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Current time: October 20, 2019, 2:02 am

Rules
Atheist Forums (hereafter also referred to as "the website", "the site", "the forums", "atheistforums.org") reserves the right to enforce the following rules on its membership according to staff interpretation.

The Purpose of Atheist Forums and its Prime Directive

The forums were created for the purpose of providing friendly discussion and debate between atheists and other like-minded individuals, as well as theists. Theists are more than welcome to join and enter into discussions, but please bear in mind the nature of this community when entering into a discussion.

We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression, which means members can discuss their ideas without fear of censorship or limitation, provided they are not breaking the rules & guidelines below. In the interests of communication, we ask that members do not diverge from definitions of words that are found in established dictionaries.

Prime Directive: The purpose of these forums is first and foremost to allow members to discuss various topics with people who may disagree. The staff believe that the best discussions are those that stay polite and friendly. Therefore, the staff reserves the right to act against disruptive behaviors whenever necessary, as defined by staff and at its sole discretion.

General Forum Rules

The following rules apply to the forums as a whole. These are our core rules, which exist to keep discussions as civil as possible and protect our members. Please click on a link below to see more detail about the rule in question.
  1. Spamming
  2. Threats
  3. Doxing
  4. Disrupting Forum Functionality
  5. Sockpuppets
  6. Flaming
  7. Hate Speech
  8. Trolling
  9. Sexual Harassment
  10. Pornography / Pedophilia / Nudity
  11. Promoting Terrorism
  12. Graphic Content
  13. Advertising
  14. 30/30
  15. Calling Out
  16. Posting Private Correspondence
  17. Protecting Rule Breakers
  18. Quoting Others Inaccurately
  19. Report System Abuse
  20. Plagiarism
  21. Limiting Thread Participation
  22. Necroposting
  23. Username Restrictions
  24. Thread Subjects
  25. Ignoring Forum Bot
  1. Spamming is not allowed. Spamming includes, but is not limited to:

    • Creating multiple threads with the same or similar thread subject in a short space of time.Repeatedly posting responses to existing threads that are unrelated to the current discussion(s) in the thread.
    • Repeatedly posting links, copy/pasted content, or scripture verses, unless they are relevant to the thread and have the member's own comments added to them.
    • Posting an abundance of content you've pre-written for purposes other than forum use (i.e. essays, blog posts, etc.)

  2. Threats and threatening language are not allowed. We consider a threat to be a statement of intent to cause harm to a specific member.

  3. Doxing is not allowed.

  4. Attempting to disrupt or disable forum functionality, through any means is not allowed. This includes but is not limited to the following behaviors:

    • Removing all content from posts.
    • Attempting to bypass the permissions system to gain access to forums which are restricted.
    • Attempting to access other member's accounts.
    • Uploading malicious files.
    • Attempting to exploit bugs or vulnerabilities in the forum software or the server on which the forums run.
    • Organizing or participating in denial of service attacks against the forum.

  5. Registering multiple accounts (sockpuppets) is not allowed.

    Note: Since IP address detection is one of the methods used to find members with multiple accounts, this may result in staff suspecting innocent members who happen to share the same IP address (e.g. two members living in the same house). To avoid suspicion, please contact a member of staff if more than one member shares an Internet connection.

  6. Flaming is not allowed.

  7. The use of hate speech targeting race, gender, sex, and sexual orientation are prohibited. This includes the usage of slurs.

    An exception will be made if the hate speech itself is being discussed, however even in these cases, members should make the intent of the discussion clear and censor any slurs using asterisks (e.g. f*ggot) or some other reference (e.g. the n word).

  8. Trolling is not allowed. Troll behavior includes, but is not limited to repeatedly:

    • Making provocative posts.
    • Making posts that are unrelated / irrelevant to the thread or conversation subject.
    • Disrupting normal discussion.
    • Provoking specific members by referring to them negatively on your profile/signature.

  9. Sexual Harassment is not allowed. We consider sexual harassment to be any unsolicited comments of a sexual nature directed towards another member. While we are cognizant that a certain amount of flirting goes on in the forums, harassment will not be tolerated and will result in a permanent ban.

  10. Pornographic content, pedophilic content, and nudity is not allowed. Discussion of pornography/nudity is allowed, provided it is not explicitly sexual in nature (e.g. sex stories). The staff will make the final decision on whether content is pornographic or not, and will take into consideration whether the content is more artistic than pornographic (e.g. depictions of Venus de Milo or Michelangelo's David are not in violation of this rule).

