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- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- The Playground
The Rules of Posting & General Contest Rules
Welcome to Giant in the Playground!
The website staff for GitP would like to welcome you to our forum community on behalf of Rich Burlew (The Giant), the owner of the site. In order to ensure everything runs smoothly, we have instituted a series of rules and guidelines for everyone to post by. Please read them carefully, and follow them! It’ll be much easier for everyone if you do.
If you're a newcomer, please read them carefully. If you've been here a while, please read them carefully - some old rules have changed and some new ones have been added.
Rich has selected a number of Moderators to help keep the forums in line; the Moderators were selected by Rich personally and are acting on his authority, so what they say goes. If you really feel you have been treated unfairly by a moderator, you may contact Rich – but make sure you have a good reason to, because if you don’t have a valid complaint, it might just make it worse for you.
Moderators are easy to identify – they have the words “Website Staff” under their usernames, and have green stars in the forums they have moderator powers in. However, a Mod outside of their normal territory is still a Mod, so you still have to go by what they say.
If you have a question or concern, feel free to send a Mod a Private Message – just be aware it may take them a while to get back to you. They’re all volunteers, and have a lot to do on the forum and in real life. Be patient, they’ll get back to you.
When a Mod is acting in their capacity as a moderator, they will post in red text. They will also usually preface their posts with a Mod name in bold; this is a sort of altar ego for them. When they post in this manner, pay close attention to what they have to say.
Currently, the Moderators, their Mod names, and their usual forums are:
Akiosama (Modcaster) -
Alarra (Mod Goddess) – Silly Message Board Games, Media, Tears of Blood, Webcomics, Arts & Crafts, Stories, The Town
Baron (Baron von Mod) – OOTS, Ongoing Games, Finding Players
Gorbash Kazdar (Comrade Gorby) – Media, Homebrew, Stories
Grey Watcher (Red Watcher) – Friendly Banter, Gaming (RPG), Homebrew, Articles, Products
Lilly (Fairy Modmother) – Friendly Banter, Media, OOTS, Webcomics, Arts & Crafts
RawBearNYC (Voice of a Mod) – Board Issues
Rawhide (Hairy Modfather) - OOTS, Comic Books, Webcomics, Arts & Crafts, Ongoing Games, Finding Players
Roland St. Jude (Sherrif of Moddingham) - Silly Message Board Games, Gaming (RPG), Gaming (Other), Homebrew, Stories, The Town
WampaX (Wampinator) – Friendly Banter, Board Issues, Gaming (RPG), Gaming (Other), Comic Books, Articles, Products, Adventure Game
apegamer - Special Guest Mod for The OOTS Adventure Game Forum
Rich Burlew, of course, posts as The Giant and is a moderator in all forums. He posts with the Voice of the Mod; you definitely better listen to him. ;)
Moderators handle a number of specific tasks. The obvious, of course, is looking for violations to the rules and dealing with them as necessary. But they do other things as well. Here’s a rundown of those actions, including warnings.
Friendly Warning/Please Don’t Do That
A Mod might post in red text asking you not to do something, without any reference to official warnings. This is a friendly warning to move you away from doing something that might get you in trouble, so take it to heart.
These are the big ones. An official warning will always include the words “Official Warning” in it. Most of these are issued via Private Message, but they may be issued in a post in a thread as well. No matter where they are issued, these official warnings are tracked. If you earn three, you will be banned once you receive the third one. The rules below and the specific rules of each forum list warning offenses.
If a Mod finds a thread going off-topic, they’ll post a friendly message trying to nudge it back on-topic – how hard a nudge depends on how far off the rails the thread has gone.
Asking Users not to Post to a Specific Thread
If a moderator comes to the conclusion that a particular poster or group of posters is consistently causing problems in a specific thread and that otherwise the thread does not violate forum rules, the moderator may ask those posters not to make any further posts to that thread. This will almost always occur when the user has already been warned once for their behavior in a thread, and will most likely be accompanied by an official warning.
Sometimes threads get started in the wrong place; this is understandable. If we find one, though, we’ll shunt it off to the right forum. As a favor to the Mods, please do your best to make sure you’re putting your thread in the right place.
