Member Etiquette and New Thread Rules (Updated: Oct 2014)

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This is an updated guide on member etiquette for newer members. I hope those reading it find it useful.

New Thread Etiquette:

Proper standards for Official Threads
In the Gaming forum, Official Threads for games should be created NEW: on the day of release at most one week before release. Don't post them too early or they'll be locked. For the thread title the proper formatting is to use |OT| ( | is above the enter key) in the title. This makes it easier to notice an official thread among all the other threads. It is recommended that the Official Thread contain relevant information to help people learn about the game, but not be excessive in terms of infodump. We want a discussion thread, not a PR booklet. If multiple people want to work on an Official Thread, they should work together. No one has "first dibs" or the right to claim the thread. Don't volunteer to work on an Official Thread if you have little interest in the game.

It's Not a Race
So a piece of news just broke and you're very excited to share it with everyone on GAF. That's great. It's not a race though. Say something is announced in a livestream--you don't need to make a thread with the title "<x> announced" and the body "just saw on livestream". Wait a minute or two, see if there's any information to go with it, see if there's any screenshots or anything like that. If you go ahead and make a thread in a rush, it's going to be a worse thread for it. If you're so rushed that you typo the title or body or even worse, get actual information incorrect because you jumped the gun, that means work for us to clean it up. Relax. Don't worry about being the first to post something. Worry about getting it right.

New threads for actual news
Official Threads are not a dumping ground for all information regarding the game post-release. While such information and news will no doubt be discussed in the thread, it is also considerate to make new threads for announcements and news regarding the game post-release. Especially in the current gaming industry, expansions, DLCs, and major content updates are stuff which could be easily lost in a large thread. Anything news worthy should get its own thread as well.

No New threads for non-news
So someone tweeted something and you were the first to read it. Before posting a thread about it, ask yourself what it brings to the table. If it's just a one-off reaction to a subject already being discussed, it might be better off as a reply to a thread. If it's second-hand information (counting you, third-hand information), maybe wait for the original source or something more reliable to come along. Provide context. Is the person responding to a question? Include the question. If the tweet seems provocative or controversial, then chances are the person would appreciate the chance to clarify their remarks with a little more than 140 characters so it might be a better idea for you to follow up their tweets with some questions, and if the result is a conversation that would form the basis for a good thread, post it then. We're going to be more aggressive about locking low-content twitter threads.

Likewise, if there's a discussion about some new story, you don't necessarily need to make a new thread just because someone else outside GAF weighed in on the story. If there's something remarkable about their opinion, review, or commentary then it might make sense to create a new thread but if it's just another voice in the chorus, it's not automatically more notable than any individual poster's opinion in the thread.

You Don't Need To Counteract Threads
A lot of people see a thread that's positive about something they don't like or negative about something they do, and they take it upon themselves to "counter". Don't do this. Even if a thread starts out with a poster expressing a critical opinion, there's still space to disagree within the thread. It's more likely that if you try to make a new thread to counter it, you're going to come off like you're pushing an agenda and it's not really going to be productive or lead to good discussion.

Please update Event Threads
If you have taken the initiative to post a thread for an event or a conference, the least you can do is try to update the first post with news either after the event, or as it is being updated in the thread. Sometimes if possible mods will help update news into the post, but it would really be considerate to only create a thread for an event if you are confident that you will be able to help keep it updated. This isn't a contest of who can post a thread for an event first, but rather it's about helping to keep the community informed.

Search before you post
If you are posting a news article or press release, try to search first to check if it has already been posted. There is no point posting news which has already been discussed, or duplicate threads covering the same topic.

Don't make garbage threads
If you are posting a discussion topic, think about whether the subject has merit. Topics which exist only to ask a yes/no question with no room for actual discussion, or topics which exist only encourage subsequent replies consisting of lists or rankings are generally discouraged. Note that this category also includes unsanctioned "Vote for your favourite" threads

Don't make joke threads or meta-threads
Avoid creating threads which exist only to prove a point. These would include parody threads made to express displeasure at a certain trend of topics being created, threads complaining about issues of moderation, threads complaining about other threads, etc. If you have an issue with a subject being discussed, address it in the thread it already is, of in the case of moderation PM a mod or admin in a rational manner to air your views. Being a rebel is often not rewarded here.

No conspiracy nonsense please
Please don't create threads speculating on Big Foot, or UFOs, etc. That's not to say a thread should not be created if there is an actual news article or a press conference (even if it's just to laugh at loonies), but those which serve only to forward the agenda of conspiracy blogs or to discuss about possible psychic predictions of when California is going to sink into the ocean are not welcome here. Please check your thread sources. If the source also contains articles about inplausible, crazy, conspiratorial stuff, you should look for a better source for the article you intend to link.

