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Old 03-10-2018, 11:49 AM
JimNightshade JimNightshade is offline
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Would a new poster even read ‘the rules’ ?

Just wondering. We seem to have a myriad of rules, spread across forums in various stickies, and revered by all as the one truth.

If I was a new poster, wanting to join the boards and have some fun, I highly doubt I would read ‘the rules’ before posting. I might be made aware of ‘the rules’, but I, as a new poster, would likely think this was a silly mess and rightly laugh them off as entirely stupid.

So, for whom are the rules actually? Long term posters, who know them, and honor them, but do not bring any fresh thoughts to the site?
Trolls? You know you have a shit load of them, and they probably don’t care.
A potential new poster? Really? You expect them to read all these rules? In 2018? I have doubts that such a noble endeavor will ever be honored.
So, just what are they for?

The more I think of it, the more I come to the conclusion that ‘the rules’ are nothing more than a historic oddity. The old time posters would know them, new posters wouldn’t give a fuck.

Seems kinda silly.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:53 AM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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They're the rules. Of course we can't make new posters read them, but they'll get enforced, anyway, and the new posters will adapt or leave. Look at the comments section of any unmoderated online source, or something like Yahoo Answers, to see what happens when you don't have them. The internet doesn't lack for lawless wastelands, if that's what folks are looking for.

Last edited by TimeWinder; 03-10-2018 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:55 AM
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I am newish, and I read them. I didn't get all the nuances. That came later on some points. Others I am not sure I understand yet.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:57 AM
JimNightshade JimNightshade is offline
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OK, I agree that we should have rules.
But there seems to be so many of them. And I still doubt new posters would ever read them
But I do get your point, we should have rules.

I guess I am open to discussion - thus this thread.
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Old 03-10-2018, 12:52 PM
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Some of the rules are silly. Most of them exist because this board attracts rules lawyers like [insulting but demonstrably true characterization of a political, social, or religious group redacted] you wouldn't believe. It would be nice if "Don't be a jerk" was sufficient. Sadly, that will never be the case.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JimNightshade View Post
OK, I agree that we should have rules.
But there seems to be so many of them. And I still doubt new posters would ever read them
But I do get your point, we should have rules.

I guess I am open to discussion - thus this thread.
Yes, you're correct. Most new posters probably don't read the registration agreement, and don't read the rules. The rules are there to have documentation. When we issue a note or a warning, they give us something to point to rather than just saying "Because I said so."

In the beginning, there was just one rule: Don't be a jerk. And that was deemed to be sufficient. And the mods enforced that rule as they saw fit.

But as time went on, it was deemed that some offenses needed to be spelled out more clearly. And as posters found ever more inventive ways to be jerks (we have a very creative membership), and as rules lawyers parsed and nitpick every nuance of the rules (we also have a very argumentative membership), the rules increased and multiplied. And since the board has now been around for almost two decades, there has been plenty of time for them to grow.

Some of the rules may seem trivial or silly, but there is usually a historical antecedent for this. They arose because of some board controversy, and it was decided to spell things out to avoid future misunderstandings.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-10-2018 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:16 PM
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Think of the board rules like the list of warnings on a new lawnmower or hair curler. They are there because some idiot actually went and did that.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:19 PM
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Think of the board rules like the list of warnings on a new lawnmower or hair curler. They are there because some idiot actually went and did that.
Good analogy.
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Old 03-10-2018, 01:22 PM
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And I still doubt new posters would ever read them.
This is why we tend to go easy on newbies. When I see a newbie insult someone in GQ, I usually issue a note for a first offense (unless it's really over the top). Once I see that someone has been around long enough that they should be aware of the basic rules, it's then that I start issuing warnings.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:56 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is offline
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There would actually be a simple solution to the issue, although vBulletin probably doesn't have such an option:

Instead of just a checkbox claiming you've read the rules, put a short multiple choice quiz on five or ten of what are deemed the most important rules (like personal insults and altering quotes) that must be passed before you can post. It shouldn't be much harder than making new users verify their email address before posting.
  #11  
Old 03-12-2018, 12:29 AM
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That would be a pretty big deterrent to new users.

