Forum rules

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Intellectual Guidelines

• Purpose

This website facilitates trade among Objectivists and students of Objectivism. The primary -- but not only -- form of trade will be information about Objectivism and discussion about its applications.

Agreement with Objectivism is not required for participation. Anyone interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy may join. However, questions, discussion, and posting of new threads must not contradict the purpose of the forum.

• Prohibited behavior

(1) This site supports discussion of, first, the principles of Objectivism, as defined by the works of Ayn Rand and supported by the Ayn Rand Institute; and, second, their application to various fields. Therefore participants must not use the website to spread ideas contrary to or unrelated to Objectivism. Examples include religion, communism, "moral tolerationism," and libertarianism. Honest questions about such subjects are permitted. However, since the focus of this forum is the philosophy of Objectivism, such questions are not encouraged. (2) This forum will not tolerate posts which contain personal insults or are otherwise devoid of intellectual content. Examples of personal insults include: (a) sarcastic comments directed at a particular person's character, and (b) accusations of irrationality or immorality.

As Ayn Rand's own writings show, a touch of sarcasm directed at issues is sometimes appropriate, after laying the groundwork in a particular piece of writing. However, a post laden with sarcasm is not appropriate, particularly when directed at a person's character.

If you disagree with another poster, attack the argument, not the poster. If you think that a poster is behaving in an irrational or immoral manner, contact the moderators.

Likewise, all posts must add to the discussion rather than merely express agreement or disagreement without explaining the writer's reasons.

(3) This forum will not tolerate intellectual dishonesty or fraud -- for example, claiming to speak for Objectivism; claiming as an Objectivist position a view contradicted in Objectivist literature; or misrepresenting either the source of a message or one’s own identity.

(4) This forum will not tolerate rude or insulting comments about Ayn Rand, her philosophy of Objectivism, the Ayn Rand Institute, the representatives and supporters of the Institute, or the adherents of the philosophy.

A single instance of violation of these rules will be grounds for banning the offender from participating in this forum. In general, however, at least one warning will be given first.

Basic Etiquette

Civilized discussion on the web requires observance of the common rules of online etiquette. You may find an introduction to netiquette at

Other violations include the following:

• Redundant questions

Before creating a new thread check to see if the thread already exists. If you are posting a question on a prominent topic, it is more likely than not that it has already been discussed; please search for your topic first. You may find your answer, or have something to contribute to the conversation. The moderators may merge, close, or delete questions that are already covered by other threads. If you are new to Objectivism, you can ask basic questions here

• Improper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style

Respect your reader by following the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style. If you make more than occasional errors, spell-check and repeatedly proofread your posts before submitting them. Posts with frequent misspellings or grammatical errors will be deleted at the moderator’s discretion. An egregious example is failure to capitalize proper names -- for instance, writing "objectivism" when referring to Ayn Rand's philosophy; the correct form is "Objectivism."

Anyone who is struggling to write English as a second language should say so in his viewer profile. The moderator will make allowance for such writers, especially when they show an honest effort to improve by following members' suggestions about capitalization, spelling, and so forth.

Use a letter writing style. Separate paragraphs by a blank line. Do NOT use a nested quotes style, i.e., quote from above post and your comment; another quote from above post and your next comment, etc. Do not excessively use smilies. Posts that contain more than one smilie per five-sentence paragraph may be deleted.

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• Improper quoting and scope

Do NOT quote a post above you unless absolutely necessary--this wastes board space, and your post may be deleted. Keep your responses short by minimally quoting a post above or other, outside source. Quote only the particular passage you are targeting with your comments -- and no more. (The snapback arrow within the quotation allows your readers to go back to see the full context in an earlier post.)

If you are quoting an outside source, respect copyright laws (and the ethical principles underlying them) by keeping the quotation very short and by providing a link or other reference to the original.

If you are replying to multiple people/topics, split up your response into multiple posts.

• Failing to stay on topic

Stay within threads. All posts should be limited to ONE topic. Don't answer three different topics in one post, but stay within a thread. If a thread deviates significantly from the original topic, the moderators may split or delete the non-pertinent posts.

• Improper links

No advertisements or spam of any kind will be tolerated, including any posts made solely to advertise your website, or solely to direct users to a particular outside source. No advertisements. No spamming. No posts just to advertise links.

If you wish to discuss a particular outside source, do not start a thread with just a link to the source--included in your post please also discuss why forum members would be interested in viewing your link.

• Audience

Posts should be of general interest to list members.

• Board Waste

Do not post content-less posts or thank-you messages--send these directly to the poster via a private message.

Reporting Violations of the Rules

If you are not a moderator, and you think someone deserves a warning, please use the “Report!” link found on every post. To help the moderators, include a note directed to the offender and description of his offense. The offender will not know who reported him.

Moderation Guidelines

The following guidelines are intended to provide moderators with procedures for dealing with violations of the policies listed above.

• Trolling or posting without intellectual content

Once identified, trolls should be banned. A good overview of what a troll is can be found here:

You may either delete or close the thread in question. If the offender has a thread with several meaningful replies, I would prefer that you close it instead. I may decide to delete closed threads after I get a chance to review their content.

• If you want to *edit* a post for any reason

If the content of a post violates the forum rules, and the post in question is not directed at you (there is no conflict of interest), you have three options:

(1) Leave the post as is, and notify the author.

(2) If not all the content violates the rules, remove the offensive part, leave the rest, and use the option to notify others that you edited. You are not obligated to why you did anything, but you should leave some information as to what was deleted. Please use the “Edited by” option in all cases, and leave a comment in the post regarding the general reason for the edit in bold text if you are making more than a grammatical change.

(3) Delete the post entirely, sending it to the trash can. Notify user of post deletion.

• Warnings: If a member is consistently engaging in offensive/irrational behavior

If you want to rebuke someone, you should warn them using the warning options. Please include a link to the post spurring the warning. You can also enable moderator preview if you want their posts to be moderated for some time.

• General guidelines

There’s no obligation to read all posts or even visit the forum on a regular basis. Just keep an eye out for obvious trolls, rudeness, inappropriate material, etc.

• Permanent Bans

If you want someone banned forever, send me his name and IP address. If you start doing this on a regular basis, I will set you up with administrator privileges so you can do more advanced work.

• Other tasks

You can also move, split, and merge threads to keep them on topic and in the right forum. Again, no pressure to read everything. I would rather have mods follow up on one or two suspicious posters at a time than try to keep up with everything.