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Technology and Computers Forum Guidelines
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Preambletl;drThings to avoidThings to doGet involved!

Preamble

In the Technology and Computing group of forums, we have a number of guidelines for posting that are targeted towards topics which frequently crop up. These guidelines are here to ensure that the moderation team can keep the Tech forum a safe, legal and really useful resource for everyone. Members should follow these guidelines not just in the Tech forum, but across the site as they apply equally there, too. Members should also follow the spirit of these guidelines, rather than their exact wording – they’ve not been written in the form of legal statute and it should be clear from the examples provided what is acceptable and what is not. If you are unsure about whether something you want to post falls within the scope of what is acceptable, please start a thread in Ask A Moderator and we will be able to tell you should avoid posting it or not.

tl;dr

  • Follow the usual site rules

  • Don't debate Mac vs. PC
  • Don't discuss proxies or filesharing, hacking, other illegal activities etc.
  • Don't post unhelpful or damaging advice
  • Don't post "Let Me Google That For You" links

  • Check the Tech wiki before posting
  • Post in the right forum
  • Provide as much detail as possible when posting a thread
  • Treat others with respect
  • Justify your opinions and back them up with evidence
  • Ensure that the advice you give is as accurate as possible
  • Always ask if you're unsure about these guidelines
  • Report anything that goes against the rules or these guidelines.

While this tl;dr covers the main points, please do take the time to have a read of the full guidelines.


Things to avoid

In addition to the Site Rules, we have some specific guidelines on what is acceptable and not acceptable content in the Tech forum. These include:

Mac vs. PC

Generally, we prefer not to have these sorts of discussions on the forum. This is simply because the inevitable circular and “religious” arguments that follow end up getting abusive. This requires a great deal of moderation and it was decided by the former Tech moderator, omicronlyrae, that discussion of this topic should not be allowed for this reason. Threads that turn into Mac vs. PC discussions are likely to be pruned, locked or binned and whilst we try to keep legitimate threads open – particularly those asking for advice – we sometimes have to close them simply because they become too difficult to moderate. Please avoid starting, or contributing to one of these arguments.

Discussion of proxies etc.

TSR is used widely by school and university students. These institutions often employ filters to ensure that their users don’t visit inappropriate content or websites that are not conducive to study. Members of TSR sometimes ask how they can get round these filters and we don’t allow discussion about this as we don’t want the site to be blacklisted as being a resource to help people subvert these restrictions. Please avoid discussing proxies or any other method of bypassing such restrictions and avoid linking to sites that offer this service.

Filesharing and copyright infringement

Acumen PI, the owners of TSR (quite rightly) want the content on the site to be legal and they don’t want the site to be linked to activity that could be considered illegal. Filesharing and copyright infringement fall under this category. Whilst it’s alright to discuss the ethics of filesharing and copyright infringement, we’d ask that you avoid:

  • Encouraging other members to commit, facilitating, or assisting in the commission of copyright infringement
  • Linking to, or naming sites where copyrighted content can be illegally obtained

Examples of this include:

“Just torrent it”
“Visit <torrent tracker> to download it”

Hacking, cracks, keygens and other warez

A great deal of this follows on from the previous point. Whilst we’re sure that none of you will ever do anything illegal……… and that there are legitimate uses for hacking tools, there are plenty of other resources on the net that can help you with this sort of thing. Because there is a risk that these tools will be misused, we’d ask that you avoid discussing them and their use on TSR. We’d also ask that you avoid discussing details about hacking itself.

Example:

“It’s pretty easy to hack a WEP encrypted Wi-Fi hotspot” is acceptable in the context of a discussion about Wi-Fi security.
“It’s pretty easy to hack a WEP encrypted Wi-Fi hotspot using <insert tool/method here>” is not acceptable.

Cracks and Keygens are often part and parcel of software piracy, and while there are a couple of legitimate uses for cracks, there’s not really any legitimate purpose for keygens. Because there are not an awful lot of legitimate reasons to use these programs, we’d ask that you avoid discussing, encouraging the use of, or linking to resources about cracks and keygens entirely.

