Welcome to Giant in the Playground!

The website staff of Giant in the Playground welcomes 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 the Forum Rules carefully. Even if you have been here a while, please read them carefully - some old rules have changed and some new ones have been added. These Rules apply everywhere on this Forum, including every subforum, spoiler box, signature, avatar, and Private Message.

Please note that the staff of the Giant in the Playground forums reserves the right to make modifications to the Forum Rules or take other actions not presently discussed in the Forum Rules as necessary without prior notification. As we come across new situations, we will update these rules to provide a clear understanding for all posters as to what is expected on these forums.

Rich has selected a number of Moderators (Mods) 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 disagree with a specific act of moderation please contact the moderator, respectfully, to discuss the matter. If you really feel you have been treated unfairly by a Moderator, you may contact Roland St. Jude, the Forum Guru.

Moderators are easy to identify – they have the words "Moderator" or "Administrator" in blue under their usernames, and they have custom user titles. Each Moderator has several specific forums they focus on (and thus are the first ones you should contact if you have a question on a specific forum), but they can all take Moderator actions in any forum.

If you have a question or concern about these Rules or anything else on the Forum, 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 alter ego for them. When they post in this manner, pay close attention to what they have to say. While they have assigned subforums, they are authorized to act in any subforum.

Currently, the Moderators, their Mod names, titles, any specific roles they hold, and their usual subforums are:
  • Douglas (The Mod Radiant/Surgebinder in the Playground) - Friendly Banter, Media Discussions, Technology, The Order of the Stick, Webcomics
  • Haruki-kun (The Winged Mod/Angel in the Playground) - Friendly Banter, Message Board Games, Structured Games, Freeform Roleplaying Games
  • LibraryOgre (The Mod Ogre/Librarian in the Playground) - Roleplaying Games, Homebrew Design, Gaming (Other), The Order of the Stick
  • The Glyphstone (Great Modthulhu/Eldritch Horror In The Playground) - Roleplaying Games, Homebrew Design, Gaming (Other)
  • CTurbo (The Great Mod in the Sky/Nobody in the Playground) - Gaming
  • flat_footed (The Fullmetal Mod/Alchemist In The Playground) – Gaming/PbP
  • jdizzlean (The Mod Life Crisis/Nerdomancer In The Playground) - Gaming
  • Peelee (The Mod on the Silver Mountain/Dragon In The Playground) – Comics; Discussion
  • pirate ninja (The Modly Roger/Pirate In The Playground) – Comics; Discussion
  • truemane (Metamagic Mod/Archmage In The Playground) – Discussion; PbP
  • Ventruenox (Mödley Crüe/Stranger In The Playground) - Gaming

We also have a Special Moderator who focuses on the specific forum that were created just for the aspect of GitP he's involved in.
  • apegamer (APE Games in the Playground) - Special Mod for The OOTS Adventure Game Forum

In addition, there are two Administrators. Both have the powers of a Mod, as well as additional duties and powers.
  • Forum Technical Support
    Rawhide (Hairy Modfather/Lost in the Playground) - Entire board - no specific forum
  • Forum Guru
    Roland St. Jude (Sheriff of Moddingham/Gunslinger in the Playground) - Entire board - no specific 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.

Retired Moderators
These individuals have retired from active moderation after years of much appreciated service. While they no longer post with the authority of a moderator, at one time they did. Posters would be wise to read their older posts as having been made with modly authority.

RawBearNYC (Voice of a Mod) - Our former Website Support Admin
WampaX (Wampinator) - Our former Forum Guru and Admin
Baron (Baron von Mod)
Lilly (Fairy Modmother)
Gorbash Kazdar (Comrade Gorby)
Bogotter (Mod Otter)
xthemage (X the Mod)
Grey Watcher (Red Watcher/That Guy in the Playground)
averagejoe (The Mod They Call Me/Hero in the Playground)
Alarra (Mod Goddess/Grandma in the Playground)
Castaras (Mod of the Apocalypse/Pieromancer in the Playground)
Chambers (Mod of the Broken Pattern/Planetouched in the Playground)
kpenguin (The Modguin/Penguin in the Playground)
Savannah (The Mod One Out/Humanoid (human) in the Playground)
SMEE (The Rainbow Mod/Pure Girl in the Playground)
Vaynor (The Red Towel/Hoopy Frood in the Playground)
Zeb the Troll (Troll Patrol/Grandpa in the Playground)

Reporting Posts
As a poster, the best way you can help the Moderators (besides following these Rules) is to report posts you see that are violating these Rules. You can do this by clicking on the Report Button ( / ), which can be found in the user information box on each post. This will bring up a window where you can enter notes on what you think the violation may be.

