Spam is defined as junking up the forum with useless (or worse) topics. Spam clutters up the forums, making them frustrating for people to read; spam usually attracts more spam in the form of people posting about how lame the original spam was; and spam lowers the overall first impression a new visitor is likely to have of the forums. So, keep our forums clean, and please don't do any of the following:
a. Very short or one-word posts: If all you have to say is "me too", don't say it. Don't clutter up an in-depth topic about Setzer's inner foibles with "setzer ownz he is teh kewl." In short, try to elaborate upon your opinion and bring some real meat to any discussion you participate in.
b. Double-posting: Don't make another post in a thread until someone has replied to your first post. If you have more to say, use the edit button. It is not acceptable to "bump" posts here. There are exceptions to this, though, to be handled at staff discretion: It is acceptable to double-post in Creations or Submissions threads, if you are adding further content to the original post, for instance. Also, if you have asked a question and later have followup information to clarify that question, it's okay to add it as a new post, but in this case, if a full day has not passed, you're better served to edit your original post instead.
c. Posting Common Topics: Similarly, don't make multiple posts about the same topic if you can help it. It's courteous to use the search function to see what has been posted before, but we don't require it. However, you certainly should scan recent posts to make sure that there isn't another conversation you can join instead of starting the umpteenth "who do you lak better cloud or sephie!!1!!one" thread.
d. Off-topic posts: If the thread is about whether Terra and General Leo should have fallen in love, don't start talking about how much you hate Terra, how useless you find Morph to be in battle, or how cute a couple Locke and Celes make. Just try to confine your comments to the topic at hand, hmm? And if the topic seems to be veering toward some tangent, either make a new thread about it or discuss it in PM.
e. Posting in the wrong section: Usually, it's pretty clear where your post should go. Read the forum names and descriptions, and, if you're still confused, make a stab at it and let us sort it out later, but it really shouldn't take you long to catch on. This includes the fact that all "Hello!" threads belong in General Topics -> Greetings.
f. Excessive quoting: It's great to click the "quote" button at the top of the previous post in order to clarify what precisely you are replying to, but please be sure to edit the quoted text to reflect more clearly your intentions. If you're replying to a specific sentence or paragraph, only quote that paragraph. It doesn't take much longer and it will make a lot more sense to those who read your post later.
g. Advertisements: In general, advertising is a no-no. If you want to show off the site you made, you can post a link in "Your Creations", and to an extent, buying/selling/trading posts can exist in "General Topics", but these are privileges for existing, contributing members. Don't bother making a forum account just to advertise, leech traffic away to your own forums, or sell something; it won't be around long enough to help you out, anyway.
h. ...and anything else that isn't an on-topic, well-considered, positive addition to the general body of the forums! While we do try not to give warnings to members if their first offense is mild, why chance it when it's easy not to step over the line?
2. Content Restrictions
The Caves of Narshe is a family-friendly site, so please avoid gratuitously graphic discussions, and make sure that all of your discussions are decorous enough for a young teenager to read. Comport yourself as a reasonable, mature adult (even if you're not, it's good practice), and you'll be fine.
a. Swearing: In general, try to avoid "four-letter-words." If you're not sure whether you can say it in a post, find another word! Expand your vocabulary and avoid offending people all at the same time! Let's face it, all of us swear from time to time, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable in every situation.
b. Abuse: Don't make personal attacks on other members using forum resources, including the PM system. This is of course a grey area, but see above—if you think someone might be offended by what you say, say it in a less-offensive way!
c. Intolerance: The CoN does not tolerate defamatory remarks based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. You're entitled to your opinion regarding members of the diverse groups that make up the CoN community, but you are not entitled to make offensive posts detailing your opinions. This especially means that you should and can not use slang for homosexuality to degrade any person, place, idea, well, any sort of noun at all. Don't do it.
