Forum Guidelines

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Forum Guidelines

Post by Enail on Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:53 pm

Welcome to The NerdLounge!

This is a place for the community that has formed on the Doctor Nerdlove blog to gather and have discussions in greater depth and on a wider range of subjects than suits the blog comments format. Please be aware that Doctor Nerdlove himself, Harris O’Malley, does not run or oversee this forum and is not responsible for the content thereof; all questions, complaints or concerns should be directed to the moderators here.

Due to the nature of the site, there's a lot of sharing of very personal experiences and quite a few controversial topics; be prepared for some challenging of perspectives, difficult conversations and heated discussions. However, we do expect posters to do their best to engage in discussions constructively, in good faith, with respect and civility. To that end, we ask that everyone read and follow these guidelines:

The Basics:


1. Be respectful. Don't pick fights, goad, or belittle. Argue in good faith; in debates, strive to express your position persuasively, to understand and be understood, not to beat the other person however it takes to get a win.

2. You are responsible for the words you use and the way you communicate. Own your words. While moderators are happy to provide guidance if you have questions about appropriate behavior, we are not babysitters; it is your job to keep yourself to forum standards.

3. Other people are not mind-readers. It is on you to make an effort to communicate what you intend clearly. If people misconstrue what you say or take offence at something you didn't mean, consider that you might need to make more effort to communicate clearly.

4. On the other side, try not to nitpick or use clumsy wording to 'catch people out.' It's one thing to be sensitive to nuance, but no one needs to have their every turn of phrase monitored.

5. This is intended to be a feminist-friendly site. While this forum welcomes people with a range of experiences, opinions and beliefs, please do not expect that all viewpoints will be given equal space, or that every argument will be entertained. If you are not willing to approach discussions from the assumption that sexism and privilege are things that exist, or if you wish to see the existing Men’s Rights Movement being treated as equivalent to feminism, this is probably not the site for you.

Individual members do not, of course, have to share these beliefs or claim to do so, but everyone does have to accept that they do not need to be justified on this site; they are basic premises. Good-faith, specific, relevant questions or challenges are okay, but this site is not the battleground for whether sexism exists or whether feminism as a whole is a good or bad thing.

6. That said, this is also a rather 101-space, and there will always be conversations which do not start from these basic premises; we will tend to favour discussion over moderation when productive discussion seems possible, without creating an excessively toxic atmosphere for other members. Expect that you might see comments you find frustrating or hurtful; conversely, expect to have your opinions challenged if others disagree with you.

However, this forum is not your personal soapbox. If you repeatedly make harmful or insulting assertions, insert controversial and derailing opinions into discussions on other topics, or otherwise allow your beliefs to becomes detrimental to discussion or to the forum environment, you will be suspended or banned.

7. This forum is open to people in all stages and situations of dating (or not dating), as well as other aspects of life. Be respectful of differing experiences and mindful that everyone's challenges are different. "I wish I had your problem" is rarely a useful comment; "who has it harder" is rarely a productive debate. Please avoid them.

8. Be constructive. You don't have to always be cheerful or positive, you don't have to agree with everyone, you don't have to act on advice given. You don't have to act at all if you don't want to. But be mindful of whether you are expressing negativity in a way that shuts down productive conversation and discourages suggestions and efforts to help. Remember that even if you don't want help or suggestions, others reading may, so if you want to vent or seek sympathy without being offered advice, please start a separate personal or problem-specific thread for that purpose (see forum tags below) rather than trying to force it in other people's advice-seeking threads or general discussion topics.

9. Don't ask others to co-sign your despair or self-hatred. It's okay to express those feelings as feelings if you have them (but maybe also seek help for that - see this post for some suggestions), but if you talk as if it's factual that you are worthless or that something is impossible for you, expect that others will challenge you or try to give advice if they disagree. If you are not open to that kind of interaction, this forum may not be the right place for you to make those sorts of claims.

