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Thread: Astronomy Forum Rules and Terms of Service - Part One, The Legal Stuff

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    Exclamation Astronomy Forum Rules and Terms of Service - Part One, The Legal Stuff



    Astronomy Forums

    New member's qualifying period

    Due to our ongoing commitment to keep this site free from spam and any other undesirable elements , there is a minimum number of posts required before new members have full access to all site functions. This minimum number may be variable depending on the frequency and nature of those posts, but will be at least five (5) posts. This is an automated process and is not a reflection on any member as an individual. Do NOT contact the team about your moderated post if you have less than 5 posts.

    During this period all (actually some posts caught in the filter) posts by new members will be withheld until approved by a Moderator or Administrator. The moderators attempt to approve withheld posts within in one hour of the post but due to the international nature and worldwide coverage of the forum, from time to time several hours are required.

    Site TOS Terms of Service

    Member Conduct

    You understand that all information, data, text, messages, or other information ("content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such content originated. Furthermore, we prohibit the posting of copyrighted material and information. The actions of the user or member, are the sole responsibility of the person from which such actions originated. The owners, webmasters, moderators, and administrators of Astronomy Forum .net understand and abide by these rules, and will remove whenever possibly any externally obtained copyrighted material. As such, Astronomy Forum . net will not be held responsible for the actions of its users or members.


    This means that you, and not Astronomy Forum .net, are entirely responsible for all data and content that you upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit via the Service. Astronomy Forum .net does not control the Content posted via the Service and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content. You understand that by using the Service, you may be exposed to Content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. Under no circumstances will Astronomy Forum .net be held liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, any errors, mistakes, or omissions in any Content, or for any losses or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, e-mailed or otherwise transmitted via the Service.
    You agree to not use the Service to upload, post, e-mail or otherwise transmit any Content that :
    (I) is unlawful, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or otherwise objectionable;
    (II) you do not have a right to transmit under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as inside information, proprietary and confidential information );
    (III) infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights ("rights") of any party; or
    (IV) interferes with or disrupts the Service or servers or networks connected to the Service

    Astronomy Forum .net shall have the right to remove any Content that violates the terms of service or is otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of any Content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such Content..



    Disclaimer of Warranties

    You expressly understand and agree that:
    1. (a) The use of the Service provided by Astronomy Forum .net is at your sole risk. The service provided on an "as is", and "as available" basis. Astronomy Forum .net expressly disclaims all warranties of any kind, whether expressed or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.
    (b) Astronomy Forum .net makes no warranty or guarantees that:
    i) the Service will meet your requirements or needs,
    ii) the Service will be un-interrupted, timely, secure, or error-free,
    iii) the results that may be obtained from the use of the Service will be accurate or reliable,
    iv) the quality of any products, Services, information, or any other materials purchased or obtained by you through the Service will meet your expectations, and
    v) any errors in these Services, products, information, or any other materials will be corrected.
    (c) Any materials downloaded, viewed, or otherwise obtained through the use of the Service is done at your own discretion and risk, and you will be solely responsible for any damages, losses, and loss of data that may result from the downloading of such materials.
    (d) No advice or information, whether oral, written, or expressed in data, obtained by you from Astronomy Forum .net or through or from the Service shall create any warranty not expressly stated in the Terms of Service.

    Due to the large amount of members Astronomy Forum .net nor any of the staff may not have significant time nor resources to specifically or specially modify, completely delete, nor "adjust" the users accounts in any way unless they personally decide/choose to do so with the user's permission. This means it is important to carefully select your username at registration and its spelling, and read the terms of service and rules of the community if you wish to participate.

    Posts also have a limited editing time, which means once you post after some time it is uneditable unless the team is contacted or decides and can change it (whether title, post content or spelling). Posts and threads will not be deleted unless they violate the forums rules.

    Limitation of Liability

    By accessing Astronomy Forum . net, you expressly agree and understand that Astronomy Forum . net will not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or exemplary damages, including but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, goodwill, use, data, or other intangible losses (even if Astronomy Forum has been advised of the possibility of such damages),resulting from:
    I) The use or the inability to use the Service.
    II) The cost of procurement of substitute goods and services resulting from any goods, data, information, or services purchased or obtained or messages received or transactions entered into through or from the Service.
    III) Unauthorized access to or alteration of your transmissions or data;
    IV) Statements or conduct of any third party on the Service; or
    V) Any other matter relating to the Service.


    Violations and Abuse of the Community

    Unfortunately we have grown to the point that a few members have tried and continue to try to solicit members, or promote other competing forums in a very negative manner. The AF.net team has decided we no longer tolerate this type of behavior.

    To make matters worse, our members have noticed that other forums either do not reference the material in our community or remove links to our community after users posted them elsewhere.

    What is a Competing Site and Can I Post this Link?

