2. Watch the flamebaiting/Disguised Postcount +1. Don't just say "X Game is terrible" or "X Console is the best ever!". Elaborate. The only thing more annoying than a post saying "X sucks" in the middle of a giant thread discussing it's merits is a giant thread of nothing but "Gee Willikers I love it!" with no other content.
3. Always Always Always Search Before Making A Thread. Always assume the topic already exists. Always. If the game just came out, there's been a thread on it for the last six months. If a company just released news that they were making a sequel to a game, make sure there isn't already a "I hope they make TurboNinja Gardener 2!" thread. If the game's been out for five or six or.. ten or fifteen years... SEARCH! I'm tired of deleting Morrowind/Oblivion threads every three months. (That said, there's lots of games that are old that get mentioned an awful lot that.. don't have their own thread. XCom didn't get a thread until mid-November of 2010. Yet it's been mentioned and discussed at length here since 2007)
4. Spoiler Your Plot Elements. Unless the title of the thread has the word Spoilers in it, I fully expect you to use the spoiler tags to hide plot elements or solutions to game puzzles. Let's take Planescape: Torment for example. Talking about Nordrom is fine. Discussing what he is, how he talks, his attacks and so on.. perfectly fine. Spelling out how to get him in your party.. if you're describing the exact actions, you need a spoiler. If you just say "He's in the maze".. that's fine. Discussing anything that happens when you go to the Shadow Dimension needs to be in spoilers. Because.. that's basically the last stage of the game, and crazy crap happens there that might otherwise ruin one's enjoyment of the game.
On the outside chance you don't know how to spoil anything.. you type the word spoiler in between brackets  followed by the text you want hidden, followed by /spoiler in brackets 
- Code: Select all
[spoiler]This is a spoiler of something important[/spoiler]
If you see something that needs to be put in spoiler tags, report the post and, in the comments field, please tell me what needs to be spoiled. If I've never played the game, I may not understand the importance of a particular element being spoiled.
5. Provide Information! It boggles my mind that I have to make this a rule, but.. I do, because there's enough of you drunken monkeys who can't figure out that people know different levels of information. See, if you make a thread title the name of a game, then in the body of the message simply ask "Anyone else play? I'm on WestLocoIsle, usually, under the name RicoSuave2000" we still have no bloody clue what you're talking about. Yes, we could google it. Or you could throw in a link to the appropriate website, Wikipedia page, goddamn Geocities fanpage - something that tells us what the hell the game is if you're not going to.
Better yet.. you could also quickly describe the game - if it's a Real Time Strategy, a traditional MMO, a goddam fusion First Person Shooter Turn Based Squad Combat game, whatever... just describe the game or at least throw in a link. As it apparently wasn't clear before - This includes abbreviations of "common" terms. For example, if you're asking how to get more MegaBuck Dinero in JapaneseRPG#47, don't just type "Hey, anyone in JRPG47 know how to make quick MBD?" Define your terms!
And yes, this applies to links. Throw a link in to it. Seriously, throw a link in. I can't believe I have to say this, but I'm also sick and tired of seeing threads in which the first post doesn't have a link to the game's website, or even a wikipedia page about it. Something. Anything. Throw us a bone here.
6. Kickstarters go here. No exceptions. If it gets a lot of chatter, it'll be split to it's own thing. Don't try to save me time by posting something you know is going to generate a lot of talk. Post it in the thread.
7. PIRACY! Also, watch this.
A. No links to copyrighted materials. It's on the internet for free. We know. If we cared enough, we'd find it ourselves. Don't try and be clever or coy about it, just don't do it. Abandonware counts as Copyrighted materials. Freeware does not. If you don't know the difference, ask. If you don't know if a particular piece of software is freeware, ask before posting a link. And yes, it has to specifically be released as freeware to be freeware. A 25 year old game where everyone involved has died yet was never released as freeware, sadly, is not freeware. Yes, I know I've been guilty of this very offense in the past. Point being, it's stopping. And no, Abandonware is not freeware. I don't care if Company X isn't selling it anywhere and it's impossible to get a legal copy of it somewhere. Read this thread just to see why I don't want to go anywhere near that can of worms.
B - No asking for copyrighted materials to be posted or sent. This includes asking for invites to member-only file sharing sites. I don't want to see an invite-swapping thread here.
C - Emulation - The Less Said, The Better. Given my understanding of the laws here in the US, where the xkcd forum servers are located and the administration lives, emulation really isn't legal. It ranges from outright illegal to borderline grey-area-no-one's-quite-sure town. So let's just not talk about it. If you wish to discuss this, see this thread.
D - Modifications of Your Console/Handheld/Cellphone/Goddamn Tuba to play DVDs - Let's just not talk about it. That'd be awful swell. Really, it would. For an absolute number of reasons - you say modification to do something not intended yet perfectly innocent (like play YouTube vids on a PSP) and I click on your link and see "How to make your PSP a warez dreamstation!" So.. yeah, let's just not talk about it. If you do it, great. Feel free to mention that you were watching stuff on your hacked PSP, I don't care. Just don't discuss the nuts and bolts of it.
E - Don't Discuss The Nuts And Bolts Of It. No one here gives a fuck if you pirate shit. Seriously. Talk all you want about your pirate copy of the game. I sure as hell don't care. Actually, mention if you're playing a pirate copy before you bring up any bugs or irregularities, just so we're all on the same page. What we don't want going on is the discussion of how you did it, which websites you went to for tutorials, what you recommend, and so on. When in doubt, use this rule - If we, the citizens of the xkcd forums gave a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut about it, we'd research it ourselves.
8. Don't Be A Dick. High Culture is a pretty relaxed, free place. I like it like that. A certain amount of banter is to be expected and I'm fine with that. Calling a particular person an idiot... I'd really rather you didn't, and should someone call you an idiot, I'd prefer that you not respond in kind, but generally speaking if it's just a post or two, I'm going to let it slide. We're all relaxed, happy friends here, and I want it to stay that way.
That said, I will not tolerate insulting entire groups of people. I won't tolerate continued insults and belittlement. I won't tolerate constant jackassery...which is fairly ill-defined, I know. I suppose that if a thread is going along fine, someone enters the thread and says something, and an argument breaks out... well, okay. Heated posts for a little bit are one thing. Two pages of arguing are something else. There's a line in there somewhere and like pornography, I can't define it but I know it when I see it.
I have been given the tools to deal with this in a more effective manner, and as I'd much rather spend my moderating time merging like posts and deleting spam rather than being a playground chaperone, I plan on using this tool when I deem it necessary.
This tool doesn't remove you from Gaming, or Food, or Comics. It removes you from High Culture. So, yes, if you're being a jackass in Books it doesn't matter how much you've contributed to Movies - you're gone. I'm tired of dealing with it.
This is your warning.