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Acceptable Forum Usage Guidelines

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Category: Forum Lounge (off-topic & lighter discussions)
Forum Name: General Discussions
Forum Description: Non-Esoteric Masonic Discussions
Printed Date: January/25/2020 at 5:58pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 -

Topic: Acceptable Forum Usage Guidelines
Posted By: stonecutter
Subject: Acceptable Forum Usage Guidelines
Date Posted: January/21/2011 at 4:43pm
The following is a set of guidelines for using the Forums. Because we have such a large community, it will benefit everyone if we can adhere to a small set of rules.

Rule 1. Stay On-Topic!

Each forum topic or discussion has a central point. When posting a reply, it is important that we stay focused on the topic at hand and avoid the temptation to distract from that by going off on a different tangent. We have a staff which monitors the posts and they have been instructed to move or hide any comments which might steer a discussion away from its intended subject matter. This is not censorship, but an effort to keep things focused. So if any of your posts are moderated, please don't take it personal. It is sometimes necessary in order to keep the discussions on track. Our staff will try to use their best discretion when moving off-topic comments out of a discussion.

Rule 2. No Public Bickering Between Users!

Because we have users from all parts of the world, there are naturally going to be times when we do not all agree with certain styles of writing, or points of view. Keep in mind that there is a tendency to magnify and often times misinterpret comments posted by someone. When you don't agree, or become irritated with a post, do not post a retort to the thread as it will end up being moderated by a staff member. When this happens, the user will be sent a PM or Private Message with an explanation of why their post was moved, and asked to avoid such things in the future.

If any of users take issue with something posted by another, please use the PM feature to send your thoughts to them privately. Do Not post such things to an ongoing discussion. This policy will be strictly enforced!

Remember that as Freemasons we must subdue our passions and learn how to agree to disagree with each other. We must also learn how to be tolerant of opposing opinions and avoid the temptation to engage ourselves in personality conflicts, arguments, or bickering in a public environment. We have the PM or Private Messenger feature for when you feel the need to "whisper good counsel" to one of our users. Do Not do it on the open forums!

If you take exception to the posts of another user or become offended by something (or someone) in particular, please take it to a Staff member instead of posting your displeasure publicly.

If you have issues or concerns about a topic's subject matter and think it should not be posted within a public forum, send your concerns to our staff. We try to keep sensitive issues regarding Masonry restricted to our tiled areas, and oftentimes a post will be moved to such a tiled area when the need arises.

Each topic or post has a feature where you can report an objectionable post to our Administrators. Use that button when you feel the need, and avoid posting your objection to the topic in question. We act very quickly when a user uses this feature. Be sure to include your reasons when reporting an objectionable post.

Above all, we must all be aware that each of us is here because we share an interest in Freemasonry. While our opinions and personalities may differ, we all share the same common interest. So regardless of how passionate we or others may seem, or whether we agree with everything posted here or not, we're all expected to behave in the manner expected of a Mason. So govern yourselves accordingly!

Rule 3. Use Discretion When Posting A New Topic!

In Masonry we're taught to avoid the discussion of religion or politics or anything which may cause separation between brothers. Please avoid posting topics or wording your posts in ways which might cause others to take offense. We often discuss topics in regards to what is wrong or right with Freemasonry today, how things might be improved, etc. Keep your posts focused more towards the positive than the negative.

We must also keep in mind that our personal experiences with Masonry differs because of the fact that our users hail from any different jurisdictions and locations. If a user comments on problems in his area, it is not necessarily a condemnation of the entire Craft but a commentary on his personal and local experiences. Everyone must also keep in mind that while we do discuss matters pertaining to Masonry, we do NOT post items (either in the public or tiled forums) which may infringe upon our obligations in regards to our modes of recognition, words, tokens, or that which might violate your OB's. We talk "Masonry" in many of its aspects, but only as far our obligations allow us to do so with non-members. While we "presume" that we're all members of the same fraternity, we cannot prove it easily; so govern yourselves accordingly.

If you feel that you don't agree with the subject matter or the opinions expressed in a topic, you can state so, but avoid becoming defensive or combative. Better yet, just ignore it and move on to a different topic if it doesn't agree with you. Or resort to Rule 2 and report it to our staff.

The rule of thumb here is to take care in selecting your subject matter before starting a new post, and to make an effort to focus on the positives more than the negatives. Because we are so passionate about our common interest, choose your words carefully so as to not offend anyone. Remember that what we read affects us more strongly and deeply than if we were engaged in physical conversation. Every word and opinion tends become magnified when we don't have the benefits of eye contact, voice inflections, tones of voice, etc. Keep that in mind while reading the posts of others, as well as when writing your own.

Things to think about are: Is this something suited for a tiled area or the public areas of the forums? Does it reflect positively or negatively on Masonry? How might the subject matter benefit the Craft? How does this reflect upon myself as a Mason and Forum member? And lastly..... Does this really need to be said?

If we can stick to these 3 rules of conduct, the forums will function much better for everyone.