    We will define a competing site is defined as: another site that supports bulletin board or forum discussion regarding the same topics.

    Occasionally, cross posted information from other sites, discussion boards, information boards, forums arrives here.

    We have discussed this and it is OK to post information from somewhere else, especially if your links are shown to be unbiased to source.

    This means you post from a wide-variety of sources, and NOT a major single source, site, or forum.

    Generally, it is good etiquette to post the source of the information, especially if the information or quotes is reposted. Entire pieces of copyright information should not be copied here unless you have permission nor posted into a post/thread. Infringements of copyright lies with the member who posted this information not the forum, nor the team / the community.

    When mentioning an article or a website, you can post a direct link to the material, but NOT to the root URL. Referring to the website by its domain name only (omitting the www and the .com) is acceptable. If your post gets edited, do not take offense.

    What Happens If One Violates These Rules

    Soliciting membership for other sites whether or not related to astronomy by posting on Astronomy Forum.net is PROHIBITED. Solicitation of membership for other forums is considered ABUSE OF THE COMMUNITY BUILT HERE.

    If a member is found to promote their blog or site and that site actively promotes another community or forum on the site, this is equivalent to promoting a competing site directly.

    Soliciting membership can be active (go here to this site and join) or passive (by including your domain name or URL and inviting membership in your signature or profile, or hiding links (defined below), or otherwise driving web traffic to the competing site).

    Hiding links to competing sites using a buried URL or linking un-necessarily to a competing site is considered a violation of these rules.

    This site does not support cross-forum-promotion programs. Posting a link on another site to this site does not imply a cooperative relationship.

    What Links are Ok?

    Promotion of non-profit clubs and non-profit sites that do NOT support a discussion forum is acceptable. It is acceptable to refer to blog sites, so long as they do not support a discussion forum and are Non-profit.

    Competing Site Violations and Action by the Team

    If members attempt to solicit membership to build other discussion forum or simply are found to promote another competing site by Abusing the community membership by repeated posting or hiding links, they are subject to having their posts edited, removed, and/or posting privileges suspended and banned forever for continued violations without warning.


    Vendor and Commercial Interest Promotion on the Community

    Due to our largest community, and its standing as the largest astronomy community in the world with over 110,000 members and over 25,000 yearly members we are a prime target for general spam, vendor solicitation, and dishonest advertising.

    Due to the growing amount of false accounts and promotion of stores, and products including computer and tablet software (programs, applications, apps, etc.) we have had to take action to preserve our forum as an honest ground for discussion, and opinion. Also a growing trend exists where people join the forum only to mine it for information for software development for commercial or personal usage (free or otherwise). We have had new members join without introduction, and without any discussion on the forum discuss a vendor or store, whether positive or negative. We also have had fake accounts generated to promote a store or product, and also had links to stores in posts where they were clearly off the topic of the thread eg. discussion of craigslist ad or used telescope and user links to store X to suggest purchase there instead.

    As such we have had to include several new rules:

    1) New users must be trusted (i.e over 20 posts) in order to post links to stores or commercial products and have made an introduction in the welcomes forum.

    2) A user posting their first post to / or about a store or product whether positive or negative will be temporarily banned for 1 week, and upon team decision permanently.

    3) Off topic suggestions to purchase a specific product and/or buy from a specific store will be considered in violation of the rules and a warning or ban will be given

    4) users reported to the team to be contacting members by any method unsolicited and are not a sponsored vendor will be banned.

    5) users found specifically promoting one store or brand in a large percentage of their posts will be considered in violation of the rules and a warning or ban will be given. A user with 1000 posts with only 10 posts promoting a store may not be in violation however a user with even 1 or 2 links and only a few posts will be in violation. Our cut off is team decided and any users beyond the threshold will be warned and /or banned.

    6) clearly exaggerated first lights and reviews that are completely positive or false (beginner gets telescope collimates it perfectly first go, on first light finds 10 objects all in beautiful glory) will not be tolerated especially if the product is only available at one store/retailer. Furthermore, when this is a new user that without much discussion on types of telescopes, what to buy - simply joins and posts a glowing review we reserve the right to delete the review / first light and or ban the individual.

    NOTE: A review or first light will be held highly and trusted if the user has been longer on the community, has more posts, and has used the telescope or product for a long period of time with gradual progression of skill / knowledge / usage.

    7) Members with less than 100 posts are not allowed use the forum to develop or offer software, astronomy related or not. Members having more than 100 posts can use the forum to develop or offer software if the software is offered for free to the general public worldwide. The development or offering of commercial software is prohibited regardless of the number of posts possessed by a member.

    8) stores or retailers found violating any of a number of the above rules on a number of occasions will be barred from having their url, and/or store or product from being discussed on the forum.

    9) users found found violating any of a number of the above rules on a number of occasions will be banned.



