The Forums and Moderation
The first rule of fight club is... no... wait...
The first rule of our Forums and Moderation policy is simple. It is even common sense. Unfortunately, the internet is not known for its copious numbers of people basing their lives on common sense. So let's break it down even more simply than it needs to be:
Show some respect when you discuss things with other readers and the authors of the stories. Even when you don't agree with them... or like them... maybe even especially then. No one is making money for doing what they do here. Readers, writers, artists... we're doing this because we enjoy it. Remember that when you have a different opinion that someone else and you want to correct them, or challenge their way of thinking. They're not here to learn. They're not here to become a better reader. Or a better writer. They're here because they enjoy doing what they do... and if you take away their enjoyment of it, they're not going to want to be here anymore.
There are people who believe professional authors and artists should be thick skinned. Able to take criticism. Not insulted personally when someone tears into their work. To some degree, those people are right. But they are also usually wrong, because they believe that ANYONE is able to 'professionally' review and critique the work of an author. And I can assure you that there are far fewer professional critics than there are professional authors among web publications. If you don't know what you're doing, don't try to 'review' or 'critique' stories. Join a discussion about the story. Or make a simple comment about what you liked or what you didn't understand. Kicking the authors in the 'nads is not cool. Even if you think they should know to be wearing a cup.
Don't Argue when Rules are Enforced
Our rules and policies are mostly pretty abstract. We want the community to enjoy their time here. We want to keep our authors protected so they go on writing the stories everyone loves. You may feel that something you are doing is completely ok and justified... and suddenly a moderator is telling you to stop. Just stop. Drop the conversation. If you don't understand what you did that resulted in being called out, PM the moderator... or better yet, PM a DIFFERENT moderator. Mostly, our moderators are also authors. That means they have inside details on the shitstorm hitting one of the other authors in real life that you know nothing about... and while you aren't aware of it, what you are doing it hurting someone, or at the very least, making them want to say "f--- it" and leave. We might not be able to explain... not our story/details to share. But we don't drop the hammer often or lightly. So just save everyone a lot of hassle and don't argue about it. More than likely, any punishment that we apply after you argue is going to be far more painful than one where you respond with a simple "Sorry, my bad. I'll PM you in a bit to figure out where I went off the rails" and take a little break.
The Actual 'Rules'
Don't break things: If you try to hack the site, database, or disrupt the operation of the site in anyway; you need to find a different community to be a part of.
Don't snoop: It's not going to hurt anyone if you get access to stuff you shouldn't... unpublished stories, canon backstory, and so on. But it very well could ruin a lot of people's enjoyment of stories that have not yet been published... or even written... yet. So... don't.
Don't abuse the mail system or our bandwidth: Yes, you could theoretically subscribe to every thread and get hundreds of emails from the site every day... but please don't. We don't have to pay anything as long as we stay below 25000 per month... but it won't be long before we have 500+ registered members. And it won't take long for that many people to get a lot of notifications. Same with harassing our poor Google hosted VM... things should be relatively inexpensive to run, here... but if someone is uploading dozens of video clips and everyone's watching them, it could run up the bill quickly.
No flaming or trolling: For obvious reasons. The site is for our community, flaming and trolling are not a valid part of an intelligent community.