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
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.
added 2013, originally seen in separate sticky note:
April 8, 2013
To: WSB Forums members/readers
From: WSB co-publishers Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
We deeply appreciate the thousands of members who have joined and participated in the WSB Forums since their launch more than five years ago.
The forums' main mission remains now what it was then - for West Seattleites to help each other, sharing neighbor-to-neighbor information.
Over the past several years you have found new ways to utilize the person-to-person communication facilitated by the Forums, which were originally launched to share recommendations, after requests for them became too numerous to keep sharing in the news section.
Later the space expanded to include a variety of topics. We know the Forums' utility will continue to expand and continue to serve as the place where West Seattleites go to connect, whether it's seeking a babysitter or promoting a yard sale or exchanging political views.
Having said that, we would like you to please note the following.
We have long tried to keep things informal and non bureaucratic. However, every so often, we can't avoid formalities. So tonight we are making a rare public
statement which comes as the result of a few recent developments, on which we shall not elaborate.
Most importantly: WSB Forums members ARE NOT authorized representatives of A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive, DBA West Seattle Blog. Participation in the forum is NOT authorization to use the company's name. Forum users are NOT authorized to state or imply that they are making contacts on behalf of or related to WSB, nor may they write anything which suggests or states that the user is a representative of or is some way authorized by WSB ownership to act on our behalf. Also no user may represent their opinions as those of the site's owners.
If a forum member is found to be doing anything stated above, it is grounds for immediate membership termination and may be subject to legal action.
The only authorized writing, research, reporting, and photography for WSB is that conducted by and/or edited by staff members or paid contributors, and published in the news section. No such content can be found in the Forum. Any content with a URL which includes http://westseattleblog.com/forum is NOT part of the news section, and is therefore reader-generated opinion and/or discussion.
In the NEWS section of the site, we do publish certain types of reader contributions - such as photographs, short firsthand reports on events from crimes to school sports. Everything in the NEWS section, whether from readers or staff/paid contributors, goes through WSB Editors and has therefore been vetted and authorized prior to publication.
This is in contrast to the Forums which, as reader-to-reader discussion/opinion areas, are not pre-vetted; none of their content is seen by editors prior to publication, nor is it generally reviewed after publication unless "flagged"
by a member.
This notice may be replaced by something more formal and legal but for now it is important and urgent that we make this clarification. Thank you for your understanding.
Tracy and Patrick