Some threads reach a point where they need to be locked (which makes it so no one can post to them). This may be because the thread has reached a point where it is so off topic or violating so many rules that it can’t be recovered by other mod actions, or because it’s a copy of another active thread. Remember that re-starting a locked thread without permission is against the rules.
”Please don’t do it” Offenses
These are offenses that will not result in an official warning or banning upon the first offense, but repeated violations will eventually result in an official warning. In some cases a mod may edit a post or post an in thread message saying “Please don’t do that,” or some other friendly warning to be a bit more careful.
This is a written medium and people have to read what you write. Chat speak, l33t speak and anything that has to be “translated” falls into this area. You may have something incredible to say, but it won’t be read if they use “m8” and “pwn3d” as every other word in a post. The occasional typo or confusion regarding spelling is understood and expected, but at least take a moment to read over a message before you post it.
Excessively Embellished Formatting
Using different colors for different words, using formatting to appear smarter than someone, just overdoing it is what this is. It’s not using bold, underline, paragraphs and lists to make your post look nice and be easy to read. If your post looks like this one, you’re fine. But if your post has sentences that look like this one, you're not.
Posting Oversized Images
Giant pictures that stretch the screen are a bane to people trying to read the boards. Please link to files larger than 400pixels wide, or 500kb.
Posting non-SRD Copy written content
Just mentioning a PrC or general mechanic that isn’t in the SRD isn’t a problem, but posting an entire stat block for a monster or class that has not been released under Open Game Content (OGC) is not allowed. It will be removed. Remember that, so far, only d20 products are published under the OGC.
Disobeying Rules for Section You Are Posting In
Some sections of the boards have a set of rules just for that section. Silly message board games, Ongoing games/Finding Players and Community World Building all have specific rules for those forums, and those rules are explained in great detail in that forum. In some cases, violating specific forum rules will result in an Official Warning; please read each forum’s specific rules carefully.
Bringing a thread back from “the dead.” If a thread has fallen to page three and hasn’t been posted in for a month and a half, don’t post in it. Start a new topic if you want to discuss the subject.
Discussing Post Counts
This also includes discussing user level or time being a member. Some people may think that a large post count is a status symbol, or grants them spooky powers. It doesn’t. We try to treat all posters as equal, the ones that just started posting and the ones that have been here since the dawn of time have equal importance.
Posting twice in a row is generally frowned upon. Silly Message Board Games has its own rules, but this is for the board at large. There is a modify link in the upper right hand corner of each post, please use that to add any extra information that you wanted to add but forgot to. You can also remove any accidental double posts with the remove button that is right next to the modify button.
One Topic, One Thread
There should be, in most cases, one thread for a specific topic. Please check and see if there is already an active thread (one that has been posted on in the last six weeks and is no further back than page 3) discussing a topic before posting a new one.
Spoilers outside of a [SPOILER] thread
Some posters can’t see a movie the day it comes out, or read that book the day it comes out. So please either mask spoilers with colors (see post formatting thread) or post a thread with [SPOILER] in the title if you wish to discuss something that people may or may not wish to view due to spoilers.
These are offenses that will garner you an official warning from a Mod and most likely a modification of the offending post.
Three Official Warnings will result in a poster being Banned upon the issuing of the third warning. Exceptional or Special cases may result in instant banning – see the Banning Offenses section. Repeated offenses along the same line may also result in immediate banning.
Any poster that openly attacks, insults, belittles, or abuses another poster will have their offending post modified and a warning issued to them. You can be critical of another poster's viewpoint in a debate, even going as far as to explain why you believe them to be mistaken and backing your points up with rules quotes as appropriate, but the moment your criticism extends to the person who posted that viewpoint, it has crossed the line.
Specific things you cannot do on this message board that might be allowed elsewhere:
- Tell a poster to shut up or to stop posting on the current thread.
- Use passive-aggressive insults, such as "Anyone who believes that is an idiot," or "I'd call you an idiot, but it's against the rules." Yeah, we know that technically, you didn't call him or her an idiot, but guess what? It's still not allowed.
