Forum Guidelines

Who we are, and membership info.
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Meneldur Olvarion
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Forum Guidelines

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Jul 13, 2009 12:58 am

Some guidelines for our board

This page is written from the experience of managing several internet forums.
There may seem to be a lot of rules and regulations in here, but it's with these things as with all the legal stuff: you need to cover a lot of terrain for eventualities that might never happen.
Of course we assume that everyone who joins us has good intentions. But especially uncommon religious / spiritual material tends to also attract persons who are not very stable. And we've all seen how easy it is to misunderstand others in discussion forums, and how easy it is for trolls to ruin an internet community.
These rules are intended to deal with that sort of thing and they must be there for all to see. Without them it is impossible to take any administrative action.
If a troll tries to disrupt things, and is told to stop doing that, he or she can ask "Ok, so tell me, where does it say that I can't exercise my Free Speech rights?"

So, this is where :)

Most of these points come from other forums where there's ample experience dealing with these things. But some are also specific for IV, and in that sense they can also make things clear about what we do in here. As is been said elsewhere, gnosis is hard to achieve.
It basically requires you to carefully step outside of what the present-day culture has defined as "common sense" - or even "sense". But - and this is absolutely essential - while keeping a level head.
When you travel to Faerie, you are leaving known territory and step into the unknown. Neither science, nor religion can guide you there. Very few others have gone there before, and they all had to find their way. There is no prescribed road.
It is a narrow path, in which you must avoid both to be grounded by the ever-present Logic and take care not to get caught in the storms of the abyss that lies outside of that.

That is why we are protective of IV and that's how you should read these guidelines.


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IV related
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about WHAT we do

► DO remember that Ilsaluntë Valion is about Tolkienian Gnosis. We acknowledge that this allows for a difference in approach, because we are all different, have different backgrounds. For some, meditation works best; others use other techniques to achieve gnosis. Still, what we do revolves around Tolkien's Legendarium; using these materials in order to jazz up practices that have no fundamental connection to the Legendarium (like Wiccan rituals with an elvish flavour) is not what we do. Neither is investigating whether one is of Royal Descent (whatever that may be) or other such frivolities.

► gnosis is hard to achieve, it asks for a balanced approach navigating between skepticism and spiritual awareness. It turns out that many people either fall short in the skepticism department (which results in balderdash) or in the awareness department (in which case it's more about entertainment than gnosis). Therefore, we have developed a sharp sense of what's balderdash: grandiloquent claims of one having privileged insight, having royal ancestry, having special powers or other such nonsense is not tolerated.

► IV is not the place for a meta-discussion about either our structure, the validity of our path, whether we should 'make it simpler' so that 'normal people' can also understand it, or that Tolkien forgot to include Vampires* or sex in his books. There's ample place for those discussions on the internet, but not here. 

► Do not try to shoehorn (parts of) the Legendarium into another (spiritual) tradition. Some members have another tradition that they retain next to the Legendarium – which is fine. Discussing elements from other traditions is fine.

Respect the traditions from which the elements that you work with come from.

► Similarly, do not introduce elements from other traditions into IV practices without forewarning, discussion and general agreement. We try to keep IV as purely Legendarium-only as we can. So: don't Paganize, Reductionize or anythingnize the Legendarium - there's about a trillion websites out there where one can indulge in that as much as necessary – please don't do that in here.


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about HOW we do that

Anyone who registers is welcome in the open part of IV in principle. We do reserve the right to refuse certain persons.

Active membership: Ilsaluntë Valion is a bit different from other forums. We are a group of individuals who are building a spiritual path based on a gnostic interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien's collected works – the Legendarium.

We try to achieve something. It is a collaborative effort.

It requires something other from you than - say - Ubuntu forums does. There, you can register, and remain  anonymous. Here, we are a small group of people who are engaged in something that we feel is very significant and meaningful. Participation therefore implies some responsibilities towards one another: we expect any member to be active and to at least "keep in touch". For all members therefore, new or not, moderated or not, goes the requirement that a minimal "presence" is required. It's not that you are required to post even if you're busy, on vacation, cramming for exams or what have you - just let the others know that you won't be in touch for some time. If members stay away and remain silent (no mail, chat, or other contact with one of the Officers) for a month without any sign of life, we'll mail a reminder. If there is no sign of life within another month, we consider them "not interested anymore" and their account will be deleted.

