Ever wondered what godmoding is? Ever pondered upon the subtle differences between trolling and flamebait? Well, just for you lucky people, here are those answers:
Forbidden Actions: Forums
Advertisements: For the most part, advertising threads are not allowed in NationStates. If you really want an ad, contact the Admins, and purchase banner space. Til then, it isn't a good idea to try and advertise your forum. If your advertisement involves itself along side NationStates, it is allowed (such as the GDP Calculators, and region ads in Gameplay), but advertisements, such as one that promotes your own forum for debate over the General forum, as well as an advertisement for a separate roleplay forum (That does not involve NS; an example would be a World War 2 RP) within the Nationstates and International Incidents forums, are not allowed here, and will be locked.
In short, just as long as it has something to do with Nationstates, it is allowed, but trying to pimp your own forum on Max's website will not be tolerated.
Excessive Bumping: Bumping is adding a meaningless (*bump*) post to a thread to push it back to the top of the list. Different forums move at different speeds, so bump rates vary between forums. In General or II, one bump an hour is plenty. In Moderation or Technical, once every 24 hours is the maximum. If the bulk of your posts are bumps, you should take it to mean that no one is interested in your topic, and let it die.
Flame: Expressing anger at someone in uncouth ways with OOC (out-of-character) comments (i.e. swearing, being obnoxious, threatening etc). It does to watch what you post IC (in-character) as well unless the other posters know you're not serious. You do not need to curse to be a flamer. Erudite slams while maintaining a veneer of politeness can also be considered flaming. Flaming in the forums should be reported in the Moderation forum, in the game itself, through Getting Help Page.
Flamebait: Posts that are made with the aim of angering someone indirectly. Not outright flame, but still liable to bring angry replies. Flame baiting is a far more subtle and covert action; it is an underhanded tactic that is designed to provoke a response from another player. It's in the same context of trolling but with flamebaiting it's just the one person.
Forbidden links: There is not, and will not ever, be a definitive list of forbidden links. Since we don't control the content of other websites, a link which was fine yesterday may be forbidden today. Each link is judged on a case by case basis, and occasionally the Mods will outlaw certain sites.
* Any outlawed site is forbidden in the forums, as a signature, as a motto, as a World Factbook entry, or in any other format.
* General classes of forbidden links include porn or other sexual imagery, warez (see below), sites promoting other illegal activities, referral links (see below), or sites that have links to such sites as a principal component.
* Some generally unacceptable popular sites include ebaumsworld, albinoblacksheep, plasticnipple, Encyclopedia Dramatica, and Fred Phelps' godhates hate-mongering sites.
* Don't link to sites where you (or a friend/relative) stand to gain financially.
Garish Posts: We like fonts and colors, really we do, but anything used in excess becomes annoying. Think twice about posts that make other users cringe... especially if you've been repeatedly asked to refrain by players and mods alike. Keep this especially in mind when using the color or highlighter BBCodes!
Gloating: Specific types of gloating are considered warnable. Posting "In before the lock" generates a warning to those posters who wish to gloat about an obviously lockable topic. IGNORE gloating is typically seen in the roleplay forums, though it can appear elsewhere. Politely informing another nation that you are henceforth using the "ignore" feature is acceptable, but repeating it in different threads or over long periods is considered gloating. Other cases will be considered on an ad hoc basis.
Gravedigging: Posting a reply on a long disused thread; bumping threads that aren't used anymore. Adding legitimate new material is permitted, and the acceptable age varies from forum to forum. Adding a book report in Arts & Fiction is acceptable after months of inactivity, but bumping a week-old topic in General may not be.
Godmoding, Godmodding, and Wanking: The general idea behind godmoding, as its name makes evident, is making yourself or your nation godlike in power and unable to die. It is commonly used by first-time roleplayers, and is frequently accompanied by Smilie Spam (see below). Under most circumstances, godmoddery is not a moderation offense unless it turns to spam. At that point, godmode n00b wars will often be locked or moved to the spam forum. Note that flaming in response to n00bish behavior is still forbidden. For more information, see this thread.
Griefing: Harrassing a nation because of what they did or said. This often manifests when one player follows another around in thread after thread, abusing and flaming the target nation. Note that this is distinct from Region Griefing, covered above.
Homework: Requests for assistance with homework in any forum are forbidden.
Image Spam: Posting of repeated or multiple images that do not serve to help the flow of the thread. This can be the use of images to RP, the use of repeated pictures to declare a point, or the use of semi-flame images from somethingawful or ebaumsworld to mock others.
IP addresses: IP swapping among admins of offsite boards is outside our jurisdiction, and as such, we can take no action. IP swapping in public on our boards is not permitted.
Mods as a Weapon: Threatening another nation with moderation action if they don't do "action" is not allowed. Representing yourself as a moderator is considered impersonation, and is not allowed. This especially includes using the moderator's warning code; don't use it, that's impersonation and will get you temporarily banned if not deleted outright! Reporting rule-breakers through the Getting Help page or the Moderation forum is not only allowed, but encouraged. Doing so maliciously or spamming Moderation with questionable requests may invoke a penalty, at the Mod's discretion.
Obscene and Explicit Content: Sexually graphic images and posts, and violent images such as bloody corpses. Very strictly forbidden. Obscene imagery and content in the forums should be reported to the Moderation Forum. Please provide a link to the topic, but do not quote it while explaining its illegality. Then we have to find and delete your posts too.
