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WS Admin
06-07-2008, 10:17 PM
Not TOS, just good practice.


Websleuths (WS) Etiquette & Information


It is VERY important that all WS members read and understand the concepts listed below. Everyone will be expected to follow them while at WS.

Freedom of Speech:

While we believe very much in the freedom of speech & expression, you DO NOT have an absolute right to say whatever you want in this community. WS is based in the United States, but is not an agency of the Federal or any State government - so the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution and similar State amendments regarding your right to free speech DO NOT APPLY HERE. Anything that goes against our core beliefs and the purpose for which this community was designed may not be allowed. Posts and comments that are meant to incite conflicts between members or outside parties are strictly prohibited. WS Administration has the absolute right to edit, modify, close or delete any content found in this community. While this rarely, if ever happens, we will not tolerate individuals or groups creating problems with the overall membership.

Advertising & Promoting:

WS has a NO advertising policy (with the exception of our community sponsors if and when we decide to have some). This includes discussion forums, message boards, chat sites, commercial businesses & services, personal websites, etc. (You may however post a direct link to an outside site given that the information is RELEVANT to a question someone else has requested, or you believe it will be helpful to others.) This also includes links in signatures which cause commercial popup windows to pop up in threads. Sneaky advertising will not be tolerated. If you have a business or service that you think will benefit the members of WS, please email admin@websleuths.com and a member of WS Administration will contact you.

Soliciting Financial Assistance:

Soliciting financial assistance in the forums, chat or via PM is strictly prohibited. This means both overt ("Send me money") and subtle ("Poor me, I could really use some money") forms. As much as we would like to assist in helping those who are in grave need of it, there is no way to easily and effectively determine the accuracy of someone’s financial situation. Countless people have been scammed on the Internet and message boards, perpetrated by people who come into a community with nefarious motives and preying upon others who are kind and want to help people in need.

Organized Efforts- Email Campaigns-Boycotts-Petitions:

Obviously members are free to take up any and all causes that are important to them in an effort to bring about change. But using Websleuths as a platform to promote organized efforts such as email campaigns, boycotts, letter writing,etc. are strictly forbidden without the consent of the forum owners.If you have written a letter or taken any action in support of a cause, please refrain from posting about it. Support of a particular cause must be approved by the owners prior to posting links or information regarding any such effort. Causes can be questionable in nature, even though they appear to be honorable on the surface.As it relates to using WS as a platform for promotion,the owners investigate the nature and source of such campaigns and make their own decisions as to the legitimacy of each cause. Please do not suggest,directly or indirectly, that members support any type of organized effort without getting approval from forum owners first.

Victim Friendly

Websleuths is a victim friendly forum. Attacking or bashing a victim is not allowed. Discussing victim behavior,good or bad is fine, but do so in a civl and constructive way and ONLY IF IT IS RELEVANT TO THE CASE. Additionally,sleuthing family members that are not suspected of being involved in the crime or disappearance is not allowed. Don't make random accusations or post personal information (even if it is public) like parking tickets, address, or first and last names of all their relatives and their neighbors. Also, never "bash" or attack them, or accuse them of involvement. However that does not mean that family members cannot come into discussion as the facts and issues of the case are discussed.


Verified / Professional Posters

We are lucky enough to have posters from all walks of life with a broad spectrum of expertise. Some may have special inside knowledge about a case or be directly related to a player in the case. This is all extremely valuable information for the forum. However, we like to make sure that anyone posting as a professional in a specific area (doctor, lawyer, search and rescue, etc.), or as someone with inside information, truly is what/who they claim to be. Verification is 100% optional. No posters are required to become verified unless they wish to post inside or professional information. If you wish to become verified, please contact Tricia, Websleuths owner, at wsverify@xmission.com with your Websleuths name, your real name, the case, and your phone number and a good time to call. If you have any questions, contact a moderator.


Sex Offenders

It is illegal to use the sex offender registry information to harass anyone. We would never condone that at Websleuths. However, it is okay if, when a child goes missing or is harmed, we look at the sex offenders in the area and post their information, along with maps to show how close they live to the victim. Never even hint at harassing anyone on the sex offenders list. Any posting here about a sex offender should always be within the law.