The current system works pretty well. As Colibri said, we tend to go easy on newbies. We know that most people don't read the registration agreement or the FAQs. We're generally happy if they at least manage to post in the right forum. A lot of newbies don't even get that part right.

There aren't just rules that newbies have to learn. There is the board culture as well. And it's not just here. Whenever you are visiting a new forum anywhere on the internet, it's generally a good idea to read a bit before posting so that you get an idea of what the forum is all about and also so you get an idea of what is and is not acceptable there.

We don't expect people to be experts on the various rules or on the board's culture when they first start posting here. Trying to train them to be experts before posting isn't a very practical solution. Who wants to learn that much stuff just to start posting on a new message board?
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Old 03-12-2018, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JimNightshade View Post
If I was a new poster, wanting to join the boards and have some fun, I highly doubt I would read ‘the rules’ before posting. I might be made aware of ‘the rules’, but I, as a new poster, would likely think this was a silly mess and rightly laugh them off as entirely stupid.
The rules here are all basic standards of what should be normal behavior.

If a new poster's idea of fun was to engage in dialogues about various topics with other people, then they're never going to have a problem. They can skip the rules and never violate them anyway.

If a new poster's idea of "fun" is to go around to various message boards and act like an asshole then they're going to get banned in short order. And their absence will not be a loss for the board.
  #13  
Old 03-12-2018, 01:53 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
The rules here are all basic standards of what should be normal behavior.

If a new poster's idea of fun was to engage in dialogues about various topics with other people, then they're never going to have a problem. They can skip the rules and never violate them anyway.

If a new poster's idea of "fun" is to go around to various message boards and act like an asshole then they're going to get banned in short order. And their absence will not be a loss for the board.
Well, the rule about not altering quotes is not something everyone would consider a "basic standard", depending on the reasons for doing so. Altering for a comedic or parody purpose is not uncommon on other MB. There are a few other things, also, but yeah, things that a newbie might be warned for are pretty much things that are outside the lines almost everywhere.
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:42 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is offline
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The rules here are all basic standards of what should be normal behavior.
And even more so, the fact that we aren't noting/warning/banning any large number of new users would imply that either they're reading them or that the rules are common-sense. The mass problems the OP fears just aren't happening.

Last edited by TimeWinder; 03-12-2018 at 02:42 PM.
  #15  
Old 03-12-2018, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JimNightshade View Post
If I was a new poster, wanting to join the boards and have some fun, I highly doubt I would read ‘the rules’ before posting. I might be made aware of ‘the rules’, but I, as a new poster, would likely think this was a silly mess and rightly laugh them off as entirely stupid.
This site has lasted a LONG time, so it must be doing quite a few things right. As the old saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding."

Personally, I think your assumptions are way off base.
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2018, 03:06 PM
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And even if it does get to Warnings, well, those are just what the name says.

I once received a Warning on a different message board (not going to go into specifics, because I don't want a board war), for something that would have been regarded as just fine here. I had actually read the rules there, but didn't realize that they were interpreted quite that strictly. So I got one warning, and learned more about the rules and their enforcement, and didn't repeat the offense, and everyone's happy.
  #17  
Old 03-13-2018, 12:55 AM
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I've been posting here for give or take 15 years, and I still haven't read the rules. I lurked for a while before posting, and kinda also picked things up on the fly.

Then again, I also once stuck a fork in an electrical outlet as a child, even though I knew better.

Don't be like me, is the lesson to be learned here.
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  #18  
Old 03-13-2018, 07:45 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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There would actually be a simple solution to the issue, although vBulletin probably doesn't have such an option:

Instead of just a checkbox claiming you've read the rules, put a short multiple choice quiz on five or ten of what are deemed the most important rules (like personal insults and altering quotes) that must be passed before you can post. It shouldn't be much harder than making new users verify their email address before posting.
You'd have to really want to post here if taking a rules quiz was part of registering. On boards where your first X posts don't appear until a mod approves them (which could take up to a day or two), I've just never come back because I forgot about them. If I had to take a quiz, there's a good chance I'd just continue on my search or find another board to post at. While I've never posted to them, stackexchange, gardenweb, quora, reddit etc are all available to anyone as well.