- Harassment of other posters, such as repeatedly following them from thread to thread to dispute them, personally.
- Tell a poster that they clearly didn't read what you wrote. Alternately, any statement that implies that the only way someone could disagree with you is because they don't understand you/can't read properly is likewise not allowed.
- Responding in kind to a poster who has flamed you. Please inform a moderator via PM and wait for the offending post to be scrubbed or deleted. Remember, the more they flame, the deeper a hole they dig for themselves, but don’t spur them on.
- Belittling people who care more about roleplaying than mechanics.
- Belittling people who care more about mechanics than roleplaying.
- Putting down or insulting ANY play preference, including (but not explicitly limited to) choice of game system, choice of preferred levels, classes, or races, choice of setting, choice of power level, etc. You cannot call another poster a munchkin or make any other disparaging remarks about how they like to play the game. You can express your own preference, you can express why you don't care for their preference, but you can't put someone down for feeling differently.
- Belittling or putting down anyone or their opinions based on post count, member rank, or how long they have been a member.
- Posting insults or slurs based on anyone's race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation
We run a much tighter ship when it comes to flaming than many other places you might post. We have tried to create a place where people can have discussions about gaming and other topics without the rampant personal attacks prevalent at other RPG boards. If you find you are incapable of participating in a debate without resorting to attacking your opponent instead of his position, our suggestion is that you find another board to post at.
"Mea culpa" Offenses
Attempting to ward off a warning by admitting your behavior warrants a warning is not tolerated. This will, instead, result in a second warning. Acknkowledging the fact that your activity is breaking the rules is not a defense. If anything, it's flaunting breaking the rules, which is very insulting to both the staff and all the posters who take the time to try to follow the rules. If you know, or even think, that what you are about to do is worthy of warning, then just don't do it. Find another way of saying what you wish to say, or hold your peace altogether. Here are some examples of a "mea culpa" offense:
- "I know this is probably flaming, but you're a jerk." This would be worthy of two warnings: calling someone a jerk is flaming, and acknowledging that you are flaming earns you a mea culpa penalty.
- "I'd really love to tell you what I think of you, but it'd be against the rules." This would also be worthy of two warnings. Passive-aggressive flaming is still flaming, and, once again, it earns a mea culpa penalty.
Any post that, in the judgment of the moderators, was made solely to incite angry responses and/or flames, or attempts to disrupt a thread so that it becomes a flame war, will be edited to remove the offending content and the poster issued a warning. If a thread is judged to have been started for this reason, it will be locked, and the poster issued a warning.
Posting on Inappropriate Topics
Any post that includes anything in the Inappropriate Topics (see below) will have that text deleted and the author will be issued a warning. If another poster ventures into Off-Topic subject matter, it does not give you a free pass to respond to his post with more Off-Topic discussion; there is no "He started it!" defense. Do not take it upon yourself to publicly reprimand the poster, either; you're not a moderator. Simply PM your friendly neighborhood moderator and alert them to the inappropriate post, which will have its inappropriate portions deleted.
Each thread should exist in a vacuum, free from outside influences—especially those outside of these boards. What this means is that you can't carry over anger from a debate in another thread into a new discussion, and you can't harass anyone over anything they did in another thread, on another website's board, or in real life. If you can't check your baggage at the door, you'll end up earning a warning.
Re-starting a previously locked thread without permission
Certain threads will be locked by Mods for a variety of reasons, including excessive flaming, inappropriate subject matter, or simple redundancy. If a poster decides to start a new thread on the exact same discussion topic without first gaining permission from the Mods, the thread will be deleted or locked and they will be issued a warning—even if the new thread does not, in and of itself, violate any other rule! Which means that if a mod decides to lock a heated debate over a subject, starting a new thread with a calmer, more well-reasoned point of view is STILL breaking the rules. Unless you ask a moderator first, then it's cool.
Ignoring or Disrespecting a Mod posting under their Mod Name
Any poster that deliberately ignores or disrespects a post made by a Moderator using their Mod Name will be issued a warning. In the situation of a very short window of time existing between the Mod Post and the offending post, a 10 minute window will exist in which the offending poster may modify his post without incident.