Inviting outside contact or alluding to "private" additional information:

“Inviting” is termed as a post where you invite other members to contact you to find out more information, rather than post it in the forum. This is not allowed and any posts with emails or invitations to contact for more information will either be edited or deleted entirely. This includes use of the Private Message system via comments such as “Check your PMs” or “PM me” posted in discussion threads. Think about it - it's like whispering into someone's ear while you are at a table full of other people. If you want to have a private conversation just have it, don't announce it. Additionally,please don't drop hints or post on the board that you know something or are privy to inside information but you won't or can't post it.
If you can't post it, don't.

Social Networks

Regarding Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social networking or blog websites: Links may be used to direct posters to view something on a social networking page. But postings on social networking sites are not considered fact; they are rumor. Copying and pasting, or taking screen caps, directly from these pages is not allowed. Paraphrasing is okay. (Exception: If the Twitter or Facebook post belongs to a verified news station, it may be copied. But a link should still be provided.)

Also, social networking pages may only be linked if they are directly related to a case, i.e. the victim or suspect. We don't want to post to someone's mother, brother, employer, milkman, or postal carrier just because they know the main player. We also NEVER link to minor's pages (unless they are the victim). And be sure that the page actually belongs to the person being discussed. Do not link to someone if you are not 100% sure it is the correct person. And if a social networking is set to private and you get in the back way, you may not post what you find. Private means private!

Contacting other members to meet in Real Life:

While members are always free to contact each other to meet in person, via telephone, or in other ways, Websleuths will in no way be responsible for any actions or events arising from such contact. Websleuths staff does not read or otherwise monitor Private Messages and has no way to monitor private emails, telephone calls or other such communications. It is up to each individual member to decide if they desire such contact and the resultant loss of anonymity. Websleuths neither condemns nor condones such meetings and it is up to the individual members to decide if they wish to get together.

Abuse / Flaming / Derogatory Comments:

Abusive Comments, Flaming, or derogatory insults or comments are strictly against the rules. If you disagree with another member’s point of view, do so in a mature and civil manner. If someone posts to discuss their personal problems or seeks help from other forums members, please do not respond unless you have something positive or helpful to add. If you find yourself being flamed or insulted by another member, please do not dignify that person with a response. Notify a moderator and let us handle it.

Derogatory Name Changes to Case Players/General Name Calling

In an effort to keep case discussion constructive, name calling, general bashing and using derogatory name variations for any of the case players is not tolerated. Regardless of how we may feel about many of the people that are the focus of our discussion here,it is always best to elevate the conversation and avoid this type of posting behavior. Feel free to express your displeasure with individuals that are being discussed, just avoid petty nastiness,name calling, name changes and over the top rude posts directed at case players.

Spamming & Cross Posting:

Spamming and Cross Posting is defined as posting the same information or content (full or partial) in two or more posts. We understand that some topics might fit into more than one forum or category but we ask that you please pick the best one and stick with it.

Hoaxes:

Any member found perpetrating a hoax in order to gain sympathy and/or attention from the members of WS will be banned and the hoax will be exposed publicly to all members. We will not tolerate fraudulent posting on WS and take this matter quite seriously.

Language & Profanity:

While we understand the majority of members are grown adults, we do occasionally have young adults and children that visit WS to communicate with others in similar circumstances as their own. Further, many people are offended by vulgar language. Please refrain from using it.

User Accounts:

A maximum of ONE account is allowed per person. If you are found to be using two or more accounts, one or more of them will be deleted and you may be banned from WS all together depending on the situation. The bottom line here is to register one account and stick with it. If you have account problems, contact a WS Admin and state the problem you are having. We may recommend that you re-register if the problem cannot be solved but in most all cases a problem with an account can be corrected by an Admin.

Impersonating Members & Accessing other’s Accounts:

You may not impersonate another board member or create an account for the purpose of provoking other users. This includes creating an account very similar to another member so as to confuse others by the similarity in names. Accessing or using someone else’s account or attempting to access another member’s account is strictly prohibited. It is extremely unlikely that WS staff will ever need your password to resolve a problem with your account, but there is NO circumstance under which you should give your password to another regular user.

Trying to Circumvent a Ban / Block:

If you log onto the WS forums and receive a message that you have been banned, please submit an unban request and wait for a WS admin to get in touch with you. You may NOT re-register under a new name - if you try to sign up again and we catch you, you subject yourself to a possible permanent ban.