This report is entered into a system where all Mods can see and review it, eliminating the need to contact a Mod directly. Multiple reports on a specific post are appended to the first, so don't worry that a post may have already been reported.

We strongly suggest you report rule violations rather than respond to them, as responding may put you in violation of one of the Forum Rules. The lack of immediate moderator action on a post that may break any of these rules does not mean we automatically condone the content of that post nor is it permission for anyone else to break the rules in a similar way. It just means it hasn't been reported yet or no moderator has had an opportunity to respond to any such reports that have been made. If you see a post that you think breaks the rules, the proper response is to simply report it, not assume that the post must be in compliance—and certainly not to commit the same offense in the belief that we won't enforce the rules! Similarly, there is no time limit or statute of limitations on a violation of these rules; warnings and infractions can be issued days, weeks, or months after the offending behavior if that's how long it takes for it to be brought to our attention.

Moderator Actions
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. A poster's first violation of any given category will usually earn a Warning and all subsequent violations in that category will usually earn an Infraction, excluding Instant Banning offenses (which are more strict) and Please Don't offenses (where the default is always a Warning except for repeated or flagrant violations). This is the default, which moderators may vary as appropriate.

Mods may issue Warnings for rule violations. These are issued in the same manner as Infractions or may appear as red text posts in a forum. Warnings serve as a reminder to you of the forum's rules, which you are expected to understand and follow. They do not incur Infraction points and thus do not count towards the possibility of banning (see the Warnings and Infractions section) but do appear on your profile for tracking.

Infractions are similar to Warnings but are for more significant rule violations and do incur Infraction points. Earning 300 or more points can lead to being banned (see the Warnings and Infractions section). Infractions will always be issued via the board system and will appear in a PM.

Instant Bans
Certain specific rule violations (such as Spamming) result in an Instant Ban that may be issued by any Mod.

Additionally, the staff of the Giant in the Playground forums reserves the right to ban a user determined to be particularly disruptive or problematic at any time without prior warning or other Infractions. Our intent is to utilize our Infraction system in all cases, but in extreme cases we will take necessary actions to ensure the health of the forum community.

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.

Moderators will remove all or part of any post that violates these forum rules, even in the case where an Infraction may not be issued. They will also remove the edited text from subsequent quotes of the original post. Generally, the Moderator who edits the post will leave a red text note of "scrubbed" or a similar statement to show that the post has been edited to remove such content (these notes are for tracking by Moderators so we can tell when something has been cleaned up).

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 (or received an Infraction) once for their behavior in a thread and will most likely be accompanied by an Infraction.

Moving, Splitting, and Merging Threads
Sometimes threads get started in the wrong place; this is understandable. If we find one, though, we'll whisk 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. Also, Mods may also split off posts from a thread that are off-topic in order to make a new thread for the discussion or merge two threads on the same topic into one. When threads are split, the Mod will post a note to that effect in the original thread with a link to the new one. Merged or split threads will sometimes be moved to a new forum as well. Threads may also be moved to a moderator-only area for review. Please treat such threads as closed (and do not restart them). If you have questions about such a thread, send a Private Message to Roland St. Jude.

Closing/Locking Threads
Closing, also called "locking," a thread means to prevent further posts in that thread. Some threads reach a point where they need to be closed (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 it may be because it's a copy of another active thread. Remember that re-starting a closed thread without permission is against the rules. Mods may also close a thread in order to review its contents without having additional posts added and then reopen it after resolving the situation. If the thread is reopened by a Mod, you may post to it again.

