Dear friends and fellow FanWings,
I’ve seen a few posts about bans lately. Occasionally I’ve popped in when a ban has happened, and/or when a rule has been broken, and explained it, and you all have been very understanding. As you might imagine, we mods have a lot on our plates, so we can’t do that every single time.
Our rules, as you know, are posted here. If you haven’t read them in a while, please do – they may have changed since the last time you saw them, or you may find that you totally forgot (or didn’t understand!) something from the last time. A few folks have brought up a couple points that I wanted to discuss.
1. Being banned for sharing user names or “referring users to outside websites”. This is something we see a lot, and we’d really like to not see at all. When you share a user name for another site (your user name, or someone else’s), or you give hints to what your user name is on another site, you’re inviting someone to meet you on that site to chat. That might seem pretty innocent, right? But in reality, that other site may not have the strict rules we do, and you could end up having an unsafe conversation. Because we don’t have control over other sites, it’s against our rules for you to say anything that might allow you to connect with someone elsewhere. It’s all about safety.
2. A few folks have mentioned a user who was banned (temporarily! I checked into it!) for spamming. In this particular case, this user was posting religious content repeatedly. If you read our rules, we ask that users respect each other’s beliefs. This means that if users want to share their religious (or non-religious!) affiliations in their signatures, it’s totally fine. We also know that you sometimes have very respectful conversations about your beliefs, which is fine in moderation. It does not, however, mean that users are allowed to post lengthy religious material. We do NOT welcome intolerance of others’ beliefs, or imposing one’s beliefs on others.
3. A few of you noticed that occasionally posts are deleted. While it’s possible the website eats them from time to time, we mods do also occasionally delete posts. Sometimes they contain sensitive information that breaks our rules. Sometimes we feel that a thread breaks the rules, or that the conversation in the thread has gotten a bit too heated and it would be better for everyone if it wasn’t around any more.
4. While not explicitly in the rules, abusing the report button falls under the category of respecting other users. Occasionally a user will report a ton of posts, often by one specific user. It may be that this user has done or said something offensive or against the rules in one post, but usually they are not being offensive in all the reported posts. Sometimes when someone says something offensive, everything else they say can feel offensive afterward. It’s a good reminder to stop and take a breath, and maybe take a break from the site, instead of hitting the report button. Also, the report button is meant to be used when someone breaks the rules. It’s not meant to be used because you disagree with what someone says or believes, and while you should certainly report someone who is being a bully or being very mean, please do remember that sometimes tone is very hard to read on the internet. What comes across as rude to you might just be someone trying to say something very quickly before they have to get off the internet. Be kind, and expect the best of others.
I’m sure I’ve missed some points, but here’s the big one: We LOVE having you here on the site as part of the Wings of Fire community. We want this to be a safe, fun, peaceful place for all users. The way we do that is by making sure everyone follows the rules. We remind you of them as often as we can (take a peek, some key ones are there right above the text box every time you post!).
When you break the rules, we try to be helpful if we see you're a newbie and you do something like share your city. But if you're a veteran MBer and you continue to break the rules, or you blatantly break a rule by sharing your user name for another site, we have to assume that you knew the rule and chose to break it. We try to make the severity of the ban fit the broken rule, but we also increase the severity of the ban if we see that you have broken the rules in the past. A ban is a warning and a reminder, and if you choose not to heed it, it means you have decided not to respect this community that we have built together. When a friend tells you they have been banned unfairly, please trust us that the ban they received was given out for a reason.
We mods work hard, but we are not all-seeing. This means sometimes it may feel like the rules don’t apply to everyone, which is not true at all. How can we make sure people don’t get banned? Respect the rules, and when you see someone else breaking the rules, report the post. That's what the button is for, and we really do look at every reported post. We are always trying to improve our systems and to that end you may see some tweaks to the rules and to the “reasons” you see when you are banned in the future. We hear you, and we want to make it less confusing going forward.
Our goal is to make this a safe, fun, welcoming place for all FanWings. To do that, we have to make sure you follow the rules. Can I tell you something? I HATE banning people. Hate it, hate it, hate it. When I pop into a fun thread and see that someone has shared their user name for another site, or said what city they live in (or a city they’re going to, since that is personal info that could say too much), I am so bummed. I seriously sit here at the computer and sigh, thinking, “Oh man I wish they hadn’t said that, I don’t want to ban them!”
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I hate it every single time. But I have to do it (and so do the other mods) because you all following the rules is the #2 way we make sure this community is the best place it can be. (The #1 way is by making sure Tui keeps writing more Wings of Fire books so we can keep talking about them.)
You may not like some of the rules, and you may not agree with some of them. But the people who wrote them thought long and hard about what would be the best rules to put in place, and we ask that all our community members follow them. That’s part of the pact between MB users and mods – you follow the rules, we make sure this place stays up and running for you to talk about Wings of Fire with all the other awesome people who are here.
Thanks for being such a wonderful community!
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