The Commons - Community Guidelines
This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion
Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgment of our community. Use these guidelines to keep this a clean, well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.
Improve the Discussion
Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later. The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree
You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid: Name-calling. Ad hominem attacks. Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content. Knee-jerk contradiction. Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.
Be Nice to Our Writers, Even When They Piss You Off
Our contributing writers put their ideas and opinions into the public sphere using their real identities - not anonymous screen names. You may agree or disagree strongly with their ideas and we are providing you a forum to debate them. But any posters making personal attacks on our contributing writers will not be welcome in our community.
One Person, One Voice
All are welcome in our community. We believe that communities where people take a stand by speaking out using their real names are the healthiest communities. We understand that some need to remain anonymous for professional or personal reasons and we will allow for that. However, anyone attempting to use multiple screen names or log-ins is not welcome here. One person, one voice.
Your Participation Counts
The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not. The Commons provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: favorites, bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too. Let’s try to leave our park better than we found it.
If You See a Problem, Flag It
Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for keeping this forum civil. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police. When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention. In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.
Always Be Civil
Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness: Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech. Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit. Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information. Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum. These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times. This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.
Keep It Tidy
Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So: Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics. Don’t post no-content replies. Don’t divert a discussion by changing it midstream. Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it. Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button.
Post Only Your Own Stuff
You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.
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