** OUTDATED & LOCKED **
As you may know, I've been a moderator on this site since January 2004. While I don't think this is anything "big", I put a lot of efforts into this mission and thus I could talk forever about it. So let's start now or I'll never finish!
For this first blog entry, I chose to tell you about "The most violated rules of MS". Cause in case you never knew, this site does have a set of rules everybody should read; go and see them in the FAQ. They are updated from times to times so if you ever feel bored while browsing the site, think about checking them once again
Yet this is not the only place where you can face rules. When you're editing your profile, there are additional comments that are also meant to be read but somehow a few people manage to ignore them. The same thing happens a lot when submitting reviews or other information to the site.
All in all, those rules are just a call to your common sense although it happens that mistakes are made by some people who (I guess) think they can do whatever is allowed in the other websites or forums they're used to visit. Here's a short list of those mistakes, with some comments on why there's a rule about it and how avoid making the same mistake again.
Pictures in signatures
This one has to be the most ignored rule ever. At Metal Storm, we don't allow a picture or a set of pictures that exceeds 468 pixels (width) x 60* pixels (height), as well as 20* KB (filesize).
*updated on 22/08/2007
Why? Simply to prevent our forum to look like a mess. Just imagine that someone is allowed to have like 5 huge pictures in their signature: there would probably be more to read in the signature than in the post. Yet we don't consider foruming to be equivalent to advertising. Moreover, it's often very annoying to have to scroll down just because the damn sig is taking all of the screen... Plus, it may take much more time to load the page (ah, I remember when I didn't have a broadband connection, it was hell). I could add that most of the people abusing this rule have no sense of layout and design, thus they make their posts ugly and the whole site as well.
How to be sure that the picture(s) you're planning to use in your signature are not exceeding those limits? Most of the time, you only have to right click on that picture then choose "Properties" and your browser will tell you the sizes of the image. If you still have a doubt, open the image in an image editor (Irfanview is a good choice) and you should be able to access the information you need or even resize the pic. Or else, contact a moderator. But if there's a doubt, be sure to contact us before you use the pictures (sounds logical, yet you would be surprised how often it occurs).
Text in signatures
Text in signatures must always be in English OR have an accurate English translation somewhere within the sig. In case it's a quote (for example, the lyrics of a song), you may not translate them, but make sure you mention the author. The reason for this rule I will tell you later, cause it will be my next point.
You may also be asked to change the way you wrote that text. I mean, just like i've said for pictures, it would be annoying to face such a text in a signature:
And of course, please avoid any text that may be deemed improper.
You may be using a signature like those provided by LastFM. Basically, they're a list of recently played songs. Take care to set it so that it lists only a few songs (I think 5 or 6 is the max, depending on the layout you chose) or else it will be way beyond the 100 pixels height limitation.
Given the nature of the pic or text, you may be sent a PM, a warning or if it's really outrageous and/or that you've broken the same rule before you can lose some permissions.
As I wrote about signatures, any text must always be written in English OR have an accurate English translation somewhere within the original text. In case it's a quote (for example, the lyrics of a song), you may not translate them, but make sure you mention the author.
Now, this rule is mostly violated in the nationality threads in the Metalstormers forum and in comments about events that don't take place in a English-speaking country. Of course, we understand why someone would want to write in their own language if the thread is about their own country, yet everybody should be able to understand everything that is written in Metal Storm. Simply because we're an international website and that English is the best way to communicate as of today.
On the other hand, I know that this language restriction is an obstacle that many people in the world aren't willing to overcome. On a personal level, I've got loads of friends in France who know about Metal Storm but simply don't feel like joining because they understand nothing of what's written on the site. Still, if we were to allow such people to speak their own language in the forum, I doubt they'd ever go out of their thread and meet the rest of the world.
And still from my own experience, the best thing with Metal Storm is meeting those metalheads from around the world, whether it's online or offline.
To those who think their English skills are not good enough to join us, I'd say "Come on, you're using a computer and you're surfing the Internet!". There are lots of learning resources, lots of helpful tools (translators and spellcheckers are misused) and the effort of learning English is worth it anyway.
One last but obvious thing about this "English only" rule is that it may help in stopping conflicts as soon as they appear, cause we might take more time to decide whether what is being said is rude or not if it's written in an unknown language.
Therefore, take this rule quite seriously please. Not compelling with this rule can lead to sanctions ranging from warnings to bans.
edit:] Just a quick note to say that most of the time, people who are writing in another language are directing at another member from their country. If they do so, they know the others won't be able to understand what they say, so in this case, prefer sending Private Messages than using the forum or the shoutbox.
This is the new trend, slowly taking the lead of the most commonly broken rules of our site.
At first, there was no rule for this yet that didn't prevent us from removing votes and taking permissions. For some months now, a paragraph has been added to the FAQ, cause people were asking why they got their permission to vote taken away when they didn't see what they could have done wrong.
However, it's often obvious to us that one should be fair when they're rating an album (or anything else). How can someone gives 10 to the 30 (or so) items in Iron Maiden's discography? Or 1 to everything released by Cradle Of Filth? You may love and hate bands, that doesn't give you the right to act silly.
- First, a 10 means "this album is a masterpiece" and by masterpiece we really mean something big, something that changed the way you listen to music so this definition makes it impossible to find a hundred 10s among someone's votes. Same for 1s, something rated 1 is so musically bad it nearly kills you in the instant, so if you really heard it you should be dead, not voting. Jokes apart, I doubt any of the people who rated entire discographies 1 ever listened to all the albums they rated, so it can't be fair.
- Second, still talking about fairness, some people just see that an album they like has an overall rating of only 8.7 and that makes them angry or just crazy enough to jump on the button and vote 10. The problem is that if they were the first to vote, they would have voted 9. How fair is it to the other people who just happened to vote before them? Remember voting is a personal thing, you shouldn't be influenced by anyone else when casting your vote.
- And finally, we have stats for albums, so not being fair when you vote means our stats aren't accurate anymore.
The usual sanction for voting abuses is the removal of all votes and the loss of the voting permission for 180 days. Don't worry, you can perfectly use the 10 and 1 options, the only thing we don't want is that you abuse them (or any other rating).
Ok, so I know this first blog will not help in making me appear like a friendly dude, but somehow this had to be done. Now before I post it I must say a big "thank you" to all my colleagues in the staff and also to you, the people of Metal Storm, cause you've been good boys and girls since we switched to the new version of the site. Really, we have witnessed a drop in spam posts (see, I haven't even written a paragraph about it) and it's easy to find friendly people here. That's cool