d. Acting like a Moderator: The CoN already has a staff of moderators who find it easiest to do their job when they can simply chastise an errant member without also having to sort out everyone who saw the offending post first. Feel free, therefore, to politely tell other members when they are in violation of the rules, but don't go overboard, eh? Certainly, don't respond with anything that resembles "oh, the mods are going to hate this and you're going to get it good lol." We try to consider all context before judging what to do in a situation, and the expectations of other members do not necessarily fit into the mix. In other words, you can't predict what we'll do, so please don't try. Additionally, there's no need to pile on to someone who breaks the rules. If one person explains it, the offender will probably learn a lesson. If six people explain it, it looks like mob action and will drive the offender away before any lesson is learned. Also, don't forget our "Report This Post" option: if you see a post that you think a moderator needs to deal with, just click on "report", and someone will get to it as soon as they can.
e. Illegal Activities: Any discussion of how to perform illegal file-sharing in general and obtaining ROMs in particular is forbidden. Do not ask for, provide links for, or offer to share ROMs using site resources. If you want to talk about all the software you steal, hey, whatever, that's not our problem. But the second you use our site to describe how you did it, that's another story entirely, and we won't accept it. This is met swiftly and often severely.
f. Rumors and False Information: Don't post them. If you can't verify it, don't say it. Don't tell us that "your" version of the game is different. It's not.
g. Pornography, Nudity or Other Sexually Explicit Content: Justice Potter Stewart of the US Supreme Court once wrote with regards to obscenity, "I know it when I see it." Same principle applies at CoN. Again, we're trying to keep it family-friendly here, so be prepared to justify the artistic or other merit of any nudity you would ever consider posting, or any sexual situations that you would write about. However, if we feel that you've posted something that exists only for arousal, it will be immediately removed and you will be punished, likely with a ban.
h. ...and anything else that is, by its very nature, openly offensive or potentially illegal.
3. Custom Avatars, Member Titles, Images in Signatures, and Other Things You Want...
...but can't have.
a. A wide selection of avatars from games covered at the CoN are available through "My Controls" in the upper right area of any forum screen. Custom avatars are not permitted. Once more, for emphasis: custom avatars are not permitted. Furthermore, do not post asking for more avatars or why the special avatar you want isn't available. We have a fairly extensive collection already available, and the only way we will add more is if they are already created to our specifications and submitted for our approval. Chances are, it still won't happen, because we really do think that we have enough avatars already.
b. Member titles are set according to post count and cannot be edited. Posting to increase your post count and move on to a "better" member title is not a good idea.
c. Text and links are allowed in signatures, but not images. Furthermore, the content of your signature must be reasonably formatted and conform to all of the above rules. If everyone who wanted a giant signature with mediocre effects from his or her stolen copy of Photoshop could have one, the internet would explode.
d. Forums dedicated to your favorite game: The site has forums for the games it covers, plus a general Square-Enix and general Gaming forum already. We add more forums as we cover more games. If the forums don't already cover your game of choice specifically, they probably won't start any time soon. Sorry.
e. New user name: Try to pick one you like the first time around, because we do not honour requests to change your forum nick.
f. ...chances are, if you can't figure out how to get it, you're not allowed to have it.
4. PM System
For the convenience of our members, it's possible to send private messages through the forums. The above rules apply to all such exchanges. Harassment is not permitted through PMs, and if you feel that you're being harassed, simply notify a staff member. Harassment is defined as abusive messages or any messages that come after Person A asks Person B to stop.
5. General Annoyances and Other Guidelines
The fastest way to not earn the respect of your fellow members is to be a pain in the butt when you post. Try to use proper spelling and punctuation, reasonable formatting (including breaking up huge blocks of text), and other conventions of the English language that make your posts easier to read. Before you post, reread what you've written to make sure it makes sense and is generally legible. If people have a hard time deciphering what you posted, they'll probably just give up.
Don't post images that are larger than 50k or 500 by 500 pixels; post a link instead. It's just courteous.