Ignoring or Disrespecting a Moderator's Private Message sent under their Mod Name
Any poster that deliberately ignores or disrespects a Private Message sent by a Moderator using their Mod Name will be issued a warning. Please check your PMs regularly – “I didn’t see the PM before I posted” is not an acceptable excuse. As with Ignoring Mod Posts, in the situation of a very short window of time existing between the Mod PM and the offending post, a 10 minute window will exist in which the offending poster may modify his post without incident.
Editing of Mod Edits
If you modify a red-text edit to one of your posts by a moderator in any way, you will be issued a warning.
If you’re not a moderator, don’t act like one. Rich has selected a few people he trusts to keep an eye on conversations here. Please refrain from chastising other posters over breaking the rules, especially concerning minor things. The proper response when you see someone breaking these rules is a PM to the local moderator. At most, you may courteously link to this thread. But whatever you do, do not tell other posters what to do, what rules they have broken, that they are "spamming", etc. Posters who do so excessively will be issued a warning for their actions.
Circumventing the Board filters
If a poster attempts to circumvent the board's language filter in order to post profane or obscene content, their post will be modified and they will be issued a warning. This includes masking (using non-letter characters in place of letters). Yes, we're aware that the boards filters are horrendous, but if you are adult enough to use such language, then you're adult enough to NOT use such language. The filters are primarily for the protection of young children, because this is not a strictly adult website.
Violating any of the following rules will result in an immediate ban from the Giant in the Playground forums.
Three Strikes Policy
As mentioned in the Warning Offenses section, earning three official warnings results in a ban upon the issuing of the third warning. To be clear, it is the third violation that results in a ban, not "three warnings and the next violation is a ban." Be aware that official warnings do not "expire" after any period of time.
It should also be noted that the three strike policy is not writ in stone - flagrant violations of warning offenses may result in a ban even if they do not result in a third official warning. Repeated violations of the same warning offense, especially over a short period of time, will also likely result in an immediate ban.
Violating any of the following rules will result in an immediate ban, regardless of the number of official warnings a poster has.
Committing a Warning Offense Against Rich
Richard Burlew, who posts as The Giant, is the owner and operator of this website and forum. Committing any warning offense against him will result in a ban. It's his sandbox, after all.
Particularly flagrant examples of insults or slurs based on anyone's race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, or sexual orientation, and especially any post advocating violence towards those of a certain race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation will result in an immediate ban.
Posts containing illegal content - including but not limited to discussion of how to commit illegal activities, discussion of the use or acquisition of illegal substances, or posts that violate a law in and of themselves - will result in an immediate ban for the poster.
Commercial (For-Profit) Advertising
Posting advertisements for commercial products, services, or events will result in an immediate ban, and all advertisements removed. Note that a suggestion of a product in the course of a related discussion is not considered advertising (unless the poster holds a personal stake in the finances of the company suggested). For example, if you are posting to a thread regarding d20 rules for shipboard combat, feel free to point other posters to a sourcebook on the topic. You can even link to the company that publishes it—as long as you don't work for that company. But don't start a thread whose sole purpose is to trumpet Book X and declare its greatness to the population at large.
(Exception: Representatives of Giant in the Playground and/or its licensees and distributors are permitted to make posts advertising services and products related directly to Giant in the Playground. They are not permitted to make posts advertising other services they might provide.)
If you wish to advertise a non-commercial website, please refer to rules regarding advertising.
Chain letters, get-rich-quick schemes, and overseas investment opportunities are considered spam, as are a variety of other pointless topics. Generally, you know when you're posting spam, so don't. Posting spam to the boards is a banning offense, especially when it violates the "one topic, one thread" guideline. Any account created solely for the purpose of posting spam will be deleted immediately, and the spam removed.
Previously Banned Users
Any user found to have been banned while using a different account will have his or her new account banned as well. If it is found that another user is allowing a previously banned user to post using his or her account, the account of that user will also be banned.
The following topics are always off-limits on these forums, no matter what (hence, Inappropriate Topics). Any posts including these topics will be edited, and any threads started to discuss these topics will be locked.
