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Old 08-27-2007, 03:09 AM   #1
Molly
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Moderation

When you start deleting messages from some posters and not from others, you enter a very slippery slope.

When some posts get deleted, and then references to these posts in turn get deleted, sometimes with and sometimes without a comment about what was removed and why, it tends to skew the discussion, whether intentional or not.

When a post of my own gets deleted, with an explanation that I find unsatisfactory, I have to wonder whether it's time to leave these Forums again.
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Old 08-27-2007, 08:47 AM   #2
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
When a post of my own gets deleted, with an explanation that I find unsatisfactory, I have to wonder whether it's time to leave these Forums again.
That's very cryptic. What did the post contain that was removed, and what was the explanation you got? Without that information it really isn't possible to discuss the issue. As it is this thread is a flame bait.

Keep in mind that the website has a new owner. As I understand it Lasher is new to forums and he probably hasn't gotten to know the moderators that well yet either. Perhaps there's just a need of more clear rules, or a special "dump forum" where deleted threads go.

It is clear though that some moderation is needed.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:15 AM   #3
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
When you start deleting messages from some posters and not from others, you enter a very slippery slope.

When some posts get deleted, and then references to these posts in turn get deleted, sometimes with and sometimes without a comment about what was removed and why, it tends to skew the discussion, whether intentional or not.

When a post of my own gets deleted, with an explanation that I find unsatisfactory, I have to wonder whether it's time to leave these Forums again.
TMS can be a very unfriendly forum, frankly, always has been. On the "what is free?" issue alone I've received 5 private messages from people wanting to express an opinion but not wanting to post because they may or may not get flamed, accused of having an agenda, accused of having no clue, etc. The original poster of the Nodeka thread turned down the chance to repost his advertising for players note (with or without the "100% free" still in there) because it is "isn't worth the grief".

Nobody is interested in censoring anyone's opinion. Blatant personal attacks, flames that go around in circles yet add nothing new or constructive to a post will be snipped and a note sent to the poster. The thread in question here is the "What is free?" thread. Some good progress has been made there but when the list of posts is already 5 pages long there is no value to anyone interested in the subject reading someone telling Threshold to "shut up whining".

I believe this will make the TMS forums more inviting to a larger audience. If I'm wrong and it kills them, so be it.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
I believe this will make the TMS forums more inviting to a larger audience. If I'm wrong and it kills them, so be it.
This is a really good attitude to take, and you should be openly commended for having the confidence and foresight to take a proactive stance on improving the quality of the forums.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:24 AM   #5
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
This is a really good attitude to take
I disagree.

However, explaining my disagreement in three separate threads has now
resulted in my posts being deleted in three separate threads, so I
guess I'll just take the hint and keep it to myself.

-Crat
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:36 AM   #6
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus View Post
I disagree.

However, explaining my disagreement in three separate threads has now
resulted in my posts being deleted in three separate threads, so I
guess I'll just take the hint and keep it to myself.

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Would love to hear your thoughts on it so long as they're relevant to the thread. As I said, nobody is interesting in censoring your opinion, let's just keep it civil.

In fact, the moderation in the other thread was done by someone who has been pretty outspoken about generally agreeing with you on the "pay-vs-free" debate, but decided a small number of threads were heading down the path of flame war/personal attacks rather than offering anything to the subject at hand.

Not to wash my hands of the decision btw, it was discussed beforehand.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
The thread in question here is the "What is free?" thread. Some good progress has been made there but when the list of posts is already 5 pages long there is no value to anyone interested in the subject reading someone telling Threshold to "shut up whining".

I believe this will make the TMS forums more inviting to a larger audience. If I'm wrong and it kills them, so be it.
Heh.
Thanks for the laugh, Lasher.
Incidentally I think you are doing very well so far.

Just for the record though, that quote was not in any way part of the post from me that got deleted.

