We've especially had some issues recently with commenting on articles. While I've always had some general unwritten guidelines for people to follow when commenting, the need has come up recently to be clear about what those rules are. So, please excuse the bluntness and the legalities coming up in the following rules list, but they need to be said.
Rule #1 - Be nice
Yes, that's a rule on many sites. Let me be specific here though.
- No personal attacks. In other words, comments like "You're a freaking moron" will likely get edited or deleted.
- Keep the discussions limited to the article, not other posters.
Rule #2 - Be constructive
- There's such a thing as "constructive" criticism. It's a lost art that existed once a long time ago. You can make points that disagree with the author, but do so in a respectful tone. Don't sit there and start with "You bitch." "I respectfully disagree" works better. Make your point without loads of bitterness, for people hate reading extreme negativity. It's honestly offensive. Don't say "Those stupid writers are completing ruining the show." "I have concerns over the creative direction," works better.
Rule #3 - No Sam vs. Dean nonsense, no Jared vs. Jensen nonsense
- One cannot be knocked down for the sake of building up another. It often happens though. People come on here claiming to be "Sam fans" or "Dean fans." Here, we're "fans." We adore both brothers and actors, even if some of us might have a slant toward one or another. An obvious example is "Jared is a terrible actor, Jensen is the best actor ever." Another obvious one, "Sam is such a waste, Dean is the only decent brother." Now these are extreme cases. I take notice of "implied" comments too, aka using the brothers to raise an issue that isn't there. Things like "Sam did this, so it must be Dean's fault." Um, no. Unless that's exactly verbatim what the author says, don't go there.
UPDATED 6/19 - We are not a Sam site, we are not a Dean site. Any comments that say one or the other will be edited immediately. No warnings. This disrespects everything we do at this site and it will not be tolerated.
Rule #4 - Don't put words in other people's mouths
- You don't know how many times I see "So you're saying"¦" and then a wild conclusion is reached based on a comment. This is a fandom often times with a short fuse. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt, shall we? Try to get clarification on the intended meaning.
Rule #5 - When a discussion has reached an impasse, move on
- I can guarantee you there will always be someone that disagrees with a point. That's perfectly okay. The dissenter or dissenters are more than welcome to discuss their issues. However, after a while, when it's clear that both sides are at an "agree to disagree" point, there isn't much more to discuss. Don't continue posting comments loaded with bitterness, disapproval, and harping on other posters for answers. Just move on.
Rule #6 - Show respect
- This falls in line with "be nice." We on this site love our show. Happily. Disrespect ruins the fan experience. You don't know how many people I run into at conventions that don't go online anymore because other fans were too disrespectful and mean on other sites. This site was created specifically as a refuge for those who didn't feel welcome by the negativity of those other sites. We love our show. We want to be around positive people who love our show. When our favorite show upsets us, we come to discuss and talk through the concerns like adults. It's a support group almost. This site is called the "Family Business" for a reason. If that's a bit too much happiness and civility for you, there are plenty of other sites that will suit your other needs.
Rule #7 - Have respect for what we value on this site
- The Winchester Family Business has been around for two years. We have grown a lot in that time. Most migrate here because they want a fan friendly place. A place they can post comments, or just plain lurk without fear of attacks or excessive fan fighting. That environment will never change. If the moderators find you are not in line with what we value (see rules above) we will act. Posts will be edited. People will be warned or banned. All comments are kept in the administrator's archives for future reference should those that want to stir up trouble come back. This site isn't for everyone, we know that. We are not going to change to be for everyone though. What we're doing seems to work fine for those we like to serve.
Okay, now that I have clearly stated the rules, just remember we have a lot of fun here too! We really aren't that rigid. This is the first time I've ever had to make clear the rules. That's not half bad. So, let's take time to smile and remember we support the greatest TV show in the world. It's all good.
Rule #8 (Added 1/12/2011)
- No baseless accusations or assumptions. Discussions get heated. People disagree with you. If you're going to question someone's opinion, don't make statements assuming something about any poster or writer without having something to prove your case. For example, don't call someone a blatant "Sam fan" or "Dean fan" when there is no clear evidence of that. Don't chastise someone for changing their mind and throwing accusations they've been manipulated or censored.
Rule #9 (Added 11/01/2012)
- We welcome all opinions here, good and bad. Anyone who posts the comment "If you don't like it, don't watch" in response to a critical or negative post will have their post edited immediately. No warnings. That does not promote the spirit of discussion that we have here.