    Note: We consider pedophilic content to be any content which contains sexual undertones relating to children. This includes images of naked or semi-naked children, images of child models in "provocative" poses, under-aged themed sexual jokes or memes (e.g. pedobear), stories which describe pedophilia as a fantasy, or other content which is deemed by the staff to be pedophilic in nature.

    Note: A general exception to this rule (applying only to pornography and adult nudity) is when members are posting in the adults only subforum "Area 69". Pornographic content nudity is allowed in this subforum, provided it is legal in the United States of America. Whilst discussions concerning pornography / nudity are allowed elsewhere in the forums, if the discussion is intended to be sexual in nature, it should be posted in Area 69. In order to gain entrance to Area 69, members must be at least 18 years old, have at least 60 posts, have been a member for at least 60 days, and should request to join the 18+ user group. Members should then take a photo of a photographic ID with their username written on something in the same photo. The member can black out all identifying features of the ID, except the photo itself and the year of birth. The photo should be sent via a private message to a member of staff, who will either approve or reject the request.

    There are no exceptions for pedophilic content.

  11. Posts supporting or promoting known terrorist groups currently in operation, whether religious or otherwise, will not be tolerated.

  12. Graphic content containing gore, dead people, etc. should be placed in [hide] tags. The same applies to NSFW images, such as partially-clad women. Please preface these posts with a warning. Example:

    Code:
    Warning: Photo of motorcycle accident with blood / gore:

    [hide]
    [img]https://...[/img]
    [/hide]

  13. Advertisements in posts are not allowed without prior staff approval. If you would like permission to advertise, please contact staff using the Questions for Staff subforum.

    Please note that this rule also applies to people conducting research, surveys, or asking for members to sign petitions or join causes.

  14. New members must make 30 posts and be a member for 30 days before they are allowed to post external content, such as links, images, or videos.

    Note: An exception to the 30/30 requirements is when external content is used within a discussion or with the intention of discussion. For example, a member who has not yet met the 30/30 requirements is allowed to post external content if they are using it as evidence in a discussion, or if it is relevant to the ongoing discussion.

  15. Threads that call out members for negative reasons (i.e. "soandso is a cotton-headed ninnymuggins") are not allowed.

  16. Posting the contents of private correspondence with other members is not allowed.

  17. Intentionally protecting another member who has broken a rule is not allowed.

  18. Quoting other members of the forum inaccurately is against the rules. Any changes in the format of a quote must be called out by the poster with a note (i.e. "bold mine").

    Note: An exception to this rule will be made for quoting a user inaccurately where the intent is clearly parody.

  19. Abusing the report system is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Reporting a poster for behavior that is not against our rules.
    • Making repeated reports on the same user successively in a short period of time.

  20. Plagiarism is not allowed.

  21. Putting limitations on who is allowed to post in a thread is not allowed (i.e. "non-atheists do not reply to this thread").

  22. Egregious or disruptive necroposting is not allowed.

  23. Members are free to choose any username they like, provided it complies with the following restrictions:

    • The first part of the username must be comprised of regular keyboard characters (i.e. characters which are easily typed on an English keyboard).
    • At least part of the username must be pronounceable in the English language.
    • Usernames should not contain any of the following characters: ' (apostrophe) , (comma) [ (left square bracket) ] (right square bracket)

    Note: Due to the need to maintain clarity and consistency when reading through threads, members are limited to only one username change per year.

  24. Thread subjects / titles should be relevant to the first post, be free of slurs, and refrain from using sexually explicit language.

    • This rule does not apply in R'lyeh.
    • This rule does apply in Area 69, though use of sexually explicit language is allowed.

  25. As Forum Bot is the account staff uses to communicate with the forum, users are not permitted to put that account on ignore.

Public Service Announcements
  1. When replying to a large post, members should not quote the entire post in their response, as this tends to make threads difficult to read. Instead, members should split the quote up into smaller quotes to which their response is aimed, provided the meaning of the quote is not changed by removing it from context. Alternatively, hide tags can be used inside quotes to make the quote smaller whilst preserving the actual quote content:

    Code:
    [quote]
    [hide]Section of quote a member wants to hide.[/hide]
    Section of quote a member wants to respond to.
    [/quote]

    Posts which violate this will be edited to either remove the large quote or hide it.