Warez (along with things like Cracks and Keygens) frequently come packaged with malware. Again, because we want to keep the TSR community safe, please avoid discussing or linking to sites that contain warez.

Posting unhelpful, or deliberately incorrect (and potentially damaging) advice

Unhelpful advice is never very funny, but it becomes a big problem when people that are unfamiliar with the way their equipment works get told, in a seemingly authoritative way, to “delete C:\WINDOWS\system32”. Please avoid posting advice that will cause unnecessary hassle or may cause damage to someone else’s computer/phone/etc. It not only could make someone’s problem a lot worse, but it hampers the efforts of those that are trying to help and it reflects badly on the community.

In addition we ask you not to post links to sites such as Let Me Google That For You, because 99 times out of 100 the poster is looking for specialist advice, and a generic Google search is in no way helpful. It becomes all the more frustrating and a waste of time when such links are disguised using URL shorteners, so please don't do this either. If you have the time to generate a Let Me Google That For You URL, then you have the time to provide the poster with a relevant search result that will help them with their query.

Things to do

When posting a thread looking for advice

Please try to:

  • Check the Wiki first!
    • We have some great articles on the wiki about many common questions, ranging from selecting a good anti-virus package and how to remove viruses when you get them, to what laptop to buy and how to get a student discount. Often, you’ll be able these sorts of common question by browsing these articles.
  • Post the thread in the right forum
    • Help keep the forum neat and tidy by reading the forum descriptions and posting the thread in the forum that is most appropriate. If you’re unsure where to put it, start a thread in Ask a Moderator, asking where it should go.
  • Be as descriptive as possible with your problem
    • We aren’t mind readers! Clearly explain the problem you are having and provide us as much relevant basic information as possible. Good examples of this are:
      • Make and model of device/computer
      • Operating system (Windows XP/Vista/7, OSX etc.)
      • Exactly what you were doing at the time the problem occurred
  • Treat others with respect
    • The people that help in the Tech forum have taken time out to give you advice, voluntarily. Please try to treat other members with the respect that they deserve. There’s nothing more frustrating than for someone to come in asking a question, then shouting down the advice they get given because they’d already decided on what course of action to take already. By all means, if you think someone has made an error, call them on it, but be sure to back up your shout with evidence. Shouting, “You’re wrong” is never helpful – try to justify your reasons.

When posting in reply to a thread

Please try to:

  • Justify your opinions
    • Providing evidence to back up your opinions not only makes things clearer to others, as they can read about your rationale, but it also helps make your argument more compelling.
  • Ensure that what you are saying is as accurate as possible
    • Try not to say things with certainty, if you are at all uncertain. Research what you are about to post to make sure that you are giving an accurate piece of advice or opinion. If you don’t know much about a subject, it’s probably wise not to wade in to a thread and giving an uninformed opinion. Saying things like “I may be wrong, but…” or “I’m not 100% sure about this…” are good ways to ensure that people aren’t misled into thinking that your opinion is the absolute gospel truth, when you’re unsure of something.

In general

Please try to:

  • Adhere to the site rules
  • Report anything that breaks the site rules or these guidelines to the moderation team, by using the post reporting function.
  • Ask before posting something you’re unsure of, by visiting Ask A Moderator and starting a thread. We’re happy to assist.

Get involved!

Our vision is for the Tech forum to become a fantastic resource for TSR users and those that come here through a search engine, to visit for information and advice. You can get involved in a number of ways:

TSR Tech Wiki

TSR Tech Wiki


We’re always looking for people to develop new guides and other content on the Wiki. So if you’re knowledgeable about a particular topic, why not create a new article of your own?

We’re particularly looking for articles for topics in the Webmaster, Coding and Software Dev, Photography and Digital Imaging, and Mobile Phones forums.

Click here to get started!

TSR Technology Society

The Tech Soc is a place for resident tech enthusiasts to chill out and chat. You can join the Tech Soc here. The current Tech Soc thread can be found here. Or alternatively, you can just post away in the Technology and Computers group of forums and make a name for yourself by helping others.


The Technology and Computers Moderation Team

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