INDEX OF SECTIONS OF THIS DOCUMENT

(Click on item to go to that section)

  1. Ground Rules
  2. If you see a problem, flag it
  3. Consequences of breaking the ground rules
  4. Participate in the forum & earn privileges
  5. Powered by you – By The People For The People
  6. Privacy
  7. Terms of service

1. GROUND RULES

Avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times. This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.

a. Absolutely NO TROLLING and FLAME BATING permitted
What does trolling look like? “Flame baiting.” The name says it all. Setting people up to be angry and pushing their buttons is strictly prohibited in any form. Trolling is typically done through name-calling, attacking a person’s character, responding to a post’s alleged tone instead of its actual content, and posting knee-jerk contradictions for the sake of contrariness. If you notice trolling or flame baiting, community moderation is the best response. Flag them and the behavior will be addressed professionally by moderators.
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b. Absolutely NO PERSONAL ATTACKS permitted
Comment on the comment, NOT the contributor. Personal attacks are morally reprehensible, but beyond that, they destroy the collegiate, accepting atmosphere required for a diverse, constructive think-tank. We have all earned our stripes and have reasons for our life choices and thinking the way we do. Respect that and move on to the good stuff --> fruitful dialogue.

c. Do NOT speak for anyone but yourself
You do not walk in the other person’s shoes, and are in no position to declare their position or beliefs, that includes labeling them as “pro” or “anti” something. We do encourage you to clarify in your own words your understanding of what another member has said with a question mark on the end.

d. Offensive word choice MUST be privately handled between parties or with a moderator as mediator
What is offensive for one person might not be on another person’s radar until they are educated. Be open to private communication from a member who communicates why particular word choices are hard for them and respect that even if you don’t necessarily understand. Does it really hurt you to select a few different words for the sake of harmony and peace? No.

e. Stay on topic about issues important to your town and keep chip-chatting to chat channels and forum private messaging
Strictly no advertising products or services or chit-chatting in the topics is permitted. The chat channels (available at trust level 3) and private forum messaging allows you to socialize with your friends. Please do. In this think-tank of pooled knowledge we seek to brainstorm issues as related to your town including but not limited to:

PERTAINING TO YOUR TOWN

  • Politics
  • Infrastructure
  • Economics
  • Culture
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Accessibility
  • Diversity
  • Resources
  • Programs
  • Youth
  • Threats to your town

f. Dump the “I am right, you are wrong” paradigm
It won’t work in here. Listen, learn from each other, and be a part of the dialogue. Take it as a challenge to get outside your comfort zone and evolve. Remember, the goal is novel, smart problem solving and you might be surprised where the solutions come from and how they evolve when rigid thinking and stereotyping is removed from the equation.

g. Must be receptive to constructive criticism
A successful think-tank necessarily includes constructive criticism of ideas in order to improve ideas in a colaborative atmosphere. Constructive criticism involves thinking critically about ideas and not taking them at face value, getting outside your comfort zone, and weighing the pros and cons of solutions.

h. Making blanket statements with no supporting facts or evidence
Want to kill a conversation or contribute nothing to the dialogue? Then make a blanket statement with no supporting facts or evidence. For example, “X is bad,” or, “Y is the only solution.” How do such judgments move the conversation closer to an optimal solution? They don’t. All they do is lead to flame bating each other. Yuck. Instead, use that strong feeling you have about X or Y and only after listening to other members’ input and seriously considering how to address their concerns, make your case. Remember the smartest solution that also honors other points of views, is the most likely to gain the most momentum and be blogged about.

i. Post only your own stuff
You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

j. Keep it clean
Don’t post anything sexually explicit. Don’t use foul language. Behave as you would if your grandma was in the forum.

2. IF YOU SEE A PROBLEM, FLAG IT

Flagging a post is anonymous. It lets fellow members know content is of concern. All moderators are immediately notified when content is flagged and some form of response by moderators will take place, publically or privately, depending on what the situation calls for. All matters will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Our motto is when in doubt, flag it, and move on. ONLY ENGAGE to respectfully educate the person on our ground rules and forum culture. Remember we are all together in life’s journey and every interaction is an opportunity to learn for all parties involved.

In order to maintain our community, although a last resort, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts. We prefer to trust members. As such, moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community but will do everything in their power to maintain a safe, productive environment.

3. CONSEQUENCES OF BREAKING THE GROUND RULES

PHILOSOPHY Will there be consequences for breaking the rules? Absolutely. We strictly enforce these rules to keep our community safe and flourishing. That being said, we understand that none of us are perfect. We are all human. Not only that but, engaging in constructive dialogue is an art form in and of itself, hence, the push to provide dialogue tools to members and to engage moderators when in doubt. Moderators come from members who have experience and have been around a while. The idea is to educate and support each other as we learn and grow and to feel safe to be ourselves.

DISCRETIONARY CONSEQUENCES BY ADMIN/MODERATORS Violations of ground rules will be addressed on a case-by-case basis with consequences being anywhere from educating the member to revoking membership.

4. PARTICIPATE IN THE FORUM & EARN PRIVILEGES

User trust levels protect new users in your community so that they cannot accidentally (or intentionally!) hurt themselves, the forum, or other members while they are learning what to do and about the tone of the forum (dialogue not debate) from peers.

The forum grants experienced members more rights so that they can help maintain and moderate the community they generously contribute so much of their time to.

Levels are: 0 (New) → 1 (Basic) → 2 (Member) → 3 (Regular) → 4 (Leader)

Click here to read more.

5. POWERED BY YOU -- BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE

This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you, the community. We all get to collectively moderate by:

  • Weighing in on topics and also add our voice to the collective conversation about blogs shared on social media
  • Working our way up trust levels earning privileges
  • Liking content and thus contributing to group consensus
  • Reading content which shows as a statistic of how much particular content is read
  • Flagging content to indicate the content of concern. Flagging alerts ALL moderators in the forum.
  • Contacting a moderator directly via private message. To find a moderator, go to the top-right drop-down hamburger menu to “Contact Moderators” and you will see who the moderators are.
  • Voting a post upwards towards the top of the discusson thread so people get to read it first
  • Click on the emoji icon and select a reaction to the quality of a post’s discourse. Anytime you want to know an emoji’s meaning just hover over it:
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If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact staff directly.

6. PRIVACY

To read about the type of information we retain and privacy protocol, go here.

7. TERMS OF SERVICE

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS found here.