WF Rules & Guidelines

Writing Forums FAQ

Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.

Especially for New (Non-Subscribing/Non-Paying) Registered Members

Extra Rules and Guidelines for New (Non-Subscribing/Non-Paying) Registered Members

  • Introduction

    Be advised that some posts made by new members may be delayed from displaying until approved by a moderator - this may mean a few minutes or a couple of days, depending upon how busy the moderating team happen to be, and what issues may arise from the post (included links, off-site promotions, problematic statements which breach the rules or common laws, etc).

    Because we are at heart a creative community, we try to keep things free and simple at Writing Forums. However, our community falls apart without the right rules and guidelines to protect our hard work and reputation. We know this from first hand experience.

    We arenít going to throw you out on your ear if you inadvertently mess up. Everyone makes mistakes and, in most instances, deserves a second chance. Except for the most severe infractions (detailed in the Rules), we will give a warning notice that you have broken a rule and either correct it for you or give you the chance to correct it yourself, depending on the type of violation.

  • Spamming

    One severe infraction that new members often fall foul of is spamming. Adding a link to an outside website, whether it is the member's own blog page or a third party site, (such as a link to your book on Amazon, YouTube, etc.) in an Introduction post is treated as spam. Don't do it. You can add these sorts of links to your signature as soon as you have progressed from new member to regular member.

    A link to an outside website added to a Non-Introduction post may also be treated as spam. If you really feel the need to add an outside link to a post, check with one of the assigned moderators before posting.

    Using the Private Message (PM) system to send unsolicited requests for offsite responses - for example: email, phone, or link to a third party site or service - is a form of spamming, and if reported will be treated accordingly.

    New non-subscribing members will find that there are some restrictions relating to user profiles, signatures and avatars, messaging and posting new topics; these restrictions are temporary and are lifted once ten (10) valid posts have been made.

  • New non-subscribing members with a post count of less than ten (10) cannot post new topics on the creative forums. Fluff (superfluous single word, or non-contributing) posts made just to build up post count may be deleted. Please be aware that posts on the Word Games forum are not added to post counts. New members who have also paid the subscriber's fee to become a Friend of WF are not subject to these restrictions.

  • Introduction posts which contain examples of creative works, hyperlinks or email addresses, rants or diatribes, or anything which breaches the main Rules or Guidelines, will be edited or deleted, and may incur infractions up to permanent banning. Introduction posts are for introducing a new member as a person to our community; they are not platforms for promotion of anything else.

  • Privacy and Personal Security
    We strongly advise you to protect yourself and avoid inappropriate situations. If you feel you have been contacted inappropriately please report it to a staff member immediately. We are a site catering to all ages and we ask that everyone behave accordingly. All complaints will be taken seriously and will be investigated with appropriate action taken. We will not tolerate false claims anymore than we will tolerate inappropriate behavior.

    To handle these issues, please keep copies of any alleged complaints and forward them to a moderator or administrator. Do not post about this publicly as these are private issues. All public posts regarding these issues will be deleted.

    We reserve the right to delete posted comments which are deemed inappropriate. Be aware that exchanging banter/repartee laced with sexual innuendo will compromise your ability to lodge a complaint. In other words, if you and another party have engaged in suggestive flirting, a no fault rule will apply. It's recommended that you refrain from such practices.

    We also always strongly advise you to keep your private information private. Do not share your email address, phone number or other private information with anyone you don't know or trust. Once you do you can't "take it back" so be careful who you share your information with. Our advice is: Do not share your private information!

    Finally, Private Messages (PMs) are the sole responsibility of each member and in most instances we will not get involved with moderating them. If someone is bothering you, block them so you do not receive PMís from them or simply delete the PM unread. If the PM is offensive or deliberately hurtful, please report it to a moderator or administrator and we'll investigate and take appropriate action.

  • Rules for All Members

    The Rules

  • Multiple Accounts: Multiple accounts (sock puppets) are not permitted. Only sign up for one account. If you share a computer or internet connection with a room mate or partner, please inform us or we may suspect you of having duplicate accounts and all will be deleted or permanently banned.

  • Forum Handles/Usernames, Avatars & Signatures: Forum handles (user names), avatars and signatures must be G rated, meaning they may not contain any language, images or links to anything that breaches this rating. Handles which use web site (name.domain) or e-mail addresses ([email protected]) will be regarded as spam and the account deleted. Signatures must be limited to six (6) lines. Users need to make at least ten posts before they can use the signature feature. Subscribing members may post images (up to 60x400 pixels) as or with their signatures.