  2. Members should be cautious when posting content which originally came from another website. Copying and pasting a small paragraph is allowed if the content adds weight to your post, however for anything larger, please provide a link to the original material instead by using the [url] tag:

    Code:
    [url]https://example.com/article.html[/url]
    [url=https://example.com/article.html]Click Here[/url]

    Posts which violate this rule will be edited to replace the external content with a link.

  3. Posts should be written in English and be comprised mainly of characters from the Basic Latin Unicode block. For the non-technical, these are characters that you can type on a keyboard using single key presses, or using the shift modifier. For the technical, these are Unicode characters U+0020 to U+007E inclusive. Using other Unicode characters which resemble English alphabetic characters is not allowed. This is due to limitations in some mobile applications which do not render these characters correctly.

    Unicode characters which do not come from the Basic Latin Unicode block are allowed if used in moderation.

  4. It takes time for staff to determine if a member is trolling. If you suspect a member is a troll, and you've already reported the behavior, the best thing you can do to assist us an avoid irritation is ignore the suspected troll.

  5. In-thread moderating by non-staff causes a lot of friction between members. We will not restrict speech in this regard, but strongly discourage members from telling other members they should be punished for rule-breaking. If you believe a member is breaking a rule, report it to staff. Staff will handle the situation.

  6. Much of the punishing and moderating on Atheist Forums is done privately. Therefore, if you think staff has ignored a report, it could be that you simply do not know the outcome of your report because it would involve us sharing information that's between staff and another member. Reports are never ignored. In fact, the forum software makes it impossible for staff to miss reports.

  7. Whilst thread titles with slurs and blatant belligerence are normally frowned upon in the forum at large, R'lyeh is quite nearly a free-for-all. If you must get it off your chest in a belligerent way, that's the place to do it.

Forum Specific Rules

In addition to the rules above, certain forums have rules which are specific to that forum. These are found at the top of each forum:

Minor Protection Policy

Staff at Atheist Forums take the protection of minors from predators very seriously. As the membership consists of both minors and adults in a relatively unrestricted environment that also features private communications, the following policy is enforced in order to protect members who may be minors. For the purposes of this policy, we consider a minor to be any person who is under the age of 18.
  • Staff Responsibility

    • The staff are committed to keeping the forums free of predators.
    • The staff will cooperate fully with any official investigation of inappropriate contact with minors on the forums.
    • The staff will respond to reports of inappropriate contact promptly and in good faith, in accordance with this policy, and will conduct their own investigation and take whatever action is deemed necessary.

  • Member Responsibility

    • Members are responsible for maintaining lawful, age-appropriate contact with minors.
    • Members are responsible for reporting any suspected inappropriate contact as soon as possible after being made aware of said contact.
    • Persons under a court order restricting contact with minors are not authorized to use the forums.

  • Reporting Process

    • Any staff or member that is aware of possible inappropriate contact with minor members should notify a staff member via the private messaging system or via the reporting system. It is never appropriate to do so in the public forum.
    • Any staff member who receives a report of possible inappropriate contact will immediately share the report with the rest of the staff.
    • Administrators will investigate the allegations, and will take appropriate action, including notifying proper authorities if necessary.
Any violation of this policy will result in an appropriate punishment, up to and including a permanent ban from the forums and/or notifying the appropriate authorities.

Reporting Posts & Users

If a member feels that a post has violated a rule, they should do the following:
  1. Double check the rule to make sure that the post violates it in some way.
  2. Click the "Report" button on the post you want to report.
  3. In the field that appears, type a brief but detailed reason why the post violates a rule. Make sure the name of the rule is mentioned.
  4. Click the "Report Post" button.
If a member wishes to report a member's behavior rather than a specific post, they should go to the member's profile and click the "Report User" button, filling out the field which appears in a similar manner to the above.

Although the report system is preferred, members are also allowed to report posts/members directly to staff via the Questions for Staff sub forum.

Serious Threads

When creating a thread, members can select "serious" from the drop-down menu to the left of the thread title field.
  • Posts should be on topic or at the very least, related to the topic (i.e. no derailing).
  • Posts should not consist of only jokes. We're not outright banning jokes, but your post should add to the discussion.
  • Posts should not contain insults, of any kind.
Members who violate these rules will be banned from the thread. Note that we are allowing swearing, provided you aren't doing it at someone.