    Forum Rules and Guidelines


    General:

    AstronomyForum.net's reputation is "The Friendliest Astronomy Forum on the Internet". You are encouraged, expected even, to interact with other members consistent with same. Friendly, respectful discussion is in stark contrast with debate, or contentious and adversarial exchanges. Please follow this principle.

    Astronomy Forum is just that. A forum for the discussion of astronomy-related subjects, and also the use of optics, e.g. telescopes and binoculars, in general. Astrology related posts will not be accepted.

    We expect members to stay within these boundaries on most of the board. There is an “Off Topic” forum for general non-astro topics.

    Overall, we ask members to be polite and friendly, and be respectful not only of each other but also of the administrators and moderators.

    Your Account:

    Your membership grants you a forum account. Your account is just that, yours. Only you may use your account. Further, it is not permitted for any member to have more than one account. Members determined to be using more than one account, or sharing their account, will be regarded as having made a serious breach of the rules, and may have their membership terminated.

    Since each account is for an individual, this does not exclude members of the same household from each having their own personal account. However due to the laws of many nations we insist that all members must be at least Thirteen (13) years of age.

    Your registered location information must at minimum reflect your correct country location. Providing false our misleading location information will result in a permanent ban from the Forum. It is unacceptable to provide things like 'Earth', 'Third Planet From The Sun', 'The Universe', or similar as registered location information.

    Choose your member/forum name wisely. We cannot, and will not change a registered member name, as there is no means in the Forum infrastructure software to do so.

    Offensive, vulgar, potentially offensive, or obfuscated wording of a curse word or other foul language used as a member name will result in a ban.

    New Member's Qualifying Period

    Due to our ongoing commitment to keep this site free from spam and any other undesirable elements , there is a minimum number of posts required before new members have full access to all site functions. This minimum number may be variable depending on the frequency and nature of those posts, but will be at least five (5) posts. This is an automated process and is not a reflection on any member as an individual.

    During this period all posts by new members will be withheld until approved by a Moderator or Administrator. Dependent upon the time of the day, the approval process may take only a few minutes or several hours.

    Appropriate Forum Use:

    We highly desire an active membership, where posts/replies/threads are high in content, relative to the topic, friendly to new members, encouraging to beginners, supportive of all members or, contribute to the forum’s membership. We do not want to foster content-free, meaning-devoid posts that waste the membership’s time and patience or that do not support our goal of keeping the forum a friendly, international, place where people around our planet can gather and discuss all aspects of a common interest; astronomy.

    You are asked to consider that this forum may be viewed by anyone of any age, gender or nationality worldwide. As such, certain practices are expected to be adhered to.

    No profanity or vulgarities. Sure, some milder words are generally accepted in our language, and we aren’t here to stamp on common usages, but the definitions of profanity or vulgarities are solely up to the administrators and moderators. We will not accept the use of cartoon swearing where the use of a combination of letters and or punctuation marks leaves little or no doubt as to the word or phrase intended. However, “swearing” made up entirely of symbols such as asterisks and number signs is acceptable.

    No religious topics or posts. No sexist or racist remarks. No Politics. These are topics that invariably end in dispute, and create ill feeling between members.

    Thread hijacking is not appropriate. Sometimes a hijack is unintentional, and may well be humorous, but it is disrespectful to the author of, and or previous participants in, a thread.

    Posts with the deliberate intention of creating a reaction are not welcome—no “trolling.”

    Sensitive topics that may cause offense to others, or create disharmony, will be assessed solely at the discretion of the administrators and moderators.

    Condescending Attitude, Negatively labeling new users or beginners such as calling them Noobs will not be tolerated

    Please do not post anything that may suggest, support, or promote illegal activities.

    Please, if you start a new thread, post it only once under one topic. If you feel that your thread would be beneficial if posted in more than one place, ask permission to do so from an administrator or moderator.

    You must not post personal details of a third party without their consent.
    The forum is a place for enjoyment and enlightenment; not confrontation. Respect the opinions of others. Do not argue disagreements. If a post has incorrect information that could cause personal or financial harm to a member; notify a moderator immediately so appropriate action can be taken.

    Here is some good advice. If you are unsure as to whether or not what you intend to post is appropriate, or are agitated by, or unhappy with another post, get up and walk away from your keyboard for a while. Posts made on the spur of the moment are often regretted later.

    Members are asked to not act as "back seat moderators". If a member finds that a thread or post is in violation of this Terms Of Service, then that member is urged to report the violation via the Report Post functionality in the bottom left of the offending post, or to PM any member of the moderation team.

    Safe Astronomy:

    Astronomy Forum will not accept posts that relate to any unsafe use or modification of any equipment. Examples would be the modification of a solar telescope, or the use of a banned laser pointer.

