Forum Rules and Introduction (rev. Apr 2010)

Includes Forum Rules and Major Announcements. Post feedback, concerns, and forum issues. Moderation applications and public votes also take place here.

Forum Rules and Introduction (rev. Apr 2010)

Unread postby Rhiannon » Fri Aug 08, 2003 5:14 am

Welcome to Scholars of Shen Zhou!
A complete introduction to becoming a member of our community.

Scholars of Shen Zhou was founded in 2002 as a companion forum to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms website, Kongming’s Archives. Our vision for this site was, and is, to create a diverse, educational, and mature internet community for members of all ages, in which nearly all topics—casual and serious alike—could be openly discussed. In short, we wanted to create an online community where people can feel at home, and as if they are part of a family.

This somewhat unique vision has resulted in some unique rules (you won’t find many places where graduates of higher education enjoy chatting with very young gamers), which we hope to explain clearly in this topic.

For the sake of simplicity and selective reading, contents are divided below:

Our leadership team is here for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us, and we will answer, or find someone who can. In addition, we have created an Interactive Forum FAQ, where your questions can be answered by any member of our team.

We hope you have a wonderful time here at Scholars of Shen Zhou!
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Information for New Members

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:49 am

Helpful information for new forum members. (top)

Avatars are small graphics which represent you in the forum. Avatars may be up to eighty pixels tall and wide (80x80). Avatars may not be animated, and should not distract excessively from content, which is the heart and soul of Scholars of Shen Zhou. Avatars should not be over 8KBs in size, so our dial-up members can enjoy the forum too.

Signatures are automatically limited to 255 characters, which includes code. Signatures must not distract viewers from content or slow their download speeds, which prohibits larger font sizes, text in all CAPS, excessive vertical space, most color changes, and all images (with the occasional exception of a well-placed forum ‘smily’).

Post Formatting
Please do not change the default color or font-size in your posts, with reasonable exception made for emphasis and titles (e.g. bold text), and for ‘spoilers’, which can be concealed in background-like colors (see below). These rules ensure your post does not distract viewrs from other content. In addition, strive to meet a fair standard in grammar (please don’t post junk like ‘U’ or ‘4’ when what you mean is ‘you’ or ‘for’), and avoid excessive smilies. Also, please use a spellchecker. These rules are for the sake of basic human decency.

  • Tip: Use the [spoiler][/spoiler] BBCode tag to conceal spoilers!
    Code: Select all
    [spoiler=Act IV]The main character dies![/spoiler]
Post Counts
Post counts mean nothing here at Scholars of Shen Zhou, and will not earn you any degree of ‘status’ or ‘rank’. They will not increase your chances of becoming a moderator. In other words, please post to contribute and participate—not for the sake of driving up a number in your profile.

Private Message Abuse
If you think someone is abusing our Private Message system, or if you are being attacked through personal messages, please contact an active administrator. You will be asked for screenshots, and we will be happy to show you how to take them. This also includes some attacks or harassment outside the forum over services such as AOL Instant Messenger.

Registration and Guest Accounts
You will need a valid email address to register. We do not share email addresses with third parties. Guest accounts are capable of posting in most forums (though this will change if spam becomes an issue). You are welcome to post as a guest, but please note that we can track you. If you break rules as a guest it is likely that your whole network will be banned, so please be respectful while doing so.

We use a warning system here at Scholars of Shen Zhou to preserve our community standards or to help members to better understand our forum rules. Nothing more, nothing less. Unofficial (undocumented) warnings serve as reminders of forum rules, while official (documented) warnings represent serious or repeat offense. Official warnings expire after three months. Members may write an administrator to ask if any warnings are active under their name. Usually, accumulating three official warnings will result in a two week ban from the forum, while serious offenses (e.g. pornography) may result in a permanent ban. (Banned members can view the forum but cannot participate.)

If you are issued a warning, the post in question will be edited with a small note (to show other members that we are enforcing our standards) and you will receive a Private Message (PM) detailing what warning you have received, why, and how it might be avoided in the future. (For assistance with private messaging please ask in our Interactive Forum FAQ). If you have any questions, please reply to the warning. If you wish to object, please contact an active administrator.

Example wrote:Mod Edit (James): Spam Warning; please see your private message inbox.

Banned or Having Forum Problems?
Please use our error reporting form at Kongming’s Archives.
Last edited by James on Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sausaged Fish
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Forum Rules and Guidelines

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:50 am

Important information about forum rules and guidelines. (top)

Please do not spam in the Scholars of Shen Zhou forums. Spam is any post that does not contribute in some way to the objective of a thread. You will better understand this term with time, but for now, we will present some examples.

