The goal of these rules is to promote respectful, interesting discussions about language learning and languages, and the moderators will try to interpret the rules in that spirit. We may choose to make exceptions when it helps serve the goals of the forum, and we may forbid obnoxious behaviors even when there are no written rules against them.
Language: All posts should be in English, apart from the multilingual rooms, logs and challenges, where other languages are allowed. When in doubt the default language is English. Please remember that many members have spent years learning English. Language-related discrimination is not tolerated, whether on the basis of native language or the skills in any language. Give other people a benefit of doubt and don't assume they're not making their best effort. They may be using a mobile device, struggling with physical, mental or cognitive problems, etc.
Swearing and slang: It's allowed to discuss the linguistic aspects like meaning and usage, but other than that, swearing is forbidden and heavy slang is discouraged. If you're asking about a potentially offensive term, please use an asterisk. Please remember many people find these words offensive even if you don't believe they are.
Humour and sarcasm: Humour is generally welcome, but it shouldn't be used to justify discrimination, or attempt to circumvent the rules by claiming "I was only joking". Sarcastic remarks should be used very sparingly and with caution since they can be misconstrued and become inflammatory.
Libel and Defamation: Under UK defamation law (Defamation Act 2013), website operators can be pursued by those who claim they have been defamed as a result of comments on their site even if those operators are not the author of those comments. We hate receiving letters from Her Majesty's Government. This means we have a very strict set of rules against the use of libelous or defamatory remarks on this website and posts which are considered to be defamatory will be subject to immediate deletion and the poster will be sanctioned.
Spelling & style: People here may be learning a language you already speak well. Please be considerate of them, and please try use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar so that they don't accidentally imitate your mistakes. When you write in a language that you're learning, please take some extra time to do a good job. This will help you learn. If you wish to give corrections to someone who hasn't publicly asked for corrections it would be best to PM them to see if they would like your assistance.
Post length and frequency: There's no minimal requirement for the length, but please try to contribute something with each post. If you feel like saying "I agree" without explaining any reasons, it's better to just vote for the post. Also, new members who make this kind of posts may get mistaken for spammers, so don't hesitate to share your opinion. Furthermore, there are no benefits to earn from having a higher post count, so please don't try to boost it deliberately and please avoid one-line messages and text speak.
Please avoid writing a separate post just to correct your own mistake or typo, at least unless it changes the meaning completely, or to clarify a misunderstanding that has already occurred. In most cases, it's enough to use the "edit" button. If someone's asked for corrections (for example, in a log or team thread), then even a very short post is fine. Make sure it's clear which part you're correcting.
Also please avoid quoting huge passages of previous quotations where you're only commenting on a small section. It is much easier for the reader if you quote the relevant section, and break up the passages by inserting your comments nearby the item you're commenting on.
Newbie questions: Are you a first-time language learner? Your questions are welcome in the Advice Center! And please don't worry about silly questions. We like helping people. You may find your question in our FAQ, but please don't hesitate to ask for more personal advice. Outside of the advice center, however, please take a moment and look for existing posts on the same subject before posting. The search function is free and very comprehensive.
Double posting: Do not post one message in multiple subforums. If you do this, all but one copy will be deleted. If you have done this accidentally and don't know how, or don't have permissions, to remove it, you can report your own post using the "!" button and a moderator will remove it for you.
Personal conversations: The best places for personal conversations are in your personal language logs or private messages.
Spamming, drive-by URL dropping and self promotion: Like every other site where people can post messages, we fight a constant battle against spammers. If you sign up and start spamming us with links to your dodgy product, you will be banned mercilessly. However, if you're a member of the community in good standing, we enjoy hearing about any books, courses, projects, etc., that you helped create! Please feel free to create one thread in the appropriate subforum, or to mention your work in your personal log.
If you're the creator of high-quality courses, interesting books, or useful software, but you've never participated in the forum before, then you may ask the moderators for permission to create a thread for your products, where people can ask you questions.
