead and add 1 star to this person's rating.
Scenario 3: A user posts a really cool creation or maybe has worked really hard on an awesome signature for you. Go ahead and five star this person's post!
Scenario 4: A user posts spam or is driving a thread off-topic. He gets 1 star.
The karma system should NOT be used to get back at users you have argued with because you failed to read section 3 of this beautiful and informative guide. It should NOT be used to "troll" or generally harass other users and it should NOT be used to lower the karma rating of users you don't like or whose opinions you don't like.
Spelling and Grammar: Can't We All Just Get Along?
If you answered "No," you're only half-correct. Generally, users should try their hardest to at least make their posts readable in such a way that another person can understand it. If you're absolutely horrible at spelling/grammar or you have given up the English language in order to live amongst the lolcats, for the sake of everyone else, run your post through Microsoft Word's spellchecker first or if you have Firefox, make sure spellcheck is turned on.
As far as dealing with users who make illegible posts, guess what you should do. If you said "Put on my robe and wizard hat," you guessed incorrectly. It's "Put on my ninja mask." Use the PM system to kindly inform the user that his post is difficult to read. He may be a foreigner, so don't overcomplicate things.
Double-Posting: Deja Vu and Sun Tzu's Art of the Edit Button
Occasionally users, most often new users (but sometimes even veterans), post multiple messages in a row so that it appears they are having a conversation with themselves. Most of the time, it's not appropriate to do this. There is an edit button at the top right-hand corner of every post that allows you to make changes to your posts instead of talking to yourself for a whole page. You can also edit posts by double-clicking the body of text, but you will have to enter a reason for the changes. This window is mostly meaningless, so just enter "typo" or some other snippet of text and it will go away faster than you can say "i herd u liek mudkipz."
Now I said most of the time
, it's not appropriate to double-post. However, there are a few special circumstances under which double-posting (and even triple-posting) is valid.
When should you double-post?
1. If you need to reserve space below the first post in a thread for future updates, double-posting is just fine. Using a single post to hold the entire contents of a large fanclub or creation showcase can quickly become confusing for readers.
2. If your post comes after the last post in a thread which is also your own and a new post hasn't shown up for quite a while (say an hour), then you can double-post without fear. However, if you find that you're suddenly the only person posting 4 posts later, the thread just might be dead.
3. If you are posting in a showcase thread made specifically for showing off your creations, it may
be better to double-post a new creation in order to bump the thread instead of editing the primary post. This is more valid if the thread is buried particularly deep in the forum.
4. If editing your original post creates an enormous or confusing wall of incomprehensible text, a second post is fine.
But what if you're not the one double-posting and the person who is seems to have suddenly developed multiple personalities to answer questions in multiple posts? This is one situation where you don't need the ninja mask. Go ahead and kindly explain to the person double-posting that it would be better if they edited their original post when replying to multiple questions or else send them a PM saying something similar.
How to circumvent it.