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Author Topic: Official Site Rules  (Read 111184 times)
Demonic Attorney
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« on: September 12, 2008, 02:17:10 PM »

I.  Statement Of General Purpose

The Mana Drain (TMD) is both a resource for the Eternal Magic format, Vintage, and the principal foundation for a community of players devoted to the Eternal formats of Magic: The Gathering.  Our site's Rules are an attempt to explain TMD's standards for conduct on the forums; however, they will be interpreted broadly and applied in light of their purpose of maintaining TMD's position as the #1 website for quality Vintage discussion. Bear in mind that while examples of posts which violate the Rules are included to clarify the staff's intent, those examples are not exhaustive. Occasionally posts and/or user conduct, including a pattern of posts over time, will be held to be in breach of the Rules without any of the specified examples necessarily being applicable.

II. Lack of Content
III. Inflammatory Posting
IV. Bad Writing
V. Thread Redundancy
VI. Prohibited Topics and Actions
VII. Major Infractions
VIII. Usergroups and Posting Privileges
IX. Warnings and Bans
X. Appeals of Moderation
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 04:55:54 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 02:17:35 PM »

II.  Lack Of Content

Purpose:  Bandwidth fees are expensive and no one likes sifting through dozens of posts to find one that is worthwhile.  Specific examples of posts that violate this rule include, but are not limited to:

1.  New threads which include only a sentence or small paragraph, or posts consisting of only one line.

2.  Posts which include decklists alone; card choices should be addressed and explained in order for a post to be useful.

3.  Posts asking for decklists or other information that can be obtained by using the search feature.

4.  Posting in threads which will obviously be locked, including pointing out that the thread will obviously be locked.

5.  Posting rules questions without including the oracle text of the relevant card(s).

6.  Thread derailment i.e. making off-topic posts in a thread dealing with another subject.

7.  Posting off-topic threads in a subforum dealing with another subject.

8.  Posts that contain more irrelevant side-notes than useful information.  (This pertains mostly to tournament reports)

9.  Threads labeled primers which fail to meet an extremely high standard of quality.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:46:57 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2008, 02:18:39 PM »

III.  Inflammatory Posting

Purpose:  Interpersonal attacks, incendiary comments, and other hostile or antagonistic posts make it very difficult for other users to enjoy their time on this site and make contributions.  Specific examples of posts which violate this rule include, but are not limited to:

1.  Flaming.  (The staff, and not TMD users, has discretion to determine what constitutes a flame and what doesn't)

2.  Baiting.   (Posts intended to antagonize other users or instigate conflict.)

3.  Backseat modding.  (Non-moderators acting as though they are moderators.)

4.  Posts containing false or misleading statements tending to harm other users.

5.  Intentionally offensive or inappropriate account names, custom text, or signatures.  They will be edited by the staff.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 03:55:03 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 02:19:06 PM »

IV.  Bad Writing

Purpose:  Posts need to be legible, coherent, and understandable in order to convey useful information.  Specific examples of posts which violate this rule include, but are not limited to:  

1.  Posting in all lowercase (or all capitalized) letters.

2.  Gross misuse or nonuse of punctuation or paragraphs.

3.  Several egregious spelling errors in one post.

4.  Failure to properly format decklists from Magic Workstation.

5. Excessive or unnecessary abbreviations that make a post difficult to understand, e.g. AIMspeak, 1337speak.

Miscellaneous Note:  Guys, please stop posting tournament announcements in all caps with tons of exclamation points or other grammatical bits and pieces in the thread title.  It makes the Announcement page look like it's a high school forum.  No warnings will be given for this (at least not for first-time offenders), but don't be surprised if a mod edits your thread title to look more professional.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:47:16 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2008, 02:19:34 PM »

V. Redundancy

Purpose:  Posts on the TMD forums are divided into threads to organize their content, and allow users to easily find specific kinds of information.  Posts which violate this rule include:

1.  Starting a thread which deals with an issue covered in a currently active thread.  Please post in the existing thread instead.

