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Forum Rules
General Rules
GovTeen Terms of Service

Version 2.6 - May 25, 2013


Before you will be permitted to post, you must read, accept and agree to be bound by the following terms of service.

OVERVIEW

Introduction
Welcome to GovTeen Forums. GovTeen is part of the GovTeen.org Community of sites and is a place for teenagers and young adults. Whether you need help and advice, have a desire for intellectual discussion, have concerns about physical and pubertal development, or just want a place to escape, GovTeen is the place for you. We have 8 forum sections, and 37 forums to meet the wide range of topics that affect every teenager’s life. We are a global community, and while we accept users from every country and culture, we are also an English-language forum.

GovTeen Forums is a public website, privately and directly run by its administration team. Some situations that involve violations of our rules are handled on a case-by-case basis and may not directly follow the outlined rules but rather at the discretion of the staff.

Who can post?
Because this is primarily a teen website, we do not permit anyone to register who is over the age of 19 or under the age of 13. Our older members are those who registered before their 20th birthday and have remained with us. GovTeen Forums is aimed at and caters primarily to the interests of teenagers. However, if you can abide by our rules, then you are allowed to maintain membership.

RANKS

There are several levels of membership at GovTeen, from basic membership to administrator.


Administrators
Administrators, or "Admins", have full control over the forums and all other members. Administrators can at any time promote, demote, edit the profile of, or completely terminate the membership of any other member regardless of their "rank", with or without warning or explanation. Administrators can also make changes to the structure and forums of the website at any time, again with or without warning or explanation.

Global Moderators
Together with the Administrators, Global Moderators make up the executive team. These two groups collectively control the structure and layout of the site. Global Moderators are essentially Moderators over every forum on the website. Global moderators are able to resolve conflicts in any area of the website between any members. Global Moderators have full control over posts and threads in every forum. Under emergency circumstances Global Moderators can terminate any user's account.

Diary Administrators
Diary Administrators have full power to create, lock, edit or delete any and all posts, threads, and diaries within the Diaries. They have full power over this section of the forums to govern as required. Diary Administrators have the final say in all matters in the diaries.

Moderators
Moderators are assigned to a section and are responsible for the smooth running of each forum within their section. To do this, they have full power over posts and threads within their section. This included the power to create rules for their section or for forums in their section that have all the force of the standard rules and by which other members must abide. They also may issue warnings and infractions against users for infringing any rule within their moderated forum. The decisions of Moderators should be considered final.

Registered Users
This is the standard user account that you are given upon registering. They have access to all the standard areas of the site and the normal user interface.


Moderation
GovTeen.com operates on a moderation policy. This is required to maintain the high degree of the constructive and friendly discussion upon which GovTeen.com is built.

PROCEDURES

GovTeen runs on a vBulletin based forum which gives our members many easy to use features. However, we also have some procedures that are unique to our forum. Below, members will find some main points for reference.

Posting
For information regarding how to make a post and how to customize an account, please click here.Members will find very helpful information about our site in the GovTeen News, FAQ and Help Articles Forum.

Reporting Posts
If a member should come across a thread or post that they feel is not appropriate for our teen audience or is in violation of our rules, then they should report this to a moderator. To report a post, on the bottom left side of every post (underneath the user's information) there is a dark () or light () triangle button, depending on the display style used. After clicking this button, members will be asked to fill out a form stating why they are reporting the post. Moderators in that section will be notified of any member reports.

Complaints
All formal complaints about any regular or staff member must be reported privately (in a private message) to a member of the staff. Formal complaints are complaints about a member that require staff intervention to resolve. When submitting a formal complaint, members should be sure to include as much supporting information as possible. This will help the staff to resolve the problem. If a member has a complaint regarding a member of the staff, this must be addressed in a private message to an administrator. Publicly posting formal complaints about a regular member or a staff member is not allowed.

In particular, if a member has a formal complaint regarding an action that was taken by a moderator, such as a thread being moved, a thread being locked, an infractions or warning being issued, then they are encouraged to contact the moderator for further clarification. Members still not satisfied may contact the relevant senior moderator, a global moderator, or an administrator.

Private Messaging
The private message system exists as a means to communicate with other members in a non-public forum. While they are called "private messages", you are accountable for anything you send using this system and are bound by all the standard site rules.

