The nature of great conversations means that we might drift off to a different conversation. Sometimes a conversation might become something bigger — that's when you make a new thread for it! (Please ensure thread names are on-topic, too.)
Keep it appropriate.
Things that you post need to be kept appropriate. If it's not suitable for public discussion, it probably shouldn't be brought up here. Swearing should be limited — egregious swearing may result in staff intervention.
Fun and rules aren't always mutually exclusive. Get out there and hop into some thoughtful conversations, write up some inane threads, and hang out with our diverse community!
KEEP IN MIND -
When discussing Serious topics, use the Serious Prefix.
Feel free to use this tag to discuss serious subjects, seek advice, or anything else you wish to discuss in a more formal and serious environment. If a thread has this prefix, please stay on topic. Any post that is off topic or is intended to derail the threads will be deleted.
When discussing Breaking News, use the News Prefix.
Feel free to use this tag to discuss current events. If a thread has this prefix, depending on the severity of the subject, mukposting (joking around) is allowed. (For example - mukposting in the Black Hole thread is fine, but would not be appropriate in the thread about Notre Dame being on fire.)
Posts that deviate heavily from the topic may be split into another thread or removed. If it's such a great conversation that it needs its own thread, make one yourself!
Do some topics not warrant a thread? We like to think almost anything does!
When reporting, first make sure a rule has actually been broken.
Current/historical and/or religious affairs/events only.
Please be prepared to support your arguments with reputable sources. (Please note that QAnon/pol/etc. are not valid sources.)
Remain civil at all times. Personal attacks during debates are not acceptable.
We do not tolerate bigotry, including, but not exclusive to, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. We are aware that we may have a different interpretation than you of what these words mean, and while we reserve the right to act on that interpretation, do not be afraid to come to us beforehand if you require guidance.
Discussions should be earnest in nature and not misrepresent views or be a platform for toxicity. In other words, we do not tolerate toxic behavior or debating in "bad faith". [*]
We consider "bad faith arguments" to be participating in discussions not for the purpose of any achieving meaningful discussion, but to intentionally misconstrue the viewpoints of other members to cause anger and/or propagate harmful viewpoints.
Here are a few examples of good & bad faith arguments:
Bad Faith - Debating the validity of someone's identity. II - Transforming a thread into a political foodfight wholly unrelated to the original topic (i.e 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' or 'SJWs strike again') Good Faith - Debating how gender identity can influence sporting legislation. II - Recognising how wider societal issues may impact the current topic (i.e contemporary immigration policy or the #MeToo movement)
More examples may be added if enough people ask!
The first violation of the debate rules will result in a warning [Yellow Card]. The second violation will result in an infraction, and complete removal from the Off-Topic section for a minimum of 3 months. At the same time, we wish to encourage interaction between staff and members to avoid this happening in the first place, so feel free to talk to the Off Topic staff about any issue you may have questions about.
If you see someone violating any of the aforementioned rules, do not hesitate to report them.
[*] - While this might be redundant, sometimes it's best to say this kind of stuff explicitly.
We've updated the debate rules to reflect a change in approach - the changes are not particularly different, but be sure to take notice nonetheless! We will also add a debate prefix in short order to help you guys distinguish threads meant for debating.