2.  Double-Posting.  If the most recent reply to a topic is yours, edit that rather than posting again in the same topic.  Bumping topics is only permitted for tournament announcements.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:47:31 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2008, 02:21:02 PM »

VI.  Prohibited Topics and Actions

Purpose:  A small number of thread subjects have proven, over the course of years, that they lead only to bitter, angry quarreling and never create positive results.  Accordingly, discussion of these subjects is no longer allowed on the forums. Topics and Actions Prohibited on TMD are:

1.  Trading, Sales, and Fiscal Disputes.  As a general matter, TMD does not allow posts related to trading, selling, or other financial transactions on the forums.  An exception applies to posts not intended to effectuate trading or selling transactions, but rather to address related issues of community interest, like serial ripoff artists or fake cards.  

2.  Misuse of Moderation Text.  Red and blue, in any format, are the text colors used by moderators when performing their official duties.  They should not be used by anyone else.  This helps eliminate confusion about what posts are official moderation actions.

3.  Political Discussions.  Threads on politically contentious topics invariably lead to bad discussions and flamewars.  This has happened with such a degree of reliability that the staff may choose to close any thread in which a political discussion appears, even if it has not yet reached the point where other rules are being broken.

4.  Credit Grabbing.  Arguments about the "correct" name for a deck, or who deserves credit for a deck archetype or specific innovation are prohibited.  These discussions have led to numerous flamewars.

5.  Tier Discussion.  It is perfectly fine to say that Deck A is better than Deck B, or that Deck C is the best deck out there, or that Deck D is worst deck out there, or that Deck E is the best choice for a specific purpose.  What is disallowed under this rule is to start or to participate in discussions of a hypothetical hierarchy of "tiers" to which each deck is assigned.  This kind of talk always engenders bitter disagreement and flaming, while not producing anything of value.

6.  Personal Messages.  Posts addressed to one specific member, whether explicitly or as a function of their content, should not be made on the forums.  A private message feature is available for these sorts of communications.

7.  Advertising.  Any content on TMD whose main purpose is to direct users to other websites or businesses are not allowed.  There will be some leeway for Vintage or Legacy-related sites, but even there the post must include enough content to qualify as a useful contribution independently of the ad.

8.  B/R Threads outside of the Vintage Issues Forum.  The fact is, we do not have a direct line to Wizards or the DCI.  While people may feel very strongly that changes need to be made to the Type 1 Banned and Restricted list, arguing endlessly about those views on TMD will do very little to make anything happen.  In fact, the most reliable result of a B/R debate on this site has been flamewars.  While some leeway is given to threads on this subject in the wake of a significant B/R change, the general rule is these discussions aren't allowed outside the Vintage Issues forum because they invariably lead to behavior that is below this site's standards.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:48:56 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2008, 02:22:32 PM »

VII.  Major Infractions

Purpose:  Conduct that is intentionally or maliciously disruptive to the forums is dealt with severely, and can result in an immediate ban.  Specific examples of conduct covered by this rule are:  

1. Mod sass.  Public belligerence towards TMD staff, collectively or individually, in the performance of their official duties.

2. Deletion of moderation text edited into a post.

3. Ban evasion or assisting banned users to evade bans.

4. Duplicate accounts.

5. Trolling.  

6. Any behavior intended to cause severe disruption to the forums or the Vintage community, or which forseeably has that effect.

7. Harassment of other users and/or Staff. If two users have made their points, one may ask the other to agree to disagree. Please do so. Likewise, if a user asks to be left alone by another user, either directly or by notifying Staff, Staff may direct that further communication on TMD with that user is forbidden. This does not apply to Staff executing their duties.

8. Bringing feuds or other problems from outside TMD, onto TMD. Problems with other users or Staff that have arisen at other forums, websites, on social media or in real life, should be resolved there, not on TMD.

9. Any behavior that is obviously not accepted in civil company as a matter of common sense, e.g. posting pornography, spam attacks, hacking, discussion of contraband, etc.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:49:16 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

Demonic Attorney
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2008, 02:23:06 PM »

VIII.  Usergroups and Posting Privileges

Purpose:  Many websites experience difficulties in separating high-quality content from a much larger quantity of mediocre or poor posts.  TMD approaches this dilemma through its hierarchy of usergroups.