I admit however that the post in question would have been better off as a complaint to the Site Admin over Private Messages. Point taken. I'll try that next time instead.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:06 AM   #8
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Re: Moderation

I thin it's just going to take people a bit of time to get used to more active moderation. It's been allowed to slide now for so long that people just expect to have "complete freedom" when they're posting, even when that freedom turns into flamewar #37,413.
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Old 08-27-2007, 01:17 PM   #9
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samson View Post
I thin it's just going to take people a bit of time to get used to more active moderation. It's been allowed to slide now for so long that people just expect to have "complete freedom" when they're posting, even when that freedom turns into flamewar #37,413.
Since the posts are deleted, there's no way to argue
about their propriety. I can only say that I believe my
posts were appropriate, and that yanking them
prevents me from being able to defend their propriety.

More than that, I now don't feel comfortable responding
to offtopic throwaway assertions by other posters. I now
have to let them stand, because challenging them means
I'm offtopic and subject to deletion.

I suppose you could argue that if I don't post
anything that is wrong, then I have nothing to fear.
However, since the wrongess of the posts cannot be
disputed after their removal, all that is left is that
I was wrong, end of discussion.

Speaking for myself, this has a chilling effect on useful
contributions to the site. You seem to be assuming
that deleted posts were non-contributory flames. I
strongly disagree. Even where the posts discussed the
suspected motivation of a poster, this was done with the
poster's lusty participation in the debate. Good points
were raised, and though the main focus of the thread
was being left behind, my suggestion was to split the thread,
not delete the tangent. Well, the result now is that
the posts are gone and those who participated are
(apparently) presumed to have all been engaged in
violatory behavior.

I have a printout in ghostscript format. I've been doing this
on occasion, figuring at least *I* would have a record of
the discussion. I'd offer to post it so everyone could see
what I'm talking about...but then that's exactly my point.

Should it really be necessary for people to set up private
caches of threads so that their deleted words can be defended?
That's a bad precedent, and tends to reward the unscrupulous.

I'm all for moderation. I engage in it. I don't advocate
"complete freedom" when posting.

I'm stating that normal debate involves questioning premises and
motives, it involves tangents and forks (to different threads,
if necessary). Hose off contributions that edge past a railroad
plot, and you turn me off. If that's ok with the site, then that's how the
world will turn, I guess.

-Crat
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Old 08-27-2007, 02:54 PM   #10
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher
In fact, the moderation in the other thread was done by someone who has been pretty outspoken about generally agreeing with you on the "pay-vs-free" debate, but decided a small number of threads were heading down the path of flame war/personal attacks rather than offering anything to the subject at hand.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
Since the posts are deleted, there's no way to argue
about their propriety.
That's just it. Here, on TMS, it isn't up to you to decide what's proper and what's not. Further, it seems the moderators are not interested in providing you with their reasons every time it happens. One could reasonably conclude that if you keep getting posts deleted, you're doing something the moderators don't like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
I'm all for moderation. I engage in it. I don't advocate
"complete freedom" when posting.
Your actions don't seem to support your words though. You engage in moderation, for reasons you feel appropriate, yes? Governed by a set of rules and conditions you've laid out?

I engage in it too. Now granted I am far more tolerant of letting things go off on tangents and allowing for heated debate to take place, and even a few snarky insults here and there. But as a general rule if that's all someone contributes to a site, they'll find their posts missing the next time I'm on. But that's policy which governs sites I admin or co-admin. It seems to have worked pretty well so far.

Lasher is not Synozeer. Synozeer seemed to be willing to let a lot more of this sort of thing stand, based on what I've observed over the years. Lasher appears to be working to clean things up here, and it's all fine by me. Even if that means some of my own posts get torched and I'm not told why. I think in the long run TMS has nothing but good to gain from keeping things in control.

It never ceases to amaze me how much MUD forum junkies seem to hate "the man" and fight so hard against moderation when that's the norm for just about every other forum I've ever seen.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:26 PM   #11
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
That's just it. Here, on TMS, it isn't up to you to decide what's proper and what's not.
I am aware of that. However, my opinion on the matter was solicited,
and I expressed it. Not that it's any less obvious, but just a reminder:
it isn't up to you either.