The Infraction System
On the Giant in the Playground Forums, we utilize a built-in system to track Infractions. Moderators issue these via controls available to them on each post and on the user profile. Both can be viewed by a Moderator or by the poster receiving the Infraction on the user profile with notes as to the reason it was issued; the number of Infractions, and Infraction points received, also appears in the user information box on all posts. Normally, a specific post is being cited; this post will be marked with a Red Card icon in the lower right corner. The same Red Card icon appears on the user profile list. Please note that only Moderators and the poster receiving the Infraction can see this information. It cannot be viewed by other non-Mod posters. When an Infraction is initially issued, you will receive a detailed PM explaining what the Infraction is for.
Infraction/Red Card Icon:

Warnings are designed as friendly reminders of the rules. They are issued to let a poster know he or she has strayed close to, or a bit over, the line. Warnings are not permanent and do not incur Infraction Points. Any Infraction may be issued as a Warning, but it will be extremely rare for a Permanent or Instant Ban infraction to be issued in this manner. Warnings also appear on the profile like Infractions, and the total number appears before Infractions and Infraction Points in the user information box. Warnings are associated with Yellow Card icons on the profile and cited post.
Warning/Yellow Card Icon:

Infraction Points
The Infraction point system allows us to track rule violations over time in two ways. First, as explained above, it provides a clear record of what the infraction was for and when it was issued. The second way is by assigning a point value to each Infraction. We use a 100 point scale, with 100 points being a full Infraction (i.e. 100%). Some Infractions are worth less than 100 points - either 25 or 50, currently - as they are more minor violations. The Infraction will list its point value when it is issued. Earning 300 total Infraction points results in an account immediately being reviewed for banning. Many Infractions have time limits, so they will expire and cease to count towards the point total after a set time. However, some Infractions are permanent and will never expire.

Infraction Types
Below are the various categories of Warnings and Infractions we use on this forum, and explanations for each.

Disobeying Rules for Section You Are Posting In
Some sections of the boards may have a set of rules just for that section. Those rules are explained in greater detail in that forum. In some cases, violating specific forum rules will result in an Infraction; please read each forum's specific rules carefully.

Please Don't
These are offenses that will not typically result in an Infraction or banning upon the first offense, thus being issued as Warnings. However, repeated or flagrant violations will eventually result in an Infraction. In some cases a Mod may edit a post or post an in thread message saying "Please don't do that," or (more likely) issue you a Warning under the "Please Don't" category. Please Don't offenses have a 3-month expiration, and are worth 25 points when issued as an Infraction.

Typing Incoherently/Foreign Languages
This is an English-speaking forum. With the exception of text-only translations of the comic or other specifically authorized exceptions, please use English only on this forum. While an occasional word or phrase is acceptable, entire posts, conversations, or threads in languages other than English will be scrubbed or closed.

A forum is a written medium and people have to read what you write. Chat speak, l33t speak, encrypted/enciphered text, 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 you 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.

Excessive Use of Profanity
Most profanity is censored by our filter, though a few mild terms (generally those that appear in the comic) and words that have both a benign meaning and a profane or offensive one, are not. However, the excessive use of profanity, whether or not it is filtered, is not acceptable. Most words can be determined from context, and we wish to maintain a friendly and courteous environment on this forum. Please note that an occasional filtered word or use of a non-filtered word is not an offense; if, however, your ****** posts ******* regularly look like this ******* sentence, it is in violation of this rule. We do realize that the filter is both under-inclusive and over-inclusive; we are not going to change it by poster request. Also, circumventing the filter for even a single profanity is a more serious violation of the Forum Rules (see below under "Circumventing the Board Filter").

Responding to Spam
If you see a spam post, please Report it. DO NOT respond to it, even if your response is "This is spam!" “Reported” or a similar variation. All this does is draw attention to the thread, furthering the spammer's goals, and potentially make it more difficult for a Moderator to correct the problem; it does not in any way help. This applies to all manner of spam posts, including ad spam, nonsense posts, and returned banned posters posts.

Excessively Embellished Formatting
This refers to using different colors for different words, using formatting to be rude or appear smarter than someone or generally going overboard with formatting. 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 overall, 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, rather than coding them into the post. You may also post images that exceed the width limit under a Spoiler tag along with a note that it is a large image. Please note that images under spoilers still load every time someone views the thread, so large file sizes are still a concern.

Please refer to the Avatar and Signature rules below for more information on images in these areas.

