Adult Content and "TOS" Discussion!

  • So many newbies lately! Here is a very important PSA about one of our most vital content policies! Read it even if you are an ancient member!
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For Some History: Iwaku used to be on Proboards and they had a VERY strict Terms of Service. You were not allowed to do, talk about, say or roleplay ANYTHING that could be considered sexual or offensive. They would suspend and delete your forums if there was even one report of it.

NOW: Iwaku is on the server. There is no TOS or limits on what sort of content can be on Iwaku. So when we opened 4.0 there were no strict rules about content. We wanted members to have the freedom to talk about anything or roleplay anything without worrying about it. We trust members to use their judgment.

LATELY: We've had a lot of discussion going around about some comments, posting, behavior, etc going over the line of what is "appropriate". Many feel that Iwaku's lack of strict TOS is being taken advantage of, and members are getting uncomfortable. Even some newbies have been turned off from staying at Iwaku because they saw posts/convos where they didn't understand "the joke".

So the question of discussion today is; "How much is too much?", What does Iwaku consider inappropriate and crossing the line?", "Should we have stricter TOS rules", and "Should only certain areas have a stricter TOS and others lighter TOS?"

Our Current "Content" Rule straight from the Guide
The Naughty and the Scandalous!
Iwaku is aimed towards teenagers and young adults. Know that the content and feel is at a general PG-13 rating. (That means content is only viewable for those 13 and older. NOT FOR KIDS!) Cursing is allowed. Sex and related subjects are bound to be discussed in forums and cbox. However, please use decorum and common sense! Not all members are comfortable with this sort of conduct, so respect the wishes of others if they ask for you to tone it down. Note that Iwaku is not a dating service. If you're looking for a "good time", a significant other, etc.; this is not the place.

Do you think this is enough? Should there be more detailed rules for specifics? Or should we be more strictly enforcing this rule and count on people using their own sense?

Current Iwaku Adult Content "Facts":
- We allow R rated roleplaying, but we always suggest that people post a rating on their OOCs and their ICs. When asked, we always suggest that people use the "spoiler" tag for sex scenes if they are worried about content but feel that the Rating Warning should be enough.

- We allow adult R rated or naughty Groups/Clubs as long as they are private and only viewable by club members.

- We do NOT have strict content rules in the Cbox at the moment.

- We not NOT have strict content rules about forum topics or posts made on the rest of the forum.

Now community; What are your thoughts and feelings about the subject? Do you have some suggestions or feedback?
I've been pondering this as well... In all honesty, I like how it's currently set up, but I do see the cause for concern when it comes to new, and younger members.

The C-Box should have stricter TOS for it considering the instant availability of it once a new member has access. I doubt they'd want to read some of the stuff that's typed in there, and it can immediately turn some members away, and annoy others.

The general topics? Yes. They should also be stricter due to the fact that they're generally a logical, or community based question... or have some actual purpose. These topics are available to everyone, and not everyone wants to see or read a random Genitalia joke, or reference to, etc.

To them both, I believe that the staff should be a little stricter in enforcing what's already mentioned, but perhaps a few examples, or refinements of the rules may help.

Ultimately it comes to the forum members to use common sense, and good judgement. I know some of us can, and will say some things in a group that others wouldn't, and we need to be putting ourselves in someone elses shoes.

On a side note, I do have an idea about the RP sections, but I'll go in detail if a staff member PM's me about it.
I have to agree with Jumi, the chat should have a stricter set of rules since it's open to the public and can be the first impression to many newbies. I do not think we should have to have the staff babysit the cbox, but in the end it's good there is a large staff population because conversations can get out of hand. I would hope that the staff would agree on how to approach line crossing before the cbox comes back however. This might lead to less bucking of the harness.

As for the forums. I think it's good that people are reminded there are plenty of more adult clubs that some content can be posted in. I really don't want to read a forum topic about balls, but at least that I can avoid. I am less likely to avoid an Insanity thread about fudge that turns into a bunch of lued jokes.
Not having to worry about TOS violations is great, it was ridiculous how we could have one slipup and someone could go running off and get the entire site eliminated.