10. At times discussions may occur that cover triggering subjects for forum members. If you find that the needs of other members to discuss their issues are by default triggering for you, we heartily recommend use of the ignore function.

11. No one is obliged to participate or continue participating in a discussion. Please don't try to pull people into threads they aren't commenting in (such as by talking about them or referencing posts they've made in other threads, in hostile or potentially contentious ways) or try to keep engaging or talking about them once they've indicated they're done with the discussion. However, please also respect that a discussion is a group activity, so please also avoid trying to get in the last word by having your say and then immediately declaring the discussion closed so that no one can respond.

12. If you have any doubts or questions about how to participate appropriately in the forums, please don't hesitate to ask the mods for guidance!


Attacks and Other Unacceptable Topics:


1. No personal attacks. It's okay, even expected, to challenge opinions and arguments, but don't use personal insults or accusations or express wish for harm to come to people.  Attacks on groups are also not acceptable (with the obvious exception of groups whose purpose is to promote harmful beliefs or actions, such as white supremacists). Particularly, sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia are unacceptable. Do not expect forum-members to give you advice on how to achieve sexist, racist, etc. goals.

2. If one forum member engages in a personal attack, the appropriate response is to report what they said. It is not appropriate to make personal attacks in return. You can state your disagreement, defend people you feel are under attack and defend yourself, but do not engage in flame wars. "So-and-so started it" will not fly.

3. Promotion of the idea that women are or should be seen as a distributable resource rather than human beings, and other extreme Men's Rights Activist positions, are not welcome here. Discussions which make use of those positions as basic premises will be mocked and then shut down, and probably mocked again afterwards, and people arguing from that position will be banned if they do not stop very quickly.

4. Broad claims about the attractiveness, value, intelligence or desirability of people based on their race, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, ability or class, are not acceptable. You may of course have any personal preferences you like; however, if your preferences appear to align with racist, sexist and so forth societal tendencies, you might do well to examine them a little more closely - and this forum does not need to hear about those preferences.

5. Violence, harassment and sexual assault are the responsibility of the perpetrator, not the victim. Focusing on what you believe the victim did wrong or why they are to blame is just distracting from the actions of the person who committed the abuse. Abuse is a difficult and painful subject for many people, so please use care in discussing the subject, and particularly don’t engage in victim-blaming.

6. You are not the arbiter of geekdom. Do not accuse others of being fake geeks or attempt to determine who counts as a geek and who doesn't. Discussions about the definition of geek or nerd are only acceptable as long as they are descriptive rather than prescriptive.

7.Although there is a lot of overlap between this forum and the Doctor Nerdlove blog and associated comments section ("DNL Prime" or just "Prime"), they are separate sites with different moderation, rules and member participation, and we would like everyone to treat them as such. It's totally acceptable to discuss topics that were raised on Prime here. However, this forum is not an appropriate place to discuss interactions that take place on Prime, the community norms and tendencies of the blog's comments section, or the behavior of specific posters there (whether or not they are also members of this forum).

Venting, advice and discussion


1. This forum is a spin-off from a discussion-heavy advice blog; as such, people tend to be oriented towards giving advice and discussing comments; if you're posting here, please be aware that you are opening your post up to discussion and suggestions, and that you won't always be able to control the exact direction of the conversation.

2. However, if you're looking/not looking for particular kinds of responses to your thread, you can use the optional forum tags in your subject line to guide other posters:


  • [rant]
  • [advice]
  • [discuss]
  • [no adv] - (no advice wanted)
  • [not 101] this thread assumes a certain level of understanding of the topic in question; if you aren’t familiar with the topic - especially if the topic relates to feminism, anti-racism, or other ‘isms,’ and you do not know or accept the basics of those areas of study - please sit this thread out.

See here for a more detailed explanation of tags!

3. Do your best to follow thread tags and other guidelines the original poster provides for the kinds of responses they're hoping for. If you have some advice that you're convinced the OP would want to hear in response to their venting thread, ask if it would be welcome rather than jumping in.

