Basic rules are hotlinked above the post-entry box every time you start a new box. Please read and observe them.
Meantime, regarding the most frequently broken rules, this post addresses "ad" and "rant-rave" rules:
First, our forum "advertisement" rules:
If you are a business or serviceperson you CAN do any of the following here in the WSB Forums, absolutely free of charge:
-Respond to a request for recommendations in your line of work, provided you identify yourself (no recommending a business without saying it's yours or you're related to it!).
-Post a job opening in the West Seattle Jobs Offered section
-Post about a deal, sale, or free offer in the Freebies, Deals, Sales section (bonafide major price cuts on merchandise/services, not just consultations - we reserve the right to evaluate whether a deal posting crosses the line to "free ad").
You cannot just open a topic soliciting customers or posting a "rave" about your own business. Thanks very much to those who spot those quickly and report them. This site is a commercial, advertiser-supported business - just like a commercial newspaper, TV station, radio station, etc. - and if you are interested in advertising your business on WSB, that information is available here:
Added 9/17/09 for EXTRA emphasis: A "for rent" or "for sale" housing ad IS advertising and falls under the aforementioned rules.
Added 5/30/2010 for clarification: Freebies/deals/sales that you want to post here must be available to everyone - no prequalification such as "mention you read it on WSB" or "offering this if you (whatever)."
Second: Rants and Raves rules. This folds in what had been in a sticky on that section index (little-seen because most use the forum home page rather than the forum section indexes).
If you are posting a rant about a business, YOU MUST SAY WHAT STEPS YOU TOOK FIRST TO NOTIFY ITS OWNERSHIP/MANAGEMENT. If you took those steps and still want to tell the world, fine, but this is NOT the place to come just to rag on a business without having let them know directly.
If you tried but could not get through - include that info, because that's a helpful part of your story.
If you feel your safety or security is in jeopardy if you tell them, that sounds like grounds for a news story rather than a forum post and you are welcome to e-mail us - email@example.com is the address. (Or use the "contact" tab atop all WSB pages for other forms of contact, including phone.)
People's personal lives, business owners and otherwise, are offlimits. This is not the Harper Valley PTA (no offense to the fine PTSAs of the modern world but it remains the best song we've ever heard about neighborhood gossip).
If you have accusations of criminal or unethical conduct, those need to be reported first to the proper authorities. (If you have any trouble figuring out who those are, we also would be happy to try to help - we frequently answer e-mail questions about "how do I do (this)" and "who do I go to (about this)" in matters large and small.
These aren't just rules we're making up out of nowhere, by the way - we have consulted with counterparts elsewhere in the country who run community news/discussion sites. Some don't even allow rant/rave sections, but we added this section by WSBer request, and would like to keep it - however, there is a matter of fairness, and following the rules will at least help with that. Doesn't mean a problem won't be discussed, but it means you will at least have taken it to the people who can do something about it, before you take it to tens of thousands of people online.
This includes complaints you have regarding WSB management. Contact us first (we have a variety of ways you can do that). If our first news of your complaint is in the forum, it's treated the same way as a complaint about any business.
Reiteration of the rules from the main section of the site: Trolling is not allowed. It's hard to define but you know it when you see it and so do we.