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This page is under review as a candidate for a new policy, but has not yet been formally adopted. Refer to the Talk page for more information.



Read first

If you have been kicked out of the Chat, please read the advice page before you go any further. It will give you some information about a situation that happened to one of the admins and some advice on what to do. Then, continue below to find ways to resolve the situation.


Information for chat moderators and administrators on how to manage and run the Chat can be found on the chat administration page.

Introduction

On the wiki, pages and discussions are permanent because we can go back through the history and see who did what. Chat is for conversations that do not need to be saved and may cover a variety of topics.

Because what goes on in Chat is typically not recorded, people may come in there that don't participate on the wiki very much or at all. Some of these may be people who are looking to cause problems or find out personal information from you.

The administrators for the wiki may not always be available to be in the Chat, so we have additional people who have been given Chat Moderator status ("chatmod"). Their job is to help make sure things don't get out of hand. When it does, an admin or a chatmod has the ability to remove a person from the Chat for a period of time. The amount of time should match the severity of the reason for being ejected from Chat. It can be a simple "kick" where they are allowed to come back in, or a "ban" which means they will have to wait a while first. See Duration of kicks and bans section for more details.

To help prevent this from happening to you, please follow the guidelines below.

Simplified ruleset

Many of the rules that apply to the wiki apply to Chat, especially our Block policy and the Simplified ruleset. Items listed in the Block policy will get you kicked out of Chat and blocked on the wiki.

In general, play and chat nice. If someone in the Chat asks you to stop, you might be going overboard with what you are doing and it's becoming annoying. Be courteous and reign yourself back in before you have to be kicked out of the channel.

The other main guideline is Assume good faith. Not everyone is going to cause problems, so if you're not sure what their intent or motive is, give them the benefit of the doubt and some leeway. (See How to avoid being a "biter" on our Vandalism policy for more information.)

There are two videos that everyone is encouraged to watch. Both of these can be applied to what you do in Chat and on the wiki itself.

Chatmods and administrators should read the following blogs:

Personal information

Don't give out personal information, such as:

  • your real name
  • real names of your friends or family members
  • where you live
  • where you go to school or where you work
  • your age or birthdate

You don't know who is going to see that and with the Internet, it's a lot easier to find out details about a person than most people realize.

Likewise, be cautious of anyone asking you for this information, especially if you don't recognize them. (Wikia's Terms of Use prevent asking for this info if you're under 18.) You don't know what their reason for asking is, so they may be a spammer, identity thief or a predator. Treat it as if they walked up to you on the street and started asking you these questions in real life. Because these days, what happens on a wiki, a chat channel, game site and the Internet in general is a big part of real life.

Beyond the safety aspect, Wikia's Terms of Use state that you must be at least 13 years old in order to have an account. This is their requirement and helps them stay in compliance with the U.S. COPPA federal law. At the moment, Wikia does not require its wikis to report back to them if it is discovered that someone is too young to have an account, so let's do what we can to avoid having that happen. If you're younger than 13, don't tell us.

Behavior guidelines

Rather than list a lot of hard-and-fast rules, these are being presented as guidelines to help avoid being kicked out of Chat and to encourage more free-flowing conversations.

