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IMPORTANT National Skywarn Forum – Official Forum Rules Policy

Discussion in 'Skywarn Forum News and Information' started by Shawn Gossman, Jun 22, 2015.

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  1. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum – Official Forum Rules, Terms of Use and Guidelines

    Welcome to the Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum, an online message forum community devoted to the discussion of the National Skywarn Storm Spotter program. The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum caters to Skywarn Storm Spotters, Storm Chasers, members of the Meteorology field, emergency management and response professionals and weather enthusiasts. While this forum officially supports the National Skywarn Storm Spotter program, a person does not have to be a Skywarn Storm Spotter in order to create a membership on this forum. We welcome all members as long as the following forum rules, terms of use and guidelines are follow by all members and at all times. Please note that other features and sections of the forum may have additional rules and terms that still apply.

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is a Privately Owned Website
    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is a privately owned website and online community which was founded by and is owned by, Shawn J. Gossman, a longtime certified Skywarn Storm Spotter and emergency management professional and academic. The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is not owned, associated or a partner website of the National Weather Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration or the United States Department of Commerce. This forum is not the official forum of the United States Government or of the National Weather Service. The term Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logo are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and are used with permission. All terms, regulations and governing conditions of this forum are set by a private entity not associated with the United States government or the National Weather Service/NOAA/Commerce.

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum and COPPA
    The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum acknowledges and cooperates with an act known as COPPA. COPPA stands for Children Online Privacy Protection Act. The COPPA Act was designed to help protect children using the internet. With regards to how Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum complies with COPPA, it is important to understand these terms and conditions. All members of Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum must be at least 13 years of age or older to use and/or join this online community. Members’ ages 13 years of age through 17 years of age are required to be permitted by their legal guardian to create an account on this forum – by creating an account, Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum assumes members have permission to do so. Members’ who are 12 years of age or younger found on this forum will be banned per compliance with the COPPA Act. A note to parents and legal guardians – viewer discretion is advised; some content posted on this forum may be considered inappropriate for younger audience members.

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is based in the United States
    The Skywarn Storm Spotter forum is hosted and operates within the United States of America. The forum focuses on US-based National Skywarn Program activities and efforts. While other countries have similar Skywarn-related programs, this forum specifically focuses on the USA-based program. Therefore, Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum abides by US based laws and codes concerning the internet. The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum does not and will not recognize other international laws and/or codes that conflicts with the laws and/or codes of the United States of America. This forum will not comply with non-democratic nations such as declared enemies of the state or countries that have communist-based governments. If you live in another nation besides the United States and/or its territories, you are strongly advised to make sure that you can legally access this website before using it. All content and data associated with the Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is hosted and/or stored within the United States of America.

    Opposition of the National Skywarn Program
    The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum was created to support the National Skywarn Storm Spotter program in a privately owned online community nature. Therefore, opposition of the National Skywarn Storm Spotter program is not accepted on this forum. If you oppose Skywarn and wish to defame and/or speak of the program in a negative manner, please understand that you will not be welcomed on this forum. The discussion of opposing views against the Skywarn program is prohibited from being submitted on this forum. This forum was made for storm spotters, not for those who are against storm spotting. Do not join this forum if you wish to present Skywarn within a negative manner.

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum Member Guidelines
    The following guidelines must be abided by all members of the Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum whether registered or non-registered. Failure to abide by the following guidelines may result in disciplinary actions being taken:

    1. MEMBER ACCOUNTS: All users attempting to join this forum may create one account and one account only. Accounts may not be given away, shared or sold to other internet users. Members are responsible for the security and password selection of their own accounts. Please choose a password that is secure and cannot be easily guessed by others. Never share your forum password with anyone, including forum staff members. If your account is suspended and/or banned, you may not create an additional account. If you have lost access to your account, please contact us to gain assistance in recovering access to your forum account.

    2. DELETING ACCOUNTS AND CONTENT: Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum does NOT delete member accounts or content upon request – by joining this forum, you agree to this clause. If you wish to quit using Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum, simply log out and don’t visit anymore. You can control your account setting to not receive notifications from this forum and restrict the privacy levels of accessing your account. Staff members of the forum will always have full access to your account information other than your password. You can request to change the username of your account if you wish to. Please refrain from sending us requests to delete your account and/or posts as such requests will likely be ignored.

    3. ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR: All members are prohibited from expressing abusive and/or hateful behavior and/or posting such related content on this forum. Do not use this forum to abuse other members and/or non-members. Hate, racism and bigotry against race, sexual orientation, preference, cultural significant and/or location is strictly prohibited on this forum. Stalking, harassment of any kind, threats and constantly being negative is not allowed on this forum. Extreme profanity and violence is also considered abusive behavior and/or material and is strictly prohibited on this forum.

