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How to Grow A Positive Faith Forum

The Nature of the P&R and Faith Forums
There are now two forums where one can discuss religious topics, the P&R (Philosophy and Religion) Forum and the Faith Forum. In the P&R forum, one can expect to have any idea challenged, picked apart, and argued with. In the Faith forum, however, it is accepted and respected that you may believe things by trusting the person who told you alone - sometimes known as 'faith', so such views should not be challenged there. The P&R forum, however, is open to all debate, and reason and evidence are the best tools to use. So, depending on what you want to talk about, please choose the appropriate forum.

The main reason this forum was created was to prevent a topic about some aspect of a belief from being completely derailed by an argument about the validity of the whole belief. That's why you're not allowed to heavily debate against the premise of the first post in any topic. That said; this is NOT a religion-only forum, nor is it an exclusive club. Anybody can reply to any topic, as long as they don't derail it by arguing with the first post, and anybody can begin a topic here on any subject, as long as it is somehow related to religion/faith.

Warning Signs of Inflammatory Posts
These are NOT official rules.
These are guidelines to help you avoid making posts that harm the quality of the forum as a whole.
(Specifically, they are the warning signs of flaming, trolling, troll-baiting, troll-feeding, and personal insults.)
If you find yourself writing a post that contains any of these warning signs, please go back over it and consider changing it to be more polite, and less personal.

The word 'You': This is an easy give-away that your post is in danger of making personal insults or flaming... If you see the word 'you' in a post you are writing, please consider removing that portion, and focus on writing about the topic being discussed, instead of the people discussing it.

Using a Particular User's Name: Basically the same as the word 'you'. When you call a particular person out, you're in danger of discussing that person, rather than the topic.

Referring to Another Topic: When you find yourself quoting a different topic, or even just referring to it, it's a sign that you may be just reviving the argument from there. This is an especially bad sign if it is combined with:

Going Off-Topic: An off-topic post is not always an inflammatory post, but if you find yourself making an off-topic post, double-check it to make sure you're being courteous.

Repeating Themes: If you find yourself posting about the same thing over and over, especially in multiple different topics, it's a sign that your post may be argument bait, rather than a constructive addition.

Looking for Trouble: When in doubt, assume that 'the other guy' did NOT mean what he/she said in an insulting way. There will always be differences of opinion, but watch out for times when you may be taking a stubborn difference of opinion, and mistaking it for personal disrespect and/or a vendetta against you in particular.

Asking/Telling Someone Not To Post: If you're asking/telling/demanding that someone not post or post less, there's a very good chance that your post is not going to be constructive to the discussion. No matter if you're telling someone to not post about some particular thing in one particular topic, or if you're telling someone to leave Frihost altogether... Either way, if you see this warning sign in your post, it's a good bet that you should revise the post to be more constructive.*

Replying With a Report: If somebody else did something against the rules -- something that could be reported -- and you find yourself replying to the topic to post about it, chances are, you're not being helpful at all. If you think somebody is in danger of breaking a rule, DO NOT say so in the topic. Report it instead.

Commenting on the State of the Forum in General: If you find yourself making off-topic comments about how the forum is good/bad/better/worse, then there's a good chance you're making an inflammatory post... Be very careful to not insinuate that the change/aspect of the forum you're referring to is due to the actions of any specific users.

I repeat, these are NOT rules. And they are definitely NOT here so you can point out the warning signs in other people's posts! They're just guidelines that may help you avoid breaking the rules in the first place.
Any time you see these warning signs in a post that YOU are making, stop to consider if it's really the best sort of post you could make.
If everybody makes an effort at this, it should help make these forums a much better place to participate in.

*(If you are a moderator, and you need to tell someone not to post in a particular way, the right way to do so is through PM's, not by replying to the topic.)

Guidelines for Quality Faith Forum Posts
The following are guidelines only, not rules. These guidelines will not be enforced by anybody, though people may refer you to them to help you improve the quality of your posts. Remember, this list is here to help you improve your own posts, not to help you improve others' posts.
That said, following these guidelines is highly encouraged: if most people do so, then the quality of discussion in this forum will improve.

Have Thick Skin: Direct personal insults should be reported, but don't go looking for them where there are none. It's important to separate yourself from your ideas and beliefs - recognize the difference between someone attacking your beliefs and someone attacking you. If insults are directed at you, report them, then ignore them, let them roll on by without hurting you.

Be Able To Compromise: If your opponent makes a good point, acknowledge it. When you realize that you are defending an undefendable assertion, admit it, and move on.

Discuss The Topic: Stay on-topic, and discuss what the thread is about, rather than moving into a discussion about the people in it. In any topic where people start talking about each other, rather than the subject at hand, things can get ugly very fast.

Communicate Effectively: Make your points as clearly as you can; never try to obscure the point on purpose. Also, rather than telling someone that they didn't understand your post, try to explain it again in terms they understand. If you don't understand a post, ask for clarification before posting a rebuttal of it.

Respect Differences: Other people believe different things, and the Faith forum is NOT the correct place to challenge these beliefs. Try to respect others' differences, no matter how silly they may seem.

Talk About Your Ideas, Not Others': When someone posts an idea that contradicts yours, talk about your own, and why it is better -- rather than talking about theirs and why it is worse.

Starve The Trolls: Trolls are posters who only post in order to get an emotional response from you. They may do so by deliberately offending you, by insulting you, by stalking you and refuting everything you say, and any other way to get you riled up. The ONLY way to defeat a troll is to starve him/her - if you deny them the emotional response they're fishing for, they'll leave to fish somewhere else.

Thanks to Bikerman for supplying some of the basis for some of the guidelines.

These warning signs and these guidelines are works in progress. If you have a suggestion about them, post a reply here. Remember though, "You can't tell me how to post!!1!" is not a helpful suggestion. If you have a problem with some of the points here, suggest how they could be made better, rather than just saying how bad they are in their current form.
Please forward any comments or suggestion to any available Mod / Admin.

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