  • Try to make everyone feel welcome and understand that there will be times where nobody's chatting very much. Just wait for the conversation to pick up speed again.
  • Do not give out personal information, for the reasons listed above. In addition if you are under 13, we may have to block you from Chat as a violation of Wikia's Terms of Use (see the Membership section). We don't want to have to do this, so if you don't say it, we won't have to act on this. Note that this is a "may have to do" rather than a "we will do this" situation.
          The Terms of Use also prohibit asking someone under 18 for personal information, so regardless of what your age is, the best thing to do is ignore such questions. If they ask again, tell them "you are not allowed to ask that". People that continue asking for personal information after this point should be kickbanned and a message should be left for an administrator informing them of what happened.
  • No name-calling, fighting or insulting people. Friendly jabs at other people may be allowed, but as soon as anyone objects, you should stop. Otherwise if you go too far, it becomes the insults and harassment covered under the block policy.
  • No swearing. Profanity is not allowed under our block policy, regardless of its use.
  • Don't spam. This includes advertisements as well as repeating the same thing several times. Also, don't flood the Chat. This means pasting in a lot of information at one time, such as lyrics to a song or other things like long blocks of text. Post a link instead. (See below for link pasting.)
  • Use basic "netiquette": don't abuse CAPS LOCK (it isn't necessary or pleasing to look at), don't post gibberish, nonsense or incomprehensible off topic messages, and try to be polite whenever you can.
  • Please avoid revealing spoilers about episodes you've seen. Not everyone can see them at the same time and they may be waiting for it to air in their area.
  • Leave discussions of a character's sexual preference or your own out of the Chat, along with other discussions relating to sex. Neither are an appropriate topic of conversation for younger kids and generally lead to heated discussions or arguments. Our Block policy covers "sexual statements", which are usually profanity and graphic descriptions about sex. Shipping discussions are okay so long as they are kept in general terms or do not start a fan war.
  • If you want to discuss religion or politics, keep in mind that these tend to get heated very quickly, and name-calling and insults are usually not far behind. In many cases, it's better to avoid them.
  • If you paste a link to a page on the wiki in the Chat, it will show up as a regular link. For links to places outside the wiki, you need to identify where the link will go to and what it's for. Use the full address instead of a "URL shortener" so people can see where the link will take them before they click on it. This helps avoid unpleasant surprises.
          Hiding the purpose of a link can be considered vandalism and would be covered under the block policy, especially if the link was to pornography, viruses, spyware, spam, etc.
  • Chatmods and administrators will have to use their judgment to keep things from getting out of hand. If you've been kicked out of the Chat and you feel it wasn't justified or there is other information relevant to the situation, see the "Appealing a ban" section below.
  • A ban should be used when people are violating these guidelines, but only after they have been asked to stop or change their behavior at least twice. If more than one person is asking you to stop, that's a big hint you're going too far and you really should listen.
          If the person will not stop, the chatmod should state that they are about to be kickbanned and why. A screenshot at this point, rather than copying the text, can be helpful to show the kickban was justified. Or for the opposite: if you are about to be kickbanned and you don't think it's justified, a screenshot can help show why.
  • Administrators will have final say in all matters, except where one admin is directly involved in a dispute. In this case, another admin must serve as a neutral third party to make a decision on how to settle the matter.

Duration of kicks and bans

Being removed from the Chat is not the same as being blocked from editing the wiki. If you are banned, you can still edit the wiki. However, if your account is blocked, then you will be prevented from entering the Chat and will have to wait until that expires (if it is not a permanent block).

There are two ways a person can be removed from the Chat: a "kick" and a "ban". Before either of these happen, a warning will usually be given so you have a chance to stop what you are doing.

Kicks

A "kick" immediately disconnects you from the channel, but you are allowed to come right back in. It's an encouragement to stop bad behavior and is for the most minor situations.

When this happens, the chat window stays open but you will not see anything that occurs after that point. You can either close the chat window and join back in, or else refresh the window by clicking on the Reload button in your web browser. Under the Windows operating system, F5 will perform the refresh.

Bans

A "ban" is being locked out of the Chat for a period of time. The amount of time can be selected, from one hour to permanent (infinite or indefinite).

Bans are used when a person is causing more problems than just being a minor nuisance. The shorter ban lengths of a few hours or a few days are used for most cases. Again, it's an encouragement to stop bad behavior.

Longer bans of a week or more are used when a person is causing severe problems or is repeating behavior that got them kicked or banned in the past.

A reason for the ban will be provided by the chatmod or admin and shows up in the Chat ban log. The default reason is "Misbehaving in chat".

Additional blocks

If a person is causing enough problems and/or violates the Block policy, a block can be placed on their account by an administrator. This is separate from a ban and as long as the block is in effect, the person will not be able to go back into the Chat.

Appealing a ban

Ideally, a person would only be banned from Chat for breaking one of the guidelines above. But since this may happen occasionally due to personal disputes, if a user wants to be let back into the Chat, the first step is to leave a message for the Chatmod that set the ban. This can be found in the Recent Changes and the Chat ban log. If you are not able to get the matter resolved, leave a message for an administrator explaining the situation and request the kickban be removed.

In both cases, try to be as polite and courteous as possible. The more emotional you are, especially if you feel the kickban was not justified, the more difficult it will be to resolve the issue peacefully. As listed above, currently there isn't a way to specify a reason or length of time when a kickban is set. In addition, conversations in Chat aren't logged, so unless one of the people in the Chat happens to save the information, the admin will have to go by what you say when you make your request, and determine if it should be removed.

Please note that if you have been banned several times, we may have to look closer as to why this keeps happening to see if you are deliberately causing problems or if it's some other reason coming into play.

Problems with a chatmod

If you are having problems with a specific chatmod, you may need to talk to an administrator to get help in resolving the problem. The current list of administrators is:

◄ = currently inactive

Please do not send messages to more than one admin. You can either look at the Recent changes list or the "Last Edited" column in the sysop list to see which one has edited most recently.

When you send the message, please be aware that even if they edited fairly close to when the ban happened, they may not see your message right away. Please be patient and give them time to respond.

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