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Forum usage guidelines

Toytown Germany (this site) is owned and administered by The Local Europe AB (The Local).

Much as we hate rules and regulations, a few forum usage guidelines are required in order to make the TT chat forum as useful as possible to the greatest number of people. Please read and take note.

Forum usage guidelines

English language only

Only write in English. Posts written entirely in German or any other language, including English dialects, will be deleted.

TT is not a language school

All fluent native-standard English-speakers who live in Germany are welcome to join the forum. If your ability at English is weak, or you don't live in Germany (and have never lived in Germany or never plan to move to Germany) then sorry, this forum is not for you. The forum is not intended to be an English language practice school for Germans or anyone else. If your English needs improvement, we suggest you try a language school or language exchange scheme. Besides the language restriction thing... race, colour, nationality, creed, and gender are all beams of light refracted through one great prism.

Understanding the culture

TT is not just a website. It's a living breathing community of real people. As with any community, it has its own culture. You are advised to spend a while reading the forum and understanding this culture before you make your first post. Many people on this forum know each other personally. So please don't write anything you wouldn't be prepared to say face to face. See also: The social behaviour of meerkats.

Accurate and descriptive topic titles

Use a helpful title when starting new topics. For example the title "A question..." is not helpful. The title, "English-speaking pediatricians in Munich" is helpful. This makes the forum more useful and much easier to browse. Try to use the "title" field for your title, not the "description" field. See more details on forum topic titles.

Swearing

Do not swear in topic titles. Ever. All swear words are liable for immediate deletion from topic titles. Swearing in post contents is also discouraged.

Search first, post later

Before starting a new thread use the search feature to check that the subject of your intended post is not already covered by an existing topic. If a relevant topic already exists, then feel free to post a reply asking for updates or further details. If no topic already exists, feel free to start a new one. Take care to post new topics to the correct category.

Stay on-topic

Try to keep the discussions "on-topic". If you find the discussion wandering off in a direction completely unrelated to the original topic then start a new thread. Off-topic posts are routinely moved to new and/or other existing topics by the moderation team.

Quote feature usage

Use the forum quote feature sparingly - if at all. Use your expert language skills to explain which post or comment you are replying to. It's much easier on the eye and pleasing to read. Do not "underquote" - this means do not place your reply above the quoted text. Instead, always place your reply below the quoted text. Do not quote a post that immediately precedes your reply - this is known as redundant quoting.

Posting of weblinks

Don't make one-line posts such as "Check out this great link: http://i-am-a-doofus.com/". If you want to refer readers to another webpage give them at least a couple of sentences of explanation about what the link is and why they should click it. It is also usually a good idea to copy and paste the first paragraph or so from the linked page and put those inside a quote box in the post. This allows the reader to decide whether they are interested in the target page before they click it. Only copy a maximum of around 100 words though, otherwise you risk copyright infringement. If the target page is in German, please translate a few sentences into English. If the target page is an image, take a copy and reduce it to about 300px wide and post that as an attachment, but remember to take care not to breach any copyright.

Personal Information

Do not post personal information about any other Toytown Member without prior express consent from that member. Personal information includes, but is not restricted to: e-mail addresses, real name, telephone number or address, photographs of that member.

Excessive posting

Take care not to dominate the forum. Only post as frequently as others do. The limit for each member is 4% of the total post count within any 24 hour period. Exceed this limit and your account is automatically blocked from posting until your count falls back below 4%.

Click to see the current daily posting statistics now.

Note that these can change from minute to minute. The link to the statistics can be found on the main forum page, in the location as indicated by the red circle below:

Top_twenty_daily_members.gif

Also, when engaging in online discourse it is considered bad forum etiquette to post responses to every reply in a thread. The following sequence of post authors is an example of how the author "John" is not engaging in good discussion:

John, Paul, John, George, John, Ringo, John, Stuart, John, etc...

For a regular discussion the following author sequence would be considered better practice:

John, Paul, George, Ringo, Stuart, John, etc...

Be excellent to one another

Be generally nice to each other and try to avoid getting dragged into Flame Wars. Rants and raves targeting particular groups of people, such as Germans, Americans, Brits, Men, Women, etc., are allowed. Personal attacks against individual members of the forum (including moderators) are not allowed and are liable for deletion.

Report or Retort

The Report function is designed to notify the moderation team of inappropriate posts as described below (spam, trolling, abuse, attacks etc.). If you feel that you are the victim of an attack please be informed that retorting in kind on the topic itself excludes the protective function of the Report option.

