• Community Values, Community Guidelines and Policies

      On this page:
      • Community Values
      • Community Guidelines
      • Guideline Details:
        • Being Respectful
        • Dealing with Conflict and Guideline Violations
        • Maintaining a High Level of Discourse - Special Considerations
        • Content Threshold for New Topics
        • Candidate / Public Official Support
      • Functional Debate Principles
      • Site Issue Evaluations - Managing Contentious Issues
      • Policies on Multiple Accounts
      • Policies on Community Guidelines Enforcement
      • Community Guideline Changes / Clarifications





      Community Values
      As a community:
      • We value independent thought, critical thinking and logical arguments that provide unique insight.
      • We value a plethora of viewpoints. All are welcomed except those based on negativity in collectivist mindsets that view humans as members of groups rather than as individuals. Sexism, racism and anti-semitism are the antithesis of our values.
      • We value the sharing of news and information relevant to our Mission.
      • We value the development of wisdom though a high level of community discourse.
      • We value a focus on debating issues while being civil, on-topic and avoiding personal commentary on other members.
      • We value an understanding that name-calling of any person or group proves nothing and has no worthy intellectual foundation.
      • We value efforts and attitudes that build fellowship and an effective community. We encourage the personal development, success and individual enrichment of our members, as well as the welcoming of new members.
      • We value efforts to achieve success within our Mission.





      Community Guidelines
      In order to effectively achieve our Mission the site's Community Guidelines must be followed, which apply to forum posts, reputation comments, blogs, private messages and all other forms of site content.


      Critical Guidelines Focus
      The following guidelines are of critical concern with little to no tolerance of deviation from the staff:

      • Operate within morally sound laws. Promoting violence, theft or other illegal activities will not be tolerated.
      • Respect others' copyrights, intellectual property and contracts, per legal standards. Limit fair-use posting of copyright material to the lesser of four paragraphs or a quarter of the writing.
      • Posts should not promote negativity in collectivist mindsets that view humans as members of groups rather than individuals. Such forms of collectivism include sexism, racism and anti-semitism; they will not be tolerated here.
      • No insulting, antagonizing or personally attacking other users.
      • Do note disrupt Mission-supporting activism efforts.



      The Community Guidelines are as follows:

      1) Be ethical.
      • Be honest and truthful.
      • Operate within morally sound laws. Promoting violence, theft or other illegal activities will not be tolerated.
      • Respect others' copyrights, intellectual property and contracts, per legal standards. Limit fair-use posting of copyright material to the lesser of four paragraphs or a quarter of the writing.
      • Posts should not promote negativity in collectivist mindsets that view humans as members of groups rather than individuals. Such forms of collectivism include sexism, racism, anti-semitism; they will not be tolerated here.
      • Work to promote a peaceful, freedom-loving, compassionate society.


      2) Treat others with respect.
      • Do not make accusations, declarations on others' character, question their motives, be judgmental, assign them to a group or make any other negative personal commentary of members.
      • No insulting, antagonizing or personally attacking other users.
      • Do not suggest that other members should leave or that they otherwise don't belong here.
      • Do not publicly discuss which site members you don't like, who is on your ignore list or similar.
      • No misquoting other members when debating, such as with "fixed it for you."
      • Be respectful of others' religion or lack thereof.
      • No posting of anyone's personal contact information or members' personal details.
      • See the "Being Respectful" section below for more details.


      3) Support our Mission.
      • No promoting agendas that counter our Mission.
      • Candidates and public officials need to be vetted though the site's evaluation process before being promoted in a significant manner. See the "Candidate / Public Official Support" section for more details.
      • Non-functional criticism of site supported candidates or politicians is outside the scope of the site's Mission.
      • Do not be combative in response to public officials, candidates, campaign staff or other notable public figures who are site members and advancing our Mission.
      • Positive energy should be used with content related to the achievement of our Mission. Negative content should be approached with the goal of finding constructive solutions to existing problems.
      • Wholesale disrespecting of the site and declarations of leaving are counter to our Mission.


      4) Be orderly.
      • New topics must be posted in the best fit forum.
      • New topics must provide substantive value to the discourse of that forum. See the "Content Threshold for New Topics" section below for more details.
      • Topic titles should be descriptive and not use unverified information, vulgar language or otherwise be sensationalist.
      • Posts should respect the intent and desires of the Topic Starter.
      • Controversial informational claims should include a verifiable source of the information or note that the information is "unverified".