Visitor Messages
Visitor messages exist in order to provide a public one-on-one message space for member to talk to each other directly. The are accessible in member profiles under the "Visitor Messages" tab.

Blogs
Blogs exist as a semi-private area (but please keep in mind that anything you post here is viewable by all members of our site) for members to personally express their thoughts and feelings without having to conform their posts to the expectations of the forum format. You can access the blogs through the blog tab at the top of every page or through their profile page via "View Blog Entries".

Please note: It is against the rules to make blog posts that relate to anything sexually explicit or puberty topics.

You are accountable for anything you say using your blog and are bound by all the standard site rules.

The Reputation System
The reputation system exists so that our members can give positive or negative responses to posts they like or dislike. If a member should come across a post that they feel deserves special recognition they should feel free to give that post reputation. To give reputation to a post, on the bottom left side of every post (underneath the user's information) there is a dark () or light () star button, depending on the display style used. After clicking this button, members will be asked to fill out a form asking whether they "approve" or "disapprove" of a post and are allowed to leave a short comment.

While both the comment and the reputation given (negative or positive) are anonymous, administration can see what members have said, so you are accountable for anything you say using this system and are bound by all the standard site rules as detailed below. Reputation comments will be removed without warning if they are found to be violating the rules or deemed inappropriate.

Ownership of Posts
The original poster remains the legal copyright owner for all post content. However, posting to GovTeen.com signifies that you permit GovTeen.com to use and display your material on the forums, for as long as needed, and that you acknowledge that staff may need to edit, move, or delete your posts for any reason. GovTeen.com is a non-profit site and will never use any post content for profit.

Diaries
Diaries are personalized forums controlled by individuals or groups of members. These forums can be used for practically anything their owners wish. However, all the normal forum rules apply in the diaries just as in the main forums.

If a thread in a diary is locked by a staff member, diary owners are not allowed to continue posting in this thread, even though their diary owner accounts give them permission to do so. If a staff member locks a thread in the diaries and you are unsure why, you are encouraged to contact the staff member for clarification.

For a complete list of specific rules in the diaries section, please click here.


FORUM RULES

Racism and other Intolerance
Posts in which the direct and malicious degradation of individuals or groups for their actual or perceived race, gender, beliefs, non-beliefs, sexuality, or lifestyle are prohibited. By 'degradation' we mean expression that does not merely insult a person or a group but which tries to show that person or group as worse than other people or groups. This prohibition applies to posts about individuals or groups whether or not they are members here.

Note: This prohibition is not to be applied in cases of reasonably non-controversial notoriety. One may, for example, degrade a terrorist group or a convicted murderer. Nor is this prohibition to be applied in cases of the mere expression of religious belief. However, GovTeen is not a place for preaching, and religion is not to be used as a defense for viciousness.

Undesirable Post Content
Strictly prohibited post content includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Nudity: Any images that contain nudity are prohibited on all areas of the site. Medical images for educational purposes may be exempt, though please note that any erotic image, nude or not, will be closely scrutinized and may be removed under this provision even if it is intended for educational reasons.
  • Graphic images: Graphic images, by which we mean images of extreme and realistic violence or human suffering are not to be posted lightly and will be closely monitored. In general, we will restrict all such images unless they help bring about conversation in a constructive and appropriate way. Examples of graphic images would be photos of dead, death, torture, medical procedures etc.
  • Links to other sites: Members are prohibited from knowingly linking to external websites that contain unacceptable nudity or inappropriate graphic images. We recognize that it may be difficult to keep track of the immediate content of other websites, but we expect our members to use discretion.
  • Illegal activity: GovTeen is a US based site and conforms to all US federal laws and to the laws of the state of Texas. No form of illegal activity is permitted including illegal file sharing, conspiring to commit illegal file sharing, copyright infringement, or the discussion of how to get or use illegal drugs.

    *Members are responsible for ensuring that they comply with all local laws governing their use of GovTeen.

    Soliciting: Members are in no way permitted to use GovTeen to solicit other members for sexual contact. Sexual contact includes but is not limited to trading inappropriate pictures, cybersex in its various forms, and physical sexual contact. In order to limit soliciting, members are not allowed to publicly ask other members for off-forum contact information. You must request this in a private message to the member. Members are also not allowed to post their contact information publicly, including posting in a thread, in their signatures, or on members' walls. Any suspicion or report that a member is using the private message system to solicit members for sexual contact will result in the member's private messages being checked.



