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Old 08-19-2006, 07:50 PM
C K Dexter Haven is offline
Right Hand of the Master
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,078

What links are permitted? What's "Workplace Safe"?

We allow links to almost everything except things that would violate our other rules (for example: pornography, advertising, instructions on how to break the law.)

In accordance with the Registration Agreement:
Do not post spam, including but not limited to advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, solicitations, offers to trade or barter, charitable appeals, or other messages primarily intended to promote a cause, venture, organization, event (except Straight Dope-related events), website, or other entity or activity, whether or not money is involved. We allow exceptions for worthy causes (in our sole opinion) if you obtain prior permission from a moderator or administrator.
However, we have two policies (in all forums):
(1) Links should be described (in your text, outside the link itself), so that people know what they're clicking on; and
(2) all direct links should be "workplace safe" (the "two click" rule)

In more detail:

When posting links, please be courteous to your fellow posters: describe what you are linking to. It does not have to be a lengthy description, but "See this political cartoon" is better than "This is funny!"

If your link is primary to the topic when starting a thread, please explain not only what the link is, but why you are linking there. Don't just post a link to a news story or video and expect people to start a conversation about it.
INCORRECT: "Ain't this cool?"
CORRECT: "This looks like the coolest electronic cat-feeder ever!"

This means in terms of sounds as well as visual content. A site that is not safe for workplace is sometimes called "NSFW." Note that being "workplace safe" doesn't just mean that there's no nudity or explicit visible sex. A page with a flashing banner in large, bright colors that says "Hot Nubile Young Teens" would NOT be workplace safe. The criteria is: if your boss walked by while that was on your screen, would it cause her/him to stop and stare, and would it potentially cause problems at work? If yes, then don't provide a direct link.

Please understand: we're not trying to impose censorship. We just don't want anyone inadvertently clicking on a link to something that could be career-limiting if their boss happens to walk by. Lots of our members read the boards during work hours, and it's easy to accidentally click a link when you're scrolling or mouse-over-ing or whatever. We basically don't care where you link as long as no one can get there accidentally.

The goal is to set things up so that no one gets to such a website unintentionally; it requires TWO clicks, rather than just one click, to get to a site that is not safe for workplace. That's our two-click rule.

EDITED WARNING: It appears that a software hiccup means that the noparse-command can be undone. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS APPROACH.
- The best and easiest approach is to use the tags [noparse] and [/noparse], put around the link. Those tags will disable a link, but leave it visible so those who want to go there can do so via cut-and-paste into their browser. Be sure to alert folks that the link is not workplace-safe! (Note that the quote tags will preserve the noparse tags.)
You type: [noparse][url][/url][/noparse]
You get: [url][/url]

- Use spoiler tags [spoiler][/spoiler] around the link. This will hide the link under a spoiler black-out, and those who want to go there will have to click twice (once to SHOW the spoiler and once on the link.) Please be sure that there is some alert OUTSIDE THE SPOILER TAGS to let folks know that the link is not workplace safe. Again, the quote tags will preserve the spoiler tags.
You type: Link to a nude picture, not workplace safe: [spoiler][/spoiler]
You get: Link to a nude picture, not workplace safe
Note the warning is OUTSIDE the spoiler tags. And note that spoiler tags can double-nest, for added security.

- Deliberately mess the link -- for example, putting in extra spaces or an extra character. Anyone who wants to go to the site can do so, just by cutting and pasting and removing the extra bit; but no one can click there inadvertently.

- Use an indirect approach, requiring a second link. For instance, you post a link to some innocuous entry screen or home page, from which the person clicks on some button (told to click on Photo 342, say) to get to the NSFW material.

- It is also possible (but not desirable) to turn off the button below the entry screen, "Automatically parse links in text." That way, someone will have to activate the link first, so that anyone going there will be doing so deliberately. This is not a recommended approach, since if anyone quotes that prior post, the link will be re-activated. Use of either (a) the [noparse] and [/noparse] tags or (b) [spoiler] and [/spoiler] is better.

Please warn people about slow-downloading sites
When linking to a Web page featuring video or audio, or a large file such as a .PDF, please make a note of it in your post so readers aren't caught unawares by the sound or by a document that may slow down their computers. Readers are advised to use a mouse-over to preview links before clicking.

No jack-in-the-box links
We're tired of seeing that site with a picture that has a face jumping up with a scream, or similar. If you're going to post a link to that site, or another site that is intended to startle/annoy by a sudden sound/image, check with a staff member first.

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 09-07-2014 at 06:58 AM. Reason: minor grammar