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Code of Conduct

Firstly, Welcome to Stargazers Lounge - the liveliest place in the Internet to discuss all aspects of astronomy, share pictures and observing reports, and find out what there is to see in the night sky.

To ensure the Forum operates as smoothly as possible, we ask that you read and adhere to our Code of Conduct:

Stargazers Lounge – Members Code of Conduct

Before we start ….
Use of our forums constitutes acceptance and agreement to our Forum Code of Conduct. If you do not agree to these terms, please contact a member of the Administration Team to have your account disabled. If you violate the Code of Conduct, we reserve the right to terminate all accounts belonging to you without prior notice.
We prefer to advise users of inappropriate behaviour; however, flagrant and repeated violations of our CoC will result in a ban. Our failure to enforce this policy, for whatever reason, shall not be taken as a waiver of our right to do so at any time.

The term “Stargazers Lounge” covers the forum and its Administrators, and any communities or other hosted content related to “SGL”
The term “Administration Team” is applied to all of the Moderators, Global Moderators or Administrators for the purposes of these guidelines

Principle Guidelines

28 December 2008, 23:43:22

We created the Code of Conduct to provide a basic understanding of what's allowed and not allowed in our forums. The following are the principle guidelines for the establishment and enforcement of our CoC:
• Ensure a friendly atmosphere to our visitors and forum members
• Ensure the privacy of our members and that of others
• Comply with existing laws
• Encourage responsible use of our forums and discourage activities which disrupt our community or hobby and reduce the value of our services to our visitors
• Encourage the freedom of expression and exchange of information in a mature and responsible manner

The “not allowed” list is pretty short, but it should be remembered that what can seem to be light-hearted comments and fun to one person, can be offensive to another. This is especially true in politics and religion. Therefore:
• No politics
• No religion


Don’t we believe in free-speech?
While we are committed to the principles of free speech, certain activities may be damaging to the resources or reputation of Stargazers Lounge and cannot be permitted under the guise of free speech. The resources of Stargazers Lounge are limited, and abuse of these resources by one user has a negative impact on the entire community.

As a member of our forum, you must participate responsibly. If you have any questions regarding our CoC, please contact the Administration Team via email on “contact at stargazerslounge dot com” (replace the ‘at’ and ‘dot’ as appropriate)

Violations of the Code of Conduct
It is extremely important for you to understand that this section of our Code of Conduct isn’t designed to cover every eventuality! We may take action — issue a warning, ban your account(s) and/or IP addresses, lower your post count, delete/edit your post(s)/thread(s), etc. — if your conduct at Stargazers Lounge is counterproductive to the Code of Conduct’s principle guidelines.

Unauthorised access / Forum Security
The following actions are strictly prohibited:
• Accessing, or attempting to access, the accounts of other users
• Exploiting, or attempting to exploit, bugs, vulnerabilities, or loopholes; whether they are disclosed or undisclosed
• Penetrating, or attempting to penetrate, security measures of Stargazers Lounge's software or hardware, or electronic communications system
All intrusions will subject all your forum accounts to immediate termination, regardless of whether or not the intrusion results in the corruption, loss, or theft of data.
Users are responsible for the security of their Stargazers Lounge accounts. Users may not share their passwords or transfer – via any means – their accounts to others without the express permission of the Stargazers Lounge Forum Management Team. In addition, users are responsible for all activity made by him/her or anyone the user allows to use his/her account.

Usernames
Usernames must not be in violation of this Code of Conduct. We reserve the right to terminate accounts whose associated usernames are in violation of this Code of Conduct, or are otherwise deemed inappropriate and/or potentially offensive. Users may be invited to register under a new name at our discretion.

Personal Attacks, Harassment and other abuse
Comments or personal attacks towards anyone - staff, forum member, or a visitor who is likely to view it on the forums - is subject to the message being deleted and action taken against the user, regardless of how pertinent or thoughtful the rest of the message might be.
This also includes comments/links/materials that refer to ethnic/national origin, ideological/religious beliefs, gender,sexist, or sexual preference in a demeaning context.

We have no tolerance for discrimination. You are in violation of this rule if the nature of your post discriminates, promotes hate, promotes violence or advocates hatred or discrimination against individuals, groups, races, cultures or organisations because of their ethnic/national origin, skin colour, sexual orientation or culture.
Words that carry different meanings in different countries and cultures will be examined at the discretion of the Administration Team and the appropriate action taken.

This includes "potentially" libellous comments against companies and other organisations.

