Last Updated: 17/04/2017

Rules

The goal of Youth Debates is to create an environment where users share their views with the intent to engage in debates without fear of harassment or insults. Respect, curiosity, thirst for knowledge and an open mind to different views, regardless if agreed with or not, are keys to having an enjoyable experience in our community. The moderators will work hard to make our community a welcoming and knowledgeable place for young people to learn and debate. We will be working to do this by enforcing the rules as follows.

We hold the right to add, delete or revise any of the rules below at any time. Any situations or rules not covered here are to be enforced at the staff team’s discretion.

General Conduct

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine, but remember to criticise ideas, and not people. The following are punishable offences:

  • Name-calling.
  • Ad hominem/ direct attacks.
  • Revealing users real identities.
  • Outside of the bonfire, don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Don’t post anything obscene or explicit, if you must link to something graphic, please mention that it’s Not Safe For Work (NSFW) so others aren’t surprised by the content. Posting of pornography and other sexually explicit content is a serious offense that we will only warn a user once for, after which a ban will be implemented. NSFW content should be hidden in a spoiler. You can create a spoiler by clicking the cog icon (this appears in the reply box next to the formatting icons) and selecting ‘Blur Spoiler’. You then put the NSFW content between the two [spoiler] texts.

Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

Users will be verbally warned in a private message in regard to the post in question unless the violation is severe. Further offences will result in an official warning, or punishment at the discretion of staff.

We welcome all sorts of ideologies and beliefs, but outright harassment isn’t something we will tolerate here.

#Warning System
Users are free to report any posts they deem to be against the rules. Staff also reserve the right to immediately deal with posts without user reports.

For a first-time/ less severe offence, a message should be sent by a Moderator to the offending user.

This includes, but is not limited to: direct attacks, name-calling, derogatory language, trolling, pointless comments.

For repeat offenders, a Moderator will issue an warning to the user in question.

If Moderators notice a user is consistently posting off-topic posts in the debate categories, and outside of the Lounge, a Moderator will issue a warning to that user.

Spam posts carry an immediate warning.

Revealing the personal identity of others carries an instant one-day ban.

Death threats and threats of credible violence will carry an instant and indefinite ban.

If a user has been banned for breaking our Rules, or any of the above reasons, and creates an account to get around that ban, a Moderator will act to ban any alternative accounts and reserves the right to ban an IP address if necessary.

#Lengths of bans
Deaths threat or threats of credible violence will carry an indefinite ban.

Several warnings for whatever reason will be given a ban of either 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, or 1 month based on severity and number of warnings.

Any alternative accounts made to get around a ban on an original account will be indefinitely banned.

#Language
Use of discriminatory language is not allowed. Personal attacks, and hostile or insulting messages aimed at other users is also not permitted. Offenders will have their posts removed or altered, and action taken against their account if necessary, at staff discretion.

Derogatory or discriminatory terms are prohibited. Such terms include, but are not limited to, “nigger(s),” “faggot(s),” “towel head(s),” etc. Moderators hold the right to delete or edit any post, as well as punish any users using these terms in accordance with our Warning System.

Trolling, Spam, and Shitposting

Do not post provocative, outrageous, or pointless messages or memes only to get a response, i.e. “trolling” or “shitposting.” Spam is not tolerated here, and users posting spam will be warned and their post will be removed.

Any pointless messages in debate categories, or outside the Lounge, will be deleted as well as a potential warning. If only part of a post needs to be deleted for any of the above reasons, Moderators reserve the right to delete the piece of text which goes against our rules; any substantial section of a post will be kept in place.

Repeat offenders will be suspended or banned with according to our Warning System.

#The Bonfire
The Bonfire is a section of the forum where General Conduct rules are more loosely enforced. It is accepted that The Bonfire is a sub-forum where more controversial topics are discussed; if you anticipate a thread will cause controversy, please ensure you create it in this category… Minor cases of name-calling and ad-hominem attacks will not be punished. Staff reserve the right to determine when name-calling and ad-hominem attacks become unacceptable in The Bonfire. Threads and posts with the sole intended purpose to insult or attack other members will still be removed, and users will still be punished in accordance with the Warning System when applicable.

