BeginnerTriathlete.com Forum Guidelines

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Conduct, Expectations, Guidelines for Commercial Users and more!

Forum Guidelines

Overall purpose

The purpose of BeginnerTriathlete.com is to be the most useful, helpful and supportive website possible for people who want to participate in triathlon and reap all the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that can come from it. The Guidelines below reflect this purpose and are designed to support and further it.  

For the forums specifically, our wish that all who attend and participate come away with a richer understanding of the issues being discussed, and with an increased appreciation of differing viewpoints held by others. The forum guidelines are in place to encourage that end above any others.

Guideline Overview

Note that we use the word “guidelines” and not “rules”.  This is intentional and is meant to allow the administrators and moderators a range of discretion.

Click on a Guideline below for the full definition.


Complete BeginnerTriathlete Terms of Use (Agreed to upon registration)
When you registered, you agreed to abide by our Terms of Use.

Guideline #1: Mannerly Conduct

All members are required to address others on the forums respectfully. Posting degrading comments to another member, offensive language and the like may result in an automatic and permanent ban from the site without warning. The administration does not have patience in this area. The best way to stay on the right side of this is to always comment about the subject at hand, not the person discussing it.

It is a given that flaming, rude comments, and personal attacks are not acceptable here. Consider that you are joining a community marked by goodwill and a shared commitment to learn and to help others learn.  The definitions of “degrading”, “flaming”, “rude” etc. are up to the moderators. “We can’t always define it, but we know it when we read it”.

*The quickest way to get forum privileges taken away is to make insulting generalizations about another 'group' or if you directly insult another member here with offensive language, name-calling, etc.  If you observe this one item, you should be fine on our forums and never hear from a moderator

Thus it is expected that all discussion participants will:

  • read others' posts with care and deliberation
  • strive to understand the position of those who disagree with you
  • value your own experience and knowledge, and allow the same for others
  • write your own posts with care and deliberation
  • don't hog...keep your posts to a size and frequency which allows others an equal place in the discussion
  • respect the intention of the person who originally posted and keep discussion relevant to the topic or question if that is his/her expressed wish, or the wish of others engaged. Always feel free to begin a separate question yourself if a tangent seems particularly interesting or important.
  • feel quite free to disagree, but engage in friendly disagreement
  • remember that humor and a friendly manner can go far in encouraging your readers to 'hear' your opinion
  • make your posts helpful to the whole community by following the rules of good scholarship below.


Because of the limitations of text-based communication, the expression of intent can be tricky. One of the most common triggers of Guideline violations is the misinterpretation of intent behind a post. Use smilies often, start posts with “In My Opinion” and use the Sarcasm Font. On BeginnerTriathlete we’ve developed a custom of using red italics to denote a sarcastic or sardonic post. There is even a Sarcasm style in the Rich Text Editor. Use it well, use it often.

Guideline #2: Do not post profanity

Because this forum is viewed by triathletes of all ages, all posts must be suitable for viewing by minors. All profanity must be completely covered with asterisks or completely substituted with "@%$#" symbols. Better yet, leave it out. Any use of creative lettering or partially masked profanity is not allowed and may result in the entire post or thread being deleted. Any use of profanity in a thread title will get the thread removed.  Repeated violations of this type may result in a loss of posting privileges. Obscene material is not permitted, nor are links to websites containing such material or anything deemed inappropriate for minors. If what you have to say wouldn't be suited for network TV, don't post it here. Here’s how we approach it: posting here is like going to your college roommate’s wedding reception. You’ll know some of the people at your table, maybe even be close friends with a couple of them but there will also be some who you don’t know at all. Speak and behave in the forums as you would at that wedding reception table and most all problems can be avoided.

Guideline #3: Off-limit Topics & Forum-Specific Guidelines

Controversial topics will be VERY closely moderated. Politics and religious debate/discussion are allowed only in My Cup of Joe.  Those discussions are very closely monitored. Sweeping, derogatory generalizations, e.g. “The Left are ….” “All Republicans are....” will be deleted without warning and result in a loss of posting privileges.

Do not denigrate or defame other discussion forums.

Don't post essentially anonymous complaints/rants about a company and/or a product. If you want provide a negative opinion be willing to provide specifics, including personally identifiable information. Slanderous rants aren't allowed here.

All gear 'for-sale' items must be limited to posts in the BeginnerTriathlete Classifieds forum. All Wanted to Buy posts are to be posted in the Gear forum.

