Posted: Jan 29, 2011 8:30 am
by starr
Appendix 4. Previous Forum User's Agreement.
Replaced 29 January 2011


Initial Information
The purpose of this forum is to encourage discussions on topics related to reason and science. wants to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas but we cannot and do not review every posting made in the forums and other public posting areas. You can expect these areas to include information and opinions from a variety of individuals and organisations other than

Responsibility for what is posted in the forums and other public posting areas on lies with each user: you alone are responsible for material you post. By using, you agree not to post or transmit any defamatory, abusive, threatening or illegal material, or any other material with the intent to purposely mislead, harm or infringe on the ability of others to enjoy .

You may edit posted material for up to 24 hours after it is initially posted, but you may not edit posts to such an extent that it substantially alters posts to which others have responded.

You may challenge and criticise posts robustly but personal attacks on other members are not permitted.

You may not:

  • Start critical threads about other members. The exception to this is where the member is in the public sphere (for example if they are famous or if they have a blog) then members are free to start threads that are critical of those behaviours or ideas but are not free to start threads where the primary content comprises personal insults about that member;
  • Share PMs (private messages) without the member’s permission. The exception to this is where staff might need to disclose PMs from members to other staff re: complaints or questions of forum policy;
  • Make multiple copies of your posts in more than one thread, although you may post links to them or include quoted sections where relevant;
  • PM members or moderators with illegal propositions or questions;
  • Troll i.e. posting disruptive and/or inflammatory content. These posts can include -but aren't restricted to:
    1. broad generalizations and personal accusations about specific people or groups that incite hatred towards these people or groups and/or provoke emotional responses from members;
    2. misrepresenting the words or opinion of another member after being corrected;
    3. posting off-topic content after being asked by staff to stay on-topic. will not foster or support racist, homophobic or sexist bigotry. Therefore, you may not post hateful, abusive or disparaging content about people's race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender, as this creates an environment that is hostile to the reasonable exchange of views. This also includes the promotion of racist, homophobic or sexist propaganda, political or otherwise.

Posting blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic content may result in an immediate and permanent ban from the forum. Offences judged less serious by the staff will be dealt with under the warning and suspension system outlined under moderation below. will not support Holocaust Denial. Therefore, you may not explicitly or implicitly deny the Holocaust in your posts.

The consequences for breaking these rules will be based on the seriousness of the offence, and this judgement will fall entirely on the moderators' discretion.

Forum Organisation
Please read the descriptions for the forums and sub-forums before posting and choose the most appropriate place. Don't hijack threads and take them off topic. Staff may move/split/merge posts or threads which are deemed to be better placed elsewhere (which, in cases of deliberate hijacking or trolling, might include being removed from public view).

Preaching/proselytising/witnessing is a forum for rational, clear thinking, and does this by encouraging debate and the exchange of different points of view. You are free to discuss religion and your religious faith but members should be able to take part in debate free from religious harassment or from being pressured to convert. The behaviours that are prohibited, other than as examples within legitimate discussion, include preaching, dogmatic presentation of material from religious books, witnessing used as evidence, telling members that they are sinners, or threatening them with any kind of religious or other supernatural consequences for their thoughts, words, or actions.

Welcoming New Members
This part of the forum is a chance for newbies to introduce themselves and for community members to welcome and know something about them. It is not the place to start trying to get newbies to sign up to your particular way of looking at the world, nor is it the place to start sermonising (see above).

You agree not to use to advertise, excessively promote a business or to solicit anyone to buy or sell products or services without explicit permission and/or having a Supporting Vendor status with Any frequent posting (or Internet link to a commercial website) by an individual(s) concerning a particular business will be deemed to be inappropriate promotion and/or marketing, subjecting the poster to removal, with or without warning.

Occasionally, users post their email addresses in our forums and other public posting areas. You agree not to gather these email addresses for purposes of spamming i.e. sending unsolicited email. You may not use any part of, including Private Messaging, to send SPAM or to promote a business(es) or other website(s).

Sex and Nudity
Discussions on sexuality are limited to professional scientific studies and topics. No discussions of personal sexual issues, desires, or problems. No images, descriptions or discussions of sexual acts. Images containing nudity are limited to established works of art or in a medical/scientific context, posted in relevant topics and must be suitable for all ages/safe for viewing at work. All threads or posts containing or linking to material which contravenes the above will be removed from the site immediately.

Identity and Access
You may not register more than one account on without express permission of administration. You may not permit any person (other than an agent acting on your behalf and subject to your supervision) to access, using your account, any features of that may require registration.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting, regardless of whether the posting comes from a user, from a celebrity or "expert" guest, or from a member of our staff. Any advice posted is used at your own risk. There is no substitute for healthy scepticism, doing your homework and using your own good judgment.

Personal Discussion provides a large, close-knit community where people can share their joys and their troubles. It cannot, however, provide a formal counselling service. People who are in need of such services are strongly advised to seek professional counselling services in real life. reserves the right to limit such discussions, remove them from sight, and request that members initiating such discussions continue them with someone who can provide qualified care.

Monitoring and Disclosure does not and cannot monitor all the postings in the forums and other public areas. However, reserves the right (but assumes no obligation) to delete, move or edit any postings that come to our attention that we consider unacceptable or inappropriate, whether for legal or any other reasons. We will not, in the ordinary course of business, review Private Messages (PMs) that are not addressed to, or members of its staff. However, will comply with any applicable legal requirements regarding disclosure of such messages to others, including law enforcement agencies. We will provide the contents of applicable Private Messages to our attorneys for pending legal actions.