You will be able to create a Serious thread in any forum, with the exception of R'lyeh (due to the rules conflicting).

Punishments

Members caught breaking any of the above rules will be punished by the staff. The type of punishment will depend on numerous factors, such as the rule being violated, whether the member has violated the rule before, whether the member has been punished for rule violations recently, and the amount of time the member has spent on the forums. Staff discuss all rule violations privately and vote on which type of punishment to use. All punishments are up to staff discretion.

The following types of punishments are used on the forums:
  • Speed Bump
    A speed bump is a short statement issued by a member of staff within a thread, usually directed at the thread participants as a whole rather than at specific people. Speed bumps are used by staff if multiple members are breaking rules or about to break rules within a thread. The speed bump serves as a reminder of the rules and gives members a chance to cool down. Members who ignore a speed bump and continue their actions will receive a more severe punishment.

  • Thread Ban
    A thread ban disables a member's ability to reply to a certain thread, though they can still read its contents. It is generally used for violations of the Prime Directive, Trolling, and Flaming. Thread bans may last for a certain duration, or be permanent. Thread bans may be lifted if the member in question agrees to be more level-headed with their responses in the thread.

  • Thread Closure
    Staff will close a thread if it violates the rules, or if members participating in the thread continue to break rules and ignore staff speed bumps.

  • Official Warning
    An official warning is a statement issued by a member of staff to a rule breaking member via the private messaging system. Official warnings also add 25 warning points to a member's account. Points expire after a month, but if a member accumulates 100 points at one time, they will lose posting privileges for a week.

  • Removable of Posting Privileges and Contract
    When a new member runs afoul of the rules, we reserve the right to remove posting privileges and message the user to "contract" or agree to read and follow the rules, with the assumption that the new member simply isn't familiar with the rules yet. Rule breaking after this contract will be treated as usual.

  • Temporary Removal of Posting Privileges
    Staff reserves the right to remove users' posting privileges without banning them at any time for a "cooling-off" period.

  • Temporary Ban
    A temporary ban disables a member's account for a specified amount of time, usually between a week and a month, depending on the rule being broken and the member's previous behavior. Attempting to thwart a temporary ban by creating additional accounts will result in both the main member account and any additional accounts being permanently banned.

  • Permanent Ban
    A permanent ban disables a member's account forever. Attempting to thwart a permanent ban by creating additional accounts will result in the additional accounts being permanently banned.

Appeals

If a member receives a punishment they feel is unwarranted, they may appeal the punishment by contacting a member of staff, preferably one of the administrators. Members should use the private messaging system to make their appeal, and include any information that might be relevant. If the member was banned and therefore unable to use the private messaging system, they may instead email their appeal to .

Staff will consider appeals on a case-by-case basis and respond to the member with the decision. The decision made by staff will be final, and subsequent appeals will be rejected.

The Staff

The staff are members of the forums who ensure that the community runs smoothly, by enforcing the rules and appropriately punishing rule breakers. The staff are comprised of Administrators and Moderators. Administrators are the highest level of member, and are in charge of the running of the forums. Moderators are the level of member below administrators, and help the administrators by enforcing the rules of the forums.

New moderators are chosen by staff from a shortlist of regular forum members whom the staff believe both deserve the position and would carry out their duties fairly. New administrators are chosen from the current list of moderators.

Privacy Policy

Our Privacy Policy can be found at the following URL: https://atheistforums.org/privacy.php.

Copyright

Whilst members own the copyright to the content they post or upload to this website, by posting the content they agree to allow the website owner to publish this content, and to edit or delete it in any way they see fit.

Legal Disclaimer

Members agree not to post any content which may violate the laws of their own country, the country where this website is hosted (United States of America) or international law. The website owner will comply with any police investigation and may submit information relating to the member to investigators if it is required.

You agree that the website owner has the right to edit or delete any content posted by a member at any time and for any reason. As a member, you agree that any information you have entered into the website will be stored in a database. The website owner shall not be held responsible for any hacking attempt that may lead to your data being compromised.

Finally

These rules are still a work in progress. If members have any suggestions, please feel free to contribute by creating a new thread in the Questions, Problems, Suggestions, and Feedback forum.