#Your Participation Is Important
The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it.

In order to maintain our community, Moderators reserve the right to remove any posts that they find in violation of the rules. Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Just as Moderators reserve the right to remove posts, Users may appeal any removed posts and any warnings given in the appeals section of the forum.

#Keep It Neat And Tidy
Make the effort to put things in the right place.

Don’t start a topic in the wrong category. Categories are clearly labelled, so please create your thread in the relevant category. If you are unsure, please contact a Moderator and they will make a judgement as to where the thread should be posted. Notify staff to move topics to appropriate sections if needed.

Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics. Keep the discussion in one place. Moderators reserve the right to delete posts if there are several copies of the same post. This will be dealt with as spam.

Don’t post no-content replies. For example, use the emoji reacts rather than post a single emoji. We have set up a minimum character limit in some categories in order to minimise this problem.

Don’t divert a topic by changing it during discussion. Stay on-topic, start a new topic if needed.

Moderators reserve the right to create new topics if needed, and move posts to the relevant thread.

Don’t sign your posts. It can create confusion, clutters the forum and may unintentionally give away more personal information than you care to divulge. There is an option for users to create a Signature in their personal profile, which will appear below all of your posts; this is an opt-in feature and does not have to be utilised. Signatures are allowed a maximum of five lines of standard size font; staff reserve the right to delete any lines over this limit, although a Private Message will be sent to the individual beforehand detailing the rules regarding Signatures.

Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic, which will branch off the topic and create a new one that cites/quotes the old one as the source material.

#Post Only Your Own Stuff
You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

#Advertising/ Soliciting/ Self-promotion
Your purpose in joining Youth Debates or engaging in discussion should not be to promote, advertise, or otherwise bring attention to any site, blog, product, or business, including your own.

Forum posts should be free of ads and promotions. Legitimate recommendations and requests for help are permitted, but in ambiguous circumstances users without a previous forum track record will not be given the benefit of the doubt.

Threads will be deleted if their purpose is to advertise, announce, or promote products, services, or organizations, build traffic at other websites, carry out business activities, or for similar purposes. Users will also receive a warning.

Self-promotional links to your blog, social media, or video channel are limited to your signature, your Personal Details, and the off-topic ‘Entertainment’ section.

Memberships created solely for these purposes will be banned.

#Confidential Information
Forums users must not post confidential or other information that may infringe upon the privacy, proprietary or personal rights of others or Youth Debates. This includes, but is not restricted to, pictures of users, personal telephone numbers, email, financial information and postal addresses.

Similarly, Private Messages and emails received via these forums are to be considered private and are not to be posted publicly unless the sender of the message agrees. By posting material, the posting party warrants and represents that it owns the copyright with respect to such material, has received permission from the copyright owner, or that the material is public domain.

#Appeals
Users that have had posts removed, or have received suspensions or bans, may file an appeal directly to the Appeals section under the Announcements category and discuss the proper steps needed to lift the ban or deletion. The appeal will be considered by Moderators and the Forum Director.

Moderators reserve the right to close an appeal thread if it becomes uncivil or if several non-Moderator users disrupt the appeal process. If this occurs, the appeal will be held in a Private Message with the user filing the appeal, Moderators and the Forum Director. The Forum Director will host this PM if and when necessary.

Do not make another account to continue to post, this will be considered ban evasion and will result in your suspension being extended, as well as the alternative account being banned. Do not spam threads or posts in an effort to appeal, as it will result in a separate warning. Do not complain about other users being banned outside of the feedback section.

#Dedication to Free Speech
Since the founding of Youth Debates in 2014, the site has prided itself on its dedication to offering a free speech platform for young people to voice their opinions and discuss political topics which interest them.

Our rules will not be enforced in a manner that infringes on this. No political opinion will be censored here. These rules are only enforced to ensure civility and enjoyment throughout the entire community - they are not meant to censor any belief or opinion.

#Powered by You
This site is operated by the staff team and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! Your Community Representative is also available for inquiries to be communicated to the staff team. If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a feedback topic or flag, contact us directly via the staff page, or message us on the site.

#Terms of Service
Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behaviour and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.