Guidelines

When you join a BSG you are joining a movement. Like any thriving community, a few ground rules about expected behavior apply.

01

This guideline covers all channels of interaction

Mailing lists
Facebook groups
Slack Groups
Telegram Groups
BSG Forum and live events

Live Community

BSG is about showing humanity to one another: the word itself captures the spirit of being human.

We want a productive, happy and agile community that can welcome new ideas in a complex field, improve every process every year, and foster collaboration between groups with very different needs, interests and skills.

We gain strength from diversity, and actively seek participation from those who enhance it. This code of conduct exists to ensure that diverse groups collaborate to mutual advantage and enjoyment. We will challenge prejudice that could jeopardise the participation of any person in the project.

The Code of Conduct governs how we behave in public or in private whenever the project will be judged by our actions. We expect it to be honoured by everyone who represents the project officially or informally, claims affiliation with the project, or participates directly.

We strive to

Be considerate
Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should consider them when making decisions.
Be respectful
Disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. We don't allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
Take responsibility for our words and our actions
We can all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully, and work to right the wrong.
Be collaborative
What we produce is a complex whole made of many parts, it is the sum of many dreams. Collaboration between teams that each have their own goal and vision is essential; for the whole to be more than the sum of its parts, each part must make an effort to understand the whole.
Collaboration reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we celebrate good collaboration. Wherever possible, we work closely with upstream projects and others in the free software community to coordinate our efforts. We prefer to work transparently and involve interested parties as early as possible.
Value decisiveness, clarity and consensus
Disagreements, social and technical, are normal, but we do not allow them to persist and fester leaving others uncertain of the agreed direction.
We expect participants in the project to resolve disagreements constructively. When they cannot, we escalate the matter to structures with designated leaders to arbitrate and provide clarity and direction.
Ask for help when unsure
Nobody is expected to be perfect in this community. Asking questions early avoids many problems later, so questions are encouraged, though they may be directed to the appropriate forum. Those who are asked should be responsive and helpful.
Step down considerately
When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. They should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.

Leadership, authority and responsibility

We all lead by example, in debate and in action. We encourage new participants to feel empowered to lead, to take action, and to experiment when they feel innovation could improve the project. Leadership can be exercised by anyone simply by taking action, there is no need to wait for recognition when the opportunity to lead presents itself.

Delegation from the top

Responsibility for the project starts with the "benevolent dictator", who delegates specific responsibilities and the corresponding authority to a series of teams, councils and individuals, starting with the Community Council ("CC"). That Council or its delegated representative will arbitrate in any dispute.

We are a meritocracy; we delegate decision making, governance and leadership from senior bodies to the most able and engaged candidates.

Support for delegation is measured

Nominations to the boards and councils are at the discretion of the Community Council, however the Community Council will seek the input of the community before confirming appointments.

Leadership is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege, a responsibility and a mandate. A leader will only retain their authority as long as they retain the support of those who delegated that authority to them.

We value discussion, data and decisiveness

We gather opinions, data and commitments from concerned parties before taking a decision. We expect leaders to help teams come to a decision in a reasonable time, to seek guidance or be willing to take the decision themselves when consensus is lacking, and to take responsibility for implementation.

The poorest decision of all is no decision: clarity of direction has value in itself. Sometimes all the data are not available, or consensus is elusive. A decision must still be made. There is no guarantee of a perfect decision every time - we prefer to err, learn, and err less in future than to postpone action indefinitely.

We recognise that the project works better when we trust the teams closest to a problem to make the decision for the project. If we learn of a decision that we disagree with, we can engage the relevant team to find common ground, and failing that, we have a governance structure that can review the decision. Ultimately, if a decision has been taken by the people responsible for it, and is supported by the project governance, it will stand. None of us expects to agree with every decision, and we value highly the willingness to stand by the project and help it deliver even on the occasions when we ourselves may prefer a different route.

Open meritocracy

We invite anybody, from any company, to participate in any aspect of the project. Our community is open, and any responsibility can be carried by any contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence.