Unsavory Character
We expect a certain level of behavior from our members. If a member cannot act appropriately they are an unsavory character. Examples of unsavory character are:

  • Posters with unfriendly attitudes
  • Spammers in any form
  • People posting the personal details of another member
  • Trolling (i.e. posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages)


Disrespect Towards Moderators
Disrespect towards moderators or their decisions, by which we mean acts such as editing a post back to original content after a moderator has edited it or failing to do something a moderator asks of you in his capacity as a moderator is not tolerated. It is at the relevant moderator's discretion to determine whether or not a member's given actions are disrespectful. If a member has an issue with a moderator they should, in private, take it up with that moderator, a global moderator, or an administrator.

The staff work very hard to make this site a safe and fun place. All of our staff dedicate their time and effort, it is not a paid position. There is no reason why any member should be disrespecting or rude to a moderator. It should be noted that no one is perfect. The moderators, like anyone, can make mistakes. Constantly hounding a moderator for a mistake that was made is not needed and will not be tolerated.

Confidential Information
GovTeen staff, both current and former, has agreed not to divulge any of the confidential information to which they are involved with as staff members. This information, while it may seem of interest, is simply discussion of members who are violating rules, determining punishment of violators, discussing new staff candidates, developing new forum ideas, etc. Members should not ask the staff to give out this information.

Discussion of Banned/Frozen Users
When a member is banned or frozen from the site it is due to a violation of our rules. If you have a question or concern about why a member was banned or frozen, you are free to ask the staff.

Multiple Accounts
We permit members to have only one account per person at GovTeen. Any member discovered to have more than one account will have the additional account(s) terminated without notice.

Moderator Begging
Please do not request to become a moderator unless explicitly asked by staff. If you are interesting in becoming a moderator, please visit the staff application link under the Community Drop down menu at the top of our home page.

Deception
We do not permit members to deceive other members, either with respect to facts about the world and other people or with respect to the deceiver's identity. This includes making up facts, boasting acts or talents that you don't have, giving false credentials, making up an identity, stealing a picture and claiming it's you, etc.

If we have reason to suspect a member of presenting themselves as someone they are not, then administrators may demand that they provide photo identification to verify their identity. You are allowed to report a member if you suspect someone is violating this section.

Forum Rules

Staff may construct local rules for the sections over which they govern, and these rules carry all the force of the rules listed above for the sections in which they apply. Members should consult any notices in the forums in which they post and ensure that their actions accord with any and all local rules.

PUNISHMENT

We correct violation of the rules by one of the following methods of punishment depending upon the nature of the violation and the history of the member committing the violation. Please note that most punishments are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Banning
Membership to the forums on GovTeen Forums is a privilege, not a right, and we can and will revoke that membership if we deem it necessary. If a member is found to repeatedly violate our forum rules, his or her account may be banned from the site. Three active infractions against an account will place a member under review by the administration and their account may be banned. There are several offenses that will result in an instant ban; these include but are not limited to posting porn, posting graphic images, and posting spam or advertisements.

Freezing
If a member repeatedly violates forum rules or are issued multiple infractions, we may freeze- i.e. temporarily suspend -their account. Members with frozen accounts will be notified as to why. Any frozen member who re-registers during this period will have their original account and new account permanently banned.

Infractions
All moderators and administrators can issue infractions for any violation of the rules. If a member accumulates three active infractions, their account will be reviewed by the administration and they may be frozen or banned from the site. Infractions last for twelve months before they expire. Any member is entitled to protest an infraction privately with a moderator, the relevant senior moderator, a global moderator, or an administrator and if successful can have their infraction reversed. Public protests of infractions will be deleted without consideration.

Warnings
As with infractions members may be issued a warning if they violate the rules. A warning is similar to an infraction except it does not result in any points against your account and does not lead directly to an account review or the subsequent banning or freezing. Multiple warnings for the same sort of behavior can result in an infraction. A warning will remain listed on a member's account forever.

CONTACT INFORMATION

The best way to get in contact with us is to send a private message to any administrator. You can view the current administrators by clicking on this link. If you wish to send us an E-mail, you may send one to Webmaster@govteen.com.
For breaking above rules you may be warned/banned appropriately!

 I have read, and agree to abide by the GovTeen Forums rules.