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Community Guidelines

In order to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for our online community, we've created a general list of community guidelines. We ask that you read and abide by these rules before interacting with the community. For additional information, please refer to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

General Conduct

Before beginning a discussion, please skim through the threads to make sure that someone hasn't already started a conversation about your topic. Also, please make sure that you place your message in the correct folder.

Please respect the opinions of other members. We encourage you to discuss opinions as long as they stay respectful. This forum was created to discuss a wide range of topics, and attempts to drive off a member because they have a differing opinion will not be tolerated. If you post with respect, you will be respected. If not, your stay here will be short.

We encourage you to post your opinion, but you aren't permitted to insult, harass, or intimidate other members for expressing theirs. In addition, refrain from run on sentences and remember to break up long posts and questions with separate paragraphs. Profanity (even if it is masked) and name-calling is also forbidden. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, disparaging or hateful comments based on gender, age, appearance, race, sexual orientation, ethnic background, locality, or religion.

You may not post any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, junk mail, spam, chain letters, pyramid schemes, or any other form of solicitation.

We encourage you to be as individual as you like in the way you express yourself, but messages that get your point across (and get the best responses) are those that use complete words and sentences and an attempt at good grammar and spelling. Please don't type in uppercase. It's considered yelling.

Do not impersonate any person or entity, use an identity similar to another identity used in the FindLaw community such that it may be misleading to other users or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.

Please don't post the same message more than once in the same thread or another thread. It is considered spamming and those who consistently do it will be banned from the forum.

Occasionally a member may create a thread with inflammatory remarks just to stir things up. This type of poster is called a troll. Feel free to report them. Be critical, but do it constructively.

Violations

If you see an offensive or abusive post (or one that violates the community guidelines, our Terms of Service, or our Privacy Policy in some other way), please report it using the "Report Violation" tool. Our moderation staff will respond accordingly.

If you choose to reply to the offensive/abusive post on the forum, please do so respectfully. Your post is subject to the same forum rules as the original post, even if the original post violates our rules.

If one of your posts is deleted, it is most likely because you have violated a forum rule and the deletion is a warning. If you establish a pattern of violations, your account may be flagged. If your account is flagged, you may write to our Moderation Staff and request to be reinstated, provided you agree to refrain from further violations.

Our moderation team will remove any post deemed to be "malicious or mean-spirited," irrelevant, or in contradiction to our community guidelines. Members who establish a pattern of such posts will have their accounts closed.

Copyright and File Sharing

Most news articles on the Internet are copyright protected. You can post excerpts or a summary, but you can never post the entire article without obtaining written permission from the copyright holder and writing "posted with permission" at the bottom. Otherwise, just post a short introduction, the link, and solicit feedback. There also are copyright restrictions that are applied to song lyrics, TV episodes, movie trailers, and screen caps, as well as any other content that is broadcast. Any member who knowingly promotes sites that feature unauthorized or illegal content will lose their ability to post messages in the forum.

Downloads of copyrighted material are illegal and the creators of those sites that make downloads available are violating copyright laws. Any promotion of these sites in this forum will result in the suspension of posting privileges. The same holds true for the sharing of DVDs and tapes.

Links

Links to external websites are allowed on the forum, provided they are relevant to the forum topic. Do not post links to competing websites or forums, download sites, or files (for download). Posting links in an attempt to recruit members to a competing website or forum is forbidden. Members who develop a pattern of posting unauthorized links will have their accounts closed. You may include links to your personal web page or blog in your signature line.

Badges

Badges are awarded to individuals who have posted a set number of posts on Answers. This is to recognize their ongoing contributions to the community and their commitment to helping others. These badges in no way advocate, promote, endorse or qualify these posts. The parameters set forth below are subject to change at any time per FindLaw Answers' discretion.

  • 2,000+ = Platinum Contributor (7 pips)
  • 1,000 - 1,999 = Diamond Contributor (6 pips)
  • 750 - 999 = Gold Contributor (5 pips)
  • 500 - 749 = Silver Contributor (4 pips)
  • 250 - 499 = Bronze Contributor (3 pips)
  • 100 - 249 = Contributor (2 pips)
  • 10 - 99 = Member (1 pip)
  • 0 - 9 = New Member (0 pips)

Personal Information

In Internet spaces where interaction occurs: forums, IM, chat rooms, etc., there are people looking to exploit others. Don't ever give out your personal information to anyone you don't know, and this means knowing them by having already met them in person *before* communicating with them online. You can stop the potential for exploitation by not giving out any private information (this includes: your email address, your real name, where you live, your phone number, and even such innocent information as what baseball team you play for or what store you buy CDs from). If you are asked for any of this information, simply say "I don't feel comfortable giving that out."

If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, end the interaction and ignore them if they persist in trying to contact you. If they won't stop: if you are a teen, report them to your parents; if you are an adult, report them to the police. Law enforcement takes Internet harassment, stalking, and exploitation very seriously and will take action. If you feel that another member is being pushy or putting you in an uncomfortable situation (such as pressing you into an email exchange or IM session), please let us know.

A good guide to Internet safety can be found in the publication: "Teen Safety on the Information Highway," published by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. You can read it at www.safeteens.com.

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