Libel

Stargazerslounge try to monitor and review all posts, discussions, chats, postings, transmissions, bulletin boards and other dialogue ("Dialogue") on its Sites, Stargazerslounge is under no obligation to do so and assumes no responsibility or liability arising from the Dialogue contained in its Sites, or for any error, defamation, libel, slander, omission, falsehood, obscenity, pornography, profanity, danger or inaccuracy contained in any information within its Sites. Stargazerslounge does not monitor or review the content of any off-Site pages or any other sites linked to its Sites and assumes no responsibility or liability arising from the contents of such off-Site pages or sites, or for any error, defamation, libel, slander, omission, falsehood, obscenity, pornography, profanity, danger or inaccuracy contained in any information contained therein.

Spamming
No spamming! Spam includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Excessive off-topic threads
• Posting nonsensical messages
• “Flooding” the forum with similar meaning messages
• Post-Count farming (see definition below)
• Posting just to gain access to the for sale section
• Inciting a forum war or riot
• Blatant advertising
• Messages without content
• Fraudulent activity (Pyramid schemes, chain letters, etc.)
• Free-____ links (i.e. free iPods, Free PSP, etc. etc.)
• Asking our members to complete external questionnaires or similar market research exercises


Post Farming
If we see an individual posting a large number of short non-specific posts, all in the same day, we will suspect them of post farming to increase their post count and gain early access to the For Sale board. Particularly if we see posts like “Thanks”, “Great image", ’Thank-you for sharing” and similar. Post farming is obvious and harms your credibility so please slow down, take your time and be patient. Post to add value, post to learn, post with thought, consideration and humour.


Advertising
We want to avoid spam generated by promotion teams, public-relations campaigns or any other traffic-hungry webmasters. So please note that our forums aren’t the place to advertise your own site or forums or sites with similar content to ours. Stargazers Lounge staff don’t visit your site and spam it with adverts, so we expect the same courtesy in return. You are welcome to link your personal (non-commercial) site in your signature.

Retailers or manufacturers are not permitted to post / promote their company or products in any way without the express approval of the Admin team.

Any forum member who seems to have created their account solely to promote another site will be permanently banned.

The Buy & Sell section
Access to SGL's buy and sell section is a privilege that has to be earned, You can do this by accumulating 50 posts to view / buy from the classifieds and 250 posts to place an advert in the classifieds.
This has been initiated so that people can't just join the forum so they can off load or buy up astronomy equipment.
Posting an advert on behalf of someone who is not a member of SGL or on behalf of a member not entitled to post an advert is not permitted.
Linking to an external site to highlight an item you have for sale is not permitted on our boards.
Please note that the Buy & Sell section is primarily for our members personal "astronomical" equipment.
Any commercial use of this section will have to be cleared by Admin PRIOR to any sales activity.

Pirated Materials, Cracks, Keys, and Key-Generators
Stargazers Lounge relies heavily on software to accomplish certain tasks – star maps, observing reports, imaging and so on. This software is often created by individuals (and released by them under a licence) who should expect the terms of their licence to be adhered to, including receiving fair payment for their work if they so choose..

For the purposes of Stargazers Lounge, the following definitions apply:
• “Piracy” is the illegal copying and/or distribution of copyrighted content including, but not limited to, games, software, music, movies, pictures, ROMs, abandon-ware, and leaked software
• “Cracks” are programs that disable copy-protection technology
• A “Key” is a combination of numbers and letters that is required for software installation
• “Key-Generators” are programs that generate valid Keys

You may not encourage, post in support of, link to, or discuss activities, methods, and/or techniques involving piracy, cracks, keys and key-generators. In addition, the following are grounds for moderator action on your post and/or account:
• Seeking help to create any of the above
• Admitting to possess pirated materials, cracks, keys and key-generators
• Admitting to distribute pirated materials, cracks, keys and key-generators
• Uploading any such files to Stargazers Lounge sites
Generally breaking this rule will result in an instant permanent ban. However a “first-offence” warning may be issued at the discretion of the Administration Team.

Forgery or impersonation
Attempting to impersonate any person, including staff, using forged headers, instant messenger names, similar usernames (i.e. “GiIIB”, “Gi11B”, “Angel GillB”) in an effort to deceive or mislead is prohibited.

Profanities
You may not use profanity or bypass the software-based censor. In addition to words included in the censor list, sexual remarks and slang may be considered profane when used in certain contexts.
The list below shows examples of what bypassing the censor means. The word used in the example is “Pencil”. The list is not exhaustive; it merely demonstrates what can be considered as actively bypassing the censor
• P*****
• P3ncil, Penc1l, P.e.n.c.i.l
• P e n c I l
Pencil
• WTF
• FFS

****/Sexually Offensive Materials/Other Offensive Materials
You may not post or link to pornography or sexually offensive materials. If you are unsure whether what you wish to post may be in violation of this rule, please consult a moderator first before posting.