  • Advertising: Third party advertising or promotion without prior approval by an Administrator is prohibited on the main boards.

    Members are allowed to link to their outside work or other website in their signature once they have access to signature options. Members are also encouraged to add their blog or website page to the Blogroll, and to promote any of their online work or achievements in Beyond the Forum.

    Members with books or other creative artworks for sale on Amazon or any online or bricks & mortar outlet may also request that they be added to the BookStore.

    Friends of WF (FoWF), Veterans, Patrons and staff may post threads which promote their work in the Literary Emporium or, if appropriate, in Writers' Resources or other main forum board as provided and seems fitting.

    Friends of WF (FoWF), Veterans, Patrons and staff who are professional publishers, writers, artists or illustrators, proofreaders or editors, may offer or discuss their services only within Outside Resources or other Admin-designated area. Anything else will be considered spam and deleted. Spammers may be banned from the site without notice.

    The forum: Outside Resources, containing Writers' Resources, Outside Invitations and Calls for Submissions, exists for the benefit of WF members. VIP Guest Promoters who advertise their goods and/or services will either be invited guests to the forum, or persons or companies who have subscribed to WF for the purpose of advertising.

    PLEASE NOTE: All advertisements or offers are placed on the understanding that members avail themselves AT THEIR OWN RISK. The forum accepts no responsibility for any tangible or intangible damage arising from any advertisement found here.

  • Defamation: Do not post or transmit any message which may be considered slanderous, libelous, or in any other way defamatory, or which discloses private or personal matters concerning any person other than yourself. Understand that, in law, truth is not necessarily a defense in matters involving defamation. Any such posts found will be edited or deleted without prior notice.

  • Personal Information: Do not post personal real life information such as names, phone numbers, or home addresses of any other member.

  • Plagiarism: All work posted in the creative forums (Poetry, Prose, Workshops, Visual Arts, Music) must be your own. Specific threads and boards exist for the posting of other people's works with due citations or references to source, and these are the only places where such works may be placed. Anyone found to have deliberately plagiarised the work of another person will be instantly and permanently banned and blacklisted.

  • Post Titles: Post titles must be G rated, which means strong language or descriptions of violence or sexual activities are not permitted.

  • Obscene Material and Gratuitous Violence: Such material is not allowed. What is considered overtly pornographic or otherwise obscene is decided by the staff and is not open to debate. It will be removed immediately. Any description or depiction of child sexual abuse is not only considered obscene, it is a reportable crime in many jurisdictions. Repeat offenders will be permanently banned.

  • Strong or explicit language, Mature themes Disclaimers: Within the creative (eg, Poetry or Prose) areas, infrequent and context-appropriate strong language and mature themes are allowed. Disclaimers on fiction and poetry in their respective boards will be applied if your piece contains sensitive content and is likely to offend potential readers.

    Restrictions on the use of coarse language outside of the creative areas were again relaxed at the beginning of 2014, after some years of zero tolerance. For more about this, see our Guidelines. Moderators will continue to pull work containing overly gratuitous content. You will be notified if any staff are required to remove one of your posts in line with this Rule. Repeat offenses will draw infractions.

  • Content Which Encourages Illegal Activity: Except within the creative boards and with the proper disclaimer, posts and signatures which encourage illegal activity will be edited or removed. Again this is at staff discretion and is not open to debate.

  • Fan-Creations: Fan-Creations: Fan-fiction and Fan-art are treated equally under the law as fan-creations. They are potential breaches of copyright and/or trademark provisions therefore not permitted on WF and will be removed immediately upon discovery.

  • Flaming: Flaming will not be tolerated. When critiquing, keep observations about the work, do not make inflammatory personal judgments of or attacks on the writer. In any discussion, keep it about the topic and not the poster. Violations will be deleted. Repeated offenses or ignoring staff warnings will result in an infraction.

  • Trolling or Baiting: Unnecessarily contentious posts, or posts intended to incite flaming, will not be tolerated. Offending posts will be removed, and the poster warned in the first instance. Repeated offenses will result in the poster being temporarily or permanently banned. Posts which attack, demean, or breach the international standards against unfair discrimination of any person or group of people will be treated as baits.

  • Hijacking or Derailing: If you want to discuss something other than the topic posted without the Opening Poster's (OP's) express permission, start your own discussion thread. Hijacking or derailing a discussion is a form of online bullying, and is not tolerated. This does not apply to asides, quips, or humorous interjections.