Posting Copyrighted Content
Posting any copyrighted material without permission of the copyright holder is against the rules. Likewise, please do not link to copyrighted material being hosted elsewhere without the rights-holder's permission. Posts containing such content will be edited to remove that content. In particular, posts containing copyrighted material from game books that are not designated Open Gaming Content (OGC) will be edited to remove the copyrighted portions. As an example, mentioning a specific rule item or general mechanic, or explaining in general how it functions, does not violate this rule. However, posting an entire stat block for a monster or an entire character class would. OGC is published under the Open Gaming License. OGC may be reproduced in full, as per the terms of that license. Please keep in mind that material under the d20 License may not be OGC. When in doubt, refer to the primary source to see if there is a copy of the OGL included. Note that any content in the System Reference Document (SRD) can be reproduced as well.

Also, please do not take, alter, or use the provided avatar images, comic images, or other pieces of Rich's art without express consent.

One Topic, One Thread
There should be only one active thread for a specific topic in most cases. Please check and see if there is already an active thread (one that has been posted on in the last 45 days) discussing a topic before posting a new one.

Thread Necromancy
Bringing a thread back from "the dead." If a thread hasn't been posted in within the last 45 days, don't reply to it. Start a new topic, if you want to discuss the subject (you are welcome to link to the old thread). If you think it would be better to resurrect an old thread, PM a moderator for that subforum and wait for approval. The original poster of a creation in Homebrew (and only that poster) may revive a creation beyond the 45 day threshold without prior Moderator approval.

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.

Double Posting
Posting twice in a row is generally frowned upon. If you are responding to multiple points, please use quotes and other post formatting to clarify this. Please use the Edit option to modify information in a post instead of immediately making a new one. If you do accidentally double post, you can delete the extra post under the Edit option.

Spoilers Outside of a Spoiler Thread or Not Under Spoiler Tags
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 the appropriate tags 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.

Minor Spam
Minor spam refers to posts that do not add to any discussion; often, one word posts will fall under this ruling (outside of SMBG games which require one-word responses of course). For example, quoting another users post and putting "QFT" or "quoted for truth," or a similar agreement, without adding any additional information of your own would fall under this rule. Posting any page or response claim - for example, "first page! or "first response!" would also fall under this heading, even if you include other discussion in your post. Posts that note "in before the lock" or merely warn that the thread will end badly are also minor spam. Likewise, posts that merely bump a thread (whether that post is "bump" or "this happened") are minor spam. It also includes comments hazing new posters no matter how innocuous. Posts of this type will be removed or edited, and the poster may be issued an Infraction.

Minor Infractions
These are offenses that will garner you an Infraction and most likely a modification of the offending post. Minor Infractions have a 6-month expiration time and are worth 50 points.

"Mea culpa" Offenses
Acknowledging the fact that your activity is breaking the rules is not allowed, nor is it 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. Likewise, attempting to ward off an Infraction by admitting your behavior violates the Forum Rules is not tolerated. This will, instead, result in a second Infraction. If you know, or even think, that what you are about to do is worthy of an Infraction, 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 Infractions: 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 Infractions. Passive-aggressive flaming is still flaming, and, once again, it earns a mea culpa penalty.
  • "I know this is harsh, and mods delete this if you must but..."
  • "We're not supposed to discuss religion here, but...

Circumventing the Board Filter
If a poster attempts to circumvent the board's language filter in order to post profane or obscene content, the post will be modified and the poster will be issued an Infraction. This includes masking (using non-letter characters in place of letters). This includes using things like "WTF" "effing" or "fcuk."

Re-starting a Previously Closed Thread Without Permission
Certain threads will be closed 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 closed and they will be issued an Infraction—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. Re-posting is only allowed if a Moderator gives express permission beforehand.

Failure to Follow the Signature and Avatar Rules
Please keep in mind that your signature and avatar appear on every post you make. Make sure to follow the Signature and Avatar rules described in further detail below.

Major Infractions
These are offenses that will garner you an Infraction and most likely a modification of the offending post. Major Infractions have a 12-month expiration time and are worth 100 points.

