GameSpot's Community Code of Conduct

New and improved! Updated 1/4/16

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Mission Statement

The site is moderated with a "common sense" attitude and our moderators will always attempt to be consistent and fair. The golden rule here is "Adhere to the same standards of behavior on GameSpot that you follow in the real world" or simply put don't be a jerk. Everyone is expected to treat one another with respect as well as to respect the site, its features, and the various members of staff and moderators who help run it.

#1 - Trolling

Don’t be a jerk. This includes posting flame-bait, attacking a user because of a personal gaming preference, or derailing topics. In addition, using our private messaging feature to organize or promote this type of behavior, or to incite personal attacks or encourage harassment of other members can result in moderation. For more on types of trolling, check out our FAQ below.

#2 – Harassment / Bullying

Including but not limited to;

  • Hateful messages
  • Personal attacks against other members
  • Sexism
  • Racism
  • Slurs

Ad hominem and other distracting attacks do not add anything to the conversation. When our digital pride is on the line, emotions can run high. Every person that you encounter is going to carry a different set of circumstances with them, and therefore is going to have a different level of tolerance for frustration.

If you end up talking with someone you think is harassing/bullying you (or other users), don't lower yourself to his or her level. Instead, politely ask them to calm down. If someone's really starting to bother you, please do not retaliate, instead report it to a moderator.

Topics, Posts and Comments: Posts that are inappropriate, profane, vulgar, offensive, false, disparaging, defamatory, obscene, illegal, sexually explicit, racist, promotes violence, racial hatred, or terrorism, or are otherwise deemed, in our sole discretion, to be otherwise objectionable are subject to moderation.

Stereotypes: Offensive generalizations and/or mocking groups, alternate communities, and/or organizations is considered a form of discrimination and can result in moderation.

#3 -Offensive Content

Swearing: Try and refrain from using vulgar, crass, or inappropriate language that would offend someone else. Slurs and/or hate speech are never allowed and any person caught using them will be banned. Explicitly sexual or profane descriptions and writing is also never allowed. Profanity directed in an attack against another member is subject to the same considerations as flaming and trolling (see above). Account names with profanity are prohibited. Forum threads with profanity are prohibited.

Inappropriate Images/Video: Including but not limited to in-game images from pornographic games or hentai, as well as **sexually explicit fan art. This includes subjects that may be deemed generally offensive to the community. Additionally, account names and content in member profiles must be appropriate for all ages.

#4 -Spoilers

Do not post spoilers for recent games, movies, or shows without proper tagging and using the Spoiler block. Posting spoilers in thread titles is never permitted and if the discussion is going to be spoiler-heavy, please reach out to the original poster or moderators to add "(SPOILERS)" in the thread title.

#5 - Illegal Activities

Including but not limited to conversations that promote or endorse the use of illicit substances, circumvention of copy protection (except by the copyright holder), downloading/ripping/copying of ROMs or console system BIOS, or piracy of any kind. If you have a question as to whether something is appropriate to be discussed, contact the moderators and we will let you know.

Harmful Content: This includes, but is not limited to files that contain viruses, spyware, adware, or other harmful code; images with animations that contain rapidly changing images or regular patterns or images that may trigger seizures.

#6 - Disruptive Posting / Spam

Spam: Includes but not limited to: promoting personal sites, making comments which have no discussion value (such as "first" or “bump"), quote pyramids or empty quoting, battle threads, "chat" threads, and creating threads with little to no text where off-site content is linked or embedded.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT post in, or reply to spam topics. Doing so will likely cause your account to get caught by our spam prevention software and could result in your account being terminated. If you find spam in the forums, report it to a moderator.

Surveys: Our community does not visit the forums to be solicited or sold to. Any and all solicitations/invitations to participate in surveys, or other forms of research for future public, or personal publication will result in moderation.

Blatant Poor Language/Grammar: We expect people to communicate with something approximating the English language. We understand that no one is perfect and we're not asking you to be. We simply expect your post to be legible.

NecroPosting / Bumping: Do not post in old threads in an effort to get more replies, or reply to older threads that have dropped off (also known as “Bumping”). If you need help understanding what we classify as “NecroPosting” please check our FAQ.

No Discussion Value: Please don't make comments that lack content. Phrases such as "this", "lol", and "I came here to say this" are not witty, original, or funny, and do not add anything to the discussion. While we allow off-topic discussion, be mindful that this is first and foremost a video game forum. Members who take advantage of off-topic to repeatedly post inane, nonsensical or meaningless threads are at risk of moderation.