Ungrouped User:   When a new poster first signs up for a TMD account, they have no default usergroup, and are treated as ungrouped users. Ungrouped users have substantially fewer privileges (e.g. they cannot send PMs), but are automatically grouped as New Users upon making their first post.

Basic User:  This default usergroup on TMD includes anyone with a post count of 1 or more.  Basic Users can view the forums, but cannot post on some boards.  Additionally, Basic Users have limited posting abilities in the Tournament Forums.

A Basic User can become a Full Member by posting in the Promotion Request thread in Community Introductions.  Based on the requesting user's posting history, they may be asked to answer a few short questions about Vintage and internet forum use in general.  The questions measure knowledge of Magic fundamentals, comprehension of abstract concepts, and understanding of the site rules.  Basic Users with recent warnings are not eligible for promotion.

Tournament Organizer: A Tournament Organizer is anyone who sponsors and/or organizes regular Vintage tournaments, or works for someone or a store which does, and wants to announce them on TMD.  Anyone seeking tournament organizer status may post a request in the Tournament Organizer Status thread in the Community Introductions Forum.

Tournament Organizers have full posting abilities in the Tournament Forums to allow them to start threads announcing upcoming tournaments.  However, Tournament Organizers who abuse their status or do not post tournament announcements for more than three months may be demoted to Basic User.  

Full Member:  Full Members are Basic Users who the staff has decided to promote.  Full Members have broader posting privileges.  Full Members have greater credibility on TMD because they have demonstrated an ability to make good contributions to the forums and/or an aptitude for the game.

Adept: Site users from any usergroup who have an exemplary history on TMD and/or a record of exceptional contribution to, or achievement in, Vintage may be eligible for Adept status, although the overwhelming majority of Adepts are chosen from the Full Member usergroup.  Adepts can post in any forum on TMD, and have some voice in the general policy decisions made by the staff.

Restricted Posting:  When a user accumulates multiple warnings, the staff may assign them to the Restricted Posting usergroup as an alternative to banning.  Users on Restricted Posting may only post in a small number of forums.

A user on Restricted Posting may be immediately banned if their conduct earns another verbal or full warning.  Assignment to Restricted Posting continues indefinitely until the user has shown sufficient improvement, at which point they will start again as a Basic User or Full Member if applicable.

Moderator/Administrator:  Moderators and Administrators are responsible for setting and enforcing TMD policy.  They are authorized to edit other users' posts and dispense warnings as necessary, in addition to locking or deleting posts or threads which break rules.  They will answer any questions you have about the Rules or about TMD in general; feel free PM any of us at any time.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:49:36 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 02:24:01 PM »

IX.  Warnings and Bans

Purpose:  Forums accessible to the public attract disruptive users.  TMD has established a system of regulating violations of its Rules that deters disruption, punishes violations of the Rules, and provides users with the opportunity to improve themselves.

Warnings.  When a user violates the site Rules, a moderator may give them a Verbal or a Full Warning.  A verbal warning is meant to be a reminder that a given post is not allowed on TMD.  A verbal warning may not use those exact words - any Bold Red Text directed at a user or edited into a user's post is a verbal warning.  Generally, it has little long-term effect.  A Full Warning is a more significant punishment.  Moderators keep track of all Full Warnings they give out, and a user with a recent Full Warning is more likely to receive another in a borderline case.  Full Warnings are usually given after a number of verbal warnings, or a previous verbal warning for the same infraction, or in response to serious problems such as inflammatory posting or major infractions.

Warnings "expire" after a user goes for a period of time (generally three months from the last Warning) without being involved in any other problems.  Conversely, warnings accumulate if more than one is earned in a short timespan.  Accumulating multiple Full Warnings (or a large number of verbal warnings in a short span of time) is grounds for demotion to a lower usergroup.  Accumulating three Full Warnings is grounds for being banned from TMD.

Thread Bans.  Users who disrupt a thread may be directed to leave that thread and are expected not to post in it again.  Breaching a Thread Ban will be viewed seriously, and is grounds for being banned from TMD.  A Thread Ban is automatically a Full Warning if one was not issued already for the same conduct.  