All “Challenge” type posts belong in the Challenge Me forum and must be run/administered via that forum.  No posting “come register for the Challenge I’m running on Blogger!” etc.

No Cross-Posting or posting the same thing in multiple forums. It’s spammy.

Read My Blog!  These are ALLOWED if you are a user with >500 posts.  This is to prevent a lot of spam and while rewarding users that really do make the community.

You are responsible for noting any forum-specific Guidelines pinned to the top of any forum. Please feel free to contact a forum moderator or any of the site administrators if you have any questions regarding any of the Guidelines.

Guideline #4: Cultural Sensitivity

Negative remarks based on race, ethnicity, disability, gender, gender preference, or religion will not be tolerated. Using terminology such as "gay" or "retarded" in a negative manner is not appropriate here at BeginnerTriathlete.

Under NO circumstances is the N-word appropriate at BeginnerTriathlete.com. If you must convey the term in a neutral manner, use "the N-word" instead. The same goes for other derogatory phrases and slang for different ethnicities, religions, gender/gender pref slang or slang for disabled individuals - it is -never- appropriate at BeginnerTriathlete.com to use this kind of demeaning terminology.

Guideline #5: Questioning a Moderator

If you have a disagreement with a moderator (If your thread gets deleted, if you get a warning, etc.), DO NOT post your complaint publicly on the forums. If the moderator's response is unsatisfactory, email the administrators (username: Ron) or use the Contact Us link at the bottom of every page on the site.

We take all complaints seriously, but posting your dissatisfaction publicly will result in a Guideline violation.

Guideline #6: Use Courtesy via PM and Inspires

All the Guidelines governing appropriate posting in the forums apply to the use of the these private message systems as well.

Any complaints of members abusing these messaging functions may result in the responsible party's account being terminated.

Guideline #7: Spam

We hate it with the burning passion of a thousand suns. We do not tolerate unsolicited advertisements in the forums and we have zero sympathy for spammers. If you post unsolicited ads for your commercial website, product or service, the product name and website url will be immediately and permanently placed on our filtered words list. Affiliate links and coupon codes from which you benefit in any way are considered spam and are not allowed. If you own, operate, or are employed by an endurance sports related business be sure and read Guidelines 12: Commercial Users  for specific participation guidelines. Please contact BeginnerTriathlete to discuss advertising opportunities.

Charity Threads.  Threads soliciting donations for charity are not allowed in the general forums. Donation solicitations are not to be sent via the PM or Inspire Me systems. We support efforts to raise funds by racing (we’ve done it ourselves) but with the number of people here who do fundraising the forums could quickly be overrun with solicitations of all kinds. If you are seeking donations for a charitable effort we recommend putting a link to your fundraising page in your signature.

Guideline #8: Represent yourself truthfully

Please be honest when representing yourself on BeginnerTriathlete.com. Using two or more user accounts (“alts”) concurrently for any reason is prohibited. Registering duplicate accounts to circumvent a ban is not only prohibited but may result in account deletion, including training log data, and permanent ban from the site. If you receive remuneration (financially or in kind) from a company and post as a shill, or register a duplicate username to act as a shill, the entire posting history of both accounts will be wiped from BeginnerTriathlete, and the action will be made public. BeginnerTriathlete.com reserves the right to check internet IP addresses for verification.

Guideline #9: Sponsored Athlete/ Remuneration Disclosure

If you are an athlete who endorses an endurance sports-related company, or if you receive remuneration (financially or in-kind) as the result of a relationship you have with a company, please disclose this in your Signature. The text should be plain and clear, with no disclaimers, hype etc. For example: "Sponsored by: Joe Doe Shoes, Jane Doe Bikes"

Also, please include a brief disclosure in any relevant gear reviews you do on products you’re affiliated with.

The purpose of these disclosures is to provide those who read your posts with the full knowledge of your situation, when considering your opinions on gear. We recognize the fact that in some circumstances a minor discount or other "non-sponsoring" remuneration may be too insignificant to consider for disclosure. We trust that as honest athletes you'll use your best judgment and morals to determine if your fellow members would benefit from the disclosure of this information. BeginnerTriathlete reserves the right to require disclosure if the remuneration is deemed significant.

Guideline #10: No Trolling

Trolling threads and posts are deleted as soon as we read them. Trolling is defined as making inflammatory posts, lacking in substance pertaining to the thread topic, simply to elicit a negative emotional response from the thread participants. Moderator discretion applies. Posting this kind of content is a good way to lose one’s posting privileges or have one’s account terminated.