Any poster that attacks, insults, belittles, or abuses another poster will have their offending post modified and an Infraction issued to them. Please do not attack, insult, or belittle other posters, individually or collectively. 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.
  • Name calling, including terms obviously meant in a pejorative sense such as "troll" or "fanboy"
  • 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 and will result in an additional infraction (see Mea Culpa above).
  • Harassment of other posters, such as repeatedly following them from thread to thread to dispute them, personally.
  • Tell a poster that they didn't read something, whether upthread, elsewhere on the forum, or anywhere else. This is not a discussion tactic we permit here. Additionally, any statement that states or implies that the only way someone could disagree with you is because they don't understand/can't read properly is likewise not allowed.
  • Comments that, while directed at another's post content, are inherently insulting to the poster, such as, "Your comment is moronic/insane/nonsensical."
  • Comments that accuse other posters of lying, being deliberately obtuse, being or acting ignorant, or similar inherently insulting attacks on others’ good faith.
  • 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 is a Permanent Infraction (see below).
Remember: 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.

Any post or comment that, in the judgment of the Moderators, was made solely or primarily 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 an Infraction. If a thread is judged to have been started for this reason, it will be locked, and the poster issued an Infraction.

In particular, editing a quote of another user's post to insult the poster or to make the other user's words appear misleading, inflammatory, or insulting is considered trolling, and any such modified quotes will be removed and an Infraction issued.

Also, comments that are pointless negation of the purpose of a thread ("threadcrapping") or comments predicting the thread will end badly ("doomsaying") are also likely to be trolling.

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 an Infraction. If another poster ventures into an Inappropriate Topic matter, it does not give you a free pass to respond to his post with more discussion in that vein; 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 report the post, and the Moderators will address the situation as necessary.

External/Personal Baggage
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. This is not the forum to air the personal or relationship grievances against other posters - please do not bring your relationship (or former relationship) conflicts to this forum. If you can't check your baggage at the door, you'll end up earning an Infraction.

Any behavior that is - in the judgment of the Moderators - intended to disturb, upset, threaten, exploit, or otherwise provoke a given poster. The most common form of this would be making repeated individual contact with another poster for any purpose after they have requested that you stop. Such contact may take the form of PMs or posts to threads in which they are participating; if we are made aware of it, we may also consider contact occurring away from this site when determining whether there is a pattern of behavior that needs to be stopped. (Note that participating in a thread within the confines of the stated topic generally does not constitute harassment, even if a poster is specifically arguing or otherwise disagreeing with you.)

Any attempt to - in the judgment of the Moderators - intimidate, disparage, or ostracize a given poster from the forum community, especially when using one's standing and existing relationships within the community to do so. Basically, any actions that try to make this place hostile to one or more given users, whether it singles them out by name or simply leaves that to be inferred. As above, we reserve the right to use information from other websites (if it is brought to our attention by a forum member) when determining whether or not there is a pattern of behavior.

Ignoring or Disrespecting a Mod posting under their Mod Name or in red text
Any poster that deliberately ignores or disrespects a post made by a Moderator using their Mod Name will be issued an Infraction. In the situation of a very short amount 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 or in red text
Any poster that deliberately ignores or disrespects a Private Message or Warning/Infraction sent by a Moderator using their Mod Name will be issued an Infraction. 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 amount 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 Edited Posts
If one of your posts is edited by a Moderator in any way, do not edit that post again. This includes deleting entirely a post that has been edited by a Moderator.

Vigilante Modding
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 to report the post as discussed above or to a PM to the local Moderator. At most, you may courteously link to this announcement. 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 will be issued an Infraction for their actions.

Discussing How to Circumvent the Forum Rules
We have developed these forum rules to ensure that we maintain a friendly community. As such, we expect all users to abide by them, and discussing or explaining ways to circumvent these rules makes it much more difficult to ensure that. Such posts are therefore themselves against our forum rules. Posts of this sort will be edited and the poster issued an Infraction.

Permanent Infractions
These are offenses that will garner you an Infraction and most likely a modification of the offending post. Permanent Infractions have NO expiration time and are worth 100 points.

Extreme Flaming
A flame that includes insults or slurs based on anyone's race, religion, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, or sexual orientation is a Permanent Infraction, at the least, and may result in an Instant Ban for Hate Speech. Additionally, this Infraction may be issued in the case of a particularly nasty flame of any type at the discretion of the Mods.