However, I seem to belong to the minority that is... perhaps... tired of the continual obsession of sex sex sex sex sex... There is the usual reference or comment on the boards… but it is rampant on the c-box and waaaaaaaaay beyond PG-13.

Really this shouldn't surprise me... the majority of our members are somewhere between the ages of 18 and 24… and if the demographics are slightly correct… male dominant. Thus what is constantly on their minds is sex... sex... and more sex...

I don't mind the occasional perverted joke... I'm not a completely innocent mind. Ask Jack Shade about those group skype conversations we used to have way back when. And when it's kept to the insanity board... all well and good... anything goes in insanity as everyone knows. But damn… I agree the Jack Daniels fuelled rant that Asmodeus had in the c-box thread. Almost every single time I'd log in and happen to glance down at the c-box, at least once or several times a day without fail. Molestation… rape… boobs… dicks… gropes… Damn… come on now…

I think the thing that most annoyed me was when I commented about it in the c-box. One of the replies I got "If you don't like it then get the fuck out of here!"

Yes I know that the person that said it wasn't being actually serious. Though I am sure there are those that wouldn't mind me being completely gone. I will say it was tempting just to say "fuck it" and leave, I wasn't in a particularly good mood at that time and that response didn't help. But hell, if we have a new member, he sees the c-box like that, and comments… what happens when he gets that same response? No wonder we ain't getting that many new members that aren't of the perverted mindset.

Like I said, I'm not a paragon of innocence. But I am of the belief that even though we have the freedom, we shouldn't go hog wild with it. A thread in the general section doesn't need to get derailed onto the topic of someone's cock. The c-box doesn't need to be a contest of who is the most perverted.


Perhaps refine the rule into a bit… I'm not really sure… it seems that the way the Rule from the guide is more along the lines of just that… an actual guideline, which means it's not mandatory to follow. Rules are meant to be followed, and should be.

Perhaps what I'm saying is actually have some rules in place for the c-box and the "serious" areas of the forum, yes rules are nasty and ugly and everyone likes to break them. I'm not too overly concerned with RPs, that's up to what the GM's and their RPer's. I'm also not too concerned about the insanity section.

Yes, we're supposed to be adults (or we're somewhere close to there). Yes, the occasional "bow-chicka" is okay or perverted…ness. But since we're adults we should at least "act mature". The forum is a reflection of the people within it. We can't really attract any more people of a variety of mindset if all they see is a slightly immature or perverted reflection of it. Tell me, if there was another budding Asmoish type person out there (which would be slightly disturbing and cool at the same time), do you think he'd join this site if he saw the c-box at its 'best'?

I call for a tightening up of the TOS rules, as much as that may be protested.
Hokay. For the record, I have missed, approximately, ALL of the associated drama here. Nor do I have any inclination to look it up. That said, I do somewhat agree with Woodrat and Jumi, particularly on the topic of the Cbox.

We have, to date, been relying on a "gentlemen's agreement" to keep the chat to a mutually acceptable level. That's fine, as far as it goes, but for the fact that the CBox regulars either are becoming jaded or otherwise losing sight of what is generally acceptable and what isn't.

That, frankly, has to stop.

Now, I don't really care what goes on in the alternate channels. People don't generally access those unless they're looking to RP. But for the main channel, I would recommend that we have a rule, guideline, fiat, whatever the hell you want to call it, a) keep it fairly clean. That means while some swearing and the occasional innuendo is fine, giving Soldiers a run for their money (on either count) or holding impromptu "guttermind" contests is not. b) You wanna straight-up talk about sex and/or ignore condition A? Fine, but go to one of the side-chats. c) Keep the injokes and running gags to a minimum. They're funny, yes, but if you aren't in on them, they're just damn confusing. Want to ignore that one? See B.
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Think some rules should apply to the C-box to keep it in line should I put it *since I don't have word on this computer*. Well yeah I was on here once after posting one thing that set off a trigger between me and two other people just for saying one magical word that many people for some reason just don't like *Furry is the word if you want to know*. Well to the point I asked them to stop and they just continued on for like 5 more posts *in the C-box* and then I asked them to stop again. What I am trying to get at is some of the rules should be enforced a little more by some people.