      5) Elevate the level of discourse.
      • No rude, disruptive or disorderly behavior, including excessive low-value posting.
      • All discussion must be civil.
      • The use of vulgarity should be avoided and not be gratuitous.
      • No posting of images that are graphically offensive, grotesque, sickly, have distorted human images or the like, including within the use of avatars. If any such material is functionally necessary pursuant to our Mission, only links should be used, with warning messages next to the link.
      • No content that is overly distracting from our Mission, such as topics that focus on gratuitous violence or strong sexual material.
      • Ad hominem attacks on any individual or group is strongly discouraged. Use proper names.
      • Respond to conflicts and guideline violations in an appropriate manner. See "Dealing with Conflict and Guideline Violations" for details.
      • See the section "Maintaining a High Level of Discourse - Special Considerations" for more information.


      6) Do not disrupt Mission-supporting activism efforts.
      • Non-functional criticism of Mission-supporting activism is outside the scope of the site's Mission.
      • Constructive opposition to an effort must be made outside of the activism / politicians forum and/or discussion.
      • All criticism or opposition must follow the Functional Debate Principles.
      • Dedicated candidate / public official forums are to positively reflect the issues and values of the representing individual / campaign. Messages should focus on serious news, issues and activism. The following elements are off-topic within these forums:
        • Material of non-support for the individual / campaign, such as statements of "they can't win". Exposing and correcting political spin is on-topic.
        • Issues not associated with the individual / campaign.
        • Attacks on the individual, campaign or campaign staff.
        • Vulgar language.
        • Abrasive and unruly behavior or attitudes not in line with the individual / campaign.
        • Attempts to undermine the political party of the individual / campaign.
        • Attempts to undermine the value of electoral politics or the legitimacy of the US constitution.


      7) Do not promote your business, website, fundraising efforts or other websites without assuring it is in line with accepted parameters.
      • All users promoting anything they have an interest in must disclose this interest.
      • Contact the Site Staff to assure compliance of any concerns before posting.

      Disallowed elements:
      • No promotions that counter the site's Mission or Community Guidelines.
      • No promotions that can be viewed as fraudulent ventures or scams.
      • No spam.
      • No efforts intended to permanently divert the community to other sites.
      • No efforts to mass collect member information by having people sign up for lists or other personal pages.
      • No fundraisers from unvetted individuals.
      • No promoting websites / pages that do not contain original content.

      Allowed but limited:
      • Grassroots project / non-commerce websites from unvetted individuals or where any profit motive is unpublished.
      • Any venture that requires a level of trust may be limited if that trust has not been established.
      • For-profit businesses that directly relate to a discussion forum. For allowance, members must engage the community and answer questions, not just post ads.
      • Personal websites / pages that contain original content.
      • Non-topic related for-profit businesses from established members; use the Marketplace Forum.
      • Fundraising from established members.

      Allowed:
      • Mission-supporting candidates running for public office. We do not accept advertising / fees from candidates.

      Available only through advertising:
      • Campaign fundraising businesses.
      • Non-topic related for-profit businesses from new members.





      Being Respectful
      Maintaining a proper decorum is essential for any group, and is critically important for online political forums. Being respectful of others is an important part of that and required by the Community Guidelines. Here are some examples of being respectful vs. not:
      • "You're an idiot for thinking that." -- not respectful since the statement is based on an insult.
      • "Your delusional thinking" -- not respectful since your statement is based on an insult.
      • "Here are the problems with your line of thinking..." -- respectful, you don't have to agree and can present logical counter-arguments.
      • "Troll" -- calling other members a troll is not respectful and implies you know the intent of the member.
      • Religious context: See this special instructional thread.





      Dealing with Conflict and Guideline Violations
      • If you see a problem with a specific post violating the guidelines you can report it to the site staff with the use of the report option grouped with that post.
      • If you see another member's behavior driving down the level of site discourse, not contained to a single message, you can report it to the site staff.

      If you take issue with another member:

      Do:
      • Debate the issues. Attack bad ideas and questionable information.
      • If a user keeps rehashing the same debate, call for a "Site Issue Evaluation" debate thread on the issues in accordance with our "Site Issue Evaluations - Managing Contentious Issues" policy. Message the staff for details if needed.
      • Put the user on your ignore list.


      Don't:
      • Do not call other members names such as idiot, troll, liberal (unless self-labeled) or other names.
      • Do not antagonize other members by calling them out in thread titles.
      • Do not hunt down random posts by a user to apply negative reputation points.
      • Do not use PMs or rep messages as a backhanded way to break the guidelines.
      • Do not attempt to rally a negative campaign against the member.
      • Do not accuse others of violating the guidelines.
      • Do not retaliate if attacked; refocus the discussion to the topic, call for the discussion to be kept civil or do not respond.





