BellaOnline Forum Rules
The BellaOnline forums are moderated by BellaOnline administrators, and all posts within our BellaOnline system must follow our rules. Repeated violation of our rules will lead to banning of the user account and notification being sent to the user's ISP.
BellaOnline's forums are specifically designed as support forums for their specific topics. For example, the cats forum is specifically to support cats and cat owners - to discuss cat care, cat medical conditions, and other cat-related topics. Any NON cat support related content may be deleted at BellaOnline's discretion. Repeated off-topic posts are grounds for banning of the offending member account. Off-topic posts include spam and commercial posts. Off-topic posts also include posts which actively antagonize people who are interested in that topic. A person who repeatedly posted that "dogs are better" or "cats are awful" are violating the support purpose of that forum. The posts will be removed, and the user banned from the forum system.
We do not allow any links to webcams. There is no way for us to control what a person does in front of a webcam and as such, we do not wish to take chances with pornographic content.
We also do not allow email addresses to be shown. This is how spammers find people on the internet - using the email addressees harvested both to bombard with spam and to use as a "from" address to hide their own identity. We do not wish to add to the already immense problem of spam on the web. If you wish private feedback for some reason, suggest that people private message you. This is a completely secure messaging system inherent to the forums.
All caps messages are considered "shouting" and are considered bad form in web forums. The use of all capital letters should be avoided.
Advertising, Spamming, and Promotion
Visitors participate in the BellaOnline forums to discuss, on BellaOnline, the given topic at hand. We welcome all productive posts on the topic which engage in this discussion. For this reason, posts should not be created with a main aim to drive visitors away from BellaOnline. This type of post is advertising, and BellaOnline has an entirely separate system for advertisers to use. BellaOnline Advertising Area.
FTC regulations require any web post made by someone who is involved with a company, or provided product or support by that company, to disclose it in each related post. So someone who has an affiliate relationship with NoniJuice and then talks about NoniJuice *must* disclose that in their post.
Promotional / press release links are not allowed. The forums are a community where individuals enthusiastic about a topic share their personal, honest opinions on that topic. Commercial promotions belong in the BellaOnline Advertising Area. We do not allow press releases in our BellaOnline article content, and we similarly do not allow press releases and promotions in our forums. BellaOnline prides itself on being the Consumer Reports of the content world, providing verifiably authentic, personal, honest opinions on the topics we cover.
Visitors who have proven themselves by making over 50 non-promotional posts may at that point provide one external link. We had to implement this over-50-posts rule after years of dealing with mass-pasting spammers. The rule helps separate legitimate visitors who occasionally want to share a fun link with the posters solely using the forum system to get them free link farm activity. For this reason, usernames cannot be a URL.
Once a user is established and trusted, the one URL may be either manually entered or automatically via a signature.
The post itself must have meaning in the thread. The user cannot post hundreds of "me too!" messages solely to get their signature link into a link farm situation. A post cannot be a one-line promotion with a URL to "read the rest of the story". The post cannot be a one-paragraph quick note with a URL and "follow the URL to respond and comment".
Say poster LisaSunshine has a MySpace page with her photos and poems. Say her signature has her name and a link to her MySpace page. LisaSunshine can post a message about "how to make delicious dog treats" with the full recipe and suggestions. As part of her post, her signature can have her name and the link to her MySpace page. However, LisaSunshine cannot arrive in the forum and immediately start posting in five different forum areas, "Hi! I want you to visit my MySpace page! It is here!" with a URL link. That link is no longer incidental - that is advertising, made with the intention for visitors to leave BellaOnline and go elsewhere. All advertising should be done via the BellaOnline Advertising Area.
Please note the exception to this rule: BellaOnline moderator accounts may have up to three external links for single-site editors, or four external links for two-site editors. BellaOnline editors are all volunteers - they are not paid for their efforts - and these links are part of their thank-you.
As every external link is innately a form of advertising, all links must follow standard BellaOnline advertising rules. They cannot be to pornographic sites, casinos, gambling, or any illegal-activity-promoting website. BellaOnline management has the final say about what is appopriate for our site to promote.
Links cannot be affiliate links. The purpose of sharing a link in the BellaOnline forums should be to help BellaOnline visitors expand their knowledge, not to make money. Money making efforts should be addressed in the BellaOnline Advertising Area.
Most of the ads shown in the forum area are donated to charity. Any additional links detract from our charity efforts. We take the forum advertising / external link policy very seriously. Our visitors complain very loudly when spammers begin to post inappropriate messages in our forum. As a result, we actively ban visitors who are guilty of numerous spam or advertising postings.
For all details about the forum signatures, please visit:
Forum Signature Information
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