The Forums Code of Conduct

The Scribophile forums are tightly moderated. Posts and threads that break our rules are often deleted without warning, and members can be permanently banned from Scribophile for bad forums behavior. The forums are not a free-for-all.

This Code of Conduct applies not only to the public discussion forums, it also applies to the discussion forums of both public and private groups.

The forums are not the same as posting writing to the site for critique. Posting writing to the site for critique is a separate system governed by our Author and Critiquer Codes of Conduct.

  1. Certain Topics are Banned in the Main Forums

    In the six main public forums all discussion relating to politics or religion is banned. This includes jokes and one-liners.

    This ban does not apply to member-run groups, who may discuss whatever they like as long as they follow the rest of these Codes of Conduct.

    Questions about political and religious matters that are asked for the purpose of research for a writing project are allowed, as long as they do not launch discussion. For example, asking “My character is a Muslim. Can someone explain some common Muslim ceremonies to me, so that my novel can be factually accurate?” would be allowed, as long as replies remain fact-based and do not become discussion.

    What constitutes “politics” changes over time. In general it refers to worldwide current or recent political figures, events, and hot-button or campaign issues like abortion, guns rights, and so on. This is not an exhaustive list and the forums moderators make final decisions on what is or isn’t considered politics.

    Recent history may still be politics, but older history is usually not politics. While Julius Caesar, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Hitler were all political figures, they are now history and not politics.

  2. Don’t Insult Or Flame Others

    Keep your posts polite, respectful, and friendly. Sarcasm in particular is difficult to convey over the internet; you might not intend offense, but you’re still responsible for offense taken. Don’t be touchy, defensive, mean, or creepy.

  3. Keep Threads On-Topic

    Every discussion has its place — and that place is not in the middle of a different discussion. When posting in a thread, your post should address the original topic posed in the first post. Derailing threads with meaningless back-and-forth or a wildly different topic discourages the thread author and confuses readers.

  4. Don’t Call Out Other Members

    Airing your private reservations about other members in a public forum isn’t a smart move. At best you’ll look bad, and at worst you’ll look bad and start a massive flame war. This includes complaints about specific critiques you may have received, and discussing specific members in the forums in any way. This also applies even if you don’t name names — people can still usually figure out who you’re talking about without much trouble.

  5. Don’t Post Your Writing

    The forums are not the place to post your writing, even if not for critique. Any writing of any length must be posted to the site using your karma points.

  6. No Discussing Moderator Decisions

    Often the forums moderators will delete posts, delete or close threads, or perform other kinds of forums maintenance to enforce these Codes.

    The moderators are like refs in sport: While you may not always agree with their decisions, you are required to respect them. That means not sassing moderators or discussing moderator activity in the forums, including with one-liners or asides.

    If you want clarification on why a moderator did something, send us a note to discuss the matter privately.

  7. No Advertising

    Scribophile members don’t respond well to other members who join only to advertise, and you’d only be doing your product a disservice.

    Mentioning a work you’ve published, or a helpful service you’ve discovered but are not affiliated with, is OK.

  8. No Matter What, Be Polite

    If you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to act defensively or rudely, stay polite. Keep your cool, don’t stoop to their level, and you’ll be the better person. There’s no need to start an argument and create bad blood; instead, report inappropriate behavior to us using the “Bad Post” button you can find at the bottom of every forum post, or by using our contact form, and we’ll take action.