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Rules of Engagement: How to Play Nice on This Site — Brooklynian

Rules of Engagement: How to Play Nice on This Site is a place to find useful information and news about specific neighborhoods in Brooklyn. You can send private messages to other users if you register, or visit our "other" discussion boards, including The Classifieds (LOCAL personal or small business ads only, please), The Lounge (general chat), Brooklyn and Beyond, and ASK BROOKLYNIAN (general discussions about how the site works).

If you feel any of the rules have been violated, PM one of the site administrators (you can send one to Mamacita, Booklaw, Jeffrey or Homeowner). DO NOT complain publicly on the main boards; your post might be deleted, or moved.

* Be nice. If you can't be nice, go to a different website. "Nice" does not mean kittens and rainbows. More like, "general level of civil decorum." It's OK to argue and disagree, and in fact we encourage it, but don't stoop to personal attacks, name calling, shouting wild generalizations like "YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF GENTRIFYING YUPPIES", or other childish behavior. We don’t care about anyone’s politics. Just their behavior on these boards.

* Try to pick one username and stick with it. If you start posting under different identities, do not be surprised when people get angry with you, or try to "out" you publicly as masquerading. No sock puppet accounts. Fakers will be named and shamed, and posts like this are subject to removal at the discretion of the moderators and admins.

*"Moderators" are the people who make sure these boards stay fun and useful. They have their own set of rules too. Keep in mind they are human, just like you. Have patience. If you really feel a mod decision merits a second opinion, please contact an admin (see above). Complaining publicly about the mods is NOT going to solve anything - the conversation will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be warned or put on timeout.

* If your post gets deleted, it's not a First Amendment issue. It's probably an issue about you being a jerk.

* We reserve the right to limit the number of comments or new posts any one user may submit on any given topic, so as not to discourage others from participating.

* Brooklynian loves the press and bloggers, but we hate when you log on under the guise of a pedestrian to phish for stories or quotes. Please feel free to post, but disclose your affiliation with any paper, website, blog or organization and please credit as your source.

* Please don't make the same post on multiple boards. If you'd like your post to be considered for a Global or Sticky, you can PM a moderator or post in the "Ask Brooklynian" board.

* Stay On Topic: It's simple, keep the conversation to the topic/subject at hand. Threads that devolve into off topic rants or asides will be split or closed at the discretion of the Moderators.

* APARTMENTS and REAL ESTATE listings are so popular, they have their own board! If you just want to know what the neighborhood is like or what a reasonable rent/price is, it's okay to post on that neighborhood board, but if you're trying to rent/sell a place or are looking to be hooked up with a new place to live, you need to post in the apartments section.

* We are busy people, so we discourage posts that don't add anything to the discussion (example: "LOL")

* Commercial posts go in the Marketplace, either CLASSIFIEDS, Sales/Events or APTS/REAL ESTATE. PLEASE do not post more than one ad at a time, and be advised that the CLASSIFIEDS are mainly for individuals and small businesses local to Brooklyn; if you post a general ad that has no particular significance to Brooklyn, it may be deleted. If you are posting about an event that's specific to one neighborhood, ask a moderator if it's OK to post a notice on a Neighborhood board.

* Avatars and Sig Lines: No advertisements or commercial links in your signature line please. (See above. Commercial posts go in the Marketplace ONLY.) Avatars should be in the "safe for work" category since they are going with you everywhere on the boards. Do we really have to spell this out? No photos in the signature lines - that's what the avatar is for! Again, the general rule of thumb is Don't Be A Jerk.

* If you comment on a business in which you (or your friend or relative) have a financial interest, YOU HAVE TO DISCLOSE THAT IN THE POST. Shilling is when someone who has an interest in a business or event pretends to just be a happy, satisfied customer or patron who wants to tell everyone how awesome Joe Schmoe's Coffee Shop is or whatever. Even if you are a well-meaning friend or relative of the business owner, participating in this deceitful tactic does more harm than good for the business. Shilling is subject to removal at the discretion of the moderators and admins. Also, people will gladly "out" you and embarrass you for breaking this rule.

* Talking about your own business because it's relevant to the conversation: Sometimes OK, if you are truly contributing to the discussion, and your post is really relevant to the thread. People come here to talk about the neighborhood and they don't want to wade through promotional posts. It should be OK if you start out by saying "By way of full disclosure, I own this bar, but since you guys are talking about doing X-Y-Z you should know that we have had an X-Y-Z night for a few months now..." something like that. Just be cool.

