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  1. #1
    Osc
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    Administrator Help2Go Administrator Osc's Avatar
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    Default Forum Rules Discussion

    Hi all,

    For the more than 10 years that Help2Go has been around, we've tried to keep the rules to a minimum. We've never even had a codified rules page, but I've had several requests for rules clarification recently, so we might as well lay them out. Please feel free to add your voice to this discussion. My inclination is to keep the rules to an absolute minimum, for simplicity's sake. So:

    FORUM RULES

    1) Be friendly. For me, this is of upmost importance. This site has been built on a friendly community of volunteers. Mean people are not allowed here So, when posting, please try your best to welcome new members and be understanding of people whose technical knowledge is still growing.

    2) No illegal stuff. No piracy. No hacking of passwords. No sharing of copyrighted media. In short, nothing that would get Help2Go in trouble in the eyes of the United States government (since that is where Help2Go is hosted).

    3) No promotion links unless you've earned it. If you're a long time member who has consistently helped others, I have no problem if you add a link to your blog/website/whatever in your signature. Otherwise, it is strictly prohibited - the reason being that this is a technique spammers use to boost their site's ranking in Google.

    4) We cannot help you with a corporate, government, or military owned computer. These entities have their own IT staffs and IT rules: without knowledge of those rules we could do more harm than good. Trust your own IT staff to do the job.


    These are the hard and fast rules that we will ban people for. Luckily, Canuck and I have not had many instances where we had to enforce these rules. However we do have some "best practices" that we would like to highlight as well:

    - Don't put your email address in a post.
    If you want to send someone your email, put it in a PM.
    - Don't argue in someone's help thread. It's pointless and mucks up the entire thread. The person who asked the question gets conflicting advice and ends up leaving. Multiple people giving advice is fine, but if it deteriorates into an argument, settle it via PM.
    - Don't use a link shortening service like bit.ly when posting links. We want to see what you're linking to before we press the button. The forum software does a great job of taking your link and posting the title of the page it will direct you to.
    - Use your judgment when posting personally identifiable information. I use my own name because I own the site and anybody could find it out anyway. (And I'm proud of H2G!) You don't have to.
    - Be friendly. Did I mention that yet?
    Last edited by Osc; 12-01-2010 at 09:20 AM.
    Oscar Sodani
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  3. #2
    Member Digerati's Avatar
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    Now all that is needed is for these to be in an easy to locate place, perhaps down at the bottom next to the Contact Us link. I might also suggest a requirement for new members to agree to them while signing as part of the registration process. I realize no one reads those things, but at least it is something to fall back on if needed.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!
    MS MVP, 2007 - 2018
    ─────────────────────

  4. #3
    Member Help2Go Moderator Mich's Avatar
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    While I definitely agree with having defined forum 'rules' or best practices, requiring people to agree to them seems to be a bit much, especially when we try to promote a friendly, laid back atmosphere. When I have sites asking me to agree to something in order to post, I usually don't bother making an account. Just my 2 cents.
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  5. #4
    Member Digerati's Avatar
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    Well, I am a member at dozens of sites, and on staff at several and this is really the only one I can recall that does not ask new members to read and check a box that says they agree to the Rules or Terms of Use. I personally feel since the service they receive is free, it is not too much to ask they abide by the rules. And since we know folks are not going to actively seek out the rules before making their first post, it seems once during the registration process is the most practical and least intrusive method to ensure they are at least aware rules exist.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!
    MS MVP, 2007 - 2018
    ─────────────────────

  6. #5
    Moderator Forum Moderator arraknid's Avatar
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    I agree with Mich. We've got this far without expecting posters to agree to be bound by the rules and, in general, the Mods pick these things up pretty quickly and act accordingly. It is nice though to have something concrete that we can refer the poster to, rather than just sounding as if we've just made it up.

    Once fixed, I plan to include the location as a sig link, which should increase the visibility somewhat.

    One thing that we could include under Best Practice is something that says 'If you've nothing to say that adds to the solution to the problem by the OP, don't post! If you do, it'll be deleted!'

    OK, that's a bit clumsy, and needs rewriting, but at least when we see posts that just say something like, 'I agree', or the old chestnut, 'Get a Mac!', we can get rid without looking too heavy handed.

  7. #6
    Member Spyware Fighter DonnaB's Avatar
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    Being the newest member here, and fairly new to the concept of online Computer Help (for which I had no idea existed before I "fell into H2G"). I feel that a link to Forum Rules should at least be included with the pop up that is encountered before posting with direction to "Please read before posting". I never had that option when I joined and floundered my way through learning these rules to be a productive member of this wonderful site.

    Though many users are distressed by the time they find help many will just ignore it so a "pinned thread" would be great. And yes! I would place it in my siggy too!
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  8. #7
    Administrator Help2Go Administrator Canuck's Avatar
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    The only other guideline might be the one about not using 'geek-speak' or 'chat talk', although it hasn't reared its head recently as far as I'm aware. I'm not into the 'chat' scene and trying to figure out what's being said is frustrating. As said though, not a big deal.


  9. #8
    Member MrDarn's Avatar
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    I think that one would be down to individual helpers.

    On another forum, i simply make a point of asking what each word means in my first responce, before giving an "If you meant ........ then i'd advise this......."

    i've never seen it go past 3 posts using this method, and if i did i'd simply reply with "I'm really sorry but i do not have a clue what you are trying to say. I'll let someone else help you."
    Always remember you're unique.


    ...Just like everyone else!
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  10. #9
    Member Digerati's Avatar
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    The only other guideline might be the one about not using 'geek-speak' or 'chat talk'
    I agree 100% but whether a Freudian Slip or intentional, I think this being a "guideline" is more appropriate than a "rule". A rule to me means if you break it, it is an infraction, a punishable offense which comes with punitive consequences up to and including banishment. I don't think a poster should be punished for using improper grammar. Their punishment will be self-induced and come naturally from the delays they encounter in resolving their problem by us asking for clarification.

    But to the use of geek, sms, leet, phone speak or what ever you want to call it, I think it definitely should be discouraged, and NEVER used by those of us who provide guidance and advice - at least not in the technical forums. I think it is important for all us providers to remember,

    • We are providing "technical" advice with technical and specialized jargons and colloquialisms a layperson may already have difficulty understanding,
    • Not all readers have English as their native language,
    • We are providing answers for others reading, and future, perhaps less experienced readers, not just the OP.

    Finally, it simply presents a more professional image (like it or not - fair or not) when using proper grammar and spelling when providing technical advice. And therefore (like it or not - fair or not) the hesitant poster is more likely to trust and follow our advice if we don't sound like some know-it-all kid who's in a hurry or too lazy to speak properly.
    Bill (AFE7Ret)
    Freedom is NOT Free!
    Heat is the bane of all electronics!
    MS MVP, 2007 - 2018
    ─────────────────────

  11. #10
    Moderator Forum Moderator arraknid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaB
    And yes! I would place it in my siggy too!
    Have you got room?

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