Quote:
Further, it seems the moderators are not interested in providing you with their reasons every time it happens. One could reasonably conclude that if you keep getting posts deleted, you're doing something the moderators don't like.
That is a reasonable conclusion, yes.

Quote:
Your actions don't seem to support your words though. You engage in moderation, for reasons you feel appropriate, yes? Governed by a set of rules and conditions you've laid out?
I engage in moderation. This involves moving violatory threads
or posts to an opt-in-only area. I find deletion to be unnecessarily harsh. I
don't remember ever actually deleting a post that wasn't mine, except
on procedural ground ("you posted this in a different thread already",
for example) in a way that wan't censorious.

I imagine some day I will indeed find myself deleting a post on
content ground...perhaps one with illegal content.

But other than such a thing, deletion wouldn't be the first tool to come out of the box.
There's no need, most of the time.

Quote:
I engage in it too. Now granted I am far more tolerant of letting things go off on tangents and allowing for heated debate to take place, and even a few snarky insults here and there. But as a general rule if that's all someone contributes to a site, they'll find their posts missing the next time I'm on. But that's policy which governs sites I admin or co-admin. It seems to have worked pretty well so far.

Lasher is not Synozeer. Synozeer seemed to be willing to let a lot more of this sort of thing stand, based on what I've observed over the years. Lasher appears to be working to clean things up here, and it's all fine by me. Even if that means some of my own posts get torched and I'm not told why. I think in the long run TMS has nothing but good to gain from keeping things in control.
You're ok with arbitrary post deletion, ok.

Now, perhaps you find my posts sufficiently uninteresting that
it's ok with you not reading what was deleted. Whether it's a
lack of curiosity, or an overarching support of authority
regardless of the justification, you're just
cool with it. Fine.

On the other hand, I *am* curious, and I *do* lack an
overarching support of authority regardless of justification.

I usually find your posts interesting, and even
when I think you are wrong (which apparently happens with greater
frequency lately) I often still learn from reading your words. I would
therefore be very curious to know what you'd written that was
deleted. Since you have much experience in this field and I generally
can gain something from your posts, it would be interesting for
a number of reasons to be able to read posts from you that were
removed from a thread by a moderator.

For that reason I think it would be a wonderful thing to have an
opt-in only board, called "flames" or "offtopic" or "tangents" or
whatever, where people who will not wilt at the sight of
vigorous, heated disagreement can read banished opinions.

Apparently you're still laboring under the impression
that I am against moderation. I am, and have been, explaining
that the deletions in question are not necessary, and per
se make it impossible to debate their justification, and that
is lame. You don't have to delete to moderate. Moderation
in the exercise of moderation is a virtue.

Quote:
It never ceases to amaze me how much MUD forum junkies seem to hate "the man" and fight so hard against moderation when that's the norm for just about every other forum I've ever seen.
Are you talking about me?

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Old 08-27-2007, 06:04 PM   #12
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
You're ok with arbitrary post deletion, ok.
No. I'm in favor of removing posts which don't belong where they are and are inappropriate under the rules of the site. Arbitrary post deletion implies that someone is simply taking random shots at the forum and zapping things with no thought behind it. Which would be silly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
it would be interesting for
a number of reasons to be able to read posts from you that were
removed from a thread by a moderator.
It might, but so far as I can tell it hasn't happened to any of mine. But the kind of person who goes digging through troll posts for the interesting stuff might not be the kind of person the community in question wants hanging around. Just a thought. Not directed specifically at you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
I usually find your posts interesting, and even
when I think you are wrong (which apparently happens with greater
frequency lately) I often still learn from reading your words.
Now see, this right here is a matter of opinion. How am I "wrong" to support moderation in the name of civility if that's what the site administrators want? It's not my place to make those kinds of decisions anywhere I don't co-admin. It's also entirely your opinion that I'm "wrong" with increasing frequency lately. I just happen to disagree with your stand on something

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus
... where people who will not wilt at the sight of
vigorous, heated disagreement can read banished opinions.
You and I are in agreement on vigorous, heated disagreement. There have been several instances on my own sites where this has happened, people get defensive, but as long as it remains outside the realm of name calling and personal attacks, I'll let it stand. Even if it is off topic. I will attempt to nudge things back on track though. I have been known to lock topics, "unpublish" them, and yes, delete them. I see very little value in taking posts out of a thread and moving them somewhere else on the board. They're still inappropriate in my mind even if only admins can see them there. But I haven't had to do this very often.

