Forums Guidelines

Feedback to the editors about the zine not relating to any specific issue.

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Post November 01, 2014, 01:03:22 AM

Forums Guidelines

I've put this off for a good long time, but I finally feel like the dust has settled enough for me to finally post about it. Some months ago, there was a bit of a dust-up in the Forums. Harsh words were used, feelings were bruised, anger flared, and a bad time was had by all concerned.

That was a rather painful time for me, as well as for everyone who got caught in the crossfire. It was suggested that I post a set of rules, with penalties clearly stated, to prevent such a thing from happening in the future. So that's what I'm going to do. I doubt that anyone is going to think that these are necessary, or right, or even polite. But there you go, this is the Internet, and sometimes all of us say things that turn out not to have been a measured response to a given stimuli from time to time.

OK, ready? So, here goes...

Guideline 1: This is a public forum, with readers and contributors of all ages. Please remember that some of Aphelion's readers are kids. This is a playground for all ages of people, and so polite discussion is preferred over shouting.

Guideline 2: "Feel free to criticize the work. That's why we're here, after all. But personal attacks on the writers of said works are just plain bad manners." What that means is that if you have a problem with a story, comment on the story itself and what you find objectionable about it. Your comments should be aimed at helping the writer of that story learn what mistakes they may have made, and how to avoid those mistakes in the future. Just posting "this story sucks" doesn't point out why you feel that way, or help the writer understand your point of view as a reader. When you give a critique of a story, you are giving the writer of that story a gift. Make it a gift worth sharing, please.

Guideline 3: If a story makes you angry for some reason, don't post about it right then. Instead, wait until you have calmed down a bit and can be constructive with your critique. Posting things like "this story was difficult for me to enjoy, or even to finish, because it seemed to make light of a serious subject" is far more helpful to writers than posting something that sounds like an attack upon them as a person. While posting "you suck, you unmentionable so & so" might help you blow off some steam, it doesn't help the writer in question understand why you feel so strongly about the story.

Guideline 4: Adult Content is something that every Aphelion Editor wants to label as such on the index page, before you click on the link. If you think we forgot to label something meant for Adults Only, please PM or e-mail the editor on that section to let them know. They will fix the link with a warning flag as soon as they possibly can.

Guideline 5: Spam posts are the personal target of one of our editors, Lester Curtis. He absolutely loves deleting spam and blocking spammers from using our Forums again. PM Lester when you see spam, and he'll be more than happy to stomp that stuff right out. It might take him a little while to get to it, but he'll always delete it when he has the chance.

Guideline 6: If you see someone posting abuse or attacks towards one of the writers, there is a "Report Post" button near the bottom right corner of each post that anyone makes. Clicking on that button sends the whole Editorial Staff a message that someone is behaving badly, who they are, and who they are attacking. We will delete such posts as soon as we can.

Guideline 7: What you personally find offensive may not appear offensive to other people. Report it anyway, and the staff & I will make a judgement call. Morals and manners and mores are different for different cultures, different countries, and different people. The Internet is worldwide, not just restricted to one place. Something that offends a Vulcan might just make a Klingon laugh out loud, in other words. Aphelion is also worldwide, so if a French person laughs at something a Canadian finds offensive, rest assured that someone in China is wondering what all the fuss is about. People are all different, everywhere. And yet we are all very much the same on so many levels. We can get along, but sometimes it takes some work to achieve such a thing.

OK, now for the Penalty Phase:

Attack someone once, the Staff will PM you and ask you to apologize publicly on the Forum you made the post in.

Attack someone twice, and you'll be banned from the Forums for 24 hours. We don't like doing that.

Attack someone three times, and you're looking at a ban that lasts no less than 30 days. We don't like doing that either.

Attack someone four times, and we will ban you from the Forums forever. Might take us a few tries, but we'll do it. No take-backs, no excuses, no special circumstances, no mercy... If you reach this point, you've used up all your appeals and have become toxic. As Aphelion's owner, I hope no one ever goes this far. That would cause me genuine pain to have to ban someone forever. Please don't ever force me to do it. And rest assured, no matter which Staff member actually clicks that final button, it'll be me that feels the pain. I will have failed you. My e-zine, my responsibility, my pain.

Aphelion doesn't ask for any money to read, to submit stories or poetry to, or to post on the Forums. We're not about money. We don't have any adverts, we don't want spam or click-bate, and we humbly ask everyone to be considerate of everyone else. All Aphelion ever wants to do is give people good stuff to read, help writers learn enough about writing to start selling their work to the pro markets, and above all to have fun. Aphelion is supposed to be for learning, for teaching each other, for sharing, and for great stuff to read. Have fun, be kind, be helpful, be polite, and show the world that you are amazing. Remember Wil Wheaton's Law: "Don't be a dick."

"Extremely difficult- Virtually impossible- However, it should only take me ten minutes or so..."
Brice Linch - Max Headroom
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Post November 01, 2014, 12:42:01 PM

Re: Forums Guidelines


Just a few comments.

First, good on "Guidelines" instead of "Rules." It's kind of a bummer having to have this up here at all, but it had to be. Let's all hope it gathers dust and never gets used.

You wrote "click-bate." It's true: everyone needs an editor, but that's one of the jobs every active Aphelionite gets to learn.

Thanks for the little shout-out. :D My stomping boots are on every time I log in.

And rest assured, no matter which Staff member actually clicks that final button, it'll be me that feels the pain. I will have failed you. My e-zine, my responsibility, my pain.
If anyone has to be kicked, it won't be you who has failed, especially now that the warnings are posted. They'll have brought it on themselves, bought and paid for. You don't have to feel good about it, but you don't have to assume guilt, either.

Thanks again for giving us such a wonderful place to learn and grow and just plain enjoy.

I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?

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