It's been a couple of years since we put into place Community Standards for Raw Charge. It really was a top-down affair (not asking, but telling) when we set up the do's-and-don't of the site.
But there's always a need to keep things fresh and adapt rules or even better articulate vagueness in the existing rules.
So, seeing it's the off season and seeing as we've got a few community members who're showing up from time to time during this long, hot, dry spell that is the off-season, I figured to open up discussion with the community about things.
Below is what exists right now. If you have questions (about the site in general, about what isn't included in our standards), please speak up.
It's time to put in place a posting standard or two in order to offer the best quality of discussion for Lightning fans. This isn't an attempt to censor opinions as-so-much set the bar for how to present yourself here on the site.
The FanPost area is your place to sound off at length about the Lightning and hockey with your stories. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, observations and arguments through the FanPost feature on the site and it gives us a chance to not only see what others are thinking about the Lightning (or questions they may have about the players, team, or sport) but allows us to feature great writing by different members of the community.
Length: The focus of any and all FanPosts should be on a clear subject matter and should be presented as more than just a quick thought or comment. If you only want to leave a brief remark (less than 100 words) venting about any given subject, save it for comments on a front page story or an open thread.
Quality: It's important that you take the time to present your writing in the best of light. Clear spelling of players/staff names is important, as is writing with proper use of grammar. When you write something of poor quality, other members of the community aren't compelled to take you seriously. They're more often compelled to dismiss the post all together.
Being clear on grammar and spelling makes it easier for you to convey your message to the community. Poor quality in writing opens you up for ridicule from others for all the wrong reasons. While we want to make sure that everyone gets a say on Raw Charge, it's your responsibility to make sure your FanPosts are written clearly. From this point forward we withhold the right to edit or remove any poorly written FanPosts that appear on the site. It's nothing against what you're saying; it's how you are saying it.
The other no-no's: Politics are prohibited in FanPosts (please see the comments section for more on this). Likewise, we'd like to make it clear that FanPosts that are used to advertise commercial products or services are also prohibited (this includes ticketing deals). Additionally, intentionally trying to divert traffic to your site (by only sharing an introduction of a story in order to steer visitors to your site for the full story) is also prohibited. However, we would like to clarify that cross-posting entire stories - that you authored - from other websites is allowed
The Off Topic FanPost: Occasionally a subject matter comes up that you may want to share with the community, be it hyper local news that is relevant to the community, or perhaps about an anecdote not directly about hockey. As long as it's not a spam advertisement, political (or religious) pamphlet, we welcome you to it.
With our popular game threads (and general event threads), we touch on a vast array of topics during the life of the conversation. And like it was already said, we have fun during those conversations.
But with that style of conversation, we should make it a point to remind you that some things are frowned upon:
No "Firsties": The point of open comments is to have a discussion going on. It's not a contest to see who can make the first remark on a post or a game thread. Please refrain from posting "First!" or some variation of it. This isn't an invitation to do it for humor sake either. Really, don't do it. It's annoying as hell and will lead to the comment being deleted.
No Politics: We're here to discuss hockey. Everyone's welcome. The one subject matter that generally divides the masses more than bringing it together is politics: US politics, Canadian politics... whatever. We don't want to promote the divisions that political discussion tends to foster. That's why any and all political discussion is prohibited through comments on Raw Charge. There are plenty of other message boards, blogs and news organizations where you can fight over politics. Raw Charge is not one of them.
Of course, casual references to the news are seldom dropped through the conversation, but it's very important that we don't open the political-talk can of worms. We withhold the right to remove any and all comments of a political bend from Raw Charge and the status of one's membership on the site may come into question if you repeatedly attempt to start a political discussion through comments.
Swearing -- Watch your mouth: While we're not preventing profanity from ever being uttered on the site, but we do frown upon it, as we're trying to keep the conversation open to general audiences. Using profanity in exclamation (over a goal, over an on-ice incident) is one thing that we can allow, but if your swearing is habitual or tied to a personal attack / dress-down attempt, you will find yourself banned from the site in a hasty fashion.
No trolling / misbehaving: We enjoy fans from other teams partaking in discussion. What we don't enjoy are people deliberately trying to cause trouble. If you appear on Raw Charge with the intention to just cause trouble, you'll find yourself banned with no notice. Similarly, if members of the Raw Charge community are found to be misbehaving on other SB Nation hockey sites, they'll be putting their privileges on this site into question.
Above all else -- show respect: It's important to respect everyone you are talking to. We all come from different places, different backgrounds. We're different genders, different colors, and sometimes we're fans of different teams. We all have varying viewpoints. Whatever the case, be respectful in your dealings with others. No dressing-downs, no personal attacks, no harassment. To debate with someone doesn't mean attack them personally. It means argue the subject matter, not call each other names. Treat others as you'd want to be treated.