Quote:
Are you talking about me?
I was speaking in general.

I still think the reason everyone is grating against moderation is because it's not "tradition" here. There does come a time when that needs to be set aside and new traditions formed. "The greater good" isn't a term of evil to be feared.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:29 PM   #13
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
The original poster of the Nodeka thread turned down the chance to repost his advertising for players note (with or without the "100% free" still in there) because it is "isn't worth the grief".
I can totally sympathize with that feeling. I have stopped posting on TMS many times in the past because I got so sick of dealing with off topic, personal attacks from people who can't seem to tolerate the existence of professional mud admins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Nobody is interested in censoring anyone's opinion. Blatant personal attacks, flames that go around in circles yet add nothing new or constructive to a post will be snipped and a note sent to the poster.

...

I believe this will make the TMS forums more inviting to a larger audience. If I'm wrong and it kills them, so be it.
I actually think we are ALREADY seeing the payoff from this. The rapid moderation of personal attacks has helped keep contentious threads on topic, and is already creating an environment where people are more interested in having discussions.

It is hard to have a discussion when you are constantly wondering how some random person is going to take offense and start flaming you personally. Having confidence that the moderators will quickly remove personal attacks makes me feel a lot more comfortable about having on topic discussions about game design, MUDding, and similar topics.

Earlier today, I was thinking about a game administration issue and actually thought "Hmm, I should post about that on TMS and see what other admins think." That was the first time in YEARS that TMS felt to me like a legitimate site where one could discuss issues of game design or administration.

That isn't a slam on Adam. He did a great job starting up this site and building it up for years. I think he just got overwhelmed by the hate mongering trolls that ruined the forums. But I really like what I see so far regarding the moderation of personal attacks.

Thank you Lasher, and thank you moderators.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:40 PM   #14
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Re: Moderation

Sometimes when moderating a forum, you end up removing posts that simply address the offending posts because then they stand alone kind of just dangling in space. That can jar the discussion as well.

Usually, from what I've seen, moderators will simply moderate because it is quick and easy to do before the thead is killed by flames or a tangent. If it's JUST a tangent, then moderators will often split the thread. Some forums will squash flame wars because they feel it contributes to a negative image on their site. People who are repeat offenders usually get moderated for a while, and then they start getting warnings via PM or a temporary freeze on their account.

This is pretty standard for most forum communities. It prevents posters from being "driven" from the forums by others who are willing to engage in un-ending flame wars.
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Old 08-28-2007, 07:45 PM   #15
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samson View Post
That's just it. Here, on TMS, it isn't up to you to decide what's proper and what's not. Further, it seems the moderators are not interested in providing you with their reasons every time it happens. One could reasonably conclude that if you keep getting posts deleted, you're doing something the moderators don't like.
It seems counterproductive for a moderator to not tell someone why they were "moderated". The moderator wastes time deleting posts, and the "offender" wastes time writing a post to have it deleted because they don't understand what they are doing wrong.
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:14 PM   #16
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScourgeX View Post
It seems counterproductive for a moderator to not tell someone why they were "moderated". The moderator wastes time deleting posts, and the "offender" wastes time writing a post to have it deleted because they don't understand what they are doing wrong.
I agree with this. If posts were moderated with no feedback to the poster then we need to fix that, it doesn't really achieve anything. Pure spam (the real "buy cialisvigraxanaxnow!" type spam) of course is just nuked along with the poster.

Keep in mind that if someone posts "Lasher Sucks!" and someone else replies "You know it isn't very constructive to post that!" then when the first comment gets snipped obviously the second will.