Other generally irritating things include:
a. Multiple accounts: You're limited to just one, and if we find out that you made more (and, trust us, we will find out), you're in big trouble. If you feel that you simply must have a new account, please let us know in advance. You will start over with zero posts, and we will disable your previous account, but at least we'll know not to harass you about it. Further, we consider all accounts originating from a single IP to be "multiple." If you have a sibling or a friend using your computer to log in at CoN, that's great, the more the merrier. But be considerate and let us know first, and also let that sibling or friend know that you are responsible for their actions. If we have to ban them, there's a good chance it might catch you too, and there's nothing we can do about it.
b. Asking for email: Don't. The point of a forum is that you come back and check replies from time to time. If you're really worried about it, there's a box you can check at the bottom of your post so that email notification will be sent to the email you signed up with each time a reply is posted. Asking members to email you answers to their questions is just going to irritate them; after all, if you don't care enough to come back and see if anyone answered, why should they care enough to reply at all?
c. Polls: When creating a poll, please make sure that it's actually necessary. Does anyone care about the poll topic? Are all of the possible responses covered by the poll options? Is the poll in the right forum? Don't make a poll just for the heck of it; it's annoying.
d. Spoilers: If you're going to post any plot spoiler for any game, book, movie, anything else that can be spoiled, do it in spoiler tags. If you create a topic that will inevitably lead to spoilers being posted, please note this in the topic title. There are two ways to create spoiler tags: either use the fancy button that appears above the posting text box, or put [SPOILER] before and [/SPOILER] after the text.
e. Closing Topics: You have the ability to close topics that you have created by selecting the option in the bottom left portion of the screen. When closing a topic, you must make a final post explaining why it has been closed, and it should be a good reason. Don't close a topic just because everyone disagreed with you. Topics are virtually never deleted, so please edit the text and close the topic, and notify a staff member if you really think it should be deleted. Furthermore, if a staff member has closed or reopened your topic, leave it that way and discuss it via PM if you must. Attempting to override a staff decision is worth a warning, at least. Additionally, just because you asked a question and it got answered, it doesn't mean that discussion has to stop. Someone else might have a followup in a similar vein, so don't close the thread.
6. CoN Chat
Unlike the forums, the CoN chat is extremely informal, and many of the above rules are relaxed. Limited swearing and off-color jokes and comments are allowed in chat, but that doesn't mean that anything goes. If you're being annoying, you'll probably get kicked. If you keep being annoying, you'll probably get banned. Your first ban probably won't be permanent, but you should take all of these things as signs that your chat behaviour has been found wanting. Getting kicked does not mean you are not welcome in chat. You'll see that everyone gets kicked from time to time, even staffers.
If you have a problem in chat or feel that another member is harassing you, feel free to messages anyone with an @ in front of their name (exceptions: Chanserv and Climhazzard. They're both robots, and atop that, Climhazzard hates you). These are the channel operators, and they are the ones who can kick, ban, or otherwise discipline someone in chat.
Punishment varies according to the specifics of the infractions. Expect anything from a moderator edit to your post (which you will not edit back if you value your life) to a PM to a warning. Your warning meter is visible just under your user name, and each major infraction will earn you a 20% increment. As time passes, the staff may choose to decrease your warning for good behaviour. Your warning meter is visible only to you and high-ranking staff of CoN, nobody else. By the same token, getting warned does not mean you are not welcome at CoN. It merely means that you should review the behaviour that merited warning, and reconsider whether that is activity you wish to continue.
These rules are in place to serve as guidelines and help members to understand what is expected of them in the CoN forums. They are not all-inclusive, and staff members have the final say over what flies and what doesn't. This means both that things that are not explicitly in the rules might sometimes be forbidden, and also that things that are in the rules might sometimes be allowed. If you think there's a problem, feel free to tell us via PM or discuss it in chat.