Common Rule Breaking Explanations, Excuses, and Complaints

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We ask all our forum members to follow the Forum Rules. When you don't, our volunteer moderators step in. For details see the FAQs.

To ensure that moderation is carried out consistently and fairly, the moderators work as a team, observing each other's work and discussing any situation that requires it. They follow moderation guidelines that apply equally to all members. The administrator supervises, oversees, and reviews the actions of the moderators.

Below are the most common reasons, explanations, excuses, and complaints we hear after moderation actions, particularly when users claim that their post should not have been moderated or that they should not have received a reminder, warning message, exclusion or ban.

If this is the case for you, save yourself (and us) some time and trouble by checking the list below. One of the cases likely applies. If not, Contact Us and we'll review the situation.

"I didn't know about the rule."

This may be true. We know that lots of people don't bother to read our Forum Rules and Guidelines when they join. Please take the time to review the rules now. If you received a reminder or warning message about a rule, the moderators assume that you now know about it. You don't need to reply to reminders or warnings; just follow the rules in the future.
"Somebody insulted me so I insulted them back."

Each member is responsible for following the rules in their own posts, no matter what anyone else posts. If another member breaks the rules, Report their post to the moderators so they can take care of it. You can ignore an insulting post made by another member or even reply to it if you stay within the rules yourself, but rule-breaking by other members does not give you license to break the rules as well.
"The moderators singled me out. You punished me and not the other guy."

The moderators don't moderate based on personal preference or bias and have no reason to single out anyone or play favourites, nor do they. They follow moderation guidelines that apply equally to all users. Moderation is handled as privately as possible so you aren't aware of the reminders and warnings issued to other members, only your own. If you and another member both broke the rules and your posts were reported to the moderators, then they were each handled according to the same guidelines. That does not necessarily mean that any discipline matches; if one member's rule-breaking is more serious than the other or one member has broken rules before and the other has not, one person may earn an exclusion while the other member receives only a warning.
"The moderators are biased."

The moderators are expected to stay neutral when moderating forum discussions. They are not permitted to moderate to favour or suppress any point of view. In fact, the moderators themselves have a diverse set of views. Their team approach and supervision ensure that personal opinions do not affect moderation. You can express almost any opinion, whether it's a popular opinion or not, as long as you follow Forum Rules. If you insult sometime else while expressing an opinion, any warning or discipline you receive is a result of the insult, not the opinion. Think carefully, before posting, whether your opinion is likely to insult or offend anyone and if you are not sure either don't post it, or Contact Us to check.
"It was a minor problem. Nobody cares that I broke the rules."

Most moderation is the result of complaints by other members. Some Forum Rules are minor, but it is the total number of such posts that make the forums less enjoyable for other members. Therefore, we remind users about these rules without making big issues out of them. If you broke a rule thinking nobody would mind, chances are it was a minor rule and it produced only a minor reaction. If you broke a major rule in a way you thought nobody would mind, such as insulting somebody who has an unpopular opinion, it's still breaking the rules.
"You let other users break that rule."

No member is given permission to break the rules. Either the post you saw was not breaking the rules or we weren't told about the post. The moderators can't read all of the messages posted every day and don't always catch rule-breaking but they review every post that is reported by forum members. Posts that break the rules are moderated and/or the user informed. If you see posts that break the rules, report them to the moderators. Otherwise, the moderators may never know about them.
"My exclusion was excessive."

Messages and disciplinary actions are based on the rule involved, the nature of the violation, and any history of prior violations. In most cases users get only reminders or no-action warnings for a first violation of forum rules. For repeated rules violations or violations of the most serious rules (e.g., personal insults), warnings or discipline move up the scale: reminders, warnings, exclusions, longer exclusions and bans. The goal is to get all users to follow the rules and if an exclusion was for many days it's to show that you need to take the rules seriously.
"I was only joking."

The moderators appreciate humour as well as anyone but humour that breaks the rules isn't appropriate. If you insult another member and they are offended, saying "I was just kidding around" is a poor excuse. Users come from different backgrounds and cultures and speak many languages; sarcasm can easily be misjudged and is best avoided.
"The moderators made a mistake."

This could be true, since we're all human, but it's unusual. If you ask us about a moderation action, we'll review it. If we find that it was handled incorrectly, we'll fix it. To query a moderation action use the Contact Form and make a simple, calm, and respectful request for a review. Anything other than a respectful approach will be ignored.

We sometimes hear these as well:

"Other sites let users do that."

Our rules have been fine-tuned for years, to best suit our forums and membership. When you post on our site you need to follow our rules.
"I have the right to free speech."

Any rights to free speech given to you by your government do not apply to a privately owned forum site. We allow you to express your opinion, whether it's a popular opinion or not, as long as you follow the Forum Rules. The exceptions, such as hate speech, can lead to immediate closure of your account and a permanent ban.
"I was recommending a product, not promoting it."

If your purpose in registering for and using our site appears to be for the promotion of a particular website, company, product, or service, you may not get the benefit of the doubt. This is a popular website and whilst the forum moderators can't read minds, they are well-practiced at spotting accounts that fit the patterns we regularly see from spammers, self-promoters and marketers. our site is intended for non-commercial use. If you use it that way and avoid posting about any one site/company/product/service, you'll avoid problems and accusations of promotion or advertising.
"If I stop visiting the site you'll lose advertising revenue."

This is true. Our income does depend, in part, on ad views. But it would not be fair to consider that when enforcing the rules. That's why we use volunteer moderators who do not benefit from site revenue.
"I don't think it's a good rule."

The rules have been developed over many years based on the experiences we've had and the things we've come across whilst building and managing forums. They are still revised in reaction to changing conditions and feedback from users. Just remember that you are subject to the rules as they are currently defined, whether or not you agree with them. If you really do not want to be subject to our site rules, log out and find an alternative community. If you want to make a suggestion for a change, use the Contact Form.
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