Rule Intepretations

The purpose of this document is to provide clarification for users on how we enforce our rules. This document will be updated over time if there are any changes. All interpretations from our side are in italics. Only ambiguous rules will have interpretations and the rest is left up to staff discretion.

§1 Follow the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines .

As a user of Discord you are bound to follow the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines of Discord at all times, even if they are to change. Should Discord update their rules, causing a contradiction with our own rules, we will default to enforcing Discord’s rules.

Our reason for taking on the position to enforce Discord’s Terms of Service and Guidelines should not be seen as approval or commitment to their values, interpretations or lack thereof. It is a rule we have and keep because of the way Discord treats servers that do not. Open Debates intends to endure and continue the facilitation of its users, and we can not tolerate behaviors that are antithetical to that goal. We are going out of our way to ensure fair rule keeping for our users, in return we only ask that you follow and act in accordance with them.

§1.1 Do not harass others or organize, promote, or participate in harassment.

Disagreements happen and are normal, but making continuous, repetitive, or severe negative comments or circumventing a block or ban can cross the line into harassment and is not okay.

Harassment is unwanted attention given to a person when they have stated they do not want to receive this kind of attention. We have this rule in order to allow users to effectively opt out of specific interactions. If you can’t manage someone’s declaration you will be just fine if you no longer speak to them in VC or do any action prevented by blocking them in the server.

Users may declare that another user may not call them specific things, mention them or ping them with a reply. These declarations also apply to VC. A user may also request they only be referred to in specific manners. The following list of words can not be restricted by users irrespective of their declarations. That is not to say you may forgo the restrictions on pings, replies or voice chat regulations if you decide to refer to them in these manners. Users may for instance request that you not address them at all. You may still talk about them, but never directly contact them.

The list:
I, me, we, us, you, thou, thee, ye, yo, they, another, anybody, anyone, each, either, enough, everybody, everyone, everything, less, little, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, aught, other, somebody, someone, something, both, few, fewer, many, others, several, all, any, more, most, none, some, such, suchlike, plural, et al, this, that, these, those, idem, who, whom, whose, what, which, each other, one another, every, every one, none, em, dem, ya’ll, you’uns, yinz, youse, ones
And any of their following forms: objective, subjective, possessive, plural, interrogative, intensive or reflexive.

In order to invoke this rule the following criteria need to be met for your declaration:

1. You mention the user you make the declaration towards. If they have made a declaration for you to not mention them you send it to us via Support, and we will inform them on your behalf.
2. In the text you mention that your request is a formal invocation of §1.1
3. The message may not be edited. It is nullified if it is edited.
4. You send the message link for your declaration to Support with some text explaining that it is an invocation.
5. The declaration may not require interpretation on our part. For instance, you can not declare that people may not use fallacies when they address you and expect us to enforce it.

We’re very strict with this rule. If you can’t follow the declared boundaries a person has, it is better to not engage them.

§1.2 Do not organize, promote, or participate in hate speech or hateful conduct.

It’s unacceptable to attack a person or a community based on attributes such as their race, ethnicity, caste, national origin, sex, gender identity, gender presentation, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, serious illness, disabilities, or other protected classifications.

§1.3 Do not make threats of violence or threaten to harm others.

This includes indirect or suggestive threats, as well as sharing or threatening to share someone’s personally identifiable information (also known as doxxing).

Harm to a user includes their Discord and real life person. It means that any damage to their user or their personal property falls under what you are not allowed to threaten. No amount of excuses or context will change our interpretations. If threats are reported, we will treat any threat made, be it a joke or not, as if it is a real threat with the intent to harm. Our user’s security is more important than jokes about harming others.

§1.4 Do not use Discord for the organization, promotion, or support of violent extremism.

This also includes glorifying violent events, the perpetrators of violent acts, or similar behaviors.

Glorifying terrorism and violent events like wars and genocide are disallowed. This also includes wishing/praying for such outcomes at any point in time (past/present).

§1.5 Do not sexualize children in any way.