- Real-world religions (including religious reactions to Gaming)
- Real-world politics
- Graphic violence
- Illegal drugs
- Criminal activity
- Explicit sexuality
As noted above, commercial (for-profit) advertising is not allowed on GiantITP.com. However, you ARE permitted to start threads advertising non-profit websites; either charity events or merely amateur/fan sites that don't sell anything. Please be sure to observe the rules governing Spam and multiple-thread cross-posting, however, and make sure your plug is in the most appropriate forum (usually Friendly Banter).
You may always advertise or link to works of art online, such as other webcomics, fiction sites, music sites, or anything else that generates original artistic content—even if that site also makes a profit off of that work. We don't want the rules against advertising to prevent people from discovering new creative works that they will love, and don't want to penalize artists for trying to make a living off of their work. However, if a site only resells creative work and does not have any of that work available online, then it is primarily a commercial site and cannot be advertised here.
Groups and Message Board Wars:
While we encourage our members to form whatever social groups they wish, we will not allow societies based solely on the exclusion of, or opposition to a certain group of posters (much less a certain group of real-world individuals, such as a ethnicity or sexual preference). Groups that set themselves up as superior to, in direct opposition to, or as the controllers of or protectors from specific individuals, other groups, the staff, or the forum at large will be disbanded, and warnings will be issued as the staff deems appropriate.
In order to help you understand what groups may or may not be appropriate, we offer this general guide.
- Groups convened to discuss a particular subject are perfectly fine. That is, after all, what a thread is. It's even OK if the discussion is specifically critical of that subject, as long as it falls within the boundaries of the other Rules of Posting. For example, you can form a group to discuss how much you don't like James Bond, and call it the Anti-James Bond League.
- Groups convened in good fun to enact a fantasy of some sort all also acceptable. For example, "churches" to various characters, persons, or causes (provided they don't directly duplicate a real-world religion), fan clubs, contests, roleplaying exercises, etc.
Here are some kinds of groups that are not acceptable:
- Groups where the function is to oppose another group. This means that the group is out to attack, defame, or oppose the other group, not the other philosophy. For example, if someone forms an Anti-James Bond group, you may not form an Anti-Anti-James Bond group whose sole purpose is to attack or belittle members of the Anti-James Bond group. You may, if you wish, form a Pro-James Bond group to discuss the virtues of the British secret agent.
- Groups where the function is to voice opposition to a specific real-world person or group. While you can form an Anti-James Bond group, you cannot form an Anti-Ian Fleming group, because Ian Fleming is a real person. No, it doesn't matter that he is unlikely to post in these forums on account of the fact that he died in 1964; groups set up in opposition to real people are not permitted.
Using copyrighted artwork as an avatar is technically illegal unless you have the permission of the copyright holder. Even if the art is modified in some way, the original copyright still stands and you can't use it as an avatar. Rich Burlew has specifically requested that people NOT use his OOTS art as avatar image, other than those he has specifically provided as the default message board avatars. If you want an OOTS style avatar, there are many burgeoning avatar artists hanging around the Comics forum who might make one for you.
Any avatar image that is found to be used without the permission of the copyright holder will be removed and replaced with a default avatar. If the creator of an avatar personally approaches the GITP staff and claims that their creation is being used without permission by another poster--as might be the case if they requested credit for the avatar and then were denied such--the moderators will remove the avatar immediately. The first instance of this will not incur a warning, but should the member reinstate his or her violating avatar or create another avatar that also violates the rules, he or she will be issued a warning.
So those are the rules, in all of their wordy glory. We ask that you try your best to follow them to keep the spirit of community these boards have built up over the past three years, and avoid looking for loopholes or exceptions to let you get away with stuff. These boards are only as good as we all make them, after all. Thanks, and happy posting!The above words represent the consensus of the entire Giant in the Playground staff, including the moderators, the webmaster, and Rich Burlew.
(The PM box for this account is not regularly monitored; please direct any PMs to the forum staff to Roland St. Jude, the forum guru. Thank you.)
