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Time For A Shift: A Clearer Stand On Profanity, Lewdness

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Being a "blogfather" is a lot like being an umpire. No matter what you do, 50% of the people will hate you -- unless you're really fair, in which case probably 100% of the people will not like you. So my goal today is for 100% of you not to like me as I endeavor to be fair, even if not entirely popular, with all.

I have decided, with the input of AN's moderators, to institute some clear and specific rules on what -- or perhaps more "where" -- is and isn't acceptable on AN in regards to profanity and lewdness, understanding that part of what we have to balance is that AN is unmistakably, all at the same time, a community, a social network, a baseball blog, a gathering place, a business, and a much-read site that is in the public eye, and while it is not easy to make AN a place that can work for everyone it is our obligation to try hard and then try harder.

Hopefully, those adamantly opposed to rules/censorship will notice how far I've tried to bend in the direction of preserving a high degree of freedom. This is in spite of the fact that I get a LOT of private complaints and am well aware that AN's penchant for raunchy discourse has driven away more than a few readers.

So take a deep breath, jump, and help me usher in some tweaks to discourse on AN...

Overarching Golden Rule: The community seems to pretty much unanimously agree that extreme lewdness, such as naked photos or images of sex acts, and that "repeated gratuitous profanity and explicitly obscene descriptions," as well as just excessive and/or constant swearing, should not be acceptable anywhere on AN. That has been in the regular Community Guidelines since early May and will continue to supersede the new guidelines below. So when you read "anything goes," it really means "anything goes (except for violations of the overarching golden rule...)"

CT Threads: "Anything goes" -- no restrictions on language, content, or images. The community can self-police CT threads however it wants but outside of "golden rule" violations, nothing will be subject to CGVs or sanctions, and if readers do not care for profanity, crass innuendo, or risqué images they should simply stay out of the CT threads.

Game Threads & DLDs: "Anything goes" on topics, content, and language. The community can self-police DLDs and game threads however it wants, but outside of "golden rule" violations, nothing will be subject to CGVs or sanctions -- except for a specific provision that edgy images must be posted as links, not posted as images, for the security of readers who log on at work and can't afford for edgy photos or images to pop up on the screen. If readers do not care for profanity, crass innuendo, or off-topic discussion, they should simply stay out of the game threads and DLDs.

Game Recaps, Front Page Posts & All Non DLD Fanposts:

* In game recaps, front page posts, and non DLD fanposts, it is acceptable to use an expletive only if you use asterisks/symbols instead of typing the word out fully, e.g., "f***" or "bulls**t" or "F%$#@!!!" or if you use abbreviations, e.g., "WTF?" or "STFU!" This way, readers can viscerally express the emotion of swearing without actually putting cuss words in front of readers who don't like it.

* In game recaps, front page posts, and non DLD fanposts, all other forms of profanity are not ok.

* In game recaps, front page posts, and non DLD fanposts, all lewdness ("speaking in an obscene manner") is not ok. This includes graphic sex talk, edgy photos or images, and any discourse that an average reasonable person would likely find offensive or uncomfortable. This is inherently subjective, so a good rule of thumb is: If in doubt, tone it down a notch.

This balance should allow some members of the community to have not one, not two, but three daily places that can be pretty much as uncensored and full of "insider banter" as they please, while also allowing other members of the community a front page (game threads excepted), and numerous fanposts, that are reliably suitable for readers of all ages, backgrounds, and sensibilities.

Whether you agree, disagree, or don't care about these new parameters, I hope they are clear because I think my biggest obligation to everyone, when establishing rules, norms, and expectations, is to provide clarity. I also hope this is seen as a reasonable compromise and that the community can appreciate how difficult -- but also how important -- it is to try to be responsive to the wants and needs of everyone. And on AN, everyone is a lot of people.

For easy reference, the new rules have been added to the Community Guidelines, where they currently appear in blockquotes at the beginning of the CGs.

And go A's.