An Explanation of the Public and Tiled Forums:

We have topics of discussion that deal with parochial issues or topics regarding Freemasonry that are intended for other brethren, and may not be suited for the general public. Our "public" forums are regularly scanned by the Search Engines or web-bots, and by members of the public who are interested in Masonry or doing research on Masons.

Therefore we have sections within the forums which are geared towards those subjects which are not appropriate for viewing by the General Public. We have separate sections for Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, Master Masons, and the Scottish & York Rites which are tiled. The tiled forums are not accessible to anonymous visitors, search-bots, or those who are not allowed access.

In order to apply for access to these tiled areas you must be a registered user; you must fill out your Member Profile completely, and you must provide us with information which can be used to verify that you are a member in good standing. This may include but is not limited to: Providing a scanned copy of your dues card and answering certain "test questions".

In order to grant access to the tiled areas, one of our Admin's must personally review your request and go through the process of vouching for you. It is a time consuming process that takes him away from our other duties. Because of the large number of visitors and registered users who frequent this site, we'd like our applicants to the tiled areas to first take the time to become involved with the public areas of the Forums and demonstrate that their request is not motivated by idle curiosity.

Therefore, before you request access to our tiled areas, you must have been a registered user for a minimum of 1 month, and must have posted a minimum of 5 posts to our Forums.

In order to be granted access to our tiled areas, you must also be a member in good standing of a lodge belonging to mainstream Freemasonry as recognized by the universal standards of recognition, or a member of a PHA (Prince Hall Affiliated) lodge which is recognized by the same.

Tiled access is NOT afforded to anyone who belongs to a pseudo-Masonic, self-styled, or unrecognized Masonic jurisdiction. If your lodge or Grand Lodge is not universally recognized according to the above standards, don't bother to apply for tiled access. Some examples of jurisdictions or Grand Lodges which fail to meet these requirements are: Le Droit Humane or co-Masonry, PHO, Modern Free & Accepted Masons, or any Grand Lodge which is not recognized by mainstream and legitimate PHA Grand Lodges.

In order to apply for tiled access, make sure that you have been a registered user for no less than 30 days, have made the minimum number of posts, and meet the requirements for recognition as a Mason. Send your request to any of our Admin's via Private Messenger, and include pertinent information about your lodge, your affiliation or jurisdiction, your location, the highest degree you've received, and a brief outline of your Masonic history & experience.
Once your request has been received, one of our Admin's will contact you for further examination.

We can't solve our problems by using the same kind of thinking that created them.

Posted By: jaya
Date Posted: December/04/2011 at 6:39pm
I am just bumping this to bring it to everyone's attention again. We all need to do a better job in paying attention to number 2 above.

Jay Austin

Black Mountain 663 - Junior Warden
AASR Valley of Asheville - KSA
The Masonic Society" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: auratorium
Date Posted: December/04/2011 at 6:44pm
Originally posted by jaya jaya wrote:


I am just bumping this to bring it to everyone's attention again. We all need to do a better job in paying attention to number 2 above.

Considering that it was a moderator that was the main violator of #2 in the Shrine thread, perhaps the mod team needs to understand these guidelines first. After all, how does one enforce something they can't follow themselves?

Bro. Jay, you've seen how the very same topic was debated at TSS with absolute civility.

Posted By: jaya
Date Posted: December/04/2011 at 7:07pm
I agree about the same thing being discussed on TSS, and other forums, with civility. Admins and mods are not above the rules. That is currently being discussed in the mod forum. Admins and mods should be an example of the rule and not an exception. I just bumped it to draw attention to everyone. It had been just pasted in the mod forum and I thought everyone should read it again.

Jay Austin

Black Mountain 663 - Junior Warden
AASR Valley of Asheville - KSA
The Masonic Society" rel="nofollow -

Posted By: maboot38
Date Posted: December/05/2011 at 7:33am
In my experience as a moderator of another Masonic forum, I find that part of the burden of being a moderator is that it is now the SITE'S motives that drive your posts, not your own.  This means that there are times when you need to bite your tonge simply because you are a moderator, especially in cases where you normally would not.
It's a very difficult thing to do, especially for those of us who are more stubborn and opinionated (and those aren't necessarily negative attributes).  I think moderators need to recognize when things are heading up the conflict escalator and kindly step off it so that they may properly moderate the discussion without worrying about their personal stake or opinion being pushed over as fact.
I doubt very much anyone is going to say "Good point Dan, I'm going to try to do that.", but I merely ask that you remember this advice next time any one of the moderators on this site start to get in a more heated discussion.  As hard as it can be, it is part of the responsibility of a moderator to keep themselves out of situations in which they themselves need to be moderated.
As for everyone else here, I suppose what is really lacking from what I can tell is the inability to recognize other people's opinions, both those of fact and feeling, as potentially valid.  There's a real rash of "No, the only right way is my way".  Those who can't see it are probably the ones doing it.  We all need to remember ourselves here, maintain civility and add a touch of humility.  Nobody here wants to be preached to.
And finally, if we can all just remember to be nice....and truly remember it....then this will be a nice place to meet fraternally.

Columbian Lodge - Boston, MA" rel="nofollow - Columbian Lodge Facebook Page

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