Teamwork

A leader's foremost goal is the success of the team.

"A virtuoso is judged by their actions; a leader is judged by the actions of their team."A leader knows when to act and when to step back. They know when to delegate work, and when to take it upon themselves.

Credit

A good leader does not seek the limelight, but celebrates team members for the work they do. Leaders may be more visible than members of the team, good ones use that visibility to highlight the great work of others.

Courage and considerateness

Leadership occasionally requires bold decisions that will not be widely understood, consensual or popular. We value the courage to take such decisions, because they enable the project as a whole to move forward faster than we could if we required complete consensus. Nevertheless, boldness demands considerateness; take bold decisions, but do so mindful of the challenges they present for others, and work to soften the impact of those decisions on them. Communicating changes and their reasoning clearly and early on is as important as the implementation of the change itself.

Conflicts of interest

We expect leaders to be aware when they are conflicted due to employment or other projects they are involved in, and abstain or delegate decisions that may be seen to be self-interested. We expect that everyone who participates in the project does so with the goal of making life better for its users.

When in doubt, ask for a second opinion. Perceived conflicts of interest are important to address; as a leader, act to ensure that decisions are credible even if they must occasionally be unpopular, difficult or favourable to the interests of one group over another.

This Code is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook; it serves to distil our common understanding of a collaborative, shared environment and goals. We expect it to be followed in spirit as much as in the letter.

THE SHORT VERSION

We hope you will help create great conversations in our community.
Don’t be a jerk, call people jerks, or react to jerks. We’ll remove bad stuff when we see it.
Respect and help the moderators. It’s a small team of dedicated, caring humans working hard to make things better.

HOW TO POST AND COMMENT

There are three ways to interact on BSG. Here's the basics, but there’s much more information down below.

Post a comment

We love comments, and simply by registering you can comment on any story on BSG. Comments are organized into collapsable threads to make it easy to follow a conversation. There are also some really great keyboard shortcuts on comments — they're listed on the right of the comments area. If you realize you’ve made a typo, you'll have 90 seconds to edit your comment before it’s set in stone.

Join a Forum

BSG forums are a great place to talk about technology, science, and culture. In order to post in a forum, you need to "join" it. To do that, just visit the forum you'd like to join and click the "join" button in the upper right. When you do, your membership to the forum will appear on your user profile.

Get in touch

Have a news tip? Want to contact the moderators? See a bug? You can do all of that right here.

RULES OF THE ROAD

Here are things that will get your comment or forum post removed and quite possibly get you banned. Note that this is not a comprehensive list. Our moderators reserve the right to remove anything we deem inappropriate.

Spam

Zero tolerance, of course! If it comes from a human or a robot, spam will be deleted. This includes self-promotion. Generally speaking, promoting your projects here will be treated like any other spam.

Personal attacks

Don't attack or insult another user. It's not helpful and it doesn't make BSG a friendly place. This includes calling other members trolls.

Illegal activities

Posting links to illegal downloads, ways to steal service, and other nefarious activity is not OK here.

NSFW material

Nope, not allowed. Even images or links that could be considered borderline are not acceptable. A good rule of thumb is that anything beyond PG-13 will get you in trouble, but we reserve the right to remove any post we deem offensive. This goes for porngraphic material, vile language, gore and generally gross stuff.

Racism, sexism, and other discrimination

Attacking entire classes of people is just like attacking a single person: we'll ban you for it.

Trolling

"Trolling" is a big, messy term, but we know what trolls are and we won't tolerate it. If you're abusing the good conversations here at BSG, we will take your comments and posts down. This includes taking a thread off-topic, by the way.

Multiple accounts and throwaway emails

We don't allow multiple accounts per user. Using a disposable email address signals to us that you might not be here for the right reasons. You also may not create accounts designed to impersonate another person.

Cross posting

Don’t make duplicate posts across different forums — it clogs things up and fractures the conversation.

