Code of Conduct

How to conduct yourself

All participants of DebateArt are expected to abide by our Code of Conduct. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions of use, you may not sign-up for an account. By signing up, you agree that you are at least 13 years of age.

Personal Attacks

Personal attacks will not be tolerated. The policy prohibiting personal attacks applies site-wide--in debates, forums, private messages, and everywhere else on the site. If you are having a dispute with another site member, the appropriate response is to inform moderation. It is not appropriate to respond with invective or misconduct.

A. Definition of a Personal Attack

A personal attack is not "anything directed at a person that they find to be unfavorable. Such a definition would stifle exchange and debate. Rather, a personal attack is any abusive or derogatory remark aimed at a site user or site users rather than the content of what those users say or espouse. A personal attack may take any of several common forms, including but not limited to the following examples.

1. Generalized Attack

A generalized attack a comment in which a user makes a remark aimed at other users in general, rather than any specific user (e.g. posting "you're all idiots" on a thread).

2. Direct Attack

A direct attack is when a user posts something negative about a specific member. Direct attacks may take place within a thread or may constitute the thread itself. Call-out threads (threads in which a purpose of the thread is to attack another users) are severe examples of direct attacks. Generalized complaints about generalized behaviors are not direct attacks.

3. Hate Speech

Slurs or invective against an entire class of people (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, ageist, and ableist slurs, or slurs against religious, political, ethnic, or national groups) are prohibited when aimed against other users. Whether aimed against other users or not, hate speech is treated as aggravating factor in weighing moderation responses to other violations of the COC. Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc., is not a legitimate excuse for hate speech.

4. Cross-Thread Contamination

Cross-thread contamination is when a user brings up disputes elsewhere on the site up in an unrelated thread for the purpose of harassing, mocking, or insulting another member. Treat every new exchange with a member with as much of a "clean slate" as possible.

5. Threats

Threats are, for the purposes of this policy, personal attacks. They are not tolerated. Threats include (but are not limited to):

  • Threats of legal action.

  • Threats of violence (even oblique ones).

  • Threats of "Doxxing" someone, particularly if the threat implies exposing the user to political, religious or other persecution.

  • Threats of reporting conduct to a mod or of moderation action.

6. Fighting Words

Fighting words are posts intended solely to provoke or incite another user into taking prohibited actions. Fighting words are considered personal attacks, even if they themselves might not meet the above mentioned criteria.

B. The Just Kidding Excuse

The abusive, insulting, or derogatory nature of a comment will be judged based on how a reasonable individual would interpret it. It is not based upon the intentions of speaker, unless those intentions were stated clearly and explicitly prior to the offending remark. Reasonableness is interpreted solely by the mods. The "just kidding" argument is not a valid excuse for actions which can reasonably be interpreted as personal attacks.

Other Prohibited Conduct

Doxxing

Doxxing is posting in public or in private any real-life or personally identifying information about another site user against that site user's will and without that site user's explicit consent. Doxxing is strictly prohibited. It's not doxxing if the information already has been posted on the site by the user or is posted with the user's explicit consent.

Contravening or Disregarding Moderation

Failing to obey or adhere to licit orders issued by a mod acting within their authority is prohibited.

Multi-Accounting

The use of multiple accounts, particularly in order to cast votes on one's own debates, is strictly prohibited. Password and credential sharing is a form of multi-accounting. Only one user should have access to any one account, and no user should have access to more than one account.

Adult Content

Posting adult content or links to adult content, including pornography, is strictly prohibited.

Staff Impersonation

Impersonating a mod or the site owner(s) is strictly prohibited.

PM Doxxing

Posting the contents, in part or in whole, of a user's or user's private messages (PMs) in a public venue without the consent of all parties to the PM is strictly prohibited, and constitutes PM doxxing.

Commercial Advertising

Posting or engaging in commercial advertising anywhere on the site is strictly prohibited.

Spamming

Posting or bumping spam threads, comments, or replies is prohibited. Spam is any content which is nonsensical or excessively repetitive.

Excessive Trolling

Trolling is the use of inflammatory language or extreme and unsupported claims aimed at provoking a negative emotional response. Excessive trolling is strongly discouraged and is prohibited when it significantly interferes with site user experience.

Consequences for Violations

A. Warnings

A warning is a written message sent in private to an offending user regarding their prohibited conduct. A mod may issue warnings to members upon observing patterns of misbehavior by those members. The content exhibiting or constituting the offense shall be cited in the warning. The member may choose to respond with a defense of their behavior. The warning shall advise the member that repeating the offense may result in loss of membership privileges. If an offense is repeated after the member has received a relevant warning, the member may be subjected to, at the discretion of the mod, revocation of membership privileges.

B. Bans

Bans may be issued for sustained misconduct, particularly when a user fails to demonstrate remorse and/or a willingness and ability to reform. Bans may also be issued without being preceded by warnings for one or more egregious violations of the site's code of conduct. Egregious violations include, but are not limited to, doxxing, posting adult content, commercial advertising, and staff impersonations.

1. Temporary Bans (Temp Bans)

A temp-ban is when a user's access to the site is temporarily revoked. The temp-banned user will be notified of their ban no less than one hour prior to their ban taking effect (unless moderation has cause to believe that a delay in implementing the ban would result in harm to the site, a site user, or further violations of this code of conduct). The temp-banned user will be presented with evidence of their offense (in a manner consistent with the rights of other members) and the date of their ban's expiration. The user has the right to offer a defense against the charges. Temp-bans lasting less than three months may be issued by the chief mod alone. Temp-bans lasting more than three months must be unanimously agreed upon by both the chief and deputy mods.

2. Permanent Ban (Perma-Ban/Perm-Ban)

A perma-ban is when a user's access to the site is permanently revoked. Perma-bans must be unanimously agreed upon by both the chief and deputy moderators. The perma-banned user will be notified of their ban no less than three hours prior to their ban taking effect (unless moderation has cause to believe that a delay in implementing the ban would result in harm to the site, a site user, or further violations of this code of conduct). The user will be presented with evidence of their offense (in a manner consistent with the rights of other members). The user has the right to offer a defense against the charges.

3. Trials

Trials of users are prohibited, whether or not those trials are officially sanctioned by a mod or mods. Trials foster a culture of mob rule, and are thus counterproductive to the interests of fairness, order, and effective site administration.

C. Other

1. Restraining Order (RO)

An RO prohibits two or members from communicating with and/or about one another and may apply to one or more means of communication. Moderation shall use ROs to prevent patterns of hostile relations among users from flaring up or worsening. An RO may have a set end date or may be indefinite. An RO may be issued by either the deputy mod or chief mod.

2. Forum Restriction (FR)

An FR limits what kinds of posts a user can make or in which forums (e.g. religion, politics, nature) a user can post. Moderation shall use FRs to prevent users from posting in forms or on topics which have historically led to that user violating the code of conduct. An FR may have a set end date or may be indefinite. An FR may be issued by either the deputy mod or chief mod.

3. Invented Actions

Mods may create or invent means of punishing, reforming, or restraining a user so long as those invented actions are respectful of a user's privacy, safety, and legal rights. Invented actions may not include public shaming or any acts intended or likely to demean, personally attack, or harm another user physically or psychologically.