Copyright violations: We hate receiving angry letters from lawyers almost as much as the ones from Her Majesty's Government. More importantly, many good language courses are made by small publishers and family companies like Assimil. We want to encourage these people to create more resources. Please do not share illegally copied materials, or link to sites which are primarily used for that purpose. Some external sites like YouTube have their own mechanisms for taking down content, and it's usually safe to link to short excerpts on these sites—but not complete movies or TV shows.
The administrators of this website will not tolerate the illegal distribution or links to the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. Encouraging the use of illegal copyrighted material is also prohibited. This forum operations under the UK copyright system and the courts in the UK routinely issue injunctions in order to regulate and legislate to reduce copyright infringement. More information can be found on the UK Government Website. You can find more information about "Fair Use" and exceptions under UK copyright on that website if you're unsure about sharing a small portion of copyrighted material for criticism, review or quotation.
Religion and politics: Some families have a rule that says, "No political or religious arguments during holiday dinner." This forum has a similar rule year-round, for much the same reasons. We have people here from all over the world, with incredibly diverse political and religious views, and we all get along much better if we avoid these subjects.
If the politics or religion is genuinely related to language learning, then you have a small amount of leeway—as long as people remain respectful and refrain from fighting. But if a moderator asks you to stop, please stop. You can fight about politics and religion on almost any other site on the Internet. This site is for language learning.
Flaming & personal attacks & Inflammatory statements: Some people enjoying flaming, personal attacks, starting trouble, and fighting online. But many people dislike these things greatly, and they will leave the forum rather than put up with that kind of atmosphere. So given the choice, we choose to exclude the flamers, trolls and chronic jerks. If a moderator warns you to cut something out, please listen—if you don't, the next step is usually a temporary or permanent ban. Please avoid making non-language related statements that are likely to be disruptive and attract offtopic deviations or trolling. Please avoid loaded comparisons as well.
If you feel that somebody's behaviour is way out of line, and if you feel the urge to write an angry or sarcastic reply, it's usually best to use the "Report" or "!" button to bring the original post to a moderator's attention instead. In particular, do not attack people or their personalities. You can argue about ideas and language learning techniques, but individuals are off limits.
Please also refrain from personal attacks on well-known polyglots, whether or not they have an account here. Especially anything bordering on libelous or defamatory remarks. Yes, some of them may overstate their abilities, but even the most skilled language learners may have trouble responding if they're put on the spot.
Harassment: This forum is dedicated to providing a harassment-free language-learning experience for everyone, regardless of national origin, native language(s), linguistic skill, race, religion/atheism, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or age. We do not tolerate harassment of forum participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for this forum. Forum participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the forum at the discretion of the forum administrators and moderators. In addition UK law has express criminal penalties for this type of behaviour.
Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 criminalises sending another any article which is indecent or grossly offensive with an intent to cause distress or anxiety (which has been used to prohibit speech of a racist or anti-religious nature).
Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 states:
Improper use of public electronic communications network
(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(b)causes any such message or matter to be so sent.
(2)A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—
(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
(b)causes such a message to be sent; or
(c)persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.
(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
Multiple accounts: Pretending to be several people (by using sockpuppet accounts) will generally result in a ban of all your accounts without any warning. Further attempts to create an account will also result in an immediate ban. If for some reason you're otherwise forced to create a second account, please contact the moderators and explain the situation immediately.
Moderating decisions: If a thread violates these rules, the moderators may ask people to get back on subject, or may simply close the thread. If you have a problem with a moderator's decision, your best bet is to PM the moderators directly and explain why you think the decision was wrong. Please do not open new threads to protest a decision or attack any of the moderators; doing so will quickly bring you to the section below.
Warnings, suspensions and bans: If you sign up and then proceed to break the rules immediately, you may be banned without warning. However, we dislike banning established members of the community, and we will try to provide a warning first. Please pay attention to any moderator warnings! If you disregard a warning, your account may be temporarily suspended or permanently banned. Bans will normally apply to any related sites as well.
If you are banned, this also applies to any future accounts. The only way to have your account reinstated is to contact the moderators and request reinstatement.