Complaining about coverage

We cover a wide array of topics, not all of which are easy, comfortable, or reflective of your personal views. This applies doubly to review scores. While we’re not against discussions of our coverage, plainly stated accusations of bias are usually an indication that you’re not trying to be a productive member of the community.

Above all, our team of moderators works to keep conversation here friendly, engaging, helpful, and productive. If we feel a comment or forum post is harming that endeavor, we’ll take action.

See any of the above? You can help us out by flagging (more on that below). Any comments that are a reply to spammy / inappropriate / trolling comments will also be deleted with the original comment, so don't reply — just flag!

MODERATION

Isn’t this censorship?

Well, no and yes. We’re trying to foster great conversation and we will remove comments that harm that endeavor. You’re free to say whatever you like other places, but not here. At BSG we have a different standard, working very hard to keep the conversation informative and fun. The bottom line is that the editors and moderators have the final say on whether it fits within our community guidelines.

Questions about moderation

We're happy to have a discussion with you about it — in private. We've found from long and hard experience that public complaints about moderation just leads to people trying to "game" the system. If you have a question about moderation, hit us up on our contact form and we'll have a talk. If there's a big policy change or something we would like to say publicly about moderation, we'll post it in our Meta forums and update this document.

Helping out our moderators

Moderators work very, very hard with your best interests at heart. Please help them out by flagging inappropriate comments and take heed when they ask you to change your behavior. Note that most of our moderators are volunteers freely dedicating their time to help make things better. They don’t speak for the site, but still deserve your gratitude.

Becoming a mod

We don’t have an application process, we select from the best members of our community. If you want to be a mod, our advice to you is to be awesome: help users when they have questions, flag inappropriate comments with good explanations of why, help users relax when threads start to look like flamewars, and generally just show us that you're a helpful and real human being. When the time comes, we may tap you on the shoulder and ask if you're interested.

COMMENTS

Comments are a lovely way to talk about the stories, forum posts, and reviews you find on BSG. They can also be a lot to keep up with, so we have some tools to make it all easier. You can preview your comment before you post it, and you will have 90 seconds to edit a comment afterwards. Every comment also has a few links associated with it:

Reply

Use this to reply to that specific comment. Your reply will be threaded to that comment.

Recommend

We love great comments, we know you do too. Click the "Recommend" link to vote up a comment and see it get more love and affection from the site.

Flag

This is the link you use to report a post to the moderators. Use it on spam, on personal attacks, or on racist or sexist language. Do not use it to report stuff you disagree with or to hassle users. Our moderators work really hard, please help them help you!

It’s important to know that comments are threaded and if the top comment in a thread is a problem, we may delete it, and that will delete all the replies to it. So if there's an inappropriate comment and you reply to it with something eloquent and heartfelt, there's a very good chance that your highly intelligent and meaningful comment will nonetheless be lost.

FORUM POSTS

BSG offers a full WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor on forum posts.

Our editors and moderators will be watching out for great content to promote on the site as well as inappropriate content. In other words, all the rules above about spam, abusive behavior, and basic human decency apply double to forum posts. You can help! Recommend or Flag forum posts to bring them to our attention. If a forum post is terrible, please flag it instead of commenting — even if the comments are great, we will remove forum posts that run against our community guidelines.

Finally, please post in the appropriate forum. Have a question about the new iPhone? Apple Core is the place. Want to talk about BSG itself, we have a Meta forum. Want help compare an Android phone to a BlackBerry? We have a general Mobile forum for that. Not sure where your post belongs? Ask in Meta or ask us directly.

COMMENTS VS. FORUM POSTS

Although there is no hard and fast rule for when you should make a comment on somebody else's post or when you should make a new forum post, we do have some clear guidelines. Essentially, if there is already a post on a topic you're interested in talking about, it's better to comment on that post than to make a new one. We have a very large search box at the top of the forums and we encourage all users to search before you post. Duplicate posts may be closed or removed.

Still have questions or feedback?

Contact [email protected]