Posting Links / URLs / Email Addresses:

While we prefer that all content be posted in the forums themselves (unless it is a copyright violation to do so) so our members will always be able to access it, we realize that some information must remain on remote sites as it may be too extensive to re-post. Posting links/URL’s in the WS forums is allowed as long as they substantiate a post, or are summarized. Don’t post links with a comment such as, “Check out this link”. Let members know what the link is about, rather than surprising them with it. We also do not permit the posting of personal email addresses in public forums due to privacy issues. The posting of your personal email address in ANY public forum invites SPAM from people creating mass email listings. Believe it or not, there are people who get paid to spend all day searching newsgroups, message boards, discussion forums, and chats just to collect email addresses that are posted. Websleuths does not prohibit linking to other sites but reserves the right to remove the link if we decide it is inappropriate.

Posting Personal Contact Information (Address / Phone Number):

Members may not post personal contact information such as home address, work address, home telephone number, work telephone number, etc., in the public forums. ANYONE, including guests to WS, can read the public forums - this policy is in place for YOUR safety and protection.

Contacting other members to meet in Real Life:

While members are always free to contact each other to meet in person, via telephone, or in other ways, Websleuths will in no way be responsible for any actions or events arising from such contact. Websleuths staff does not read or otherwise monitor Private Messages and has no way to monitor private emails, telephone calls or other such communications. It is up to each individual member to decide if they desire such contact and the resultant loss of anonymity. Websleuths neither condemns nor condones such meetings and it is up to the individual members to decide if they wish to get together.

Posting Harmful URLs:

Any Member of WS that posts malicious or harmful URL links that cause:

- other Member’s computers to become locked or have to be rebooted in order to regain functionality; or
- NSFW/screaming, (cannot be viewed safely for content or sound at work)
- commercial/advertising "popup" windows

may be subject to action. This includes signatures, which may not have links embedded which cause commercial popup windows to pop up in threads, play music videos or other things that will cause sound on another member's system while viewing, or directs one to another website.

Linking to Blocked URLs

If, when posting a link to another site, the address is replaced by asterisks ****** in your post, this means it is a blocked site and should not be linked or posted here in any way. We understand that many do not know a site is blocked until they attempt to post the address. So,please delete your post if you inadvertently post a blocked site, or contact the forum moderator for assistance. Remember, if you cannot link to the source, you cannot copy any information from that site in your post. There are various reasons for blocking certain sites and attempts to circumvent these blocks by altering the link to bypass the censor will be met with zero tolerance and a potential permanent ban.

Threats, Racism & Sexism:

Threads or posts promoting or expressing intolerant views towards groups based on their characteristics (such as race, religion, sexual preference, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Baiting /Trolling / Inciting Conflict:

“Trolling” or making posts with the intention of creating problems on the forums is obviously against the forum guidelines. This includes registering an alternative ID for the sole purpose of creating problems on the forums. “Troll ID’s” will be locked immediately and permanently, and the primary account holder may be banned from WS. Members that visit WS only to participate in “conflict” threads may be designated as Trolling and have their account temporarily or permanently suspended. WS also reserves the right to require a certain number of posts, length of membership, or other criteria be met to allow posting on certain topics. We have zero tolerance for members that create posts with the sole purpose of antagonizing other members.

Attacking WS Moderators & Administrators:

Posting a thread to comment on, question, or criticize moderator or administrator action is not appropriate in a public forum. Please utilize the board’s Private Message function, or email, staff if you wish to discuss these issues. As long as you bring up your concerns maturely and civilly to the moderator or administrator in question, we will do our best to address your concerns fairly and promptly.

Here are the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of addressing your concerns to moderators or administrators:

Do be civil and polite. Bring up your concerns in a mature and respectful manner. If you are contacting us because you violated forum guidelines, be adult enough to admit your mistake. If your ID has been locked for some reason, talking politely to us about it in private, via e-mail or private message, can get your ID reinstated in many cases.

Do not be derogatory or insulting towards us. You will not get what you want by name calling or bashing us.

All we ask is that you treat us the way you would want us to treat you. If you treat us with respect, we will do the same for you.

Realize that a lot goes on behind the scenes. If you are thinking to yourself "Those moderators are either total idiots or they know something I do not", it's safe to assume we know something you do not.

WS Bashing:

Threads and posts attacking WS Policies will not be allowed. Further, any member found to be bad mouthing the WS community at an outside location will have their membership blocked. If you do not care for this community, you really have no business here anyway.