#7 - Advertising

Advertising is not allowed on GameSpot. Do not attempt to advertise, try to sell products or services on GameSpot. If you need help understanding what we classify as “advertising” please check our FAQ.

Additional Rules

Private Messaging: Using our private messaging feature to organize or promote this type of behavior, to incite personal attacks or encourage harassment of other members is strictly prohibited. You may not impersonate any member, or GameSpot official staff/volunteers.

Alternate Accounts: Please do not create alternate accounts for posting on GameSpot. Alternate accounts will be banned and users who create them risk banning of their primary accounts. If we find that you have alternate accounts, all of the associated accounts will be banned. If you find yourself banned due to multiple accounts, please contact customer support by emailing community@gamespot.com.

Emulators: Discussion of the -concept- of emulation and how it affects the industry, and non-console/arcade emulation discussion (such as Virtual Machines or DOSBox) are allowed. All console, arcade, and gaming platform emulation discussion (except where it's officially endorsed by the copyright owners such as console Backwards Compatibility) is not allowed. This includes asking for help with emulation, endorsing emulation, links to emulation or ROM websites, or providing instructions on how to emulate. All other emulation discussion should not be allowed. For more information, see the FAQ.

Flag Abuse: Do not abuse/misuse the flagging system. It is there to help the moderators find content that violates this Community Code of Conduct. Flagging should only be used for reporting inappropriate content, attacks on users, keygen posts, spambots, or posts that otherwise violate the Community Code of Conduct. Opposing opinions, contrary statements, or any other posts that do not by themselves violate the rules of the Community Code of Conduct (i.e. they do not include insults, personal attacks, etc.) should not be flagged. Using the flagging system to flag users whom you merely disagree with, or encouraging other users to do the same will result in moderation of your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does GameSpot define “Trolling” exactly?

Allow us to explain. One does not simply apply a single definition for “trolling,” which is why we’ve assembled a list of types of common types of trolling that can result in moderation:

  • Grammar Troll: There’s a difference between being helpful, and being a jerk when it comes to pointing out spelling errors.
  • Twister Troll: Users that take a post out of context to attack other users.
  • Preacher Troll: A user that finds a small detail and is compelled to turn it into a great theological debate.
  • The Line Crossing Troll: People who use phrases like “you should kill yourself,” or post discussions that are crafted with the intent to offend as many people as possible.
  • Fragile Troll: The troll who can dish out mild abuse, but when it’s returned to them, they feel offended and rush to the moderator team.
  • Know-it-all Trolls: The ones that, no matter what you post, will always want to one up you with conflicting information. Which would be fine, if they weren’t such jerks about it.
  • Baiter Trolls: People who blatantly play the fool in an attempt to get people to comment aggressively towards them.
  • Cannibal Trolls: A user that spends its time troll baiting other trolls. Wasting the time of those most intent of wasting the time of others.
  • Religious Trolls: Trolls that use/abuse religious scripture to justify being mean to others for no real reason.
  • Anti-GS Trolls: Users who come to the site and actively post about how much they hate the site, its staff, its content, or its moderators. Note, this is not to say we’re against feedback. We’re just saying it needs to be constructive.
  • Self-Feeding Troll: This guy likes to argue, even when everyone else in the fold tells him he’s wrong. Without support from his nonexistent friends, he changes handles or makes up new ones to show the fold how loved he is.

Can I talk about religion?

Yes, but we expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct. Some specific examples of things that are not allowed in religion discussions include:

  • Harassing users about their religious preference.
  • Offensive stereotypes/generalizations about religious groups.

Can I talk about politics?

Yes, but we expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct. Some specific examples of things that are not allowed in political discussions include:

  • Harassing users about their political preference.
  • Offensive stereotypes/generalizations about political groups.

Can I talk about drugs?

Yes, but we expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct. Some specific examples of things that are not allowed in these discussions include:

  • Examples of how to use drugs or narcotics.
  • Citing sources on how to obtain drugs or narcotics illegally.
  • How to produce, or distribute drugs or narcotics illegally.

Am I allowed to share my stuff (blogs, reviews, fan art, cosplay, etc.) at all?"

Yes, but you need to make sure you do it in the right channels. Here are examples of where you can share your user generated content:

  • In your forum signature

Can I post about sex?