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
General Contest Rules & Guidelines
The Idea Behind Contests
This forum is designed to be a showcase of the game designing skills of the board members under special circumstances, competing for acclaim and prestige.
The contests are meant to stretch your game design skills by including unusual requirements; think of it as a gaming version of Iron Chef. If you aren't familiar with Iron Chef, it's a competitive cooking show from Japan. The idea is that the contestants (trained chefs) compete to make the best multi-course meal possible within a time limit. The real twist is that each contest includes a secret ingredient that has to be used in each dish, even deserts.
In the case of this forum, every contest will follow a similar pattern - a basic concept (e.g., design a prestige class) with a twist (e.g. the name of the PrC has to include your screenname). The contests will never be straightforward; if you have a specific idea already in mind, it's best to post it in the Homebrew forum rather than try to shoehorn it into a contest.
We try to run contests at least every other month, as time allows.
It should be noted that this forum is for official Giant in the Playground contests only. If you are not a member of the GitP staff and are interested in running an unofficial contest, please contact one of the moderators for the Homebrew Design (d20 and RPG) forum for more information.
Rules and Regulations
1. In order to qualify for judging, your entry must be completed by the end date and time given in the announcement thread. These will be posted according to US Eastern time zone (my time zone; EST or EDT, depending on time of year), the time zone of the mod running the contest (if different from US Eastern), and in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The end date will usually be at 12:01 AM (in the time zone of the mod running the contest) on the first day of the month following the one the contest was started in.
2. You must post a link to your entry in the Completed Entries thread (see below).
3. You must meet any and all additional requirements set forth for a particular contest, as specified in the contest announcement thread.
4. All entries are automatically eligible for all categories of judging, provided they meet any specific requirements laid out for the specific category in the announcement thread. If the category has no specific requirements, all entries are eligible.
5. You may have multiple entries for a contest that will compete separately (which means they compete against each other as well as all other entries), unless otherwise specified in the Announcement thread.
6. Under normal circumstances, all entries must consist of the work of one contestant. In other words, team entries are not allowed unless specified otherwise for a particular contest.
1. All votes must be sent to the username VOTE as Private Messages in order for them to be counted.
2. All votes must be in by the time specified in the vote thread; times will be given as with the announcement thread.
3. Ties will be broken by the Website Staff.
1. Follow the standard Forum Rules in all posts in the Contest forum.
2. Any flaming or bashing of other posters' entries will result in the disqualification of your own entry, in addition to any other moderation required. (Constructive criticism is fine and encouraged; if it gets a little too pointed, I'll address that as needed, but it won't lead to a DQ, barring extraordinary circumstances. This rule is to address out-right flames and bashing.)
Quick note to writers for entries: If you post an entry, expect it to be critiqued thoroughly. There are a lot of posters who are very dedicated to and skilled at designing game elements. You have to be prepared to handle criticism maturely and not be too thin-skinned about it; remember, those posting critiques are really just trying to help you make your entry better.
Quick note for those posting critiques: When you critique an entry, remember that the writer most likely put a lot of effort into it, and probably grew attached to their work as a result. So, put yourself in their shoes when you critique, and make sure you're being constructive.
3. All participants in forum contests are expected to display good sportsmanship. This includes being a gracious in victory or defeat, as well as the preceding rule against bashing other entries. Contestants should not rub victory in the face of other competitors or consider winning a category license to determine whether or not other entries are worthy. On the flip side, if you do not win, be gracious and congratulatory to those who did, and be polite when asking for advice on how to do better next time.
Contestants who consistently display poor sportsmanship will recieve official warnings and may be barred from future participation in forum contests.
Disqualification and Withdrawing:
1. Entries will be disqualified under the following circumstances:
A) The entry does not meet the qualification guidelines set out in the announcement thread and as above.
B) The entry is unfinished at the ending time set forth in the announcement thread.
C) The poster of the entry violates Conduct rules #2 or #3, above. Note that repeated or egregious violations of these conduct rules will likely result in barring from one or more future contests as well as disqualification.
D) The mods may set forth additional circumstances for disqualification; these will be applied with fair and clear warning.
