Codes of Conduct

September 28, 2010

The following Codes of Conduct have been created to help you understand what it means to be a member of the site. The use of this website is subject to these Codes of Conduct and our Terms and Conditions.

This guide is designed to help you understand the culture of the site, what’s expected of our members, and how to get the most out of the community here.

Your Writing

You’re free to write whatever you want in your novel: any subject, any characters, and any language. You are under no obligation to show it to anyone, including us (see more about scrambling in our Terms and Conditions) or even talk about what you’re writing about.

You’re free to post excerpts of your work during November and beyond, but please remember that your postings, even on your profile page, will appear in public searches. Posts also must observe our Terms and Conditions, which prohibit sexually explicit content. If you want to share your sexually explicit fiction, we encourage you to post that writing offsite and include a link to it in your profile.


Codes of Conduct In the Forums

This is a community and relies on all participants to sustain an ideal atmosphere. If you feel that a post in our forums has crossed the line or just want to help us out by flagging something that’s in the wrong place please use the “Report” button at the bottom of the post to bring it to the moderator’s attention. We can always use the help! You can also send a NaNoMail message to a moderator with the link to the post in question.

If you are having a problem with another member, please send our lead forums moderator a NaNoMail message with as much information as possible about the situation so we can deal with it appropriately.

Here are some guidelines to help make your Forums experience a great one:

Do read stickies and the site FAQs before posting in a forum.

Stickies are helpful posts “stuck” at the top of most of our forums. These are sometimes guides to getting the most out of a forum, and can also serve as forums-specific FAQs.

When a certain question gets asked repeatedly, we’ll often post answers to that question on a sticky at the top of the forum.

Do observe the forum subjects.

Since there are so many participants and so many different conversations, we’ve divided the forums up into different lounges. Please pick an appropriate lounge to post in, and only post the same item in one area. Duplicate threads will be deleted. Comments that are posted in the wrong forum may be moved to a place where they’ll find better conversation-mates.

Do give your post a great subject line.

Try to pull in your prospective conversation-mates or question-answerers by giving your post a great subject line. Tell folks what you’re looking for, what you’re complaining about, or what you want to celebrate, and more people will be sure to read your message.

Do play nice!

We’re a diverse community who hold many different beliefs and viewpoints. We may not think what you think, believe what you believe, or see what you see, but you are entitled to respect, as are the members you might disagree with. Be polite in your interactions with other members.

If conversations in the forums get heated, take a break. Don’t feel the need to respond immediately. Personal conflicts should not be aired on the forums. The forums are a place for conversations between many different people. We have a private messaging system, NaNoMail, that is perfectly suited for conversations just between two people.

A little conflict is inevitable in the NaNoWriMo forums, but conflict that becomes abusive, hateful, defamatory, or threatening is unacceptable. In most cases when this happens, the thread will receive an official warning from a moderator. If the conflict continues, the thread may be locked or sequestered, or, in rare cases, the offending posts would be removed so that the valuable conversation can be preserved.

In most circumstances, we’ll send a warning to any member found in violation of these conditions. Subsequent violations can result in account termination without warning.

Do read & respond.

The best part of the community is the interaction. Please remember to read in the forums as much as you post!

Do ignore cheaters and trolls.

Every year, we get dozens of posts accusing others of cheating at NaNoWriMo. Please—don’t worry about cheaters. NaNoWriMo is an honor-system challenge; no one is cheating anyone but themselves if they don’t write the novel they said they wrote.

If you see a post that you suspect is a troll (i.e. someone posting something deliberately inflammatory just to get a rise out of people), please do not engage them. Just let it go, they’ll move along without any feedback.

Do be aware of all-ages forums.

Be aware that many of our forums are all-ages forums (they display a sun icon). We have many teenagers who frequent our site, and while we don’t expect you to be perfect angels everywhere, we do ask that you maintain a family-friendly tone (no foul language) in all-ages forums.

If you have questions about what is and isn’t permitted, just ask a moderator, or use the help forums for trickier questions.

Do link back when you can.

NaNoWriMo has grown mostly through word of mouth. We love it when folks blog about their process or spread the word about the challenge to their friends on other forums. We have participant icons in the Spread the Word section; feel free to use them!

Do keep your signatures within guidelines.

Signature files in your forums posts may be 500 pixels wide by 100 pixels high. It’s kinder on the eyes of your readers if you avoid flashy moving images or distracting color combinations, and kinder on our webserver bills for you to keep your signatures small.

Don’t know how to add a signature? Here’s the FAQ.

Do help us in our battle with spam and scams.

Because we’re such a huge community and operate 24 hours a day, spammers really want to get in and get your eyeballs. If you ever spot a message in the forums that you believe is spam, do not reply to it. Immediately use the “Report” button under the post.

If you reply to it, the post is bumped to the top of the list in the forums making it more likely that other participants will also click on it. Instead, when enough participants flag it as spam, it will disappear from the forums without a Moderator needing to look at it.

Similarly, if you get a message through the NaNoMail system that you regard as spam, do not reply to it but instead alert the lead forums moderator with the name of the user, and the details of the spamming instance.

Also, please be aware that scammers and other nefarious creatures see writers as juicy prey. Be extremely cautious if you get a private message or email from someone who references seeing some of your work on NaNoWriMo and would like to publish you. Please check out any agent or publishing company completely before entering into any sort of agreement. Remember that money always flows towards the writer. You’re the one with the valuable commodity, so be cautious about publishing schemes that involve an outlay of cash from you or obligate you to purchase a certain number of volumes.


Things to Avoid

Don’t post anything that violates copyright.

Content that violates copyright may be removed at any time. If you have found material on our site that violates your copyright, please contact us immediately with the information and we will give it our full attention.

Don’t use nudity, profanity, or violent imagery in user pictures.

Only images considered “safe for all ages” are appropriate for your author picture. If you upload a picture that contains inappropriate content, we’ll remove the picture and send you a warning. If we find you doing it again, we’ll terminate your account. This includes hyperlinks to graphic images.

Don’t use our site for commercial purposes.

While we do have a forum specifically for things you want to sell or promote, only active, registered participants may use it. Joining with the sole purpose of promoting yourself or business will result in immediate account termination without notice (and a loss of goodwill towards your product or company).

If you’d like to promote your service or product, contact the lead forums moderator, and we will consider posting it on your behalf.


In Conclusion

We have a unique and amazing community at that’s unlike any other on the web. The humor, compassion, and kindness on the site is what makes it such a great place to be every year.

Maintaining that convivial atmosphere depends on the behavior and attitude of our members. If you cannot abide by the above guidelines, this is not the right site for you.

If you ever have any questions or comments on how we can improve our forums, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.