“Off-Topic” Posts:

OTPs are posts that do not relate to the original post/topic, or are placed in the wrong category. While we realize threads often expand into different topics, we encourage members to do their best to stick with the original topic, or start another thread. Off-Topic posts are subject to editing or removal at administrative discretion, and without notification. Members that continuously post off topic may have their posting privileges suspended.

Posting in the Appropriate Forum:

Please post your topics in the most appropriate forum. If you post a thread that would be more appropriate in another forum, a moderator will move it for you. However, please do not make the moderators do this for you on a regular basis. Use your judgment to determine which forum best suits your topic. If you are dealing with a topic that could appropriately fit in more than one forum, please pick the one you feel is closest to your topic.

Thread Subject Titling:

As WS grows, it becomes increasingly important to properly title the subject of new threads. People find the threads that they are interested in mostly by scanning the titles, even when searching with our site search engine. Titles/Subjects that are misleading are not allowed. WS Moderators may change the title of any thread to assist in describing the content of the thread without notifying the member who started the thread. In some cases, a moderator may also contact the member if it is evident the member is having a problem with titling to give tips. Titles such as “Help!”, “Can you believe this!”, “This makes me so mad!”, etc. provide no clue as to the content.

Referrals / Commissions / Affiliate Links:

Members are NOT allowed to post links that lead to any type of affiliate program where points are given or any type of prize or monetary value is awarded.

"I am leaving WS" threads:

It is the policy of WS to disallow threads that are purely to announce that you are 'leaving the site' for any reason. Posts of this nature will result in the following action: 1) The post will be removed from general view. 2) Your membership will be suspended without notice. 3) If you wish to have your membership reinstated then you may contact an Administrator or Moderator to request this. If you find it necessary to 'leave' WS for any reason - or just take a break from the site - then you are welcome to notify your WS friends via personal Private Message.

Private Messaging (PM) System:

ALL of the general rules listed in this forum apply to the Private Messaging system, especially soliciting, advertising and sexually related PM’s. Violating any of these rules in the PM system will result in immediate removal from the community. The vBulletin software provides no way for the WS staff to read users' PMs, but if you send an offensive PM the recipient can forward that PM to the Staff for review - and then we will be able to read it.

Chat Room:

WS also has a chat room available to its members. All WS policies apply to the chat room. Abuses within the WS chat room will be treated the same way as abuses on the Boards.

Deleting Posts and Closing Threads:

WS Administration has the right to close or remove any post or thread we deem inappropriate. The decision to close or delete a post/thread is solely ours. We have a strict policy of keeping the posts in this community constructive. Posts that create an unnecessary amount of conflict and serve no further purpose may be closed at the moderator’s discretion.

Further, it is the policy of this community NOT to delete posts unless the information in a post may put someone in jeopardy. It is the member's responsibility to think of the potential consequences of the post they are about to make prior to doing so. This is the Internet and anyone in the world can read what you post on WS - it is the member's responsibility to be careful regarding what personal/identifying/etc. information they post on WS. Removing a post will often destroy readability of the thread by making it unreadable. Deleting the first post in a thread will cause the deletion of the entire thread. Members do not appreciate spending their time responding to posts only to have the post they make disappear, so we make it a point not to delete posts just because people change their mind after making a post. The process of removing posts from the board and reviewing threads that need post(s) deleted is also extremely time consuming for staff members and removing even a few posts takes a great deal of time and effort. For that reason also, it is the policy of this community not to delete posts except in very extreme, emergency circumstances.

Administration Dispute Resolution:

If you are having a problem on WS that you feel you cannot solve by any other means available to you, we invite you to contact one of the WS administrators via PM or email. Administrators have the final say with anything in this community.

Media/Journalists:

When a journalist or member of the media posts on the site, they are expected to explain the purpose of the request to the members and to encourage members to post their stories in the thread.

Law Enforcement:

Members of Law Enforcement regularly read at WS. Generally they contact WS Admins when they register, but there is no requirement that they do so. Unless they ask us to, we do not publicly identify them, but all posters should be aware that public comments about illegal activity could bring them attention they may not want. WS receives subpoenas on a regular basis from various agencies. WS will comply with all valid subpoenas received.

imamaze
04-21-2010, 07:00 PM
Thanks to JBean

Threadiquette

All of our Mods are listed at the bottom of the page, we are all happy to help you out with any questions you many have.

imamaze
04-21-2010, 07:00 PM
Websleuths Etiquette & Information

imamaze
04-21-2010, 07:01 PM
Regarding facebook,twitter, and myspace you can link but do not cut and paste. But the goal is to really only link to those that are directly linked to a case. IOW, we don't want to post to someone's mother, brother, employer, milkman , or postal carrier just because they know the main player. It just gets too invasive and half the time we are not even sure it is the right person. When a post starts out, I found 5 people with this name do you you think any of these are [insert person here]? that is not a good thing.