Major Infraction Against a Moderator
Committing any Major Infraction against a Moderator other than the specific Ignoring or Disrespecting a Mod or Editing a Mod Edit results in a Permanent Infraction.

Repeated Violation of a Major Infraction
If a second Major Infraction is earned for the same offense as a current active Major Infraction issued in the last month, the second will be issued as a Permanent Infraction.

300 Infraction Points
If you earn 300 or more active Infraction Points at any time, you will be placed on Probation and will remain on Probation until your Infraction Points drop below 300. Any subsequent Infractions while you are on Probation will trigger a review for potential permanent banning.

It should also be noted that flagrant offenses may result in a ban even if they do not result in 300 Infraction Points. Repeated and excessive violations of the same rule, especially over a short period of time, will also result in an immediate ban.

Banning Offenses
Violating any of the following rules will result in an immediate ban from the Giant in the Playground forums, regardless of how many active Infraction Points the user has.

Committing an Infraction Against Rich or an Administrator
Richard Burlew, who posts as The Giant, is the owner and operator of this website and forum. Committing an Infraction against him will result in a ban. It's his sandbox, after all. Additionally, the Administrators are the people chosen by Rich to run the forum, and committing Infractions against them is just as bad.

Hate Speech
Particularly flagrant examples of insults or slurs based on categories/characteristics including but not limited to: race, religion, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Also, denigrating comments or advocating violence towards those groups mentioned above will result in an immediate ban.

Criminal Activity
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 do not work for that company. But do not 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.)

Posters are not permitted to advertise or sell goods or services on this forum. 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 do it. 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, or is posting on behalf of a previously banned user, the account of that user will also be banned.

Inappropriate Topics
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. Please note that, as specifically stated below, these topics remain off-limits even where they intersect with gaming or other activities discussed on these forums, and that putting an alert for "Adult" or "Mature" content on the thread does not allow circumvention of this rule. Likewise, if you can't post something under the Forum Rules, please don't link to that content.
  • Real-world religions (including religious reactions to gaming)
  • Real-world politics (including political reactions to gaming)
  • Graphic violence
  • Illegal drugs
  • Illegal/Criminal activity
  • Explicit sexuality
Even a single comment, reference, or post on these topics violates the Forum Rules. Please read these terms with the widest possible breadth and avoid such comments.

These particular topics are barred either because have been found to be generally inflammatory and do not contribute anything useful to the forum as a whole, or because they have the potential for creating difficult (or even dangerous) situations for our users and moderators:
  • Missed/Late Comics: Threads speculating on when a comic will be posted or why it may be late will be locked; this does not apply to official threads started by site staff providing notification of a late comic.
  • Rules/Moderator Complaints: Our forum rules have all been carefully considered before being implemented, and we do expect that all users abide by them, even if they do not fully agree with the reasoning behind them. We are happy to answer questions about the rules in the Board/Site Issues forum, but unsolicited whining, kvetching, or general complaining about the existing rules will be removed, as will complaints about specific moderators, moderator actions, or the moderation staff in general. If you have a concern involving a moderator or the forum rules, we ask that you send a PM to Roland St. Jude, the Forum Guru.
  • Protesting Bannings/Glorifying or Discussing Banned Posters: We value our posters, and take care only to ban posters who commit egregious or repeated violations of our Rules. Once that action is taken, though, it is an Inappropriate topic to discuss, glorify, or memorialize banned posters or their rules violations. We have found in the past that such displays are disruptive to the community. If you have a concern regarding a banned poster, we ask that you send a PM to Roland St. Jude, the Forum Guru.
  • Professional Advice: Please do not give any form of professional advice to other posters, whether it is solicited or not, even if you are a licensed professional in that field (and especially if you are not). This includes (but is not limited to) legal, financial planning, psychological, and medical advice. As a rule of thumb, if you need a license to practice such a profession, you can't practice it here. You may suggest that someone seek out such a professional away from these message boards, but you may not actually dispense any other guidance. This rule is to protect those who need such advice from the possibility of being misled with faulty or even dangerous suggestions - however well intentioned - and to protect both you and us from unforeseen liability.

As noted above, commercial (for-profit) advertising is not allowed on GiantITP.com. However, you ARE permitted to post about or start threads advertising non-profit websites; either charity events or merely amateur/fan sites that do not 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 we 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.

