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Old 02-09-2004, 10:07 PM   #1
Mister Underhill
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Behind you!
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Mister Underhill has been trapped in the Barrow!
** Barrow-downs Forum Policies **

The rapid growth of the Barrow-Downs over the course of the last year has resulted in numerous growing pains, including a forum that has become somewhat overrun. The Barrow-Downs team is announcing a new set of administration and moderating policies designed to help the board get back to the high standard for which it was once known. In general, these policies are meant to weed the garden of senseless posts and topics, and to promote the thoughtful, intelligent, and humorous discussions upon which the Downs' reputation was built.

Without further ado, I’ll outline some of these new policies point by point:

NONSENSE POSTS

Henceforth, the moderators will be deleting nonsense posts at their discretion and without warning.

We’re seeing more and more of these, and they’re beginning to choke out decent discussion in every forum. What is a “nonsense post”? We all know what we’re talking about here. One or two-line posts that have nothing to say, and say it inelegantly. Posts that look more like they belong in a chat room than a discussion forum. Posts that have absolutely nothing to do with Tolkien or the Downs or Middle-earth. Posts that only chime in to say “I agree” or “I disagree” or “I don’t know the answer to that question”. Posts that welcome someone to the Downs for the thirtieth time. Posts that say that you’re going away for the weekend, or that you’re back after a day off, or that you’re leaving the Downs forever!... or at least until Tuesday.

If you’re going to post, take some pride and try to make a contribution that will interest, educate, intrigue, challenge, or amuse your fellow Downers. Don’t tell us you don’t have the time to read the thread and then ask if someone can sum it up for you. Your post will be deleted.

NONSENSE TOPICS

Henceforth, the moderators will be deleting nonsense topics at their discretion and without warning.

Obviously, all of what was said on the last point applies here, too, but the subject of topics deserves a few comments of its own. Please, please, please, for the sake of the sanity of your fellow wraiths and the moderators, think before you start a topic. What should you think about? Well for one, is this a topic that has been done many times before? Are there a few topics just like this one that are already active? Can I find an old discussion on this topic and find something new to add to that one instead of creating a new one? I know the UBB search feature ain’t no Google, but if your shiny new topic is “I think Tom Bombadil is a Maia”, you’re just not trying.

Also, think about where you start the topic. Basic questions, or topics that simply ask for an opinion (the ever-popular “What’s your favorite... [fill in the blank]?”) should be started in Novices and Newcomers. Topics about the site and its administration should be started in “The Barrow Downs”. Remember that “The Books” is for more advanced discussions, and the topics you start there should try to dig a little deeper and reach a little farther.

MORE POINTS ABOUT NONSENSE TOPICS AND POSTS
  • The Downs is not a chat room. Typos are one thing, but lazy chat-style abbreviations and punctuation put you in the dog-house with the mods before they’ve even clicked on your topic. Take some pride in what you write! Use whole sentences and proper capitalization. Put some effort into expressing yourself clearly.
  • If you have a topic or a post deleted, don’t take that as your cue to go make ten other posts just like it. Becoming a nuisance that the moderators need to keep track of is the quickest way to lose your posting privileges.
  • If you have a topic or a post deleted, don’t fly off the handle and start PMing the moderators wanting to know why. We don’t have time to sit and huddle anymore over every deleted post and every bruised ego. The moderator may or may not send you a PM to explain his or her actions. If they don’t, it’s probably because your post or topic blatantly failed to conform to these guidelines. Put a little more effort and consideration for your fellow forum members into your next try. If they do send you a note, try to take their advice the next time around.
  • The people who moderate the Downs come here because they enjoy it as a hobby. Many of them even shell out money to keep the place going. None of these people want to spend their time being policemen. If you make nuisance posts, then that’s time that the moderators have to spend cleaning up after you. If you become someone whose messes we are always cleaning up, then you will lose your posting privileges.

UNWIELDY SIGNATURES

We’ve tried suggesting, hinting, cajoling, recommending, and demonstrating by example. Well, those efforts have mostly fallen on deaf ears, and everywhere you go on the Downs you find long, unwieldy signatures, frequently with oversized and/or animated pics in them. These hog space, slow down page-loading time, and frequently make threads virtually unreadable.

Therefore, the settings of the forum will now be set to disallow pictures in signatures. Those of you with excessively long text signatures are on warning: no reasonable sig should exceed three lines of text. Cut ‘em down to size or you could find it cut down for you.

SPAM

Spam is any unwanted request for people to visit a web site. Such posts are not allowed on the Downs and will be quickly deleted. If you have a site that you feel would be interesting to the visitors of the Downs, please send an e-mail or PM to the moderators. If it is deemed something our members might enjoy, we will add it to the LINKS page on the main site.

Another way to advertise your site is to put a link to it in your signature and then join in the discussions. Your signature (and your link) will be seen by everyone, as long as you're not just posting nonsense (in which case... ah, you get the picture).

FLAMING, TROLLING, AND INSULTING

In an online forum, feelings are easily hurt. It's imperative that you not be combative in your responses to others.
  • Don't comment on other members - comment on their posts.
  • Make an effort to defend and support your point rather than attack the points of other members. If you do disagree on a point, debate it in a civil manner.
  • Don't name call.
  • Don't intentionally bait others into bad behavior.
  • Don't bring private quarrels or chat quarrels into the forum.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We’re sorry to have to implement these somewhat Draconian measures, but hopefully they will soon make the Downs a much more pleasant place for surfing, reading, and discussion.
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