The photo above is our pride and joy: the idea that we can make a web site and bring a bunch of like-minded people together who will stay friends for years to come. We did it. Yatta!
Of course, internet arguments happen. This guide is our bible to keep everyone cool.
Our mods use this as a general guide to what is ok and isn't on our sites. It is not to be interpreted verbatim. Ultimately, it is at our moderator's discretion how these rules are enforced. Please don't get banned for something that could have easily been avoided.
1. Hate speech will not be tolerated under any circumstances
If you can't imagine saying something out loud in the middle of a real-life coffee shop, you can't do that here. If you want to call somebody something but wouldn't wear that on your t-shirt to PAX, you can't do that here. We don't want to censor anybody, but using hate speech or hateful or victimizing terms, even as an innocent joke, are just not cool.
Examples: making rape jokes, using gay as a negative slur, being homo/transphobic, or making fun of a new user's minor mistake to the point where they never come back. Please treat others with the same respect you were afforded when you joined us.
2. Don't post NSFW content, flame, troll readers, admins, or moderators
Of course, some games/toys/movies have NSFW elements and our editorial may contain some as well - just use common sense. Our sites are not for children but there may be some present.
Example: We're pretty tolerant about dark humor, but not if your boner jokes are making people cringe. If a mod decision is made and you continue to come back at them, mock them, make memes, create faux accounts, change your avatar, etc. You will be banned. In some cases your account will be completely removed.
3. Don't post about illegal activities
Example: How to get around copyrighted material, how to modify hardware, all that stuff is just too gray area or outright illegal. Please don't get us into legal trouble.
4. Don't represent yourself as staff or other living persons
While we appreciate people's enthusiasm, often times the shit hits the fan and people will come complaining to us about something we have no involvement in.
Example: Please do not post content and label it as "Official [WHATEVER] Whatever". This goes for reviews, contests, IRC channels, Ventrilo, Counter-Strike servers, WoW guilds, etc. You are welcome to run any type of event or contest on your personal blog that you would like, so long as it could not be mistaken for an editorial feature of the same type.
5. Don't copy and paste other people's work and pass it off as your own content.
6. Don't post copyrighted work.
Examples: magazine scans, embargoed screenshots, and other stuff that isn't explicitly made available to the public. In a recent case a blogger posted content that violated his NDA with a publisher because they had participated in a BETA, so that company asked us to take their community blog down despite the fact that his editorial contained nothing that violated our terms. If we receive a legal takedown from a publisher, we will usually comply -- especially if you signed the NDA! Be professional.
7. Be responsible about spoilers
If you desire to post spoilers, then please make it clear in the title and beginning of your post that you are posting spoilers. Also, do not post spoilers in the comments in other peoples posts without a warning. People who are caught posting spoilers in a malicious way will be banned.
8. Don't be a black hole of perpetual negativity and sorrow
Our communities are a great place to vent and find like minded people. They are not places where you can come kick a dog to feel better about yourself. If we scan your account and you've trolled in the last 100 posts, you'll be asked to leave. And get help.
Example: Posting a "this place sucks" blog/forum and coming back every day after to make sure everybody misses you, or to further mock people. If you want to go we'll hold you to it.
9. No commercial advertising of any kind
Take your shill elsewhere.
10. Don't organize harassment/astroturf drama toward staff
Of course you can disagree with our staff, and post about that openly. Criticism? We need it. It helps us iterate and become better.
That said, there is a difference between Criticism, flaming, harassment, and personal attacks.
If you create threads encouraging people to complain about mods or members of staff, they will be removed and your account may be subject to moderation. Most people come to our sites to have some fun, not to get into an epic battle. Don't start those.
Something we missed
While our moderators do our best to be fair handed, their job is not to be infallible. Their job is to try and prevent all of the examples listed above from repeating themselves. They are not here to explain where the line is so it can be crossed. As such, these rules are a general guide we use to moderate the site. Ultimately, please respect moderator decisions.
What happens when you break a rule
Regularly checking back and considering these Terms of Service will surely mean you'll never have a moderator send you a warning. Please do check your inbox or PM box from time to time as email warnings will usually be sent before a mod decision is made.
Banning means you won't be able to use the site. In some extreme cases, your account and all of your posts may be deleted (in the case of an account full of hate speech, spam, etc)
Banned users may appeal the block by contacting one of our Community Managers.
REPORT AN INCIDENT
If you're reporting anything unsavory your confidentiality will of course be respected. Please do report incidents even if you're not directly involved and you will never be named for spotting the troublemaker.
Send us a link, preferably with a screenshot, to [email protected].
WHY THIS MATTERS
Basic self-preservation, folks. This keeps our sites out of hot water.
Help us keep our sites open to all and we'll be here for years to come.
Help us keep our doors open by making our sites safe and fun to use. Likewise, we hold ourselves up to these standards to make sure you enjoy the time you spend with our staff.
TLDR Don't suck!
(Note: This was originally written by Hamza and edited by like 10000 people)