[Q&A] Discussions & Debates Code of Conduct

GWJ Code of Conduct:
Discussions & Debates Addendum

All of the normal standards in the Code of Conduct apply in this section of the forums, except for any exceptions or additional constraints described below.

Discussions & Debates

We all participate in a wide wide world, far wider than any of us as individuals may experience. This section of the forums exists so that we may talk about issues of politics and policy, current events, situations of personal and public concern. Whether we’re participating in order to teach others about the issues we face, or the issues we care about—or we’re participating in order to learn more about our fellow forum members or the wider world—it is valuable to us to come together and share our views, beliefs, and struggles... even when those can make others uncomfortable.

Many of us currently on the forums have over the years learned a great deal of value about the human experience of our fellow gamers, and the human experience of people of all backgrounds all over this world.

While these discussions here sometimes grow heated and some of the things discussed can make people acutely uncomfortable, we believe that the benefits from coming together and talking with each other outweigh the cost of keeping the peace.

It is our hope that in the years ahead we and others continue to grow in wisdom and empathy and be better participants in our society and our world.

Thread statements of scope

Each posted thread must have a statement of scope, however brief. We do this for two reasons: First, because it allows participants to have a better idea of what is in-bounds or out-of-bounds for discussion within a thread, and whether they wish to participate. Second, because it allows moderators to have a better idea of what is in-bounds or out-of-bounds, in order to deal with problems when the discussion slips out of scope.

Thread authors may also specify in their scope statements additional expectations of posters within the thread—specific topics that are off-limits, for example—as long as those expectations are not overbearing. For example:

Subject: The Question of Outdoor Cats

Scope: This is for discussion of outdoor cats, both the benefits of the choice to let your cats outside and the potential social and health issues. Discussion of why people shouldn’t own cats in the first place or better pet ideas are not the intention here.

Thread participants absolutely should read the scope statements of threads before posting, to make sure they understand the scope of the discussion.

Thread categories

In order to keep expectations clear, we have defined a handful of different “categories” for threads. Every thread author must choose one of these categories for their thread when creating it, and slightly different rules apply to different sorts of threads.

Note that the usual Code of Conduct standards apply in all of these thread types. You are always expected to treat your fellow forum members with respect, even when the conversation grows heated.

Of course, not every topic will have every thread type. A certain amount of drift from one category to another is acceptable (a quick tangent to define a particularly troublesome word, quick answers to simple questions). But when these interruptions become intrusive, they should be given a separate space.


The vast majority of threads cover a lot a themes and a lot of ground. They can sometimes include a lot of history and theory, not all of which is familiar to everyone interested in the topic. Discussion group threads are places to talk with people interested in the depths and details of a topic. You will be expected to share and take in opinions with the assumption that ideas are worthy of discussion, whether or not you agree with them.


Current events frequently spur a lot of quick discussion. News threads are places for sharing and discussing news stories, blog posts, and the like, often focused on a specific topic. Other threads should be spawned when the conversation gets especially directed towards a particular incident or topic. Not every news story requires substantive discussion, but those that do should be handled in their own threads.


When a topic or issue and the ideas behind it are understood by many, there is still a need for basic questions to be answered. Q&A/learning threads are places to ask and answer essential basic questions. If you are asking questions you should show respect and good faith towards those spending their time to answer your questions. If you are answering questions you should make allowances for mistakes due to a lack of understanding and assume good faith on the part of those asking.


Debate threads are rarely-needed places to strenuously and formally argue your position, to convince others to consider or accept your point of view. If you are arguing in a debate thread, you are expected to argue your position with integrity and use sources to back up your claims. You are also expected to treat other posters with respect, even while arguing against their positions.