Policies & Guidelines

MA COLAP’s Community Forum helps build a strong community of participants by fostering discussion and information sharing. Messages posted by MA COLAP community members are solely the opinion and responsibility of the person posting the message. All users posting to the MA COLAP forums must adhere to the following Policies &amp Guidelines.

Please treat all community members with respect. As volunteers who are helping other users in the MA COLAP forums, all members and moderators deserve your courtesy as much as we feel you deserve their courtesy. We strive to be impartial and conduct ourselves in the fairest manner as possible for all. In order to provide you with a safe and positive experience on our forums, some moderation actions taken in the forums by our moderators may not be explicitly covered under these guidelines if we feel that certain posts are not in the best interest of our community. If at any time you feel a community member or moderator treats you unfairly or inappropriately, please send an email to info@macolap.org.

By following these “Policies and Guidelines,” you help to ensure that the MA COLAP Community Forums remain an enjoyable environment for everyone. Violating these rules may result in your removal from the forums as well as other MA COLAP services. The following Policies and Guidelines apply to “public” threads, private messages, visitor messages on user profiles, social groups, and any other form of communication within the MA COLAP Forums:

1. Remember the Golden Rule – Treat others as you want to be treated

Misunderstandings on forums are quite common often due to the difficulty in understanding the implied tone in another user’s remarks. In fact, quite often something you may interpret as being harshly worded or rude may just be someone else’s form of offering you support. Take extra care to be kind in your comments to other users and never react negatively to comments you perceive as rude or otherwise objectionable. Instead, it’s always wiser to either end the discussion, ignore the comment entirely, or in more severe cases, report the offense to our moderators by clicking the “Report Abuse” button beside the post. Remember: two wrongs don’t make a right. Responding to another user’s comments in a manner contrary to our posting policy will be viewed by our moderators as equally inappropriate and may result in sanctions against your forum privileges.

2. Do not use abusive or disrespectful behavior

Disagreements or conflict may arise in the course of a discussion. Please remember to be courteous when disagreeing with others. Debate on differing opinions is appropriate and encouraged. Personal attacks against other users, however, are not allowed.

The following behaviors are examples of what will NOT be tolerated in the MA COLAP forums.

  • Flaming – Posts that are designed to personally berate or insult another user.
  • Trolling – Posting derogatory or inflammatory comments/threads attempting to bait other users into responding. Accusing someone of being a troll is also a form of trolling.
  • Personal attacks – Posts that insult a poster directly. This includes any attacks against forum moderators, MACOLAP representatives, or employees.

This list is non-exhaustive. ANY behavior that is patently offensive is also forbidden.

3. Be welcoming to new posters

New members should feel welcome to post their questions, no matter how well-informed. Do not harass posters for asking questions or treat them poorly for not knowing an answer. Remember, we were all new once! Please welcome them to our boards and help them find the information they are looking for.

4. Search for answers before posting

Chances are if you have a problem or question, you’re not the first. Someone may have posted the same question before you and received an answer or the MA COLAP board may have covered the subject in an Announcement. Read through the forums or do a keyword search on your question on the Forum Search Page. This can save you and our community time and effort and add your thoughts to a larger existing discussion.

5. Requests for assistance

If you’re having a problem and need direct assistance from the board, please contact MA COLAP at info@macolap.org.

6. Do not post personal information

Please respect the privacy of others. Do not give out or re-post ANYONE’S personal information such as names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc. This applies to your own information and that of other users, MA COLAP board members or representatives, family members, etc.

7. Do not post private communications

This includes conversations between MA COLAP representatives, volunteers, community members, moderators, employees, or partners of MAC OLAP on these forums or any other site.

Publicizing any private correspondence, private message (PM) correspondence, or chat logs is not permitted without prior permission.

8. Do not discuss moderator actions on the forums

If you do not agree with a moderator’s decision, you may send a private message to the moderator or community administrator. You may NOT start a thread or post complaining that your post was removed. Nor may you post private correspondence from moderators, such as infraction or warning notices. Questions or comments concerning warnings and suspensions (site or forum) should be conveyed through e-mail or private messaging.

9. Do not make non-constructive posts

Below are examples of prohibited non-constructive posts:

  • Spam – Repetitive posting of the same topic or text or nonsensical posts that have no substance and are often designed to annoy other forum users. The solicitation or advertisement of content, goods, services, or information not found or published on MA COLAP is considered “spam” and not allowed anywhere in our forums.
  • Bumping – Posting on threads in order to keep them near the top of the forum list. Commenting on obsolete or old topics with the intent to bump them into a discussion is also prohibited.
  • Hijacking – Try to keep all replies to a thread on the topic at hand. Posting’s which are intentionally off-topic or try to sway the discussion completely or partially off topic is generally considered rude.
  • Advertising – MA COLAP prohibits the posting of advertising links, images or content for the purpose of self-promotion outside of the Book Announcement and Promotion category. Hijacking or creating a new thread for the purpose of solicitation or advertising of content or any posts which could be interpreted as a solicitation, including the promotion of content published on MACOLAP.org, are prohibited outside of their relevant forums. The one exception to this is signature links to your own.
  • Lobbying – Continually bringing up the same topic in numerous different threads or as an off-topic post in existing threads to get a developer’s attention.
  • Cross-posting – Posting the same topic or thread in more than one forum is considered cross-posting. As a courtesy to others before beginning a new thread, please look to see if an active thread on that topic has already been established by using the Search feature.
  • Signing – Posts which contain only the text “/signed” or “+1” to show agreement with the previous post. These are discouraged, as they do not engender constructive discussion.
  • Malicious or Disruptive Code – The use of JavaScript, active or other coding, making repetitive posts, or other actions that interfere with site operations are forbidden. Any malicious code or employment of a robot, spider or other process or device to harvest e-mail addresses or other User information or to monitor the activity on the Forums is also forbidden.
  • Data Mining/Harvesting & Employing Bots – Using the MACOLAP forums as a means to acquire private information from other community members through any methods.
  • Threads that make threats or use other combative languages.
  • Threads that single out a user for ridicule.
  • Conspiracy/Accusation Threads – claims or complaints about MACOLAP or any of its employees acting in collusion with or showing favoritism to a group, author, or community member.

