SDMB registration agreement as of 12/6/2002

The agreement below spells out the rules by which SDMB users are expected to abide. Changes since the last version are indicated in bold. Changes include: (a) clarification that SDMB postings must not violate U.S. law, as opposed to the law of the UK, Sweden, Botswana, etc.; (b) more detail on our anti-spam policy; and © addition of language to make the copyright notice consistent with the one that has always appeared at the bottom of SDMB pages. (This does not reflect a policy change.) All changes are effective immediately.

Straight Dope Message Board Registration Agreement

We have one basic rule: Don’t be a jerk.

Considering the real-time nature of this bulletin board and the volume of messages received, it is impossible for us to verify the information posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. Users should be particularly wary of medical, legal or other professional advice posted on the message boards and recognize that it is no substitute for in-person consultation with a competent professional. The messages express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of the Chicago Reader, Inc., or any entity associated with it.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use the SDMB to post any material that is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or otherwise violative of any U.S. law. You agree not to post any material that in our opinion fosters or promotes illegal activity. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by the operator of the SDMB, except as permitted by the “fair use” provisions of the U.S. copyright laws (in general this means brief excerpts only). You agree to abide by the wishes of the board moderators in interpreting and enforcing these rules. Refusal to cooperate with board moderators or to abide by these rules is grounds for revocation of your posting privileges.

This message board is intended as a medium for public discussion. Do not post spam, including but not limited to advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, solicitations, 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. Do not post the same or similar messages or threads to multiple forums; multiple threads on the same topic; or an excessive number of threads on any topic within a limited period of time. We will notify the Internet service provider of any party posting objectionable messages.

Any user who feels a posted message is objectionable should contact the moderators of the affected forum by email.

Only one screen name is permitted per user. If you wish to change screen names please email an administrator. Use of multiple screen names is grounds for revocation of your right to post under ANY screen name. We reserve the right to refuse postings from screen names we find objectionable.

You are required to submit and maintain a valid E-mail address. If you do not wish to receive E-mail from other SDMB users you may so indicate in your user profile. However, we retain your E-mail address in our database and reserve the right to have SDMB staff contact you.

Vandalism, tampering, or any other abuse of the site is grounds for immediate banning. Violators will be reported to their Internet service provider and law enforcement.

We reserve the right to delete any message for any or no reason whatsoever. You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Chicago Reader, Inc. (the operator of this BB), Jelsoft Enterprises Limited (the makers of the bulletin board software), and their agents with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s).

The Chicago Reader, Inc., reserves the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from your participation on this message board.

All postings and other material on the SDMB are copyrighted by the Chicago Reader, Inc. (“the Reader”). Republication of material appearing on the SDMB without express written permission of the Reader is prohibited, except that users retain the right to republish their own work. By posting on this board you grant the Reader and its successors and assigns a nonexclusive irrevocable right to reuse your posting in any manner it or they see fit without notice or compensation to you. Please remember that postings on this board are visible to anyone with access to the Internet, and are retained in a database indefinitely. Please do not post personal revelations or other information that may come back to haunt you. In particular, do not post your home telephone number or address.

The Chicago Reader, Inc., and its agents, including the administrators and moderators of the Straight Dope Message Board, are in no way responsible for anything associated with any real life meeting of our members. While we permit SDMB users to post announcements and other discussion of meetings and events on the Straight Dope Message Board, we don’t organize, sponsor, endorse, approve, or have any formal association with such events or any activities that may occur at them. We don’t vouch for any individual or group organizing or participating in an event. Attend at your own risk. SDMB moderators and administrators who attend events do so as private individuals and not as representatives or agents of the Chicago Reader, Inc. We encourage all attendees at these events to obey the laws of the jurisdiction in which they are held.

One last thing. Please remember that you are our guest here, and that we reserve the right to exclude you at our whim, for any or no reason whatsoever. By registering and using the board you acknowledge this right and agree to abide by our rules and to submit to their interpretation and enforcement by our moderators and editors.
Revised 12/6/2002

Uh, Ed?

That part’s just downright scary!
::AHunter3 slinks off to count his recent posts and threads and chew his fingernails::

An excessive number of threads. We despair at the thought of trying to limit the number of posts.

The “excessive number of threads” thing is just to give the Admins some leverage in dealing with the Clueless, the Drunk, and the Ugly, who register and then start 10 or 12 threads in GD on topics like “What would happen if we had no bellybuttons?” and “I can SEEEEEE you! Can you see me?”

No posting links to websites? What about OpalCat, can she have a papal dispensation or something for the Teeming Millions?
And is it still okay to start those “You all got have GOT to check out this Weird URL” type of MPSIMS thread? Like the “catch Michael Jackson’s kids” thing.