  • If the thread calls for an opinion, please answer with more than a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or a smily face.
    State your view, and offer your thoughts!
  • Posts with horrible grammar and spelling, or those that fail to properly communicate their point due to formatting, can fall into this category. Again, please avoid things like ‘r’ for ‘are’ or ‘4’ for ‘for’, and please please use paragraphs and the glorious period ().
  • After submitting a post, if you wish to reply to another person, or if you want to include additional thoughts, please use the ‘Edit’ button; avoid making another post (unless the previous post is long, would be confused by the addition, or is from an earlier date). This is called ‘double-posting’, and aside from exceptions such as those above, is considered spam. (Examples: long posts, acceptable double-post.)
  • Make sure you are going somewhere in your debates. If you constantly state one opinion while ignoring debate from other members, or press an opinion in multiple threads without any interest of discussing it, this too can be considered spam. If you would like clarification, please write an active administrator.
  • Our private message system is intended only for personal communication. You may not use it for advertisement of any form. Abuse in this form will result in a loss of your account or private messaging abilities.
Flaming is the act of attacking another member, directly or indirectly, through posts or a private message. The old adage “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all” applies here. Strive to communicate your point of view without offending other members. Realize that other people may hold a different opinion (in fact they will, given our diverse membership), and understand that none of us possess a complete understanding of any topic. To help with your understanding, we have included some examples below.

  • Openly attacking another member to offend or upset them.
  • Attacking another member through unproven slander of their beliefs.
  • Attacking them in any way through private messages.
  • Responding to their contributions with sarcasm or a dismissive attitude.
    (e.g. responding to their views with the :roll: smily.)
Trolling, on the internet, is defined as a deliberate effort to agitate or work up members who hold a specific point of view. It is also against the rules. To avoid ‘trolling’, please state your views without attacking another member’s beliefs, and avoid making unfounded generalizations about organizations or groups (e.g. “Anyone who supports abortion is a murderer!”) For example, you can explain why you are an atheist without calling Christians mislead sheep, and you can explain why you disagree with liberalism without quoting Michael Savage and saying “Liberalism is a mental disorder.” Similarly, please keep unfounded generalizations out of your topics. For examples, see below.

  • Discussion: Just another example of the Liberal Media!
  • Discussion: How could any intelligent person respect Sun Quan?
  • Discussion: Abortion is murder!
  • Topic Title: Proof the Bible is False
  • Topic Title: X-Box Rocks; PS2 Bites!
  • Topic Title: Why emo should kill themselves.
  • Topic Title: DW4 is for Losers.
  • See also: Friendly Debate
Sexual Harassment
We do not tolerate sexual harassment (unwanted sexual advances) targeted against our members in the open, in private, over messenger services (such as AOL Instant Messenger) or even on other forums. Please observe basic decency when interacting with other forum members. In serious cases, we will be pleased to assist the victim in contacting the proper authorities. Questions? Please contact an active administrator.

Vulgar or Explicit Content
This relates to images, language, and sexual content. Absolutely no pornography or explicit sexual content. Avoid moderate or extreme vulgar language except in the case of topic-appropriate quotation (if the language filter kicks in, replacing text with something like ••••, your wording is probably inappropriate). On that note, do not attempt to defeat the language filter when it kicks in—it does so for a reason. Avoid gruesome or disturbing imagery as well (people can understand the atrocities of Al Qaeda without being forced to view a decapitation when they load a thread). Similarly, please be cautious when linking to this content. Members of Scholars of Shen Zhou may be as young as 13, and we must act accordingly, and in observance of United States and international law. Questions? Please ask in our Interactive Forum FAQ.

Plagiarism is the act of passing someone else’s intellectual property off as your own. This can be as simple as posting a biography without permission or credit to the author (we take this seriously—please link instead) or as complicated as copying topics from another forum without credit. Learn more.

Software Piracy
We respect the intellectual property of companies, and their right to profit from their efforts, regardless of personal interpretation. It is the law, and it is a good law. This forum is not a place to ask for the latest copy of Koei’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms, nor is it the place to request ROM files for currently produced games. Similarly, do not link to pages or discussions that violate this rule.

We do allow a few exceptions to this rule. Old out-of-print games (e.g. Romance of the Three Kingdoms I–V) may be distributed and discussed, as long as they are relative to the forum’s content (e.g. Three Kingdoms games). In fact, we feature a number of them on the Game Downloads page of Kongming’s Archives. You may also discuss topics such as emulation, and playing old DOS games.

Members Enforcing Forum Rules
Aside from general helpful and constructive advice (e.g. “We are already discussing this topic here, why not ask in that thread?”) we ask that forum members do not self-moderate discussion here at Scholars of Shen Zhou. If you see a serious rule violation, please send your concern to a moderator. Mature members may find this strange—more so when asked not to do this—but our diverse membership (some members younger than 13 years old) combined with our principle of equal rule enforcement prevents this from being a viable option (as it is on so many other academic forums). If you have any questions, please write an active administrator.
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Participation Suggestions

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:51 am

Suggestions on how to improve your Scholars of Shen Zhou experience. (top)

Creating New Topics
Years of experience have taught us that the best topics are created with a simple question and essential background information, and without immediately making a conclusion or taking a side (if you must, it is advised that you do so in a second post; this is not considered to be spam). Be direct and to the point, and avoid long-winded explanation or justification. If you withheld your view, wait until discussion has started, then return to share or debate your thoughts. Note that topics created from a biased or one-sided point of view may be closed.