2. A poster may withdraw a completed entry from judging at any time prior to the start of voting. The poster may withdraw an entry for any reason they desire, and need not explain it. Withdrawing a completed entry from judging requires the following steps:
A) Modify the first post of the entry thread so that the first line reads "WITHDRAWN."
B) Modify the post in the Completed Entries thread to read "WITHDRAWN."
Announcement Thread: The thread announcing the new contest, as well as the specific rules and requirements to qualify for it. It also includes the potential categories the entry can compete in, and the end date and time for the contest (given in Eastern US time, the local time of whoever is running the contest, and in Greenwich Mean Time). The announcement thread is also for general discussion of the contest, and the place to ask any questions one has about the contest.
Completed Entry Thread: To try and simplify the process of identifying which entries are actually complete and qualify for judging, future contests will include a Completed Entry thread. This thread will include a copy of the specific contest rules. Only post to this thread when your entry is complete, and include a link to the thread in your post. Extraneous posts will be deleted from that thread (repeated off topic posting to the thread may lead to warnings). Do not post to the thread until your entry is complete.
Entry Threads: The thread you post to enter a contest. You should start the thread's title with [Contest Name]; the specific name to use will be noted in the announcement thread. Please post your entry in as few posts as possible, preferably one. If at all possible, write your entry in a word processing document and then post when complete, to simplify the process. Please include formatting to make the post as easy to read as possible - many entries are long, and it can be hard to follow an entry that lacks formatting, especially after reading numerous others. For formatting tips, see the Guide to Message Board Codes.
All entry threads - including unfinished, withdrawn, and disqualified ones - will be locked while voting for their contest is under way.
Vote Thread: This thread will list the qualifying entries (and link them), the categories of judging, and the end date for voting. It is also for discussion and for any questions about the voting process. There is no rule currently against campaigning for your entry in this thread, but it's preferred if you don't, and certainly don't be obnoxious about it.
Winners Thread: This thread will announce the winning entries for each category once votes are tallied. It is also for discussion, and for congratulating the winners ;)
Vote tallies may be posted in this thread, though not always, and at the discretion of the contest runners. Previous tallies have seemed somewhat unusual due to the fact that some voters did not vote in every category (sometimes voting in only one category), leading to different numbers of total votes for different categories, especially since the missing votes would change from voter to voter.
The Contest Ideas thread is, naturally, the place to post and discuss ideas for the next contest.
It should be noted that while the mods read the thread to get ideas going and get a feel for what people are interested in, the ideas posted in the thread are suggestions only. Any idea will be tweaked by the contest runner, and they are under no obligation to match their guidelines to the suggestion.
How to Vote
Votes will be sent to the special username VOTE via PM once a given contest has moved to the voting phase. You may only vote once; subsequent PMs will be discounted. Please do not send PMs to VOTE between voting periods, or any PMs that are not votes (they will simply be deleted, and VOTE usually only gets checked when a contest is being voted on, so it could be weeks before anyone sees it).
When voting, please vote for one entry for each category in the contest. You may abstain from voting in a category if you don't feel there is an entry worth voting for, or if you can't decide between a number of excellent ones. Make sure you include all your votes in a single PM. If you vote for more than one entry in a category, no vote for that category will be counted. A vote for an entry in a category it does not qualify for will not be counted.
You may vote for the same entry in as many categories it qualifies for as you wish. You may vote for your own entry, though it's preferred if you don't, unless you truly feel no other entry deserves a vote in that category.
To help alleviate some confusion, below is an example of the type of content for a PM you send to VOTE.
Category A: Entry 1 by Poster_x
Category B: Entry 5 by Poster_y
Category C: Entry 4 by Poster_z
Category D: Entry 1 by Poster_x
Category E: Entry 9 by Poster_v
Category F: Abstain
Category G: Entry 1 by Poster_x
You need not include any special subject line, since all PMs to vote should be votes, and for the current contest. Also, you need not include your screenname, since it will show up automatically.
Hopefully this answers some general questions as well as putting all the rules in one easy to find spot.
If you have additional questions, feel free to visit the Contest Guidelines Questions and Clarifications thread.