On another forum that I own (very low user numbers and such) for my favorite NFL team, I ended up creating a section called "The Debate Forum" which is described as having "Heated discussion ahead."
The "House Rules" are like this:
First, please understand that this is a privately owned and operated message board. That ultimately means that the "Free Speech" rights of the First Amendment DO NOT apply here. Legally, you are here as a guest of the owner, and as such, you are subject to the rules that owner decides to have on this board.
Second, understand that the admins/mods want to keep moderation to the necessary minimum. As such, we want people to be reasonably civil to one another so that we do not have to step in. We really want this board to moderate itself, and for members at least have at least a semblance of mutual respect toward one another. We understand that emotions can run high at times, and that not everyone is going to like each other, but we do not want discussions to degenerate into petty name calling and backstabbing.
Third, the admins/mods DO NOT like banning people, or even giving them temporary time outs for bad behavior, but we will if necessary. The goal is for us to be relatively lenient and not heavy-handed in moderating this board. Please help us reach that goal by being civil toward each other. Specific points:
- No personal threats or attacks on any other board member. "Personal attacks or threats" include discriminatory or derogatory statements directed specifically toward the person and not at the content of the post. Feel free to attack the MESSAGE/OPINION of the other member if you are so inclined, but leave personal attacks out of it. This includes derogatory comments toward the member or member's family, the member's lineage, parenting, racial background, religion, and sexual preference, among other items. A good general guideline is to not say anything here that you would hesitate to say to someone's face in real life.
- No posting of photoshopped or altered pics of members. This falls under the category of "personal attacks" as well.
- No porn. Also no graphic material, such as overly gross or disturbing images or video clips. If you really must share such things with another member, do so via PM.
- Profanity is allowed, but overuse of profanity is discouraged. You are a big boy/girl now, so you should be able to get your point across without resorting to excessive use of profanity. It is understood that there are times - especially during games - where emotions take over and you really want to blast off, but please try not to go overboard.
- This message board is open to all ages, therefore the maximum movie rating for any material posted is the equivalent of PG-13.
- Link spam and other forms of advertising are not welcome on this board.
- We encourage members to post news articles, especially related to the 49ers, but please do not post entire articles unless the article is a short one; for long articles, a shorter relevant quote is preferable. With all articles, please cite your source and provide a link. If the article is copied from an online newspaper, magazine, etc, you are also encouraged to include the byline showing the name of the author. That way, the author of the piece gets credit where credit is due.
- Promoting other football message boards is discouraged. Please do not recruit members from this board to join other boards, because we are trying to build up our membership on this site.
- Using this board to conspire to spam and/or "attack" another message board is not allowed and will not be tolerated. We all know about the official 49ers board, and we know that people who get banned there often come here. That is fine, but if you are holding a grudge towards the official 49ers board, DO NOT use this board to conspire against or attack them over there.
THESE RULES ALSO APPLY IN THE CHATBOX.
The admins/mods reserve the right to restrict or ban any member for violation of these message board rules, as the admins/mods find necessary.
Yeah, my little message board has a chatbox for real-time conversation.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.