    Specifically in regard to lasers, discussion is restricted to the use of only green lasers of 5mW or less

    Vendors and Advertising:

    If you are the principal, shareholder or employee of a company that sells astronomy-related products you are welcome to participate, but you must not use this forum as a form of free advertising of any products that you handle. Moreover, you must not use this forum as a platform to downgrade or denigrate any of your competitors’ products.

    The term Vendor refers to any person who sells a product, or offers a product for sale, or who has their product offered for sale by a third party

    The term advertising refers to any form of advertising which includes any links in the text body of a post, and also any links in a user's signature, or embedded links in photographs, diagrams etc that lead to any web site that is a point of sale, for those or other products offered by the user

    Basically we will not permit anyone to use Astronomy Forum.net as a place to advertise anything for their personal gain.

    You may, however, use a watermark in any photographs, artwork etc to establish your copyright, but the actual photograph, artwork, diagram etc must not direct link to a point of sale or website that offers that photograph, art work etc for sale.

    The only exceptions to the above shall be any sponsors of Astronomy Forum.net, and their signature or user title shall clearly identify them as such.

    Crowd funding:

    Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods.
    No member will be permitted to post any requests for crowd funding or any links to such requests or pages related to crowd funding regardless of the content.
    Discussions of crowd funding will be frowned upon and any such posts will be removed at the discretion of the Admin and Moderators.

    Copyright and Privacy:

    You may not post any material (photos, emails, documents) from any source unless you are the owner of that material, or have the owner’s explicit permission. There are exceptions. For example some websites permit open distribution. In that case we request that you post a link to that permission.

    The best way to post material from another website is to provide a link to that website.

    Administrators and Moderators:

    Administrators and moderators have sole right to exercise their discretion as they see fit.

    Posts on the forum that question the judgement of an administrator or moderator in a derogatory manner will be deleted.

    You are, however, welcome to query a decision via private message.

    “Cross-Posting & Duplicate Content”

    It is a forum policy to disallow duplicate, or 'cross-posted' content in multiple sub-forum sections. A thread belongs in one, and only one sub-forum. If you feel that you have created a thread in the wrong sub-forum, notify one of the moderators via PM, or a request (post) within your thread, and request that it be moved the appropriate sub-forum. DO NOT duplicate the thread in another sub-forum.

    Cross-posting wastes member's time, by causing them to answer a question or address a topic over multiple sub-forums, and it dilutes the responses to a single question. It also wastes moderation effort in managing various aspects of thread content. It is considered extremely poor forum etiquette to cross-post content.

    “Dead Thread Revival, aka Necro-Posting”

    A dead, or inactive thread is defined as a post that has been inactive, or 'dead' for six months or more since its original creation, or the last post/response to that thread is thirty days or more in the past.

    One technique used by spammers, trolls, and similar miscreants in attacking the forum is posting to these dead threads, in attempts to overcome automated forum moderation for new registrants.

    The moderation team does not look fondly on this practice, and it serves as a red-flag for those participating, as candidates for either a temporary, or permanent ban.

    Please use good judgement if you feel compelled to necro-post - make sure your "contribution" to the long-dead thread is meaningful, adds new, helpful, and relevant information - otherwise you may be subject to a smack with the ban-hammer.

    In general, it is considered poor forum etiquette to revive a dead/dormant thread, or to post to a 'sticky' thread, especially if the post adds no new value to the thread content.

    “Post-Stuffing”

    “Post-Stuffing” is the highly frowned-upon practice of using various techniques to rapidly, and artificially increase one’s post count. In addition to being poor forum etiquette, post-stuffing is a Forum Terms of Service violation, for which a member may be banned.

    Post-stuffing includes a variety of behaviors, including nonsense posts/replies to threads, the combined offense of necro-posting (resurrecting a long dead topic) to post non-contributing material in that thread, rapid-fire posts to threads (either within a single thread, or across multiple threads), and related behavior

    Artificial attempts to increase post count to circumvent forum infrastructure (automatic moderation), manipulate the vBulletin forum awards infrastructure, policy-based thresholds (i.e. 50-post minimum to be allowed a Classified entry), or for any other reason will not be tolerated, and instead will result in an immediate and permanent ban from the Forums.

    The moderation team knows post-stuffing when they see it, and moderator-determined bans resulting from this behavior are not up for discussion.

    We highly desire an active membership, where posts/replies/threads are high in content, relative to the topic, friendly to new members, encouraging to beginners, supportive of all members or, contribute to the forum’s membership. We do not want to foster content-free, meaning-devoid posts that waste the membership’s time and patience or that do not support our goal of keeping the forum a friendly, international, place where people around our planet can gather and discuss all aspects of a common interest; astronomy.

    Thanks for your understanding, The AF.Net Team
    Last edited: 11-16-2016 Reason: Updated to include vulgar language, online arguments, and using the forum to develop software
    Last edited by sxinias; 11-16-2016 at 08:30 PM. Reason: updated.
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