4. Sometimes a thread inspires tangential discussions. If they threaten to overwhelm the original topic, moderators may split it, but there's something you want to say that you think is likely to start a big detour or derail, especially if it's controversial, please go ahead and start a new thread for it yourself.

5. When someone brings up their personal experiences or behavior, it's okay to offer your opinions or interpretations, which may sometimes include criticism or challenging their attitudes. However, there is a fine line between discussing and attacking: again, personal attacks are not acceptable here. Strive to be constructive and create understanding rather than to tear others down.

6. Don't make it all about you: In threads started for one person to seek advice or discuss their specific situation, please limit sharing your opinions and experiences to what is relevant to the specifics of the thread. Don't use person- or problem-specific threads to vent or be competitive about your own problem, to pursue an agenda or to make your point about a broader issue - start a new thread if there's something you want to say.


Seeking and Giving Advice


1. This forum is composed of a bunch of people on the internet; not professional advice-givers, not therapists, not experts. All they know about your situation is what you've told them. Use your own judgement in evaluating suggestions. You're welcome to talk about your health or mental health concerns and to seek suggestions and support from others, but please don't use this forum as a substitute for medical, psychological or other professional consultation.

2. If you are in crisis, it’s important for you to get help immediately. The people of this forum aren’t qualified to guide you through a suicidal episode to safety or to talk you out of a plan to kill yourself; we have introduced a strict policy against posts announcing or debating suicidal intentions because we want you to seek professional help right away instead of seeking it from people who might not know how to help you stay safe. If you’re not sure where to find that help, please see this thread for suggestions.

That said, we do want you to feel welcome to talk about your feelings and challenges, and sometimes suicidal feelings are part of that. So it’s okay to post about your experiences with feeling suicidal, or to ask for extra tips other people might have for coping with thoughts of suicide - but if you are currently at risk of killing yourself or if you find yourself approaching it from the perspective that suicide might be a rational decision for you, that is something you should get professional help with immediately rather than posting about it on this forum. Any such threads will be locked permanently.  But do let us know how you’re doing once you’re getting treatment and aren’t in immediate danger!

3. Any advice you receive is the thoughts of well-meaning people giving you their time free of charge, so please respect their effort by being polite and considering what they've said even if it's not exactly what you were hoping to hear. If you are asking for advice, expect to get suggestions to make changes. It's tiresome and frustrating to have every suggestion countered with an explanation about why you can't or shouldn't have to do that, so if you're not open to making changes, don't ask for advice. If you continually shoot down suggestions and are rude about advice that doesn't fit your precise desires, you may soon stop getting replies to your advice-seeking posts. No one owes you a response.

4.If you have questions or concerns about a suggestion, or you'd like to redirect the focus, try to be constructive. Using questions (I'm not sure X advice would work for me because of Y factor. Can anyone think of a way to adapt X for people who Y?) or positive statements (I think I've got a pretty good handle on X, but I'd really like to hear more suggestions on Y and Z) is helpful.  

5. When giving advice, please keep in mind that we are all equals here, and posting should be done in that spirit. It's okay to challenge perspectives, but ultimately everyone is the expert on their own lives. Be willing to learn as well as to share your own knowledge. You are not a guru; advice-seekers are not your disciples.  



About Moderation:


There are three types of moderators here:

General Oversight (G.O.) Mods oversee the whole site and are responsible for taking major mod actions (such as banning long-term members) or making final decisions in cases of mod disagreement or difficult judgement calls, on top of general mod duties in all forums as needed.

Subforum Mods have charge of one or more subforums specifically; within their subforum(s), they have most of the same responsibilities as G.O. mods. Outside of their subforum, they may at their discretion handle day-to-day mod responsibilities like Roving mods.