    4. DEBATING: While weather and weather-related debates are allowed on this forum as long as they are respectful and appropriate, the debate and/or discussion of political, religious and social issues is strictly prohibited on this forum. We respect the rights of members and their choice of political, religious and social statuses but such content and discussions is not appropriate on a message forum devoted to Skywarn and weather topics – therefore discussing such content is not allowed on aspect of this forum. Allowed debate will be closed and ceased if they get out of hand or go off topic.

    5. ADULT CONTENT: Members of the Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum might be under the age of 18 years of age. Therefore, we prohibit the discussion and submitted material and/or media of content that is of an adult nature. Sexual-related content, pornography, extreme violence and extreme profanity is not allowed to be submitted and or discussed on this forum.

    6. ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES: Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum prohibits any sort of illegal activity and/or criminal behavior and/or actions to be conducted on this forum. Illegal activities include crimes recognized by the United States of America and cooperating Interpol agencies. This includes the promotion of activities that are considered illegal. Such activities may be reported, along with information of the offender to respective law enforcement and/or government agencies to the fullest extent of the laws of the United States of America.

    7. HARMFUL CONTENT/MATERIALS: Members are strictly prohibited from posting and/or transmitting harmful content, materials and/or media on Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum. If said content and/or material can harm and/or disrupt member computer/internet services and/or forum server/hosting services, such content and/or materials are not allowed to be posted on this forum. Links to external websites that have such material and/or content may not be posted anywhere on Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum. Links found with such content and/or materials will be permanently ‘black-listed’ from the forum.

    8. LANGUAGE POLICY: Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is exclusively an English-speaking message forum. Therefore, only English may be used on this forum. Other language use on this forum is strictly prohibited. Broken English may be used if readable but members need to understand that non-proper English may result in limited response.

    9. DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR: Members of Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum may not conduct activities and behaviors that are considered disruptive. These activities and behaviors may include but are not limited to trolling, starting conflicts, attempting to create a toxic environment on the forum, posting off-topic content, failing to abide by these rules and other policies, impersonation of anyone, not listening to the directions of forum staff members, intentionally posting duplicate content and posting content that does make any sense. Such behavior and activities are prohibited and will not be tolerated.

    10. CREDIT AND COPYRIGHT: If sharing content, materials and/or media that belongs to another source and/or entity and/or person, members must have official permission from such source in order to share such content, media and/or materials. The violation of copyright, trademark and trade secret laws are prohibited on this forum. Posting articles from third parties are allow as long as articles are only partially posted (do not post the full article) within quoted areas and a link to the original source is provided. This policy is in place to protect this forum from lawsuits concerning the copyright of articles and other materials that might be posted on this forum. If the content and/or media/material isn’t your own, then you know you should post a link to the original source. Failure to abide by this guidelines will result in such content/media/materials being removed from public and/or private view on this forum. The sharing of top secret, classified and related information on this forum is strictly forbidden.

    11. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS: The official staff team members of the Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum have full authority and controls to take the necessary and appropriate disciplinary actions against members who violate our rules and other policies and they may do so based on their own discretion. Our staff members can ban members as well. Please respect staff members and follow their directions and/or instructions in order to avoid disciplinary action being taken against you. The discussion of disciplinary action against you and/or another member on the forum is not allowed.

    12. SPAM AND ADVERTISING: The Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is zero tolerant when it comes to forum spamming activities. Spammers are immediately recognized by staff members and special security controls on the forum and are banned quickly. Bans against spamming is on a permanent basis. Spam is defined as advertising websites, products and services not related to the topic of the forum and/or area the content is being posted in. Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is ad-free and therefore does not sell advertising at all. Members may advertise their own personal websites (must be related to Skywarn or weather subjects) in their signatures and profiles. Posting links to external websites in discussions may be permitted if it relates to the topic. Posting topics solely for means of promoting and/or advertising a website is not allowed. All links posted on Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum are set to ‘No-Follow’ concerning search engines. Signature links may only be seen by registered members who are logged in with active account statuses. Competitive links (links to other Skywarn and related forums) are allowed to be posted in signature and profiles of members as long as Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum can do the same on their forum – that is fair! Forums that do not allow competitive links may not be posted on Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum.