You cannot share content or links which depict children in a pornographic, sexually suggestive, or violent manner, including illustrated or digitally altered pornography that depicts children (such as lolicon, shotacon, or cub) and conduct grooming behaviors.

Portraying children in sexualized contexts or sexualizing children is strictly forbidden. This rule relies heavily on interpretations and context. The staff team employs a better safe than sorry policy on the matter.

§1.6 Do not share content that glorifies or promotes suicide or self-harm.

This includes any encouragement to others to cut themselves or embrace eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

  • Self-harm threats used as a form of emotional manipulation or coercion are also prohibited.

§1.7 Do not share real media depicting gore, any kind of human or animal waste, excessive violence, or animal harm, especially with the intention to harass or shock others.

We define gore as the mutilation of body parts. That includes injuries, disfigurement and irreparably removing or damaging body parts. This also includes disfigurement, dismemberment and injuries on or of dead bodies.

Animal waste:
Disgusting, gruesome, or gory presentations of bodily parts, fluids, or waste with little to no context. This includes depictions of poop and urine. Note that we use a know it when we see it policy.

Animal harm:
We define animal harm as needless action that would normally not be seen as conducive to the animal’s well being and health. Cases where animal harm enters into gore territory it will be classified as both. In the context of an argument or discussion, documentation of animal harm is permitted as long as it is spoiler-ed and includes an unspoiler-ed content warning of what the content is. This is to ensure an effective opt in system for those who may not want to see such things. Cases where acts of bestiality are depicted are also prohibited. Staff members are arbiters of what is deemed conducive behavior in terms of handling animals.

§1.8 Do not share content that violates anyone’s intellectual property or other rights.

Intellectual property primarily includes copyright protected content and trademarked content. This includes any digital format files that are not substantially transformative. Our main policy is to report such content directly to Discord.

§1.9 Do share adult content to anyone within the limits of the server.

Adult content:
Any content where any of the following attributes or parts are visible: Nipples on a boob, vaginas, penises, ballsacks, anuses and any aroused aforementioned part. This includes wet spots or erections.
This rule also applies to any content where defining features of the aforementioned parts can be seen, including any presence of camel toe, clitoris, corona (the ridge of the gland) and penile or nipple erection. In addition verbose and detailed discussions of sexually explicit acts in non-educational contexts also qualify as adult content.

§1.10 Do not share false or misleading information (otherwise known as misinformation)

Content that is false, misleading, and can lead to significant risk of physical or societal harm may not be shared on Discord. We may remove content if we reasonably believe its spread could result in damage to physical infrastructure, injury of others, obstruction of participation in civic processes, or the endangerment of public health.

§1.11 Do not advertise or spam.

Advertising is defined as the promotion of material or content that is associated with oneself. Links to publicly available content is fine as long as the content is posted or mentioned in the context of a conversation. All Discord invites are considered advertisements and are disallowed by default.

In addition, spam is considered anything that involves trying to send repeated messages or garbled text and links with the intent of disrupting conversations. Disrupting conversations also involves posting disconnected ramblings and large walls of text that don’t revolve around a topic. Staff can interpret intent and have discretion over what is disconnected rambling. If staff determines some content is better suited for a thread on the Open Debates Forum, then the user must comply.

As for other types of spam there are already automatic spam filters in place, so the rule about spam is rarely enforced.
Spam includes the mass creation of threads with no particular approved of niche. Thread niches may be determined by members of staff.

§1.12 Do not gather or spread user data without explicit consent.

Discord is an online service where we meet other people hidden behind custom avatars, usernames and mannerisms to act and be whoever one wants to be. That is however not without its potential ramifications. In some places being yourself is illegal. Open Debates takes an unwavering stance that we will protect people from having their account and its actions associated with their real life person. The knowledge that you could be recorded even if nobody is actually recording hinders engagement. It is a real concern that one’s personal information may accumulate over multiple unknown recordings to paint a picture of one’s real life identity. We currently have no effective and unambiguous system to ensure users are opting in to being recorded, and therefore can not allow it.