Roving Mods cover the entire site. They handle day-to-day mod responsibilities only; activities such as splitting threads as needed, warning members who are causing trouble, and locking threads getting out of hand.

If you have a question or concern, you can PM any mod about it - if they can’t handle it themselves, they’ll pass it to a mod who can. However, do keep in mind that individual mods’ time on the forums varies, so if your issue is time-sensitive, you may want to PM more than one mod or choose mods who tend to be around more frequently.  If you have an issue with an ongoing thread or with a recent post, we recommend using the Report button, which will reach all mods, to ensure that someone will investigate the issue in a timely manner.  


1. The moderators are all volunteers, doing this in their free time. The forum is not continuously monitored. While we try to keep up with reading all threads, we cannot always do this and it is possible that we just won't see some posts, especially if a thread is moving quickly, or that if we do see them it may be several hours after they were originally made. If you see rudeness or bullying in a thread that has not been addressed, this does not mean we condone or agree with it. It may simply mean that we missed it while skimming the thread in question, or we haven't seen it yet.

2. With that in mind, we NEED forum members to immediately report anything they want us to pay attention to. If you think something is a personal attack, or you think a heated conversation might move that way, or if a thread just makes you nervous or concerned for any reason, or you think something should be split into a new thread, you need to report it. Help us to help you.

3. As a mod team, we try very hard to be impartial, and to be aware of our own biases. But moderation is subjective, and the moderators will use their own judgement.  Context matters; the immediate content of the thread, the history of the members involved, and the larger issues within society may all play a role in how we come to our decisions. We are striving to balance leaving space to have difficult conversations between people of varying beliefs, with keeping a toxic and hateful atmosphere from taking root. That balance takes priority over fairness in our moderation.

4. Since so many decisions are subjective, and some of them challenging, we will often hold off on taking action on a thread until we can discuss it with each other.  However, sometimes a mod may need to make a quick decision. If you disagree with a decision by a mod, DO NOT try to argue it in the moderated thread. You can always PM us to discuss it, although we will expect you to be civil to us as you would to any other forum member.

5. And a reminder on that front. The mod team are not god-like admins. We're people, and we are also forum members. This is a forum with a high burn-out rate for users due to the difficult nature of some of the subjects we cover, and as mods we have to try to actively read every thread on here. We don't have the luxury of hiding users who drain us emotionally or ignoring threads that are difficult for us to read. With that in mind, abuse, rudeness and inappropriate behaviour towards mods will be taken as seriously as it would be towards any other forum member.

6. We operate by the spirit of the rules, not the letter, and are not interested in rules-lawyering (though we are happy to listen to suggestions or concerns - again, we're people, not infallible gods).


Moderator actions



  • Moderators may use temporary thread locks to give members a chance to cool down in a volatile discussion or to give them or other mods time to deal with a concerning situation. If a moderator has temporarily locked a thread, that topic is off-limits until a decision has been made on how and if that thread is to continue.

    Any attempts to circumvent the thread lock by starting a new thread on the topic, or a thread arguing about mod or member behavior in that thread, may result in penalties up to and including banning. (Of course, we understand that not everyone reads every thread; a member who starts a separate thread on the topic accidentally, not having seen the thread lock, will not be penalized.)

  • Similarly, moderators may use short-term ban (typically 1 day or less) to give a member a chance to cool down, or to pause a situation related to that member’s behavior in order to give them or other mods time to deal with it. Any member who attempts to circumvent a suspension (other than an autoban by the anti-spam system) by creating a sockpuppet account may be banned immediately.

  • Sometimes, there may be accidental bannings of legitimate members. If you find yourself locked out of your account and don’t know why, it’s okay to create a new account to PM mods or post a “Help! I’m locked out of the forum” thread to be reinstated.