As far as the rules, we need to have them, but no, no one is going to read them. Sure, maybe they should but there's just.so.many. And when a new user does something wrong, they always get the line 'maybe you should read the rules and get a feel for the board before you post', but who's going to read all this:

Registration Agreement
FAQs, 'please read first', which contains links to more FAQs.
Both that first and third link contain more links. Upon clicking through them, I see they're just links to individual posts within the thread, but on first glance it looks like it's going to be pages and pages of rules. For example"Rules For Posting" contains 17 links in the OP.
GD/Elections Rules
CS Rules, which contain links to other rules threads such as FAQs-Guidelines and Etiquette.
Game Room Rules, which contains a dead/broken link and a link to the main forum, described as 'description of all forums', to make sure no one posts in the Game Room by accident.
Thread Games Rules
Oddly, the only thing pinned to the top of CS is a post explaining how to use polls.
MPSIMS a disclaimer about meeting IRL, Forum Rules and a post specifically dedicated to political jabs.
Marketplace has their own rules, as well as a post called 'editing posts' that says that's nothing more than a line saying you can only edit posts for 5 minutes, like the rest of the board. There's also a post, separate from the rules, that contains rules about posting images.
The pit, we all knew this one was coming. What's pit worthy, restricted language and the rules.
There's also a Terms Of Use/Privacy Policy, which actually doesn't appear to boilerplate C&P'd from some random place on the internet.
There's a link at the top of all the pages called FAQ, that I've clearly never clicked on. It's an odd looking page (that is, it's physically laid out different than anything I've ever seen here in the past). Unlike the terms of use/privacy policy, the FAQ link at the top must have come with the software and should probably be turned off. We probably don't need directions about how to get to the podcast, see the member list, set up avatars or edit our picture album, amongst other things...this is the one post that appears on every single page you can view while on the SDMB.

If I got them all and didn't duplicate anything, then I lost count at 18 threads worth of rules. Yes, the rules are needed, even beyond 'don't be a jerk', but no one is going to read all that before posting and certainly not before registering. It's also an unorganized mess. It took me quite a while to find all of those.

I'd suggest that they get cleaned up and condensed a bit. I didn't read them, not sure if I ever have, but I'd bet all of those could get combined into one or two threads which could be pinned to the top of all the forums. I'm sure this is the result of each forum having their own mod with their own rules and 20 years worth of tweaking them. Maybe it's time for some house cleaning.
At least then when there's an issue, you're not pointing to some rule in a thread that someone didn't even know existed.

...and this is why I try not to post so early in the morning.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:48 AM
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I don't know just when I read through the rules but it was early on. I believe it was for something (probably a warning or mod note) that cropped up here in ATMB that inspired me to invest the time. IMHO I wouldn't be surprised if its happened that way for others. The discussions/threads here are a little more open and frank than the usual "at this message board" type of things I have seen other places.
  #20  
Old 03-13-2018, 01:43 PM
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I would settle for 1 place where the ALL the rules can be found and a date of the latest revision.


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Old 03-13-2018, 02:31 PM
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I would settle for 1 place where the ALL the rules can be found and a date of the latest revision.
I think we might have to hire a librarian for that.
  #22  
Old 03-13-2018, 02:59 PM
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I think we might have to hire a librarian for that.
Speaking as a former librarian, I think it might be more suitable as a job for an archivist.
  #23  
Old 03-13-2018, 03:27 PM
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Speaking as a former librarian, I think it might be more suitable as a job for an archivist.
And a masochist.
  #24  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:51 PM
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Ignorance of the law is no excuse for transgression.
  #25  
Old 03-13-2018, 06:09 PM
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Most of the general board rules are in ATMB, so I say that ECG should consolidate them
  #26  
Old 03-13-2018, 06:33 PM
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Most of the general board rules are in ATMB, so I say that ECG should consolidate them
Seconded
  #27  
Old 03-14-2018, 05:45 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Thirded.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:37 AM
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Why does this feel like three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner?

