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IMPORTANT NOTICE: A Note on Community Guidelines - Please read in its entirety

We're really happy to see increased activity on our site, both in terms of people coming to our website for coverage and fan insights on the WNBA and women's college basketball. We're also really happy to see that more of you are participating in open threads and commenting on our posts. However, we have recently seen increased instances of inappropriate conduct on our site and feel that though there's never really a good time to have such a post, now this is that time.

Yeah.  We're going to have a talk.
Yeah. We're going to have a talk.
Patrick McDermott

First, why this post? Did anyone do something wrong?

There is no particular single event as to why this is coming out, but with increased activity, there also comes more instances of inappropriate conduct and there is a need to get everyone on the same page.

Our Community Guidelines Page

Like all other SB Nation sites, we have community guidelines, and please take some time to read them. They are not the Ten Commandments to a T, but they are common sense pointers to make sure that you, and everyone else enjoys their time on this site. That said, the rest of this post will be hitting on more practical points that you should know, not just on this SB Nation site, but also our over 300 partner sites.

What we like to see

1. REC'ing is something we want to see. So if you like a comment or a post, rec it. It's in the form of a star. Here, a comment with at least two rec's turns green.


2. I know I've broken this rule with comments before, but try to keep them less than 300 words. If they start going further than that, we recommend that you put up a FanPost which can spawn more discussion. Click here to read more what makes this place and SB Nation great and it goes beyond just the content that Nate, the contributing authors, and I put on the front page. Anything that gets more than three recs will be promoted to the front page. So rec anything you like even if you don't have time to comment!

3. Given the nature of our site, while we do try to catch major events within the W or in college basketball, we aren't going to catch everything. Go ahead and put a link or video up in a FanShot and we may front it if it's to a good link. Some of you do want more content or links to sports & societal issues, (and I'll admit that I'm not looking for these stories every day), but if you find something really good, post it, and yes, we do read them. And same thing here like with FanPosts: we'll promote anything with three recs to the front page!

What we do not want to see

If you are a brand new member, welcome to the site! But also, post something that will not draw negative attention to you, in particular for your first comment and/or post. If you're a regular here, here are some reminders.

1. The rules regarding profanity range widely from one blog in the SB Nation family to the next. Some of our partners really don't care about how many F or S bombs come out as long as personal attacks aren't made. An example of an acceptable use of the S bomb is "Oh snap! My team won!" and replace "nap" in "Snap" with "hit" and there you go. Other SBN sites may discipline users who do use it. For example, Blazers Edge, our SB Nation Portland Trail Blazers site has a zero tolerance policy on profanity or even disguised profanity. Here, we'd like to keep profanity like the F and S bombs to a minimum, but if it comes out once in awhile, we get it. Profanity is a daily part in many, if not most people's language but it's not like most people cuss excessively when talking. Even I don't have a Rated PG tongue and have thrown some unadulterated profanities myself even on SB Nation, but don't use it excessively.

2. Going into personal attacks instead of attacking the talking points such as "Get a life" or "you are a P-O-S" are something to avoid. We do not mind contentious debates, I've gotten into plenty with other members here but they've stayed with the topics on hand.

So, who are the moderators?

As you might have guessed, Nate is one of them since he is the site manager here. However, if you click on our Masthead, you will see a list of our contributing authors. In addition to Nate, all the writers listed as Editors are also moderators. So the moderators are Nate Parham, James Bowman, Jessica Lantz, Queenie and myself.

If you want to know why I am moderating in addition to the Editors, it is because I am a frequent commenter on the site while some of our writers rarely comment, if at all. As a regular SB Nation member who comments frequently on some other SBN sites, I enjoy the comments that other members write just as much as I enjoy front page posts. Front Page posts, FanPosts, FanShots, and comments are all equal parts of what makes SB Nation great.

Progressive Discipline Policy

Now we're getting to the part of the whole piece where I'm inevitably going to wave the banhammer. It's probably uneasy for some of you to read, and it's not fun for me to write as the messenger. The language here and the next few sections is going to sound harsh at times, but this has to be done in order to promote transparency between the moderators and you on how discipline will be approached here.

As moderators, we have the ability to enforce community guidelines and to discipline members as necessary beyond a simple comment. These include:

  • Deleting your comment from view on this site.
  • Issuing a formal warning that will require you to acknowledge it before continuing participation on our site.
  • Terminating your participation privileges from our site. This is colloquially known as banning you. In this post, we will refer to banning as a termination in most circumstances but the terms may be used interchangeably from hereon. Note that banned users can still view Swish Appeal posts. They just cannot comment or post themselves.

As a general rule of thumb, here is our progressive discipline policy on how we will deal with most violations as moderators with personal attacks in particular.

  1. In the first instance of a violation, a moderator will write a comment to you on the site to refrain from doing it again and the comment in question may be flagged depending on the content. Think of this as an oral reprimand. We say it and we generally forget about it afterwards.
  2. In the second instance of a violation, we will issue a formal warning to you through SB Nation. This will put you into a probationary status. More details on this later.
  3. If the violations continue, we will terminate your privileges to participate on our site.

We reserve the right to alter disciplinary measures with this progressive discipline policy as appropriate. Not every instance of a "first time violation" will necessarily be best rectified with just a comment on the site.