Last edited by Enail on Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:24 pm; edited 8 times in total
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Re: Forum Guidelines

Post by Enail on Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:54 pm

Guidelines on the use of tags in threads


  • [rant] - Just looking to vent
  • [advice] - Specifically looking for suggestions and guidance
  • [discuss] - free-ranging, general discussion
  • [no adv] - no advice wanted
  • [not 101] - this thread assumes a certain level of understanding of the topic in question; if you aren’t familiar with the topic - especially if the topic relates to feminism, anti-racism or other ‘isms’ and you do not know or accept the basics of those areas of study - please sit this thread out.  This list of resources can help you get up to speed.


As a reminder: when starting a thread, you can include tags in the title to indicate that you are interested in starting a specific kind of conversation.  Us mods will be happy to back you up on that by asking people not to derail and by splitting the thread if it needs it.

Tags are optional and you do not need to include them.  However, if you give no tags or other indication that your thread has a specific purpose, other forum members may well make their own assumptions about the purpose of the thread and the conversation may go in tangents, or take directions you didn't want.  

We've come up with the following tags, although we're happy to consider others.  Thanks to Trooper6 for providing the original examples (from the old forum guidelines)!

[Rant] My Flowers
I charge $20 entrance fee to my botanical garden.
However, my flowers are ugly, so no one visits!

Possible Responses:
That sucks! Hugs!
Ugh, I had a similar problem with my garden - sorry, dude!

[Advice] My Flowers
I charge $20 entrance fee to my botanical garden.
However, my flowers are ugly, so no one visits!

Possible Responses:
Have you tried using Miracle Grow fertilizer?
Are you sure your flowers are ugly? Maybe there is another reason people don't come to your garden? What location is your garden? What are your hours? How have you marketed?

[Discuss] My Flowers
I charge $20 entrance fee to my botanical garden.
However, my flowers are ugly, so no one visits!

Possible Responses:
I think the whole concept of botanical gardens are so 19th Century, I think rock gardens are a lot more eco-friendly...at least where I live.
I once went to a botanical garden that only featured flowers that people think are ugly...it was the best botanical garden I'd ever been to. It really made me rethink the concept of beauty.
I don't think we should pay to view nature. I think all flowers should be free!

[No Adv] My Flowers
I charge $20 entrance fee to my botanical garden.
However, my flowers are ugly, so no one visits!

Possible Responses:
Pretty much any response that isn't advice is cool here - it's a handy one for when you want an open-ended thread but aren't feeling up to fielding and replying to well-intentioned suggestions.

[not 101] My Flowers
I charge $20 entrance fee to my botanical garden.
However, my flowers are ugly, so no one visits!

Possible responses:
Have you checked out S.C. Lee’s paper on evaluating pricing of nature-based attractions?
When I had a similar problem in my botanical garden, switching the focus to trees instead of flowers really upped attendance.
‘I’ve never been to a botanical garden, but it shouldn’t be that hard to just get pretty flowers,’ or ‘why are you even charging money to see a bunch of plants in the first place’ would not be suitable responses.


NOTE:  Rant Threads

Just because a thread has been tagged as a rant, does not mean you get a free pass to say what you want without commentary.  If your rant displays toxic thought processes people can and probably will call you out on them.  A rant is not a pass to start a thread like "[RANT] All Women Are Whores" no matter how upset you are about the thing that prompted it, and a "[RANT] I am Worthless" will almost certainly garner responses intended to shake you out of that negative thought spiral.


ANOTHER NOTE: Advice Threads

If you start an advice thread, and later find that you're getting overwhelmed by the advice, or you realise afterwards you're not actually in the right mind to receive advice, or it's getting too much for you, you can change your mind.  Solutions to this can include:

-Changing the thread tags and posting a reply asking people to please stop offering advice for the time being.
-Asking a mod to close the thread so you can take some time away from the entire subject.

If you are participating in an advice thread and you see that the tags have been changed/the OP has asked people to stop posting advice, please respect their request.

Please note that if a mod encounters an advice thread that is clearly becoming upsetting for the OP, we may decide to take action regardless of whether or not anyone asked us to.
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