Topic Bans.  Otherwise productive users who show a pattern of disrupting threads about particular topics may be directed not to start or post in threads on that topic.  Breaching a Topic Ban will be viewed seriously, and is grounds for being banned from TMD.  Topic bans are indefinite unless otherwise notified, but a user may PM a staff member to request a Topic Ban be lifted after three months.  A Topic Ban is automatically a Full Warning if one was not issued already for the same conduct.

Forum Bans.  Otherwise productive users who show a pattern of disrupting threads in a particular forum or subforum may be directed not to post in that forum or subforum.  Breaching a Forum Ban will be viewed seriously, and is grounds for being banned from TMD.  Forum bans are indefinite unless otherwise notified, but a user may PM a staff member to request a Forum Ban be lifted after three months.  A Forum Ban is automatically a Full Warning if one was not issued already for the same conduct.

Suspensions.  Users may be temporarily suspended from TMD where their conduct is considered serious enough by staff to warrant it or to provide an opportunity to cool off.  Generally, someone suspended from TMD can read the site, but may not make any posts.  The length of suspension will be notified by staff at the time of the suspension being issued and will automatically expire following that.  A suspension of one month or more is considered to be a First Ban (see below) if a user has not been previously banned.

Bannings.  Generally, someone banned from TMD can read the site, but may not make any posts.  In cases where a user is extremely disruptive to TMD, they may be banned from even viewing the forums.  Bans follow a "three strikes" framework that allows for people banned from the site to be reinstated if they show an intent to reform.  That framework is outlined as follows:

First Ban.  The first time a user is banned from TMD, they will not be able to post for a minimum of one month, and a maximum of six months.  How long an individual user is banned for depends on their history with TMD and the reasons why they were banned.  A user banned for the first time may PM a staff member after one month and ask to be reinstated.  Such a request should be brief, should indicate an intent to reform, and is not an opportunity to argue against the reasons for the banning.  

On a case by case basis, the staff may impose small conditions before a banned user is allowed back to TMD.  An unbanned user will start with two Full Warnings, which will expire after they post without incident for a sufficient time.

Second Ban.  The second time a user is banned from TMD, they will be unable to post for a minimum of 6 months, and a maximum of two years.  A user banned for the second time may PM a staff member after six months and ask to be reinstated.  This time, the request must show strong evidence of meaningful reform.  A simple statement of intent to follow the rules will not be enough on a second ban.  Users are encouraged to post on other Magic websites during their second ban to show improvement.

As with a first ban, the staff can impose conditions on allowing a user back to TMD.  A user allowed back to TMD for a second time will start again with two warnings, which will only expire after a long duration of good posting.

Third Ban.  Users banned three times from TMD will be kept off the site indefinitely.  They may ask to be unbanned at any time, but the staff may take any action it deems appropriate in response to such a request, including ignoring it completely.  If you are banned three times from TMD, do not expect to be reinstated.  
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:49:53 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 02:25:02 PM »

X.  Appeals of Moderation

Purpose:  The staff devotes a great deal of time and effort to running the site, but we are human beings who make mistakes.  The appeals procedure is available to users who believe a Moderator or Administrator has taken action against them that is not warranted by the Rules.  

1.  Step One, Initial Reconsideration:  Before anything else, PM the moderator who took the action you're planning to dispute and state your concerns politely.  Sometimes a simple request to take a second look at a situation will be enough to change someone's mind.  

2.  Step Two, Final Review:  If the moderator declines to change their decision, you may then PM another moderator and ask them to bring the issue up with the entire site staff for further review.  In your PM, please copy/paste your initial discussion with the moderator who took the action you're challenging.

If a moderator receives a request for further review that complies with this rule, they will start a discussion among the TMD staff seeking input from the entire moderation staff.  Once a final decision is reached, a staff member will PM the user who asked for the review and let them know what the outcome is.  Please note, that decision will be final and will not be revisited.

Please be aware that this is the ONLY way to get a moderation decision overturned.  Also, only the user who was subject to the action in question can appeal.  Attempts to pursue moderation complaints through other channels, or to continue to dispute an action after a final review, may be grounds for additional warnings.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 10:50:38 AM by Godder » Report to moderator   Logged

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