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  #29  
Old 03-14-2018, 08:37 AM
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This site has lasted a LONG time, so it must be doing quite a few things right. As the old saying goes, "The proof is in the pudding."
NITPICK: The OLD saying actually goes, "The proof of the pudding is in the tasting." Which, if given a little thought, actually makes sense in a way that "The proof is in the pudding" doesn't.

SECOND DERIVATIVE NITPICK OF THE NITPICK: "The proof is in the pudding" has been around for long enough for it to be considered "old."
  #30  
Old 03-14-2018, 08:37 AM
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Fourthed.
  #31  
Old 03-14-2018, 08:44 AM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Fourthed.
Lookth like ECG ith gonna find himthelf fourthed to take on a tathk he doethn’t really want.

Hey it’s a dad joke. I’m a dad (it says so, right on the box), so I’m kinda obligated to make them.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 03-14-2018 at 08:48 AM.
  #32  
Old 03-14-2018, 08:48 AM
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Lookth like ECG ith gonna find himthelf fourthed to take on a tathk he doethn’t really want.
That's just daffy.
  #33  
Old 03-14-2018, 09:28 AM
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I think common sense guidelines are enough to start off, and the ones most people with start with. A lot of rules that are actually important will be normally learned thru context of postings and mod interventions on other people's postings, some by direct mod intervention (warning or whatever). For the curious one may lookup the specific rule. All and all this I believe is the common pattern, start with common sense-> Learn from context of posts and mod notes -> look up any specific rule to see it's limits when it seems to be coming into play.
  #34  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:02 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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The simple fact is that we DO occasionally see the odd overly aggressive and insulting Internet person come in here and cause trouble. They behave like so many other places allow - mean, rude posts filled with ad hominems and other insults - and they get noted, then warned then shown the door.

https://xkcd.com/1357/

But a certain amount of them learn the value of a place on the Internet where adult discussions - more or less - can occur and stay put. Those people are the metal in the ore of the Internet that we try to refine. It just takes a while and some rules enforcement.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:11 AM
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It actually wouldn't be that hard to consolidate all the rules. Most of them are linked in easy to find places, then it'd be a matter of copy and pasting them in one thread, and leaving it open for people to identify any that are missing. Append as comments come in, then after a sufficient time, close the thread, and recopy them to a new stickied thread. I may actually do that for shits and giggles at some point, but I'm currently aggregating data for another board project.
  #36  
Old 03-14-2018, 12:05 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Christ, I write comics, do math for fun and LARP and even I think we’re a bunch of nerds.
  #37  
Old 03-16-2018, 02:31 AM
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Christ, I write comics, do math for fun and LARP and even I think we’re a bunch of nerds.
Should I report this post? Not to junior mod, but ATMB isn't the place for insults.

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  #38  
Old 03-16-2018, 07:43 AM
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No, but compliments are allowed anywhere on the board.
  #39  
Old 03-16-2018, 08:33 AM
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No, but compliments are allowed anywhere on the board.
False. We're not gonna have any of that nonsense going on in Marketplace.
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Old 03-16-2018, 09:06 AM
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Well, not unless they're paid-for compliments.
  #41  
Old 03-16-2018, 09:45 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Only by members!

Wanna be nice to somebody? Make with the shekels.
  #42  
Old 03-16-2018, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Some of the rules may seem trivial or silly, but there is usually a historical antecedent for this. They arose because of some board controversy, and it was decided to spell things out to avoid future misunderstandings.
I've been posting on message boards for about 20 years, and I've seen Board Wars. They often start because somebody crosses a line. In turn, they get energetic responses. It turns into a Flame War from which factions are created. Soon, people are leaving in anger. In one instance, I saw an entirely alternative Board created by people who left the original one.

I think "The Rules" prevent people from doing the things that alienate other posters which, as I mentioned earlier, I believe to be a big reason this site has survived and prospered for so long.
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