The only other exception, exact quote from the moderator section:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher
I did see people claiming to have had posts moderated with no notification. Not sure if that is correct, but if it is I think we should at least the first time or two drop someone a note saying what was moderated and why. If you find yourself in a position where the note would be "Same reason as the last X times" then the note can probably be skipped.
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:12 PM   #17
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScourgeX View Post
It seems counterproductive for a moderator to not tell someone why they were "moderated". The moderator wastes time deleting posts, and the "offender" wastes time writing a post to have it deleted because they don't understand what they are doing wrong.
Yes, I believe it would be counterproductive as well. Confusing and potentially offputting even. But certainly not necessary if a site admin deems it so. And apparently Lasher agrees with this, so I'd say we're all ok at this point, right?
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:12 AM   #18
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
When a post of my own gets deleted, with an explanation that I find unsatisfactory, I have to wonder whether it's time to leave these Forums again.
Molly,

I personally enjoy your opinions even if I do not always agree. I'd say stick around, if for no other reason than to provide another perspective and offer comments about your own mud which I found very unique and exciting in its genre when I reviewed it. Cheers for the game, if I was seeking a new mud, I certainly would give it a try!

As to moderators, I can say from experience, moderating is a difficult job and tough to balance what should be allowed based on valued perspective and what should not because it is way off topic or inflamatory without proper cause (or whatever the forum rules dictate).

Invariably, anytime something is deleted a person who spent time writing OR a person that finds a similar post not edited can be offended. With a new leader at the helm, I say give them a little more time to get their own system fleshed out.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:29 AM   #19
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Re: Moderation

Thanks for the kind words, Newworlds, but my Mud has very little to do with this discussion.

I guess most of us will learn the lesson, just by banging our head at the wall enough times. The lesson I've learned myself so far is, that attacks directed at a group of people apparently are acceptable by the moderators, whereas attacks directed against a single person aren't.

I cannot say I am quite comfortable with that, but then again, banging your head at the wall isn't really constructive either.

I frequent other Forums, where flames are unheard of even in heated discussions, not because of heavy moderation, but because the posters there all respect each other. Maybe that is the root of the problems here.
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:44 AM   #20
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Re: Moderation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samson View Post
No. I'm in favor of removing posts which don't belong where they are and are inappropriate under the rules of the site. Arbitrary post deletion implies that someone is simply taking random shots at the forum and zapping things with no thought behind it. Which would be silly.
I disagree with everything you said. Not because you are being illogical. I think your reasoning is logical and correct. The problem is that your original premise is false. There are no rules for this site. I searched using the forum's search engine using every conceivable word for 'rules', 'abuse', 'language', 'faq', 'vulgar', 'foul', 'posts', I also manually searched the forums for a Rules section or thread and I navigated through the forum faq. There are two items there which could be considered 'rules', 'What are moderators' and 'Why have some of the words in my post been blanked'. It is clear from these two items that a) moderators can edit and delete posts and b) it is insinuated that foul language will be censored. It does NOT state any other guidelines or rules for forum behavior. It seems completely illogical to have no rules but enforce some set of undisclosed rules. Is the goal to utterly confuse the posters? Is the goal to alienate the posters?

I will now intentionally take Samson's words out of context.... (my apologies in advance to Samson, but his words here perfectly make my point when taken out of his context) Arbitrary post deletion _is_ exactly what is going on here. I think it is unfair and just plain cruel of the forum owners to make the posters guess what the rules are, or worse, have to 'learn' the rules by trial and error. If I spend 15 minutes crafting a post, then I do not want that time spent for nothing because a moderator creates a new rule and imposes it by deleting my post. [If the rules are not posted, how can anyone be sure that new rules are not created which are unfavorable. I would like to enter this forum with eyes wide open. That does not seem possible if no rules are stated but some are enforced. I do not see how this is a valid model for a forum to run in.] This wastes everyone's time. It is very inefficient for all. Aren't forum rules important enough that they should be clearly marked so everyone has a chance to know them before posting?

If the rules are posted somewhere on this site, then please make it more obvious. I did everything that a reasonable person could be expected to do, to find the forum rules. I just cannot find them.

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