The standard for both forums and game is the US movie rating "PG-13". Mild swearing may be tolerated, mild sexuality may be hinted, but explicit or excessive versions of either or both may result in proportional mod response.
Poll Abuse: Polls created with the intent to troll, flame, flamebait or otherwise commit forum offences as outlined here. This includes abuse of public polls to single out voting blocks for subsequent attacks or ridicule.
Posting Past Forumban: If a nation is forumbanned, that nation's player is not permitted to post on the forums with other puppet nations. Such puppets may be deleted without notice, as may the puppet master and other identified puppets. If you can't figure out why you were banned, you can file a Getting Help request asking why. You may post on the behalf of a forumbanned player to ask, in "Moderation", why that player was forumbanned. You may not post on the behalf of a forumbanned player for any other reason.
If a nation is deleted for rule-breaking on the forums, the moderators may impose a forumban time in addition to the deletion. Failure to observe this forumban may result in a DoS order (see below).
Posting Past Lock : If your thread is locked by a moderator, don't reopen a new thread to discuss it further. In most cases, the decision is either final or adequately covered in another open thread. Reposting rule-breaking threads (flames or spam, typically) will result in rapid negative action against your nation.
Post-Whoring: Any post specifically designed to feature or increase your post count is considered post-whoring, and is illegal on NationStates.
Promoting illegal activity: Don't start threads describing the best way to get away with murder, rape, child abuse, software piracy, bombing the UN, killing the President, or anything of that nature. We don't find it amusing, and it puts the forums at risk. Such threads will be deleted. Egregious posters of such may be banned, deleted, or even have their ISP contacted. We shouldn't have to spell this out, but apparently we do.
Puppet Multiing: Using an alternate nation (a puppet) to evade or break rules, and 'protect' your primary nation from repercussions, is not permitted. Egregious rulebreaking will also affect the puppetmaster. In Roleplay, when someone uses their other nations in wars to give themselves an advantage. Not against the game rules, but very likely to tick people off.
Referral Links: Posting links to "personal accounts" on websites (where you get some benefit from having multiple people click the link) is a warnable offense. This refers to Cyber-war, Outwar, plus all other variants, and even such sites as kevan.org (that dumbass zombie brain thing). They are not permitted in threads, titles, signatures, World Factbook entries, National Mottos, or anywhere else.
Signature Spam: Forum signatures give you space to include a few carefully selected links or quotes. Sigs are attached to every post, and must therefore conform to clutter-reducing rules. Maximum size should never exceed eight lines, including blank lines and quote lines. (A short quote takes up 5 lines - "quote", attribution line, two lines for the box, and one line for the quote). Large font sizes should be avoided and may be trimmed without warning. Posting forbidden links is not allowed.
Spam/SPAM: Off-topic, irrelevant and multi-posts that clog the server. This includes posting lots of smilies which is known as Smilie Spam. Also akin to spamming is Post-whoring which is when a player posts anything just to increase the postcount. Spamming to the point where you get deleted is known as Klamathing. Spamming in the forums should be reported through the Moderation forum, and In-game, through the Getting Help Page.
*Tag*ing: Creating a post whose sole content was *tag* was a useful search tool on the old forums. No more. Now that we have the "thread subscription" feature (it's in your Profile and a menu option on every thread), there is no further need for *tag* posts. Excessive use of Tags is considered spam.
Thread Hijacking: Appropriating a thread for a discussion totally unrelated to the original purpose of said thread. Hijacking can take the form of a single post or a long discussion. Such posts may be split or deleted, and the poster warned.
Threats: Any post, telegram, or other entry which can be read as a threat against a player's life or safety is forbidden. We will consider all such threats to be real and actual, not satire or hyperbole, and act accordingly.
Trolling: Posts that are made with the aim of angering people. (like 'ALL JEWS ARE [insert vile comment here]' for example). While Trolls often make these posts strictly in an attempt to provoke negative comment, it is still trolling even if you actually hold those beliefs. Intent is difficult to prove over the internet, so mods will work under their best assumptions.
Note that posts of opinions you disagree with does not automatically equate with trolling. Disagreements are expected, as long as they are done in a civil manner. Max Barry has made it clear that he welcomes all opinions in civil debate, even those that are highly unpopular or minority-held. Make your case without the invective, if you want to avoid banishment as a Troll.
Trolling is also is used to refer to making obviously silly topics that people nonetheless will reply to, despite all common sense. Don't feed the trolls.
Trollbaiting: Posts that are made to attract trolls. First known instance is someone creating a topic for Republicans to gloat in after the 2004 election "So that I could see who to add to my ignore list!" Cogitation had already declared gloating over the elections to constitute trolling.
Warez requests: Anyone asking for or posting links to illegal software (warez), or keys/cracks/hacks to software to get around purchasing requirements, will be forumbanned and probably deleted. This sort of illegal request can cause Max to lose this site, and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
A note on Forum Stickies: At the top of each forum you'll find a number of "stickies", these are the collected wisdom of the forum in question regarding rules, conventions, and questions and answers for each forum. Please be aware that there are a number of unofficial rules for each forum that cover how to role play within that forum, or the settings for debates. These differ from the game or forum rules set forth here or given by Moderators that must be followed. However, you will generally have a much more pleasant time if you take a moment to "read the stickies" and try to follow them.