Because of the nature of this site, Wrest In Peace has very strict rules of conduct. The rules, and explanations for why we have those rules, are as follows:

1) No posting or encouragement of illegal activities. You will not post anything that can be considered to be potentially criminal. The posting of computer viruses, child pornography, or links to computer viruses or child pornography is strictly prohibited. As are posts made under circumstances indicating a considered likelihood of inciting a violent or felonious act, or an intention or knowledge that its content will be used for, or in furtherance of, any criminal purpose. Such posts will result in immediate banning, and may also be referred to the appropriate authorities.

2) No threats. You will not post anything that demonstrates a clear and present danger to the welfare of another person, or otherwise tends to create alarm or apprehension that the welfare of any person is in imminent jeopardy. Such posts will result in immediate banning, and may also be referred to the appropriate authorities.

3) No pornography. You will not post anything that is pornographic, obscene, or contains excessive reference to violence and/or explicit sexual acts. This includes representational artwork as well as photographic or video media and includes linking directly to such content from the Forum. Such posts will result in immediate banning, and may also be referred to the appropriate authorities if they have illegal content.

4) Restrictions on copyrighted materials. You will not post “copyrighted” material in its entirety, and will not post large amounts of material available from other sites (instead, post an excerpt, and a link to the original materials).

5) No spam. You will not spam, flood or otherwise post in a manner that disrupts the functioning of the site, this includes using disruptive formatting in your posts. Activities that are considered spam include:

* Posting links to sites that are irrelevant to the topic being discussed

* Cut-and-pasting large blocks of text from other sites, without offering any original commentary

* Repeating the same post multiple times

6) No trolls. A troll is an individual who intentionally seeks to disrupt discussions, whose main purpose is to interrupt or impede rational conversation. Activities that are considered trolling include:

* Making comments that are entirely irrelevant to the topic being discussed

* Hit-and-run posting, where they post a controversial or antagonistic viewpoint, and then just disappear

* Making personal attacks or similar comments that are obviously intended to make others angry

7) Restrictions on posting of personal information. You may only post a Member’s personal information with their explicit permission.

8) No profanity or racist/sexist language at all. No profanity is allowed, including disguised profanity (ie. using asterisks or alternative characters). I firmly believe that it is fully possible to express even strong disagreement and dislike, without resorting to profanity. In fact, I think it is superior to do so, it generally indicates greater thought and self-discipline than mindless swearing. In addition, I want this to be a site that primary and high school students can access, and use as a resource — if there is profanity, schools and libraries will block this site.

Similarly, any language that is deemed racist or sexist is absolutely not allowed; it is more than possible to express one’s attitudes and ideas without resorting to labels that are deliberately offensive to others. Because the question of exactly what kind of language is racist/sexist can be somewhat open to interpretation, members will first receive a warning about objectionable language; if they listen to that, and cease further use of such language, there will be no further action.

9) No personal attacks at all. You can disagree and argue with what others believe or claim as much as you want; but personal attacks will not be tolerated. To illustrate the difference, saying, “That claim is plainly wrong, you have chosen biased sources, and this evidence demonstrates your error” is fine. Saying, “You are an idiot if you believe that” is not.

10) No proselytizing. People who participate in discussions on this site are expected not only to present their own ideas and beliefs, but to listen to and try to understand those of others. Those individuals who are coming here with a clear intent only to promote their own perspective, but show no interest in listening to what others have to say, are not welcome, and if their participation proves disruptive to discussion, will be removed.

11) No sock-puppets. This means that each member must have only one account. If one person attempts to set up two or more accounts, this is a breach of the rules, and will result in automatic suspension; continuing such behavior will result in banning. Anyone who starts a new account while suspended will be banned immediately; and anyone who starts a new account after being banned will have the new account banned immediately. It is also forbidden to make posts on behalf of a member who has been suspended or banned.

12) We reserve the right to take further actions. No list of rules can ever hope to encompass every possible situation, and we reserve the right to take action on any posts or activities that we feel run counter to the intent and spirit of this site. In such situations, the individuals in question will always be given a warning first, and have the opportunity to change accordingly; only those who refuse to change, and continue in that behavior, will face punitive action.

The Mud Pit

There is one very special area of the Wrest In Peace forums where many of the above rules are suspended. It is called the Mud Pit, and is intended as a kind of quarantine zone for personal battles that have gotten out of control. Despite our best efforts to maintain a civil atmosphere, there may be times when some members just disagree so vehemently, or dislike each other so much, that they feel unable to engage without resorting to profanity, insults, and personal attacks.

There are still rules for the Mud Pit, only some rules will be suspended — Rule 6 (no trolls); Rule 9 (no profanity, etc.); Rule 9 (no personal attacks); and Rule 10 (no proselytizing). All other rules will remain in effect, with exactly the same penalties.

In addition, members cannot start a Mud Pit thread on their own, nor can people join such a thread freely. In order to start a Mud Pit thread, you must take the following steps: 1) You must send a Private Message to a Forum Administrator, stating your desire to start a thread, and stating who will be included in the fight; 2) All other participants must explicitly agree that they also want to be involved (you can't just start attacking someone because you don't like them). 3) Mud Pit threads will be closed to everyone else.

Warnings, Suspensions, and Bannings

Breaking rules one or two will result in immediate banning; breaking rule three will result in immediate suspension. All other offenses will first receive a warning, and if those warnings are heeded, no further action will be taken.

If a person is warned about certain behavior, and continues to exhibit the same behavior, they will get a two-week suspension. Any attempt to circumvent that suspension (ie. register another account) will result in banning. After two weeks, they will be able to recommence participation in the forums.

If a person continues to ignore warnings after being suspended, then they will be banned. Bans are, for the most part, permanent; and any attempt to register under another name will be immediately banned if spotted.

There will be an opportunity to appeal a ban after six months, but this will be done on an extremely limited basis. It is up to the individual in question to appeal, and they must clearly state that they understand what they did wrong, and give a substantive guarantee that they will not engage in such behavior if reinstated. Any further bad behavior will result in an instant ban.

My attitude on censorship

I despise censorship of ideas, and believe very strongly that it is important to allow open expression of ideas and beliefs, even those with which I disagree, or find disgusting or reprehensible. I believe that it is best to have discussion not just of one idea, but of many different perspectives, so that others can best understand each perspective, and make their own decisions as to which is best.

However, there’s a big difference between censorship of ideas, and censorship of language. I can think of very, very few situations where profanity is absolutely necessary to express an idea. So profanity is censored, as are personal attacks, racist/sexist language, and other such disruptive behavior. If you are really incapable of expressing yourself without resorting to such tactics, this is probably not the site for you.

In addition, “freedom of speech” does not equal “freedom from criticism”. You can express pretty much any belief you want…but you should expect to have others disagree with you, and criticize your arguments. Disagreement and criticism are not censorship, yet it's amazing how many people who scream about their 'right' to say whatever they want turn around and try to silence anyone who has the audacity to disagree with or criticize them.

Nobody will be censored or punished simply for expressing ideas and beliefs with which I (or others) disagree, or because I personally dislike them. Follow the rules set out above, and you can say pretty much whatever you want. And others can say pretty much whatever they want to you.