* Questions about the operation of the boards should be posted on the Ask Brooklynian board.

* Please SEARCH before posting general questions. Questions like "Where's a good laundromat in Park Slope?" or "Is such-and-such street safe late at night?" have often been discussed many times already, so you might find the answer you need is already here.

* Policy on Businesses and People Discussed on Brooklynian: Opinions expressed on are solely those of the people who write them, NOT the owner, administrators, or moderators of the site. has no control over the truth, accuracy, quality, or legality of postings made by users. Because verifying the identity of a user on the Internet is difficult, cannot and does not confirm the identity of users. is not legally responsible for any remarks, information or other content posted or made available on its site by any user or third party. is not responsible for accuracy or reliability, and does not monitor or censor content for accuracy or reliability. However, reserves the right to remove or restrict access to any information or content posted or made available on its site by its users or any third party if considers such information or content to be in violation of its site rules, which can be viewed here:

Sometimes we hear from people who don't like negative opinions that people write about them or their businesses here. We advise that you develop a thick skin and learn to accept (and learn from!) what people say about you, whether it's at the laundromat, on the street corner, or on a neighborhood message board. If you don't like something someone says here about you or your business, the best thing to do is register for the site, join the conversation, and explain your side of things (note: if you are going to post about something you have a business interest in, you MUST disclose that in your post; please see the section on shilling in our site rules for more information on why this is important). If you have any questions, please contact



    (you have to hold out through 40 seconds of intro...wait for it...and hold out for 2:30 to get to Mavis)
    The Staple Singers "Respect Yourself" gives us the words to live by . . .
  • If you think we're strict, check out the NYTimes
    November 15, 2007, 12:52 pm
    The Top 10 Reasons We Deleted Your Comment
    By Patrick LaForge

    A reader named Lipso writes, “I love how the liberal NY Times censors posts they don’t like…I saw a post up here that made sense about an earlier posting and The Times censored it since liberals are really the thought police..What a rag…”

    Sometimes we lean on the delete-comment button here on the City Room blog, as we did in Lipso’s case, but that has nothing to do with the opinions in the comments. Here are some of the main reasons we block them:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a moron, a dope, a dummy, or something else uncivil. No name-calling and personal abuse, please.

    2. You used profanity. Our rules forbid even mild oaths and vulgarities that are now common on TV and the Web. (Here are some examples.) We know people talk this way every day, even in our newsroom, but certain words do still offend and anger people, or at the very least make them less likely to come back here. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, a minister or a 5-year-old, think twice about saying it here. That includes masked or veiled profanities that combine letters and dashes. Don’t even call the word to mind.

    3. Incoherence or failure to stay on topic. The spelling, grammar or logic was so confused that we simply could not understand what you were trying to say, or it had nothing to do with the article.

    4. Vague complaints about our coverage. While we welcome and publish substantive criticism of our work, and even respond to it, this is not a blog about The Times. It is best to send complaints about our reporting and presentation by e-mail message (click here) for prompt attention. That is also the best way to point out grammar, spelling and factual errors. This also applies to comments about our moderation policy, although those are on topic for this post. And we won’t tolerate personal attacks on reporters or editors.

    5. The spam filter ate your comment. There are any number of reasons for this, including too many links or certain fake e-mail addresses. There are hundreds of really nasty comments in the spam filter. We really don’t like to look in there. But if you send us an e-mail message, we will check.

    6. Repetition. If many people have already said something already, please don’t say it again. Don’t repost your comments on multiple posts. And if you have already posted on a topic, give others a chance. If you are having an extended back-and-forth with another reader, we might eventually put a stop to it if you are driving everyone else away.


    8. Your post was too long. We don’t impose a word count, but a long and rambling essay takes a long time for the moderators to review and taxes the patience of other readers.

    9. You posted long excerpts of content published elsewhere or tried to pass it off as your own.

    10. You pretended to be someone you aren’t and used a fake e-mail.

    Update: For those still confused about the last point, here’s another explanation that Jim Roberts, the editor of digital news, gave on The Caucus, the national political blog: “If you sign your name Bill Clinton or Frank Zappa, we’ll in all likelihood delete it, unless we’re certain you’re the former president or the reincarnated Mother of Invention.”

    Other readers have asked follow-up questions about how we handle criticism of The Times, which are answered below in the comments. But here is the answer from the Frequently Asked Questions

    About Comments: “We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don’t want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies, and we will moderate accordingly.”

    Please read the FAQ. And if you believe a comment on the City Room blog crosses the line, please send us an e-mail message.

This discussion has been closed.