  • Concurrent Duplicate Posts: In almost all situations, duplicate posts are not allowed. Pick the most appropriate discussion or critique forum and post your item there. Cross posting, spamming or any kind of concurrent duplicate posting are potential abuses of community tolerance and usually serve to take unfair advantage. We will delete all but one of any concurrent duplicate posts. As is true with plagiarism, paraphrasing is not a valid loophole; paraphrased posts are still copies and will be treated as such.

    NB: Challenge entries should not be concurrently posted for any discussion anywhere within the forum during the active phase of the relevant challenge; this includes the forum Blogs and Groups. Challenge entries may be pre-posted or re-posted outside of the challenge cycle (ie, before the challenge prompt or theme is announced, or after the winners are announced) in an appropriate creative forum for individual critique and comment.

  • Creative Writing Posts for Critiques or Advice
    Since the forum's inception, and that borrowed from earlier models dating back to pre-internet times, there has been a sometimes written sometimes unwritten guideline that in essence says, "don't be greedy or selfish", but which is more often couched in terms like "please limit the size and/or number of your posts for feedback".

    At times, actual word counts have been suggested, although rarely strictly enforced; there was little need if a consecutive posts or thread-bumping rule existed along with the other common if often unwritten understanding that work for critique be posted in-thread.

    The system does not work by word count in posts, but by character count, including those we call hidden characters (formatting codes, etc). After our move to Wired Tree, I was able to increase the character count per post to 250k, which allows for larger individual posts - how large depends upon how fancy the poster needs to be or how many quotes, etc, are included in the post.

    Without applying a strict word count limit, the long-standing considerations have always been towards reciprocity or better and a reasonable expectation about how much material is needed for comment or advice as distinct from misusing the forum as a test publishing platform to attract beta readers.

  • Do Not Post Creative Writing Posts for Critiques or Advice as PDF Attachments or External Links
    The issue arises because a member can post attachments - smilies, images, sound, video, etc - and the key permission in the system is whether a member can post and/or see attachments without distinguishing between attachment file types.

    One of those file types is pdf - a rather useful tool for staff - which for a long time had been inaccessible due to the system's set-up of file type total limits, which for pdf files had been reached. These limits remained regardless of whether individual files were deleted from the boards, and so pdf files were only again made accessible (for things like the newsletter) after our move to Wired Tree and a new limit set at the host server, a limit which would serve our needs for the foreseeable, but which would quickly be filled if members decided to follow the attempted precedent to ignore the fundamental forum practice, and post their works as pdf attachments.

    For visual arts, video and sound files, the use of external links has not only been allowed but actively encouraged because of the file sizes. It has never been allowed or encouraged for written word pieces; the advice and understanding has always been to post these in-thread.

    There have been rare occasions where pieces have been allowed as Word document attachments, but these tended to be in addition to rather than instead of, to illustrate how a piece would look without the formatting limitations or glitches inherent in-forum.

    From a respondent's perspective, the main issues against critting out-of-thread material relates to defining context in quotes, especially if there are a lot of individual comments to make about details within the work. In other words, it would then fall to the critter to copy the work into thread so that everyone else can see what the critter is referring to.

    Quite separately, posting a multi-chapter piece for detailed response goes way beyond the purpose of the forum. In-depth reading of larger works is for beta readers, and is the reason that the Beta Readers Group was encouraged to form.

    Posting of PMís: Posting of PMís received from another member is a breach of privacy laws and therefore not allowed. They will be removed immediately.

  • Forum Guidelines for All Members

    The Basic Guidelines - Infraction System Applies

    We expect that our members be considerate of others and use common sense when posting on WF. Keep in mind that some of our members may be as young as 13 years, or as old as 103 years. The onus is on you to act responsibly.

    We all know how to act and speak in public, and what is and isnít considered respectful language and actions. We arenít going to ban you if you use coarse language, but if you are simply using it in an excessive and gratuitous manner, you can expect to be called on it. Choose the words you use on the boards carefully and deliberately before you decide to curse.

    What that means is this: youíll be asked to edit your post; your post may be pulled for discussion; or your post may simply be deleted if itís a fluff comment. Rack up enough of these and your actions will be considered as ignoring staff and you will be issued an infraction.

  • Inappropriate Behavior: Excessive flirting and personal threats will not be tolerated. Posts containing either of these will be removed. Members making personal threats may face permanent banning.

  • Discrimination: Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, age, gender, race, color, or sexual orientation. Decisions about what is considered discriminatory is up to staff and is not open for debate.

  • Personal Responsibility: You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, including any contained quotes, no matter what someone else may have done. Keep this in mind when posting, since it is you and no one else that will suffer the punishment for anything that breaks the rules or guidelines.