10. NEVER: Impersonate another forum user, moderator, community administrator, or MA COLAP board member.

You are prohibited from impersonating anyone, including those named above, on the forum or the MA COLAP site.

11. Do not post disruptive off-topic threads

These forums are for and about topics related Massachusetts’ lakes, ponds and inland waterways. We do, however, allow non-disruptive off-topic discussion in our forums as fitting with the community of posters who frequent them. Constructive discussion about other sites (comparing and contrasting) is allowed at the discretion of MA COLAP. Likewise, any topics (such as politics or religion) that are volatile or disruptive are discouraged and can be removed at our discretion. Please contact a moderator if you have questions about a topic being permitted on the forums.

12. Post your comments in the most relevant forum

While at times it’s not always clear where to post your comments, do your best to post to the most appropriate forum. And don’t forget; posting of promotional material or review requests are prohibited. It’s the best way to ensure your comments are visible to the people you want reading them so your comments are not moved or deleted by moderators.

13. Do not post advertisements for other companies

Advertising of any kind for other companies on these forums is strictly prohibited.

14. Do not use proxy posting or account hopping to evade suspension

Posting on behalf of a suspended user is not allowed. Working around a suspension through other people’s accounts, the creation of new accounts or use of secondary accounts to continue posting is also prohibited. You are personally responsible for your conduct on the forums. If you create a new account to continue posting after your account has been suspended, any forum and accounts involved can be permanently banned. Forum and site suspensions generally apply to a person, rather than a specific account. Threads designed to announce, appeal or contest a forum or site suspension decision on behalf of a third party will also be removed without notice. If you do not understand why you were suspended or have further questions, you must contact support.

15. Do not post “Legal Action” or “Boycott” threads

Using the forums or Private Messages for encouraging, promoting, endorsing, or inciting any kind of legal action, reporting, or boycott endeavor against anyone is strictly prohibited.

16. Do not post sensitive or confidential information

This includes any information covered by a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or beta testing agreement. Any information about MA COLAP or a third party covered by an NDA or Beta Testing Agreement that is posted will be removed. Posters of the information may be banned from all MA COLAP services and may face legal action.

17. User-Generated Content

You may post images on the forums as long as they are of an appropriate and non-offensive nature and do not otherwise infringe the intellectual property rights of any party. The following images (or links pointing to such images) are examples what may not be posted:

  • Any image which is sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, derogatory, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, contains profanity or depicts illegal activity.
  • Any image that is disruptive or, in MA COLAP’s sole discretion, appears to be in poor taste will be removed and your forum account may be banned.

18. Zero Tolerance Policy

Immediate suspensions from the forum can result from any of the following: the posting of pornography; remarks which are sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive; or vulgar which discuss or illustrate illegal activity; provide links to sites that contain any of the aforementioned.

19. Proprietary forums

The MA COLAP Community Forums are private message boards administered by MA COLAP. All message board content is allowed at the discretion of MA COLAP. MA COLAP reserves the right to remove any message board content without notice and for any reason.

20. Suspension and Termination

MA COLAP shall determine, in its sole discretion, whether there has been a breach of these Policies and may take any action deemed appropriate.

Your use of the forums is conditioned upon your compliance with the Forum Policies and Guidelines as well as the MA COLAP Terms of Service. Failure to comply with these Policies and Guidelines shall constitute a material breach of these terms and may result in MA COLAP taking any or all of the following actions:

  • Remove any material or postings you have made to the forums
  • Issue a warning
  • Suspend or ban your MAC OLAP account and/or your use of the forums
  • Disclose such information to law enforcement authorities as MA COLAP feels is reasonably necessary
  • Pursue legal action

MACOLAP excludes all liability for:

  • Any action taken in response to breaches of these Policies and Guidelines. The responses described in this document are not exhaustive, and MA COLAP may take any other action, in its sole discretion as deemed appropriate.
  • Any loss or damage arising from the use of the forum by you.
  • Any content posted or uploaded by users of the forum which shall include, without limitation, any liability for offensive and/or defamatory posts.

21. Changes to Forum Policies and Guidelines

MA COLAP may revise the Forum Policies and Guidelines at any time by making changes to this page. You are expected to check this page from time to time to take notice of any changes as they are legally binding. Provisions contained within these Policies and Guidelines may be superseded by provisions or notices published elsewhere on the MA COLAP website.