Sensitive Topics
Here at Scholars of Shen Zhou we allow discussion of topics many other forums close on sight (e.g. Abortion, Religion, Illegal Immigration, the War on Iraq). We also have a very diverse group of members (ranging from the far left to the far right, obsessed Wu-ist to unwavering Shu-ist). As a result, some topics can become quite heated. In order for these topics to exist and thrive, we are exceptionally vigilant in enforcement of forum rules within them. When posting your thoughts inside them, please do so when of balanced emotion, and try to post with an open mind.

Friendly Unoffensive Debate
Because we allow discussion of nearly any topic you may find yourself debating something you feel passionately about with someone who opposes you with similar conviction. If you find yourself becoming upset or frustrated please make sure, while responding, that you are focusing on facts and avoiding personal insult. While we recognize this happens from time to time when discussing passionate topics we do expect all members to adhere to this requirement. We want a forum where people can relax and be at home—not one of hostility.

Excessively Strong “Friendly” Banter
When we are among friends, we don’t act in the way we might around strangers. We do this because we are comfortable around our friends. Many of us enjoy playfully insulting or teasing our friends in a way we would never have dreamed speaking to most anyone else, and it is all okay because we are friends. But on a forum, the situation is different. You might insult your friend on the message board, and between the two of you, it is just friendly play, but consider how it looks to other members? Some will wonder why the leadership team would allow members to attack each other in such a way, and in worst-case scenarios, might take it as a queue that it is okay to do so themselves when speaking to strangers. This creates a problem for all of us. As a result, we ask that you speak respectfully to even your friends while participating here at Scholars of Shen Zhou.

Discussion of Other Three Kingdoms Communities
Please hold back your negative feelings relative to other forums and sites in the Three Kingdoms community. We realize that significant differences exist between us, and we know how strongly some people feel about this, but this is not the place to express them. It solves nothing.
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General Information

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:51 am

Other useful bits of information relative to the forum. (top)

Becoming a Moderator
From time to time, in accord with present and future forum needs, we search for new members to add to our moderation team. When this happens we open a new moderator application thread in the ‘Public Council’. If you are interested in one read any announcements in the thread then post your application. After a certain period of time, the moderators and administrators discuss amongst themselves who they feel might be appropriate, and decide who to add by vote (or we may decide to add nobody). Also, we may pass up someone who would have normally been top choice in favor of someone who better meets specific needs of the opening. If anything, this means you shouldn’t give up! When a decision has been made, we announce the results, and notify the member(s).

Post counts and friendship with the leadership team don’t help—we look strictly at forum conduct, content of posts, and possible reason for wishing to join the team. A warning does not void your application. It is a somewhat difficult responsibility with no pay, and we don’t want moderators who take the position only to achieve ‘power’ or ‘rank’ in the forum. Once on the team, though, you usually have first dibs on any new openings that appear.

Administrators are chosen specifically by the current administration team with primary consideration being focused on a combination of competence and trust. We only add administrators as necessary for the forum to function. And yes, they tend to be people who are well known, perhaps personally, by the others.

Ranks and Custom Ranks
As your post count goes up your rank will change until it eventually becomes ‘Scholar of Shen Zhou’ at 600 posts. Exactly what it changes to as you go along we leave as a surprise as you participate in the forum. This is included only for fun, and does not represent any actual rank in the forum. Custom Ranks are unique, and only given out in a few special circumstances. Anyone who is currently, or has been, a member of the leadership team has one. People who have contributed in some profound or meaningful way to or forum or Kongming’s Archives may have one. Finally, winners of various contests may also receive one. We never grant them by request, though.

Name Change Requests
Years ago, we allowed regular name changes. Due to the confusion and time involved, we stopped doing this. We still allow name changes for very specific reasons, though. You can read more in our Name Change Requests thread.
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Document History

Unread postby James » Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:53 am

Document history (updates). (top)

Jun 14, 2002 (1.0): Forum created; initial rules.
Jun 06, 2005 (2.0): Second major rules revision.
Oct 12, 2006 (3.0): Third major rules revision.
Dec 30, 2006 (3.0.1): Avatar size limit increased from 64x80 to 80x80!
Jun 28, 2008 (3.0.2): Converted HTML to BBCode for phpBB 3. Link corrections.
Apr 08, 2010 (3.1): Revisions; corrected links; trimmed and clarified.
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