Right to Access retains the right to deny access to anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement, whether an actual violation has occurred or not. Note: the "Right to Free Speech" does not apply to private forums or Your right to post on is a privilege granted by and can be revoked at will.

Circumventing Denied Service
We retain the right to deny access to to anyone, for any reason, including negligent or wrongful conduct. Creating new or additional accounts, or accessing the site from a cloaked or proxy account, after being denied service, constitutes negligent and/or intentional interference with contractual rights and can subject the violator to criminal and/or civil liability.

Disruption of Service takes any disruption of and its interests very seriously. Any attempts to disrupt the site, server, features or resources will be investigated, documented and recorded by our security team. A suspected security violation will result in the documents, logs and other communication exchanged between parties (including e-mails, Private Messages or recorded phone calls), used as evidence to support criminal prosecution and/or civil action(s). will work in conjunction with Internet Service Providers; local, state or federal law enforcement and our attorneys, to identify any persons using cloaked or proxied IP's in an attempt to access or disrupt the site anonymously. Along with all evidentiary materials, offending parties will be identified and reported to authorities. Legal remedies for any/all damages will be vigorously pursued.

Use of Materials
Although we make freely accessible, we don't intend to give up our rights, or anyone else's rights, to the materials appearing on . The materials available through are the property of or its licensors, and are protected by copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws. You are free to display and print for your personal, non-commercial use information you receive through but you may not otherwise reproduce any of the materials without the prior consent of the owner. You may not distribute copies of materials found on in any form (posting on other websites, by email or other electronic means), without prior permission from the owner. However, links to are always appreciated and welcome.

Content rights does not claim ownership or rights to any content, photos, videos, audio or other works of authorship posted on this website by its members. After posting content on, you will continue to hold all ownership rights to your posted content, as well as all rights to use your content in any way, shape or form according to your discretion. On this site, such content must be within the limitations of prohibited content as deemed by our Terms of Use and our Forum Users' Agreement. By posting content on this site, you are hereby granting a limited license for using, altering, duplicating, publishing, republishing or reproducing their work through services and linking, in its entirety or as sees fit, in perpetuity. As a limited license, this means that your content is subject to global reach via the internet, is royalty free (not subject to fees imposed on and that you are free to post and license the same content to other parties outside of (non-exclusive). This limited license does not expire and is upheld for as long as sees fit.

Posted user-submitted content remains visible on at all times, even after suspension, ban, deactivation or deletion of associated user accounts. Upon posting content, you hereby warrant that you are the owner of the content or have rights to grant a limited license on said content. You also warrant that any content posted by you is not in violation of copyright laws, contracts, privacy rights, publicity rights, and you also agree to pay fees and fines associated with infringements of any content protection laws.

This is a moderated forum and staff monitor posts to ensure reasonable compliance with the Users' Agreement. Staff are grateful that members often assist us by reporting posts which don't comply. There is a report icon in every post and when a member clicks on the icon, staff receive notice and can decide how to proceed.

Members of this forum usually post in accordance with the Users' Agreement but when this doesn’t happen, staff use a range of strategies to address this. Depending on the situation, the strategies include advice; suggestions; requests and warnings. Warnings are always recorded and the member is informed of a warning via Personal Message (PM) and (usually) within the thread too. In most instances, staff will guide and advise posters to post according to the terms in the UA. If a poster ignores this advice / guidance then any clear breaches of the UA will result in a warning, which will remain active for 6 months.

If a poster accrues warnings, they will lead to suspensions as follows:

3rd active warning - 1 week suspension
4th active warning - 1 month suspension
5th active warning - 6 month suspension

After 6 months, the poster can return with a clean record but will have a probationary period of 6 mths. During that time, warnings will result in:

1st active warning - 1 week suspension + 1 month extension of probationary period
2nd active warning - 1 month suspension + 1 month extension of probationary period
3rd active warning - 1 year suspension + 1 year probationary period

If someone on suspension uses a sockpuppet account then their suspension period will be extended by 6 months. If they use a second sockpuppet account while suspended, they will be banned along with any future sockpuppets created.

Bans will still be used for spammers and trolls.

When it is unclear whether to issue a warning, staff will discuss the situation and reach an agreed decision.

If a member wishes to appeal against a sanction, s/he should send a PM to the moderator who issued it and discuss the matter. If the moderator isn't online for a while or if the member isn't happy with the outcome of the PM discussion, the member may send a PM to the Senior Moderator or start a thread in the Tech Support Forum. Staff decisions (including bans) can also be appealed against by emailing

Proprietary Rights
The Internet allows people throughout the world to share valuable information, ideas and creative works. To ensure continued open access to such materials, we all need to protect the rights of those who share their creations or information with us. expects that you will not use the service to violate anyone's copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights. By submitting material to, you are representing that you are the owner of the material; are making your submission with the express consent of the owner; or have legal authorisation and/or rights to submit any non-owned property.

In the interests of transparency, the maintenance of a high standard of debate and compliance with copyright law, all quoted texts must be presented as such and attributed to a source to avoid confusion over authorship. Therefore, you must provide links to online sources or list author, title, and edition copyright when quoting from printed literature. The onus is on you to ensure that you have copyright permission to copy text from articles, in situations where fair use does not apply.

Legal Disclosure
Use of acknowledges your awareness of this User's Agreement . By posting on, you agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless, its affiliates and their officers, volunteers, directors, employees, agents, licensors and/or suppliers from and against any/all losses, expenses, damages and costs (including reasonable attorneys' fees) resulting from any violation of this User's Agreement, or any activity related to your account (including negligent or wrongful conduct) by you or any other person accessing your account.