Moderation: new members are moderated at first. This is simply a matter of some years of internet forum experience and being careful. If a new member seems to fit in, then the moderation will be lifted. There is no fixed time or post count for this, but if you are reasonably active, it should not have too last long.

Lurking: when a new, moderated member has not posted anything within a month after being admitted and has not contacted us, their account will be deleted without further notice.

Like any forum, IV is not a democracy... but as long as someone's interests and focus are in line with what we do, then anyone's opinion about any subject is equally worth hearing and is worth everyone's respect.

Content Copying: IV is not meant to generate income with. Still, we take pride in what we accomplish in terms of personal development, creative achievements or research. Therefore, we expect from anyone that they respect this and not present what they find in IV as their own. For instance, it will not be appreciated if IV content is copied / used in your own website (forum, book, article, whatever) without prior consent from IV staff.

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General Forum Etiquette
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Ilsaluntë Valion has members of very diverse background.
With this in mind the following general guidelines have been put in place.


DO:
► remember that Ilsaluntë Valion is a place for growth, support, the exchange of ideas and experiences. All members; whether experienced, or new should feel comfortable at Ilsaluntë Valion. Therefore, be respectful and courteous to one another!
► realize that the Legendarium was, is, and remains the framework from within which we work.
► realize that it's OK to talk about other traditions, taking into account what our IV forum guidelinessay about "paganizing" or "Wiccanizing" & etc.
► treat your fellow members with courtesy (especially if you disagree with them).
► communicate. In English.
► realize that others should understand whatever you write, so take some effort to be understandable to those others.
► use your sense of humor if you have one, and want to …

DON'T:
► use porn or foul language
► post offensive content (offensive is defined as anything that generates a complaint and can range from porn to preaching)
► post direct insults to any member of Ilsaluntë Valion. Everyone should be treated with the same degree of respect.
► flame or force your opinions on other members without regard to their feelings. This does not mean that you can't post sensitive issues or get into heated debates; it just means you have to use some common sense and courtesy when posting your opinions/views/debates.
► spam: repeating your comments unnecessarily, mean spirited criticism, and repetitive arguments
► discriminate against race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or of any other kind. We distance ourselves explicitly from any person or group that is involved in whatever flavor of (white) supremacist thinking. If you're into that, or have any sympathies in that direction, you are not welcome here. Period.
► post links to any site for "points". No blind links to generate income.
► post links to other groups, forums or communities in signatures or posts, without the explicit written permission of the staff.
► post links to viruses, fake viruses, or anything which could be of a violent nature to anyone’s PC
► do duplicate registrations. Individual users should register one and only one account on this forum. The reason for this is simple - a user with more than one account usually isn't up to anything very good. If a user is found to have registered more than one account, the last one registered will be terminated and the user will be warned. Any further attempts to register another alias will lead to a permanent ban. If a user is already banned when trying to register another account, that person will be banned for life and will have their actions reported to their ISP.
► treat staff with disrespect
► form sub-groups or cliques.
► do hero-worshipping. All members' opinions are equally worth hearing, and we don't have demi-gods, guru's, mages, sages or any other cases that think they are worthy of above-average attention. It's what you do that counts, not who you are.
► seek ego-amplification or self-gratification: trying to cultivate a personal image meant to impress and / or influence others, or to assign a certain (perceived) status to oneself is considered dishonest and an attempt to gain advantage over others. It will not be tolerated.
► broadcast information in the forums that invades another person's privacy.
► all the above goes for posts and personal messages alike

People intentionally trespassing will be dealt with by the staff through warnings and bans as they see fit.

Some additional points:
► Provide criticism with source documentation given where possible to back up your opinions while using common sense, respect, and courtesy. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
► Issues that members feel are too sensitive or inappropriate should not, and will not be discussed here. If any issue is posted that the staff feels is not appropriate for Ilsaluntë Valion or if the general consensus among members is that the topic is too sensitive, the topic will be deleted with or without explanation.
► Please do NOT post email addresses in posts. Doing so opens people up for unwanted spam and viruses.
► Please respect each other's privacy. If you have an issue with somebody outside of Ilsaluntë Valion please keep it out of Ilsaluntë Valion.
► If the issue somehow becomes part of Ilsaluntë Valion please try to deal with it privately.
► If dealing with it privately does not work, please contact a staff member.

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