Hopefully someone will come in and clarify, but I think the phrase intends “promote a website,” as opposed to simply posting one. I would think that would mean you can’t say, “Hey, everyone, is the best website in the entire world. You can find anything on it,” as opposed to, “Check out what Michael Jackson did now at”

But until I know for sure, I’m not posting any links.

Um, that wasn’t very clear either. I think there’s a difference between promoting a website and simply mentioning it. I don’t know how “Hey, can you tell me what you think of my website,” alls, but I would think it doesn’t count as promoting it.

But I could be wrong, and I hope someone comes in and clarifies shortly.

How would this fall under the rules:

PosterA: Does anyone know where I can find a ProductX?
PosterB: Here’s one.

I’m curious about this as well. How does one define a “worthy cause”? This bothers me because I’m working on a site which is going to have a copy of a book written in the 1880’s available for downloading for free. When it’s completed, I was hoping to post a thread announcing it since the book would be a handy reference tool in some of the discussions that come up from time to time on the boards. Would that be considered okay, or would the Reader have a problem with it?

What concerns me is the message in the very last paragraph:

“we reserve the right to exclude you at our whim, for any or no reason whatsoever.”

Does that mean that someday I could be banned from the SDMB and not know why? Could I email TubaDiva and get the reason? Or would I be ostracized as a cruel social experiment? Should I see a mental health professional if it seems I am taking this too seriously?

Your concerns are noted. What I can tell you is that basically, nothing is going to change too much. The most important word for anyone to pick out of that blurb is, “excessive.” If the staff believes a member is taking license and making an inordinate number of posts/OP’s promoting anything, we will move to curtail that. Basically, this paragraph gives us a broader definition of Spam and greater latitude in dealing with it. Links to websites posted in support of an argument, or those of general interest to the community here, are, as they always have been, eminently acceptable. Unless, as I said, the frequency of it becomes, in our opinion, too great and the nature of it, in our opinion, is too promotional.

To your specific examples:

Opal will follow the rules just as the rest of the membership (and staff) will in this regard. Excessive promotion of will be frowned upon as equally other personal sites.

These are still fine, assuming they violate no other existing rule. I’d say they fall under a “general interest” category and are thus acceptable.

If I understand what you are saying, you have the idea well in-hand.

Not our intention at all. Merely excessive promotional use.

Most likely this is okay, depending upon content as usual, and provided a member doesn’t do this excessively. What is excessive you ask? I dunno. We try to judge things on a case-by-case basis giving latitude for items of greater interest or utility. A guy posting repeated asking critiques of modifications to his personal page, however, is likely to have the hammer dropped on him.

This sounds not only wonderfully acceptable, but is encouraged. As long as it isn’t an 1880 tome on manufacturing a better bong, or growing more potent opium poppies. Or something like that.

RE: Promotion of websites vs. mentioning one.
(Deadly Accurate handled the latter, I will handle the former)

“Hiiii!!!11 i wud jus luv 2 tlk wit u guizzz bout Neopets it is the gr8est site eva & it rox so much!!!111 so please sine up and join Neopets today and tell them SexyPinkPunkPrincesXxXx1385702X1 told you to OK!!!111 O N I luv josh cuz he is so hottt wit 3 ts N our luv will neva die like it will go on till like graduation or sumthing”

Hm. I believe I got a bit too carried away with the size of the font for practical purposes, but I hope the concept of an annoying ditz promoting a site is still there.

Yes, you are taking in too seriously. This is simply a mechanism for problem children who pugnaciously take issue with our rationale for removing them, or any of their posts. This is our final “out,” if you will. When reason breaks down and petulant emotions take hold, we can point to this and say, “Naa-naa, we don’t need a reason anyway. So, boogers on you.” No one who makes an honest attempt to abide by the rules and our interpretation of them has anything to worry about.

Heh. Indeed you did get carried away. Frankly, though, we removed, with prejudice, that kinda trash prior to implementing this new rule. As I said, you probably won’t notice much, if any, difference at all.

Would an apologetic request for the “re-editing” of that post to a more normal size go over well?

How’s that?

I have nothing of value to add here, but I have to say I find it hilarious that the post above was edited by UncleBeer and still looks like that.

Read this, and almost panicked:

Then I read this, and relaxed:

That the idea, Mods?


Gah! So does this mean I need to change my sig? I have a link to a webpage (for a retail company) that contains a commercial that my boyfriend did. I only did it because I found it entertaining, and I thought other people could giggle at it. (I really could care less about promoting the product.) I don’t excessively use my sig anyways, so it won’t be a big deal.

Inquiring minds want to know… :slight_smile:

That isn’t new; it was added in 2000 or earlier. Everything I’ve seen verifies what Uncle Beer just said: “No one who makes an honest attempt to abide by the rules and our interpretation of them has anything to worry about.”

I’d like to ask, what, specifically, changed from the last update? Was the bolded part the changed part? Maybe changes should be highlighted in red or something. I think it would be helpful for us peons.