    13. SEX OFFENDERS: Users who are registered and/or convicted sex offenders in their State and/or country officially or unofficially are prohibited from using this forum under any circumstance whatsoever. This forum caters to members who are in good standing with their local communities and countries. There are minors present on this forum. Therefore, sex offenders are strictly prohibited from using this forum. If sex offenders are found to be using this forum, information about their usage and internet usage will be reported to law enforcement agencies and/or their local government officials. SkywarnForum.com will cooperate with law enforcement agencies in investigations against members who are illegally using this forum as register and/or convicted sex offenders. [Added 12/24/2016]

    14. GOSSIP: Gossiping about another person or entity, whether they are a member of the forum or not is strictly prohibited. [Added 12/24/2016]

    15. MISLEADING CONDUCT: Misleading conduct and/or providing inaccurate information of any kind on this forum is strictly prohibited. [Added 12/24/2016]

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum Disciplinary Action System
    Members who are found to be in violation of these rules and conditions and other policies in which we hold, will be subject to our disciplinary action system. The following system has been put into place to deal with disciplinary actions:

    Warnings and Infractions: When a member is issued a warning and/or disciplinary infraction, such issuance will be done through our Private Message (PM) system. The said member will receive a message (which may be automated) by our forum staff members explaining that they have been warned and/or infracted for disciplinary reasons. The message will explain what rule has been violated, what actions have and/or will be taken and a link to our policies page concerning the rule or term that has been violated. Disciplinary actions will not be done in public and therefore may not be discussed in public as well. The closing of topics may result in public exposure whereas staff members will explain why topics have been closed. In most cases, the closing of topics does not usually result in individual disciplinary actions taken against members.

    Warnings – When a warning is issued, no particular action is taken besides a notification to the offending member and instructions on how to not continue to violate the forum rules and/or other policies that are present. Repeated warning will usually result in further actions being taken. However, when a member is warned for a violation, other staff members are made aware of the warning and will continue to watch warned members to ensure that further violations are not made.

    Infractions – Infractions are a step up from warnings because they usually result in some form of action being taken against a violating member. For smaller violations, infractions often result in disciplinary action points. Points received that reach a certain number of points may automatically result in actions such as feature and account suspensions and temporary to permanent account bans. For minor violations, disciplinary action points will eventually be removed from member accounts as long as the member remains in good standing after an infraction has occurred. The amount of time in which such points will be removed depends on the infraction that has been issued. Repeated violations will often result in an increase of action points being added to member accounts which could result in quicker forms of disciplinary actions against the offending member.

    Automatic Actions Based on Points – Minor violations such as minor use of profanity or starting a political-based debate topic often result in 1 to 2 disciplinary action points. 1 to 2 points usually result in no automatic actions being taken as long as other points have not been accumulated on the offending member account. Moderate violations such as abusive behavior or copyright violations will often result in points ranging from 3 to 5 points. These number of points will often result in automatic disciplinary actions taking place such as being banned from the forum for 24 hours or losing access to certain feature and forum privileges. Points received in the 6 to 10 range are mainly reserved for major violations like spamming, threats and related and will often result in automatic actions that are longer in length to even permanent in nature. However permanent banning is usually done through voting processes taken by staff members of the forum. Ban appeals may be made by emailing shawn@skywarnforum.com with a letter of appeal.

    Disciplinary Action Avoidance: Members can avoid disciplinary actions by simply following the forum rules and other policies on Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum. You should respect others, their opinions and keep clear from extreme arguments to avoid actions being taken against your forum account. Our staff members are trained and provided with resources for early detection of abusive behaviors and actions and our staff members are always watching.

    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum and Privacy/Security/Safety
    Skywarn Storm Spotter Forum is concerned about the privacy, security and safety of each member on this forum. Please read the full Official Privacy Policy for this forum to learn more about how your private information is collected, stored and used on this forum. You are also encouraged to read our Official Security Information post about ways to protect your account on our forum. We are also committed to respecting your right to privacy while using this forum. Private messages made on this forum are between the members who are invited and/or start to message. Our staff team does not read private messages made by members unless such messages are reported as abuse and/or spam. The posting of private messages on the forum is strictly prohibited in all cases.

    Thank you for reading and abiding by our official forum rules, terms of use and guidelines. If you see or suspect a violation taking place, please report it to one of our staff members so that we can look into it and help protect this community. We reserve the right to modify this policy at any time with or without notification of modification.

    This policy was lasted updated on December 24, 2016.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  2. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    The forum rules policy has been updated!
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  3. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    A new term and information has been added to this policy.
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  4. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    The Rule policy has been updated. The following new term was added:

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    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    The forum rules policy has been updated with a complete re-write - please review!
  6. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Skywarn Forum Owner Staff Member Skywarn Forum Owner Skywarn Forum Moderator

    This policy has been updated.
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