Even for works of art online, posters are not permitted to sell goods or services on this forum.

Groups and Message Board Wars
We do not allow groups or threads 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). Nor do we allow groups or threads where the function is to voice opposition (including insulting or defaming) 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. Such groups will be disbanded and threads locked, and Infractions will be issued as the staff deems appropriate.

Multiple/Alternate Accounts
Each individual user may maintain one active account on the Giant in the Playground forums. Registering more than one account, including the use of identified alternate accounts, is not allowed. Likewise, shared or group accounts are not permitted. Though there are several legitimate advantages to such accounts, particularly in the role-play environment, these accounts are too easily abused and allow rule violators too many additional options to avoid the repercussions of their actions to be allowed.

If a user is found to have multiple accounts, all but the main account (the one with the most posts) will be closed, and any Infractions earned under the alternate accounts will be transferred to the main. Deliberate and/or malicious violations of this rule could result in an infraction or ban.

Avatar & Signature Rules
The total width of images in your signature may not exceed 470 pixels. This may be comprised of one or more images.

The total height of images in your signature may not exceed 120 pixels. This may be comprised of one or more images.

Any images in a spoiler may not exceed 300 pixels high by 470 pixels wide.

Total height of your signature may not exceed 12 lines or equivalent. A smaller font may allow additional lines and a larger font will count against multiple lines. A 120 pixel high image is equivalent to 8 lines, a spoiler with no blank lines around it is equivalent to 2 lines. Please be aware of text wrapping as long lines will count as multiple lines at our discretion.

The maximum size for any avatar is 50kb.

The maximum total size for your avatar and every image in your signature, including those in spoilers cannot exceed 300kb.

Avatars and signature images must be static (ie. not animated). Animated avatars or signature images will be subject to immediate removal.

Animated images are still allowed as post content (preferably in a spoiler) but not in your signature or as an avatar as they detract from the rest of the forums when they are attached to every post.

Also, please note that if a change is made to your signature or avatar either directly by a moderator or by way of a moderator request, changing it back to something that does not comply with these rules would lead to an infraction. This falls under the existing rules regarding changing moderator made edits or ignoring/disregarding a moderator.

Copyrighted Material and OotS Images
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 DO NOT use his OOTS art as avatar image, other than those he has specifically provided as the default message board avatars. Also, please do not take, alter, or use the provided avatar images, comic images, or other pieces of Rich's art without express consent. If you want an OOTS-style avatar, there are many burgeoning avatar artists hanging around the Arts and Crafts forum who might make one for you.

You must ensure that you own the copyright of the image (or have been granted permission to use the image by the copyright holder), and that it is hosted on a website which allows image hotlinking for avatars. Any avatar image that is found to be used without the permission of the copyright holder, or is hosted on a website which does not allow hotlinking for avatars, will be removed. 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 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 an Infraction.

Questions and Concerns
If you do have any questions about the rules of posting, please visit the Board/Site Issues forum. You may find that the question has already been addressed there; if not, feel free to start a new thread or PM a moderator.

Please note that any posts/threads with questions on the rules of posting outside of that forum will either be locked or moved there, and any post/thread that is merely a complaint about a specific rule or the Forum Rules as a whole will be deleted or locked.

We are happy to explain why certain rules have been put into force, but each one has already been carefully considered and discussed before it was added.

Additional Terms and Acceptance
By registering and posting on the Giant in the Playground Forums you grant its owner a perpetual, non-revokable, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to display, use, distribute, or modify all of your posts, past and future, on this and any similar or successor medium. Moreover, you attest that you are the copyright holder for all material that you post on our site, and that you authorize Rich Burlew, Giant in the Playground Games, and their successors, to display, use, or modify your copyrighted content on this forum and any similar or successor mediums in perpetuity. The forum and website staff accept no responsibility to remove any of the words or content you post to this site, whether you have the ability to do it yourself or not. In other words, while you retain all copyrights on your words, you grant us the right to display them for as long as this site (or any electronic medium that comes after this one) exists.

Usage of this site, including but not limited to making or editing a post or private message or the creation of an account, constitutes acceptance of the forum rules.

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 few 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!