So, for the most part, I don't want to have "rules". Rules are absolute and create the problem that people feel like they should be allowed to do anything which does not violate a rule, and anyone they dislike should never be allowed to violate a rule. And I hate that. The basic goal here is to have a healthy community where people can talk about things, be heard, and maybe get advice or help. But I think that "can talk about things and be heard" is really, really, important. I want people to feel like it is safe and okay to be who they are and talk about it. Even if they are sorta fucked up, because a lot of us are. So I don't want people to feel like they have to hide things that are problematic, or even just plain evil, because those things can't be heard or accepted or tolerated. So, the basic guideline is: You are allowed to be who you are. You are allowed to have your experiences. If something hurts you, that hurt is real. If you are angry, that is real too. You don't have to justify how it's reasonable or moral or anything to feel that way. Even if other people dislike you feeling that way, you're still totally within your rights to have and disclose your feelings. If they dislike it, that's allowed too, and they can talk about that. But you're not wrong to have feelings, and you're not wrong to talk about them. You are allowed to be unsure, or uncertain. You are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to disengage because you Just Can't Deal. You are allowed to use whatever language best expresses your experience for you. It's not "appropriation" to try to use the best words you have, and even if it were, you are not required to be right all the time. When interacting with people, I encourage the use of the Principle of Charity, which broadly asserts that you should try to take things in the best way possible. When someone who feels strongly says something is bad, try not to do the thing where you assert that, since they didn't say "I feel" first, they were making a claim about objective truth; instead, take it as a given that they meant to be describing their own experiences. (I am bad about this one, sorry.) Privacy is a real issue here. Let me make a thing clear: I cannot really offer meaningful guarantees about privacy and security, because I am simply not skilled enough as a sysadmin. There might be legal issues, there might be court orders, or I might make a hilarious error on the control panel that gives people permissions I didn't mean to, or there might be a bug in the software. Lots of things could happen. So please just remember: I can't promise total security. In community terms, my thought is this: Whenever possible, try to remember that people may not always want stuff shared more widely. If you find out that someone is trans here, and you've never seen them mention it on tumblr, please don't refer to them as trans on tumblr. Try to assume that people would prefer privacy unless they've said otherwise. On the other hand, please don't pick fights with people if they screw up on this or forget. This is the Internet. Assume that things you say here may be picked up by people who will pass them on, possibly with genuinely good intent, so don't expect complete secrecy. Use sub-accounts if you really want to say a thing and not have it connected to your other identities. I am not at this point making a rule against flames. I would prefer not to. I like it when flames are relatively rare, but expressing anger can be a crucial part of healthy interactions. I know people who hated each other for years until they met on a forum where they could flame each other, and they actually got to say what they felt, rather than something else... And once each of them knew the other genuinely felt hurt, and was reacting to that, not just being mean? They ended up friends. Yes, really. I also don't want to have a rule against being wrong. Even in ways that are pretty widely recognized as wrong by our broader culture. If you are angry, or you think people are faking or lying, or you hate a group of people? That is where you are, that is what you are experiencing, and those experiences are real. People may disagree with you, but I would hope that they will be able to do so without claiming that you are not having the experiences you are having. I may at some point use admin/mod powers to Do Stuff. I may not. I am gonna make judgment calls. Some of them will be bad. You are always allowed to tell me that you think my judgment calls are bad. However, I don't like to use punishment as a general thing. This forum is not really a safe space. Some people here will have personality conflicts or disagreements. They may say hurtful things. Sometimes they may do it on purpose. Hurting people on purpose is frowned on, and I will at least sometimes delete posts that strike me as doing that. However, people aren't necessarily going to get banned for it. If someone has meltdowns and lashes out, but apologizes and generally participates positively, or gets really angry on a couple of specific topics because those are triggery for them, or something like that... We'll work to mitigate the effects, but we are generally reluctant to exclude the person, because the forum exists to be a space that can handle people who are not yet totally healthy. With regards to the "safe space" thing: Profile posts are in a special category, because you see them automatically on the front page (when they're recent). So please try to be careful with profile posts; they can't have spoiler tags or trigger warnings, so really upsetting content should probably not be posted there. (If you think saying the thing in mixed company might result in someone having PTSD flashbacks, maybe post in a thread somewhere instead of the profile post thing.) Actual nearly-a-rule things that I would like people to follow: If you need to complain about the way the forum is run, please do it in the forum-admin forum, not in the other forums. Don't leak private data, contact info, or other things about other people. If you do, please edit posts to remove such info if asked. Please don't use volume of messages as a tactic. Like, don't post over and over saying the same thing to someone to try to discourage them, or follow them around the forum talking about the same thing in lots of unrelated threads. Try not to attack people. Especially, don't go attacking people by targeting weak spots or emotional vulnerabilities, because that's just not gonna work well. We'll see how it goes. Comments welcome. History: 2015 Feb 24: Original post. 2015 May 21: Added some material about this not being a safe space and my disinclination to ban people. 2016 Jun 1: Corrected date on previous change (it was not made in 20,015), adding information about profile posts, added link to more discussion on punishment or the lack thereof.