Violations that will result in the immediate termination of participation privileges

We don't want to get into a debate of exactly which violations are worse on a hypothetical Richter Scale, but there are some violations that can incite "riots" in the comments, and therefore these types of comments and/or posts will result in the immediate termination of your participation privileges, even if it is a "first time violation." These include but are not limited to:

  1. Racial slurs directed at people (the N word, etc.)
  2. Homophobic slurs (the other F word with six letters, the other D word directed at lesbians, etc.)
  3. Spamming which will be defined as the inclusion of sales links for products or links for irrelevant services (chances are you probably aren't reading this if you're spamming, but we don't want to see ads for bootlegged apparel and erectile dysfunction drugs with a URL to some shady site).
  4. Links to pornographic material, or putting up pornographic images/videos.

I have been formally warned or banned by Swish Appeal moderators. What should I do?

I will first touch on the subject of being warned. In all likelihood, if you've been warned, you already have been reprimanded by a moderator via a comment, if not by even other community members. So when you get a warning, you will need to stop doing whatever got you warned. That's fair.

But by no means does being warned make you any less of a member of our community, or of you as a person, and you are still free to participate. However, you are on notice for the short term, and you just have to remain respectful of other users here.

Also, if you have been given a formal warning through our site, any and all internal communication regarding the subject is to be kept confidential. No exceptions. We will not "out" you in a comment regarding it or make a front page post that you were warned in order to put up a "Hall of Shame," and you are expected to do the same. If you have an issue that you want to clarify, email either the moderator who warned you directly, or if all else fails, you can email Nate, again through the Masthead and our SBN profiles. All of our moderators' emails are listed on the Masthead. Using Twitter, if a moderator has an account listed, is not an appropriate form of communication in regards to this issue.

If you receive a warning and then you complain about it in a comment or post OR if we hear from another SB Nation blog that you are commenting on the subject there (many of us do frequent other sites and comment and/or post elsewhere too), you will be banned from our site.

If your participation privileges have been terminated, we have determined that your continued participation will not be helping cultivate our community here at this time. That said, we are not people who are trying to massage our own egos when banning a user - we honestly hate doing it but we'll do it when we have to. And like with warnings, we will not "out" you and make a front page post that you got banned.

If you feel that you deserve a second chance to participate, you will need to email Nate who will make a determination on whether to reinstate your participation privileges. All that said, if you are reinstated but banned here a second time, you will almost definitely not get a third chance.

Remember that we just want to help provide good content first and foremost. You, the members of this community are the watchful eyes for us as well.

Even though we have the ability to discipline users when necessary, we don't actively look for every possible violation of the rules. After all we would rather write up posts and other commentary than be "message board moderators" though it is part of our duties. You, our community, are also part of keeping our site friendly and are the ones who help keep Swish Appeal stay as the great site that it is. If you see a comment that is clearly out of line, flag it which is to the right of rec'ing a comment. There will be a pop up screen asking what the problem is. This will be brought to our attention and we can decide whether to let it be or delete the comment, and/or take further action:


Okay since this is the boss' writing, don't flag all of Nate's comments for no reason, it's just an example. This comment was just fine and maybe you should rec it right now because it was an example! Go here to do so! :)

Going back to flagging a comment, when you are asked to give a reason, just write something quick like "sexually explicit", "homophobic slur", "personal attack", etc., and leave it at that. We'll take care of it from there. Please don't post something snarky or something as inappropriate as the comment being flagged. Also, do not flag someone merely because you disagree with him/her.

Be aware that your Swish Appeal participation, flagging (both flags you receive and issue), and disciplinary records are viewable by ALL moderators of EVERY SB NATION site you participate in.

Please keep in mind that the moderators not only have the ability to warn, ban users and delete inappropriate content on this site, but any formal disciplinary action taken is shared internally with SB Nation and all other sites that those users participate in. By formal disciplinary action, I'm talking about formal warnings and bans.

So if you are a regular on other sites and you are warned or banned here, our counterparts on those other sites will know about it. Conversely, if you post inappropriate comments on other SB Nation sites and are warned or banned there, we will also know about it.

In addition, we reserve the right to warn you or terminate your participation privileges on Swish Appeal if we see numerous reports from our other SB Nation sites that you are "a problem" on their sites. Also, non-Swish Appeal SB Nation site moderators reserve the right to warn you or terminate your participation privileges on their sites due to your inappropriate activity on Swish Appeal, and/or other SB Nation sites.

I hope that sharing this with you also is a way for you all to understand just how integrated we are with our partners at SB Nation.

In conclusion

We are all really happy to see that there is more traffic and commenting traffic here at Swish Appeal. However like this song (language is edited)...

...with more people and activity (Don't we all wish we had more money?), there come more problems or at least the chances for "problems." But in honesty, we want more folks participating here and want to make this place as open of a place as possible for it.

Please do not take this post as something that's meant to scare you into compliance. Again for the most part, everything is great and we expect things to be better as this season goes on. But we've also seen increasing occurrences of things that we'd rather not see and I feel that has happened enough over the last several months to a point to where this had to come up in a post.

Also, like everything else in this website, we want to encourage community input into this. If you have questions regarding any part of this, and most of it will come from discipline I assume, feel free to ask and we can clarify and even change something on here if you don't necessarily agree.

Thanks for reading this, and please keep participating in our site, because it's not just us, but again, you all also are what makes this place great!