Guideline #11: Profile Signatures

  • All registered members can include a signature (editable via "Settings ->Forum Settings ->Posting") with their posts.
  • Maximum of five lines. This was chosen as signatures longer than that make the forums hard to read.
  • Text formatting and hyperlinking via BBSCode is allowed in signatures.
  • Signatures can include two urls max. 
  • No pricing/marketing speak/sales pitch information.  "Free" is a price.
  • Signatures may not contain political or controversial statements or links.

The forum signature is a place to include a bit of information about yourself as

Guideline #12: Commercial Users

Signature Disclosures:

--Commercial users must fully disclose their affiliation in their signature. For example:
VP Sales: QRS Bicycles
Owner: TUV TriStore.com
Head Coach: WXYZ Training
Sales information, product advertisements, pricing information, or other 'sales pitch' information is not allowed in signatures.
Signature rules from Guideline 11 still apply

Forum Participation Guidelines and Restrictions:

BeginnerTriathlete welcomes and encourages participation in our forums from professionals and business people in the endurance sports world. You’re an important part of the triathlon community and we want you to feel welcome here. It’s also good for your business because as we are the most popular triathlon website in the world, your active and mannerly participation with our members can build real goodwill and word of mouth.  Please keep in mind, however, that we cannot allow unrestricted advertising and/or marketing on the site. Given the popularity of our forums and in fairness to our paying advertisers, we have to be diligent regarding these polices. Should you wish to purchase advertising we have a number of programs that we're sure you would find worthwhile.

  • Commercial users must always post in a 'responsive' manner with regards to any product or service they (or any entity with which they have a direct business relationship with) sell or represent (this includes sponsorship). Meaning, discussion contributed must be limited to responses to specific questions or prompts from BeginnerTriathlete members, or corrections of misinformation. In other words, a BeginnerTriathlete member has to bring your company or product up first.
  • Pricing information and other sales dialogue must be confined to private conversations with BT users (PM or email).
  • Posting Race registration opening announcements, camp and/or clinic announcments in the forums qualifies as spam.
  • If you are a coach who derives financial benefit from working with a club or team, you are a commercial user where discussion of that club or team is concerned.

   
Exceptions

Threads may be started in order to solicit user input and opinions regarding a product/service in development. Any abuse of this exception will not be tolerated.

Some examples:
If you are a Commercial user and a user posts a question about your product/service, go ahead and post a reply. However, if a user asks a general question such as "how can I increase my running speed" or "what's a good book for...", please do not suggest your product in reply.

Similarly, if you are a retailer and a user asks a question specifically about your retail business, you may reply with such information. But if a user asks "where can I find an xyz bicycle?", please do not advertise your own business in response.

If you are interested in advertising on BeginnerTriathlete.com through graphical ads, text or our newsletter please contact advertising@BeginnerTriathlete.com.

If you have any questions at all about our Commercial User Policy, please contact us.  We’d be happy to help you build a positive presence in our forums.

Guideline #13: Race Directors

RDs are considered special cases here.  In many ways Race Directors are the heart of our sport and we want to acknowledge this. For this reason they get special treatment in the forums when it comes to posting about their races.

If you are the Race Director for a Triathlon or Duathlon:

  • You can post ONE thread announcing the race/registration is open etc. per race series per year (not per race).
  • Said thread needs to be in the Regional/State forum the race is held in.
  • This is for Tris and Dus only. We're a tri site, we don't want to be inundated with 5k/10k announcements.
  • If you create a thread about your race or series, please don't use "Official Thread" in the title. We use that to distinguish threads get automatically linked to the entry in the race database. You can create that thread automatically by adding the race to your Race Log and clicking the "Start Thread" in your Race Log. In fact, we encourage you to.
  • No disparaging comments about other races or race production companies. This is very bad form.
  • No bumping to bring a thread to the top of the forum. This is kind of a judgement call, but it's obvious when someone is doing this.  If you're not sure about something just check with us.
  • If you disagree with a moderator, communicate with them politely or contact an admin. We have a zero tolerance policy towards abuse of our moderators. They are volunteers. We value them like you value a volunteer who captains an aid station on mile 35 of the bike course year in and year out. 
  • Feel free to contact us with any questions about these. We know they sound complex and when you get down to it, everything is a judgement call. We appreciate what you do and we want to make this work for you while keeping the forums free of spam. 
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date: February 8, 2011