Loss of thread posting privileges
Threads that don't fit the above guidelines will be closed. Any individual thread that flagrantly violates the above rules, or several threads that don't respect the above rules typically result in loss of thread posting privileges for the user in question. The best way to avoid this is to consult these rules or when in doubt, take a little extra time to make the thread better.

Posting Etiquette

Be polite, please
In general when posting in threads, don't be a dick. Be respectful of other fellow members, and learn to argue against the points in a discussion without making it personal or insulting the other party. Present your points well and others will respect your opinion more. Using proper grammar and avoiding typos will also make it easier for others to understand your message.

Don't do annoying things
There are various things which can be considered annoying to many people in general, try to avoid doing that. If someone makes a post with tons of images in it, don't quote the entire post just to reply with "cool" or "looks good". Don't spam a thread with posts which contribute nothing other than implying you were first to post in it. Don't be a racist or a bigot.

Don't bump ancient threads
Threads which have long gone out of service, or have no active discussion for months or years should generally be left alone. If there has not been news about something posted a long time ago, then there is probably not news. Don't bump it to ask if there is any news. Junior members especially should not bump ancient threads just to reply to something funny you might have read while lurking months ago. Bumping threads to continue an argument which has fizzled out a long time ago is also frowned upon. Note that bumping an inactive game |OT| to discuss that game is acceptable.

Don't derail threads
Forums generally operate differently from chatrooms. While NeoGAF is faster moving than most, and some threads on Off Topic Discussions cover a more general set of topics, it is still best to keep within the perimeters of a discussion. Posting in a manner that would shift the subject of discussion to something completely unrelated to the thread's core discussion point is not welcome.

Spoiler Etiquette

What is a spoiler?
A spoiler is anything which can hinder a person's enjoyment of something by telling them something they might not have known beforehand. This is not limited to story elements but can also cover surprising gameplay developments/changes in the course of a game or surprises in terms of secrets and unlockables. The threshold each individual person has for spoilers on a range of subjects will vary greatly.

When not to use spoilers
If a thread is specifically marked as post-game discussion, and spoilers are warned about in the title, there is no need to use spoiler tags regarding that topic inside the thread. There is no point having an entire thread filled with black bars if everyone is on the same page regarding what is expected in the thread. The same applies for threads about the sequels of existing games. If you have not played the previous game(s) in the series, it is probably not a good idea to wander into a thread about the latest game, especially if it is a direct sequel to a story-driven game.

Avoid putting spoilers in thread titles
If you are making a thread, consider for a moment that some people might want to avoid knowing certain things about a game/movie/TV show/whatever. As such, being a little more vague is better than being inconsiderate.

Mark spoilers appropriately
When posting spoilers about anything, always mark it properly. Using a spoiler tag alone is often not the best way because no one will know what you have hidden behind the tag without reading it first. Using proper marking can make it very helpful for others to know if they want to highlight the spoiler tag or not. Mixing spoiler tags with regular text in a single sentence is also often a bad idea when dealing with a story spoiler, especially if it makes it obvious.

The following is an example of what is good and bad spoiler usage:

Correct spoiler marking strategies.
This is a spoiler for the 4th boss fight in Zelda
I can't believe the part when the boss breaks out a deck of cards and starts playing poker with himself!

Incorret spoiler marking strategies.
I can't believe
dies at the end of the boss fight against
Dude, I can't believe link just died

Banned Sites

About banned sites
There are several sites which are banned on NeoGAF. This means attempting to post their exact url or name will result in the word being censored. These sites are generally banned for a variety of specific reasons which generally all boil down to the sites being poor sources of information. Inaccurate information or outright lies and false rumors do not contribute well to discussion at all and only confuse the subject when people who are not familiar with the facts take the information at face value. Please do not attempt to sidestep the banned sites in an attempt to pass off information from such a site without verifying it with other sources with a better reputation.

Why is a certain site banned?
As mentioned before, there are usually various different specific reasons. If you wonder about why a certain site which seems reputable to you is banned on NeoGAF, feel free to PM a member who has been around longer or a mod. There isn't really a need to discuss whether a site should be unbanned or not in an actual thread because this usually derails the discussion which is going on in the thread itself. We're not unreasonable people, and do answer PMs.

Further Reading

Terms of Service

Banned Sites, Inappropriate Posts, and Memes

Image tag usage etiquette & suggested image hosts

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