Can a forum go without any rules?

Discussion in 'Site Security & Legal Issues' started by Shawn Gossman, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Tazmanian Master

    Besides what is required to use some service such as the requirements of a privacy policy to use AdSense, how do you feel about message forums that have no rules page or post at all? Some people feel like basic common sense should be enough as far as rules go. We all know that spamming and abusing other members is wrong, it is common sense online, why should there be a rule for it? How do you feel about this subject and are any of you the type of forum owner that does not display a rules page?
  2. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Enthusiast

    We just have the "rules" that came with our XenForo install... haven't touched them or promoted them, not even sure I know them all.

    Since I'm a libertarian, I helped cultivate that culture along with our mods on the forum, and we really haven't had much issues. People generally are very nice to one another, and the amount of threads I've had to lock in 2 years you could count on a single hand.

    Knock on wood we've had hardly no problems.
  3. Rasty

    Rasty Fan

    We only had rule #1 and #3 for the first two years. We added rule #2 about five months ago. My favorite rule is #4

    Site Rules
    1) Play nice
    3) Don't expect the moderators to bail you out
  4. Bill Statler

    Bill Statler Aspirant

    I was a member of a small forum that had almost no rules (just "no spamming" and "don't post anything that might get the forum owner in trouble with the law"). It worked really well for a while. Of course there was always some impolite bickering, and sometimes it would take over a thread that started out being interesting. In the long run, the nice people drifted away because they were tired of being unable to conduct any converstion without it getting taken over by the bickering few. In the end there were just 4 or 5 people yelling at each other.
  5. Empire

    Empire Devotee

    It will be like social media, facebook lol.
  6. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Senior Citizen

    My 20+ years experience on forums of many types has made me realize some forum operators are more lax than others. Unfortunately, members who spend a great deal of time on any particular forum tend to believe all forums should be run the same way as their favorite. If fights, trolling and insults are the norm, they think it should be alright to act that way on any forum.

    I have a short, but strict set of rules. There is a short version, in very large print, that registrants have to agree to when they join. There is a link to the long version (still relatively brief compared to many rules I've seen on other forums) in many places throughout the site. I don't use a rank or warning system. Break the rules and you get a PM or a posted warning in the thread. Break the same rule again and it very likely gets the member banned. The only lifetime bans are for spammers, the rest of the bans are lifted pretty quickly. I currently have only 2 former members banned, not counting the hundreds of spammers from foreign countries.

    In the beginning months of my flooring forum, many members came from a few other flooring related forums that were pretty notorious for their misbehavior. Politics and religion were hotly debated and the result was next to no support for actual flooring issues on those other forums. My first 3 rules were: no personal attacks, no politics and no religion. There are actually 10 rules in all, but those were the most contested at first.

    Now it's not even an issue. No one even brings up voting, although I encourage all US members to vote when an election is near. I don't say anything about mentions of prayers, etc. in our memoriam forum and I don't mind if a member says another is wrong, or if they say a method is foolish or ill advised. Some comments border on insulting, but it never actually crosses the line - well, rarely. Long-term members have adapted and newer members tend to follow their lead.
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