It's been quite a while since I last updated or published the community guidelines for Raw Charge. Knowing we're going into more divisional battle and just out of necessity (cuz it's been a while), I updated some of the Raw Charge community guidelines.
Most of the older members only saw a brief excerpt of guidelines upon sign-up, but from this point forward these guidelines are to be agreed to by any new member at the time of sign-up.
And, yes, the ridiculous part about "Firsties" is still part of this document. Deal with it. I do welcome some input on things that are not clear or should be covered / remain unaddressed.
Community Guidelines for Raw Charge
We're proud of the fact that Raw Charge is an open forum for discussing the Tampa Bay Lightning, its minor league affiliates, the greater NHL and the sport of hockey in general. We have fun reading your thoughts, observations and perspectives on the numerous and various topics that revolve around the Lightning and the sport.
We have in place several posting standards 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 in the community and on the site.
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 about a news piece, or an event the thread is for. 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 retain 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.
Religion: Faith is a different kind of politics, and can be exceedingly divisive. While religion finds its way regularly into sports (via athletes expression), it'd be preferred that matters of religion and religious rhetoric stay out of the conversations on Raw Charge. Proselytizing on the site can lead to action by site administration.
Common sense should tell us all that the subjects of religion and politics won't make you friends among mixed company. The community on Raw Charge is very much mixed company.
Swearing - Try to 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 over-the-top, 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 rile up the community, 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.
Game Threads / Open Threads: Game threads are scheduled to open 30 minutes before game time unless otherwise noted by management (during the playoffs, game threads may open 30 - 60 minutes before game time). Other open threads (tied to events such as the NHL draft, free agency, and other major events tied to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL, or hockey in general) will be created and opened as needed.
The FanPost area is your place to sound off at length about the Lightning and hockey with your own blog posts / articles. 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 (single sentence) thought or comment. If you only want to leave a brief remark (less than 100 words, or just a sentence or two) venting about any given subject, save it for comments on a front page story or an open thread / game 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 good 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 express 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.
Deliberate trolling of opposing teams, fanbases will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, while personal attacks are not allowed in FanPosts.
If you'd like to report on a breaking story that we do not yet have a front-page article for, please make sure you're using your own words on the report, not copying/pasting the news from a third party site.
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.
Of course, if your intention is simply to use Raw Charge as a message forum for general discussion of an off-topic variety in FanPosts, there likely will be an issue that puts your posting privileges in jeopardy.
This document was originally published on May 17, 2010 and was last updated November 18th, 2013 by John Fontana and may be further appended at any time to address aspects that this document does not currently cover.