It will often be up to mod discretion as to who can and cannot be linked, but the general rule of thumb is if they are named in the media specifically as having some role or are being questioned or have information then you are probably safe to link. No screen caps and no cutting and pasting. If a social media is set to private and you get in the back way and post what you see, that is not a good thing!Private means private.
Just imagine if is you if you cannot decide and you shoulod be able to figure out if it is ok.

You are free to discuss what you may come upon,but if it is just a lot of gossip and rumor it won't fly. People open facebook accounts and post whatever they want and to carry that as some sort of inside info is careless. but, sometimes there is really valuable information that may even come into evidence as in the Caylee Anthony case.So, if you know for a fact it is the right person and they are named outright in the msm as someone linked to the case it should be fine. IF IT IS A MINOR DON"T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!

If something was posted as public and then removed you might be able to post it, it is up to the mod of the forum and it depends on who, what, when and where.
The mods are listed at the bottom right of the forum under the index, they can generally help. If not, they will ask admin for guidance and we will all decide what is best.

Generally we try not to invade everyone's privacy and if the linked information has no bearing on anything, then leave it out.
We moderate here. Some people love it and some people hate it. Up to you to stay or go, choice is yours. Complaining about our rules doesn't help. if you have a suggestion or think of a better way, bring it on! We are far from perfect and welcome your input as long as it is civil and basically polite.

JBean
04-29-2012, 04:26 PM
we will be breaking things out into discussion topics- but for now carry on as you have been.
if you feel a topic should have it's own thread- go ahead and start the thread. You will not see it as all new threads will be "moderated" in here first. That means the mods can see your thread and no one else can. if the topic is approved, it will be visible to all.

Due to the controversial nature of this case we are going to do this for awhile. We are really sorry to have to be so tight-but the goal is to get everyone on board with rules and then it will run more like other forums. Ultimate goal is to give you more room to discuss all aspects more freely.
thanks for your cooperation.


The rules here can be quite confusing at times-but they don't have to be.
Please post any questions you may have about the rules here and a moderator will try and answer them for you.

QueenD
07-26-2012, 03:08 PM
Does a person who has been listed as an verified insider on a case (Colorado shooter) have to list an MSM link if they are posting information?

Are we to believe it is true if not?

Thanks

Kimster
07-26-2012, 03:15 PM
If they state they have first hand knowledge of information, they do not have to link. WS members can decide for themselves if they believe them or not. If you don't choose to believe what they say, we do expect members to be respectful about it. If members feel there is a serious problem, please use the alert feature and the verification administrators will look into the issue.

Hope that helps.

rollinginit
07-26-2012, 05:26 PM
A question...please help.

If I find pictures of items off of the web......do I need to put the link under the picture or can I just save to my photo bucket account and post without a link?

For example...I found some theater tickets and saved them to my tiny pic account then just posted directly here from tiny pic.

Or would you rather the link posted without the picture? I only ask bc sometimes these links disappear, so I can't see what the picture or article was.

Thanks.

Kimster
07-26-2012, 05:47 PM
I would do both and this is why.

If you link to where the pic first originated, then that becomes a "source". If you just have the photobucket link, then you can't verify the pic was "sourced". Plus, you might run into a copyright issue and from what I understand, your posts are your own.

As you said, sometimes the pics on the internet do disappear, so if you have it in your photobucket, you will always have that pic to refer to when needed.

Hope that helps!

JBean
07-27-2012, 11:35 PM
when posting information and starting threads- think of the forum as a big filing cabinet where we put important information and research into it in such a way that we can find specific information when we need it.
If this case goes to trial and we want to review what was said now about an event or a piece of evidence- it is handy for it to have its own thread that we can bump and retrieve information we have researched in great detail when it comes back into focus in the future.

but if everything is jumbled into threads talking about everything- we won't be able to zero in on the really critical discussion.

Remember trial could be a year or more away and we won;t remember what we discovered now when it is re examined at trial.