  • Disclaimers and Warnings: We've created a special bb code for you to use so your disclaimer is easily noticed: [disc ]Put your disclaimer here[/disc] which will make your disclaimer stand out. Moderators who find a work potentially offensive may add a disclaimer if you have not done so. Repeated failure to comply will result in threads being removed. Threads with facetious warnings or disclaimers will be removed.

  • Forum Flooding: Don't flood the creative forums with new submissions. We realize you are eager to share your writing, but please add your work at a reasonable pace. Any creative works over two, on any particular creative board (Fiction/Non-Fiction/Poetry, etc.) in one day* may be deleted. Repeat offenses will result in an infraction.
    *Because this site spans all time zones, 1 day = 24 hours; it does not mean "midnight to midnight".

  • Derailing Threads: Threads are posted for certain topics to be discussed. Unless otherwise stipulated by the OP (Opening Post/er), derailing threads is rude and not allowed. Posts doing this will be removed and action will be taken against members who consistently do it.

  • Review or Comment Requests in Post Titles: Don't make them; they are superfluous and annoying to many members. You are already asking for both simply by posting your original material in a creative forum.

  • Polls do not belong in critique boards. The function of a poll is to seek responses to a direct or implied question; in other words, adding a poll to a creative work thread is adding a feedback request to the post title. Further, it diminishes the responsibility to members for considered feedback.

  • Thread bumping: It is our policy to discourage members from posting just to bring their thread back to the top of the front page. If a thread is bumped without a valid reason then it, or the offending post, may be deleted.

  • Quoting: Quoting is encouraged, but please don't quote 5 paragraphs and reply with one line. Quote just enough material to show what you are replying to. If you are replying to more than one post, do so within one reply post, and address each component of your reply to the appropriate member. You can do this either by using the multi-quote feature, or by copying and pasting individual quotes into your reply post.

  • Post Length: Excessively short posts and one-liners are discouraged. We realize at times these are appropriate, but please use good judgement. Excessive use of any of these will result in posts being removed.

  • Txt Spk: We realize this is commonplace on the internet today, but this is, after-all, a writing site and proper language should be used. Use any chat or text speak sparingly. Excessive use will result in posts being removed.

  • Forum Handles (User Names) will not be changed unless there is a legitimate reason for them to be (simply not liking it any longer doesn't qualify), so choose them carefully.

  • Signatures should not include excessive font or colour use (like a dozen colors or 4 and 20 point fonts etc).

  • Deleting Creative Work: We ask that members please leave original posts intact or only edited to correct errors. Deleting original submissions orphans all of the comments in the thread and renders them meaningless. Comments and feedback can be read for years after being made and constitute a massive knowledge base for future members and visitors. We ask that they be respected as much as we respect the individual authors and contributors to this forum. However, if you feel that you must remove your work, we ask that you not do so until your work has fallen to page 3 or beyond (in default settings) or until your work has gone 2 months without comment. Be forewarned that members who remove their work when it is still being actively discussed on page 1 or 2 because they are upset at the comments received or in a fit of temper, will be given one warning. If they continue to act in the same manner they will lose posting privileges to that forum for a period of time and if such behavior continues they can lose that privilege permanently.

  • Infraction Points System

    Infraction Points System

    Rules and guidelines are enforced by staff and their decision of what constitutes a breach of either is final and not open to debate. An infraction system composed of warnings, points and penalties is used by staff to enforce these rules and guidelines.

    At a moderator's discretion, a member may receive one or more warnings via PM when they breach a rule or guideline. Otherwise, or if the warning is ignored, each time a member breaches a rule or guideline, that member will receive an appropriate infraction that carries with it points and a temporary ban.

    Points accumulate with each new infraction and there are four levels of bans based on point levels. The number of points (and length of ban) assigned may depend upon the number and severity of infractions under consideration.

  • 3 points = 24 hour ban (points remain but become inactive 3 months after the ban is lifted)
  • 6 points = 3 day ban (points remain but 3 points become inactive 3 months after the ban is lifted)
  • 9 points = 1 week ban (points remain but 3 points become inactive 3 months after the ban is lifted)
  • 12 points = 1 month ban (points remain but 3 points become inactive 3 months after the ban is lifted)
  • Anything above 12 points will result in a permanent ban.

    If you get a 24 hour ban (3 points), when the ban is lifted the points remain. That means if you get another infraction within three months, your point total will be 6 points, resulting in a 3 day ban (6 points). It then progresses through the scale with each new infraction. Each set of 3 points will expire (become inactive) 3 months from the date the infraction and points were given. Senior management may opt to expunge part or all of a member's infraction record in recognition of that member's ongoing improved behaviour.

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