We have a genuine concern for users’ safety, and we encourage users to take steps to protect themselves from being associated with their account. Once your information is out there it is hard to remove it.

Any video or audio recordings of anything in the server are therefore forbidden. The only exception to this is if someone uses the /consent command while in a debate studio room. We range between the punishments of banning or muting for breaching this rule, favoring harsher punishment should we be unsure. This also applies to the distribution of personal attributes like age, height, physical presentation, real life affiliations, places of origin and other information. The fact that a person trusts you with, even tidbits of, personal information about themselves in a space online is something you should consider a secret.

Please inform the Staff Team of the non-consensual public sharing of user information by contacting Support. Users contacting support may also request that their concerns only be handled by the Directors, 5 highly trusted members of staff. All staff communications between users and Staff are confidential, and Staff are held to a much higher degree of accountability than regular users.

§1.13 Do not coordinate or participate in malicious impersonation of an individual or an organization.

Satire and parody are okay.

§1.14 Do not engage in activities intended to cause damage or gain unauthorized access to another user’s account, network, or system.

This includes impersonating Discord staff, distributing malware, authentication token theft, phishing, DDOS, and other hacking or social engineering techniques.

§1.15 Do not distribute or provide access to content involving the hacking, cracking, or distribution of stolen goods, pirated content, or accounts.

This includes sharing or selling game cheats or hacks.

§1.16 Do not organize, promote, or engage in any illegal or dangerous behavior.

This includes activities such as sexual solicitation, human trafficking, and selling or facilitating the sale of prohibited or potentially dangerous goods (firearms, ammunition, drugs, and controlled substances).

§2 Follow the restrictions found in the descriptions of each channel.

If a channel has a description, then it will list the purpose of that channel. The goal of moderators is to steer conversations to meet those criteria. Make sure to read channel descriptions!

§2.1 Do not speak over other users. Be civil in taking turns.

You may not interrupt a conversation that is already going just to troll. You may ask to interject once, and wait for a response from the other members who are speaking. If they say “yes” you can continue. You may not interrupt existing conversations or debates for any reason apart from this. If you feel someone is taking too long, you can set a timer for 90 seconds and interrupt if they keep going on. The 90 seconds rule is not a hard rule, and depends on context. Interrupting someone making an argument that requires more time is not allowed."

§2.2 Do not locally mute users in debate rooms and other community channels. You can still turn them all the way down as long as you do not interrupt conversations.

Interrupting others and overtalking them is only legitimate if you can hear what they say back. If you lower a user’s volume appropriately, but do not respond to a question from them about whether you hear them, the lack of response will be treated as indication of muting and will be punished as such.

§2.3 Do not disrupt conversations by hot miccing.

Hot-miccing stifles the exchange of ideas by disrupting the flow of content. This rule exists to allow mods to take action against members that do not make efforts to better the problem via for example turning on push to talk or muting themselves in between speaking. This rule does not target poor mic quality, but poor microphone etiquette.

§3 Staff communications happen through our Support bot.
The Support bot (Modmail) is a feature rich communication avenue for communication with staff. It may be used for reports or questions concerning these rules and their interpretations, server members, rule enforcement, staff misconduct, partnerships or other official server queries.
The bots features allow us to sort, compartmentalize and restrict access to different threads, ensuring our users concerns can be met. Baseline all new threads created with Support are visible to the entire staff team. Users may request that only directors may see their thread, which is excellent for reports about staff behavior they wish to call into question.
Support also allows us to log interactions between our users and staff, which ensures accountability and prevents mod abuse. Your interactions with Support are logged for yours and others safety.
All separate concerns brought up with staff will be handled irrespective of previous interactions with staff.

§3.1 Do not contact members of staff directly about support issues.
Even our staff are humans, and keeping the sanctity of the reasons they are on Discord is important to us. The Support bot alleviates that.

§3.2 Communication through Support is still subject to all other rules.
Just because you are not technically talking on the server does not mean you are exempt from rules. Breaking rules when contacting the Support bot can lead to punishments and ultimately being banned from communicating through Support if the case is severe enough.