Yes, but we expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct. Some specific examples of things that are not allowed in these discussions include:

  • Encouraging rape.
  • Discussing pedophilia.
  • Harassing users about sexual orientations.
  • Posting unsolicited sexually suggestive content to or about users/volunteers/staff.

How will I know if an image/video I’m posting is “offensive” to the moderators?

Sexually suggestive content is generally frowned upon on GameSpot. Our forums are welcome to users ages 13 and older, which means that the content that is being shared on the forums must be considered “safe” for underage users, or must be appropriately labeled in the subject line as NSFW. We encourage users to use the spoiler block for content that might be considered offensive. If you’re not sure your image crosses the line you can also ask a moderator.

Can I talk about emulators?

Here are some specific examples of what is, and what is not allowed in discussions regarding emulators:

Allowed: "Discussion of the -concept- of emulation and how it affects the industry, and computer OS (such as Virtual Machines or DOSBox)".

Allowed: "Forms of emulation that are officially endorsed by the copyright holders, such as console backwards compatibility, "classic game packs" sold by companies such as Sega that use emulation to make older console games playable on modern platforms."

Not Allowed: Any console, arcade, and gaming platform emulation discussion (again, except where it's officially endorsed by the copyright owners). This includes asking for help with emulation, endorsing emulation, links to emulation or ROM websites, naming specific emulators, or providing instructions on how to emulate.

Not Allowed: All other forms of emulation discussion not covered above as explicitly allowed.

Can I talk about spoilers?

Yes, but there are some very important things to keep in mind:

  • The title must NEVER include a spoiler, regardless of how old said spoiler is.
  • The title should include a spoiler warning.
  • Always, always, always, use the spoiler tag function.

Can I vent when I’m angry with the GameSpot?

Yes, but we expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct. Threads need to be constructive and have a clear topic. Subsequent replies need to also be constructive to ensure that the integrity of that topic isn't compromised.

I’m confused, when is it okay to swear?

We want to respect the fact that sometimes users want to use passionate language, but like in any other conversation, there’s a time and a place for when it’s okay. We also expect you to follow the Community Code of Conduct.

So, is there like, a black list of words we can’t say?

Yes! Here it is.

What do you count as “Advertising” exactly?

Here’s a breakdown of what we consider “advertising.” The following may result in moderation:

  • Promoting or sharing your YouTube/Twitch page anyplace other than the “YouTubers / Streamers Unite” board.
  • Selling products, or services (either digital or physical).
  • Promoting or sharing your personal brand (this includes your Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites).
  • Starting forum threads to promote your latest podcast or written review on another site.

How long before a post is considered a “Necropost”?

The expiration date for post in a thread is seven (7) days from the last post to the thread. Necroposting threads can result in a strike, so make sure you check the last post date of a thread before posting.

How do strikes work exactly?

If your account receives a 3rd strike, your permissions will be removed and you will no longer be able to post in the community.

Wait, will I get a warning first?

Yes. Your account will receive one (1) warning for a particular offense. The warning will come to you in the form of a private message from one of the site moderators with a Community Manager cc'd on the discussion. If after you receive this warning the offending behavior continues, all other violations will result in a strike.

IMPORTANT: GameSpot reserves the right to immediately ban/suspend/terminate an account regardless of the number of warnings/strikes your account has received.

Do my strikes ever reset?

No. Strikes do not reset.

What?! That’s totally unfair.

No, what’s “unfair” is the idea that you can get away with saying whatever you want without worrying about the consequences of what you post. Some of us take a lot of pride in cultivating a community, and while from time to time we understand people get heated, there’s no excuse for being rude just because it’s the Internet.

What if I don’t want to follow your so-called rules?

Even if you don’t agree with all of the rules, we still expect you to follow them.

Support:

If you have any questions about these processes, or questions about posting, we’re here to help you! There’s an amazing team of volunteers here at GameSpot, and if you need help, please feel free to reach out. However, while we love hearing from you, please make sure you use the proper channels, and if you're using the Contact The Moderators feature, please make sure that it is regarding moderations or site issues only this helps us better assist you!

  • Have A Question About the Site? Go Here.
  • Want To Report a Bug? Go Here.
  • Is This About Your Moderation? Go Here.
  • Want to Speak with a Mod Privately About Something Site Related? Go Here.
  • Have Questions About the Rules? Go Here.

You can also email community@gamespot.com to get in contact with the Community Manager and Site Admin directly.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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