      Maintaining a High Level of Discourse - Special Considerations
      It is of critical importance that a high level of discourse is maintained on the site and that the site's Community Guidelines are followed. To help assure a high level of discourse, extra weight is given to the following issues.
      • The Site Staff will assert a high degree of enforcement to assure that all new topics adhere to guidelines relating to the starting of topics.
      • Topic starters are given special ownership right to assure a high level of discourse is maintained in their topic. Topic starters have a stronger voice in calls to remove posts from their topic if they distract or take away from the level of discourse for that thread.
      • Members taking exception to being treated poorly by other members, such as with insults, being attacked or antagonized, are given special consideration in having the issue addressed.





      Content Threshold for New Topics
      There is no precise definition as to what constitutes a substantive value topic suitable for a new thread but the following guidelines are provided.
      Material that is below the substantive value threshold for its own forum topic includes:
      • Any commentary with no significant points of public interest, even if related to the forum subject, including discussion on peoples appearances or mannerism, gossip or insignificant personal matters. Use Open Discussion, if necessary. For personal rant use “The Vent”.
      • Minor commentary to an issue already being discussed. Use the topic already in play.
      • Minor news points of little significance (i.e., no news story). Use an existing related topic.
      • A picture or meme that is not mainstream news, even if related to the forum subject. Use an existing related topic or Open Discussion.

      Note: Allowances are granted for the Open Discussion, Vent and Hot Topics forums. Your personal blog can also be used for lower levels of sustenance.





      Candidate / Public Official Support
      • The site has a protocol to evaluate candidates which determines how they can be promoted on the site. The evaluate protocol is defined here.
      • The manner in which the candidates can be promoted is based on their classification and is specified here.





      Functional Debate Principles
      The site has established debate principles to help achieve productive discourse. Use of these principles is always encouraged and required for dissent to site established efforts that are working toward the advancement of our Mission. The principles are:
      • Follow the site's Community Guidelines, taking particular care not to use ad hominem attacks and insults against others. This means don't say "You're [some derogatory term]"
      • Debate only in proper context; start a new thread if necessary.
      • Present your position in an intellectual manner. Provide reasoned supporting details.
      • Maintain a respectful disposition.
      • Do not claim something to be true/false without presenting proof.
      • Work to get along with other participants. Ask clarifying questions before casting negative assumptions.
      • Use extreme care to not misrepresent what you are arguing against. Ask clarifying questions before casting potentially inflammatory misrepresentation.
      • Remember to be respectful and work to achieve the purpose of advancing the site's Mission.





      Site Issue Evaluations - Managing Contentious Issues
      Some issues of debate can become very contentious with two or more strongly opposing views. While it is of great value to have these opposing views debated it is equally problematic for these debates to get carried over to many threads where the same debate points get rehashed over and over.

      If a contentious issue is getting rehashed the site staff will call for a focused evaluation of the issue.

      After the evaluation, if no conclusions have been reached:
      • Future debates should be performed in the evaluation thread.
      • Promoting material throughout the site that makes claims that could not be proven in the evaluation is disallowed.


      If the evaluation leads to a definitive conclusion:
      • Only the evaluation thread should be used to challenge the result of the evaluation, such as with new information becoming available.
      • Promoting material throughout the site that counters what has been proven in the evaluation is disallowed.






      Policies on Multiple Accounts
      Individuals are normally allowed one account. In certain exceptions individuals may have a legitimate value in having a second account that is mutually beneficial to our Mission. Cases include:
      • A site member obtains employment within a political campaign, political office or political group and it would be problematic for the advancement of our Mission for them to have their current account mixed with their new employment. (Note: this is effectively a substitute to a disclaimer of 'my views do not represent my employer.')
      • You can legally represent a business or political campaign and wish to have an account for the sole purpose of providing such representation.
      • Other cases reviewed and approved by the site staff on an individual basis.

      If you are interested in a second account, please contact the site staff and explain the situation.

      Having your previous account banned is not a valid reason for an additional account.

      In no case should anyone who is controlling two or more accounts:
      • Violate any of the Community Guidelines.
      • Use both accounts to cross support each other.
      • Have both accounts post in the same thread.

      If you suspect another member of having an unauthorized second account, please privately contact the site staff and explain the situation.





      Policies on Community Guidelines Enforcement
      The site staff will work to assure Community Guidelines compliance. Actions that can be taken include:
      • Editing the post so it conforms to the guidelines.
      • Deleting the post or moving it.
      • Loss of site "reputation" points.
      • Issuance of a PM warning or "infraction" about a violation of the guidelines.
      • Banning.
        • Members who provide frequent low levels of discourse are subject to being banned.
        • Members who violate the guidelines are subject to being banned.





      Community Guideline Changes / Clarifications
      If you have a question about the Community Guidelines or would like to see a guideline changed you should contact the site staff.