Well I can say that I haven't been mature at some points but believe me when out in the public school I am still mature. Usually I find Iwaku as a place to be when I'm feeling down, stressed, or just bord. Everyone here always helps out with that and I always end up feeling right as rain. Anyway *off topic a bit* all I can say is maybe a few more rules would be nice and keep it to the point where we will not scare off any new members or to be members of the Iwaku. *Think maybe this last one was a lot off topic*
Ultimately I believe a strict TOS / TOS enforcement stifles the creativity of a community. It's refreshing to not have to worry about "Oh crap, will I get banned because I dropped the F-bomb in this post?" or "Damn, I said that when I was a bad mood; now I can't ever post again." And if you haven't been looking around lately, it's also increasingly difficult to find environments where you don't have to worry about censoring yourself in such a fashion.

I dislike the general idea of censorship. While I believe that young kids really don't need to see some things (such as excessive swearing, gore, sex, rape, etc.), I also am not particularly fond of egg-shelling and basically babysitting for someone else just because they're too busy/lazy to interact/keep an eye on what their kids are doing and just sat them in front of a computer. With an internet connection.

Whose fault is that?

However when it comes to the cbox, I do believe it needs to be monitored at least a little more frequently if the rules are going to stay as they are now. *Jumps on bandwagon.* Or maybe an "Insanity" chat toggle is in order.

EDIT: So basically, give people the choice to see what they're seeing, in the form of warnings and clear markings. That way they know what they're getting into, or at least have a reasonable idea of what to expect before they get a moneyshot walking through the door.

EDITEDIT: And apparently this has already been suggested in the CBox Tech thread. So yeah, toss my lot into that pile.
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Alright, Ric and Tain have both summed up this argument quite nicely for me. The "gentleman's agreement" (I really like this description, actually, nice one Ric) we've been using so far has worked in some ways but not in others. Not everyone here's some sort of sexual deviant... well, okay, most of them are, but we're not unreasonable. If the Staffies draw a line and say "Guys, please don't cross this", people will be more than happy to comply with it.

At the same time, you can't go overboard with restrictions and terms and conditions, or else you'll risk stifling the creativity of the board. And fuck, we're a roleplaying board; creativity is our lifeblood. If people are worried about bending or breaking rules and conditions, some of the more out-there, risky and possibly controversial RPs (read; some of the most interesting RPs) won't happen. And I don't want to be stuck on a board where all anyone ever does is run-of-the-mill Fantasy crap; if I wanted that, I'd go to Gaia.

So yeah, it's a balancing act, I guess. If the middle ground can be found (and you Staffies are damn good at doing it, so I have high hopes), we should be able to avoid problems like Maverick in the future and prevent behavior from members that might put off newbies.
I do have to say that we don't have any problems with content in the roleplays. They'e been great and people have always put up warnings when necessary. So any TOS adjustments will NOT be placed on Roleplaying Content.

All the issues with behavior come from the Cbox and the off topic Forums. Where you can't throw up a warning at the top and say "this topic will eventually turn in to rapin' and fuckery". Things go from perfectly normal to wtf so fast.

Still wanting more comments from the community!
In the General Board, the right to control the topic rests with the Topic Starter. It can be expanded upon by mods and other helpful members, but it should never be derailed.

That is what makes General different from Insanity.

So if irrelevant Adult content slips into the General threads, it should be deleted straight away. If it's meant to be there, then the topic-starter should make it clear by his/her title that things are gonna get freaky.

Roleplays should never be censored in any way except by the dictates of dramatic continuity.

Cbox should be regulated.

So in a nutshell:

1. Cbox content belongs to everyone but is regulated by Mods for public consumption.

2. General content belongs to the thread-starter.

3. Roleplay content belongs to the GM.

4. Insanity content belongs to no one.
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