Category specific guidelines

Miscellaneous chat

The "Miscellaneous chat" area is for non-Germany related topics. Only post here if the topic doesn't belong in any other category. Note that all though this category is a dumping ground for random stuff, it is not a free-for-all where any old junk can be posted. TT aims to be a high quality chat forum and information exchange. This applies to the "Miscellaneous chat" category also. All topics in this category are liable for deletion. The time-to-deletion varies according to the quality of the topic. The most interesting topics will remain online indefinitely. The lamest and most insulting topics may be removed within 24 hours.

Classified Adverts

This is a serious section of the forum. All posts should be strictly on topic and genuinely helpful to the discussion at hand.

Click here for information on purchasing advertising banners / posts on Toytown Germany and thelocal.de

Free advertising in the forum classifieds section is intended for private persons as forum users, but is also available to commercial businesses. Businesses may open one ad every three months. Bumps and reminders will be removed. Duplicate accounts to get around these limits are not allowed.

Elsewhere

In all other categories (i.e. non-Miscellaneous and non-Classifieds) the discussions should remain on topic and be good natured. Jokes are good but should remain strictly within the bounds of the topic being discussed.

Duplicate user IDs

The operation of two or more forum user IDs by one individual is strongly discouraged.

Occasionally a member may need a second ID in order to post something anonymously. This is permitted but only if there are reasonable grounds for doing so. For example, posting about a private medical problem, or making a complaint about an employer.

Duplicate IDs for the sake of posting a joke or a troll are not permitted.

Have fun!

Having said all the above, the most important thing is - don't take anything too seriously and have fun!

Editorial Policy

The Toytown Germany forum is currently moderated by the Administrators and Moderators listed here. Their sole aim is to make the forum both a pleasant and a useful place to hang out. To this end the following policies are followed:

Post Edits

Generally the contents of any post are not edited. The only grounds for editing are as follows:

  • To fix broken links, broken images, and broken formatting code.
  • To remove personal information about other members which was posted without consent of that member.

Post Deletion

Certain posts are liable for deletion. These posts include:

  • Posts written entirely in a language other than English. The occasional sentence or two in another language is ok.
  • Clear cases of spam - eg. viagra, cialis, 419 fraud, pyramid schemes, etc..
  • Posts containing highly objectional material including pornography, extreme violence, extreme hate.
  • Off-topic posts that have no content deserving of being split to a topic of their own.
  • Utter crap.

Topic title edits

The moderators retain the right to edit any topic title at any time. The main purpose of this is to make the title as concise, helpful, and as descriptive of the topic content as possible. If you chose a title which is accurate and helpfully descriptive of your post content then your title less likely to be changed. The worst possible topic title is "Help!". Post such a title and you will incur the wrath of the moderation team at your peril. Swearing in titles will always be removed. For more details, see forum topic titles.

Topic merging, splitting, and moving

The moderators reserve the right to merge, split, or move any thread or sub-thread whenever they see fit. The purpose of this is to ensure that the threads are located within the correct category, that the threads stay on topic according to the first post in the thread, and to prevent multiple threads appearing all of which discuss exactly the same topic.

The moderators will attempt to inform individual members via PM if posts or threads by those members are moved or edited. This communication, however, can not always be guaranteed due to simple time constraints. If you have a problem or query regarding acts of moderation, you should contact your preferred moderator by PM first, not post to the public forum. Remember, moderators work for the good of the community as a whole. They never act with deliberate evil intent to persecute any one individual member. See also: Victims of moderation

Copyright

The copyright of a post belongs to the forum member who posted it. However, by making a post to Toytown Germany you are granting Toytown Germany a non-exclusive, non-revokable license to publish that post.

E-Mail Protection

The Local Europe AB (owner of Toytown Germany) takes the protection of your e-mail address against spam extremely seriously. We will never divulge your e-mail address or any other information about you to any third party without your prior consent. We will only send e-mail to your registered address for the following reasons:

Account management:
  • For membership sign up and validation.
  • Forwarded e-mails from other Toytown Germany members sent via the forum e-mail feature.
Alerts:
  • To alert you to an incoming private message.
  • To alert you to replies to a topic for which you have requested response alerts.
  • To alert you if your topic has been moved or its title changed (automated mail).
Updates and information:
  • Weekly German news roundup from The Local’s editor, sent every Friday afternoon.
  • Occasional breaking news alerts.
  • Occasional special offers and discounts for TT members from our partners.

Policy updates

Toytown Germany reserves the right to update these guidelines as required; it is your obligation as a registered member/user to review these guidelines from time to time. Changes to these guidelines can be reviewed by clicking the "history" link at the top of the page.

Administrator and moderator contact

See: moderation team
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