Illegal Use
You may not use our forums for illegal purposes, in support of illegal activities, or encourage conduct that would constitute a criminal offence, as determined by the laws of the United Kingdom. Such activities will guarantee a ban. We reserve the right to cooperate with legal authorities and/or injured third parties in the investigation of any suspected crime or civil wrongdoing.

Non-Disclosure Agreements
We will delete posts containing materials in breach of active Non-Disclosure Agreements, if we are so notified that a breach has occurred.
We will also work with the relevant authorities if requested to do. This may mean disclosure of your account details.

Privacy / Copyright
You may not
• Post any form of personal information of a user unless the user has first permitted it by express consent. Examples of personal information include name, address, IP addresses, and phone numbers.
• Distribute any form of personal information, email address, private/email Messages with intent to harass or in any demeaning manner as determined by a moderator, regardless of consent.
• Disclose a user's unpublicised email address unless the user has first permitted it, either by actual consent or previously releasing said information.
• Post any form of personal information if you are 13 or under.
• Post copyrighted material unless consent from the originator has been approved (evidence of such approval must be presented when asked for)
SGL will not
• Disclose your personal information to anyone, member or otherwise, unless working in co-operation with authorities as detailed elsewhere in these guidelines

Official Language
English is the official language of our forums because it is the common language between our moderators and users. Because we can not moderate post/thread text in a foreign language, you may not post or have a signature in the forums in language other than English.

Email Addresses
• You may not harvest email addresses from our forums for any purpose
• You are required to keep your forum account's email address up-to-date. If a message sent to the email address on record bounces, your account will be banned and you will have to contact a member of the Administration Team to have your account unbanned

Moderation & Bans
• You may not evade a ban. Doing so will drastically lengthen your ban. If you believe your actions were not in violation of this Code of Conduct, you can appeal by contacting a member of the Management Team
• You may not publicly complain about or demand a reason for another user's ban, the deletion of a message, or the deletion/closure of a thread. Any discussion about warnings, bans, message deletion, thread deletion and thread closure should be done over private email between the person concerned and the moderators
• You may not re-post or re-edit a message that has been edited by a moderator
• You may not post a message on behalf of a banned forum member
• Do not include phrases such as “I will probably get banned for this...” as this will ensure your wish is granted!!

Cookies
Like most sites SGL uses cookies.

In order to deliver a personalized service, we remember and store information about how you use it. This is done using a simple text file called COOKIES which sit on your device. these cookies are completely safe and secure and will never contain any sensitive information. They are only used by stargazerslounge.com.

By using SGL or closing this notice you accept our policy.

The SGL policy on cookies can be found >>HERE<<

Miscellaneous
• Do not post negative posts and discussions that are repeated over and over and over with no other purpose than to disrupt conversation. If you feel the need to say something, say it once and then move on. Do not disrupt multiple threads in order to
get your view out.
• Do not start malicious or unsubstantiated rumors, this could lead to a libel action being taken against you + it goes against everything SGL stands for.
• You may not bait/troll users. Bait / Trolling are defined as posting with a clear intent to provoke anger, incendiary posts, and behaviour that results in other users violating the CoC.
• Do not post links to inappropriate material. This is not limited to but includes bad language or images of an adult nature.
• You may not bait, insult, flame, or otherwise abuse a staff member. Staff members have to follow the same rules, and should you have a problem with a certain staff member, please contact a moderator or the Administration Team.
• You may not post graphically-disturbing images as inline images (such that the images are displayed when users view your post). However, you can link to the images with a warning stating that the images are graphically disturbing
• You may not post in a manner that is harmful to Stargazers Lounge. For example, “SGL sucks. Go here!” If you do, the post will be deleted and you will be banned.
• You may not register multiple accounts with intent to violate any part of this CoC.
• You may not link to the forum logout page, disguised or not.
• In the event of a ban, your posts will not be deleted, even if you request them to be. Doing so would disrupt the flow of the threads in which you have posted and could therefore make them unintelligible. By signing up to SGL, you agree that your posts are stored on SGL’s servers and therefore become part of the SGL forum
• Remember to make use of the ‘smilies’ in posts – it can be very difficult to ascertain the tone of a post without them!
• Duplicate Posts, where appropriate the moderator team may merge closely related topics. But this is at the discretion of the mod team and will only be done where we feel it appropriate.
• You may not post asking for help with fundraising or charitable donations. We have thousands of members, the forum would be inundated with requests.

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