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|» Terms of Service / Acceptable Use Policy - Updated 9/08/2012
Terms of Service / Acceptable Use Policy
The FINCHforum and all of its services (the "Service") are provided to you under these Terms of Service which establish various operating policies (the "Terms"). These Terms are subject to change at any time without notice, and your continued use of the Service constitutes your acceptance of any such changes.
Violation of any part of these Terms may result in a warning, post editing or deletion, partial limitation of account features (temporarily or permanently), temporary account suspension, permanent banning, and/or account deletion, depending on the severity of the violation
. Determining the severity of the violation is up to the discretion of the FINCHforum moderators and/or administrators (the "Staff").
Only one user name may be registered (the "Account") per individual (the "User"). Account names cannot be changed, nor can they contain certain words which are deemed inappropriate* by the Staff. A User which has been permanently banned is not welcome to return under a new user name, and any new account created by the banned User will also be permanently banned.
An Account is required to access certain features of the Service, such as the ability to make a post.
You must provide a valid e-mail address during registration, as Account activation is dependent upon e-mail verification (clicking an "activation link" which is sent to the e-mail address you provided). Failing to verify your e-mail address in a timely fashion may result in Account deletion. Changing the e-mail address associated with your Account will inactivate your Account until you verify your new e-mail address.
As part of the registration process, you will designate a password. You are solely responsible for keeping your password confidential and for all activities that occur under your Account. Please let the administrator know of any unauthorized use of your Account or any other breach of security.
If forgotten, passwords cannot be recovered, but a new one can be assigned to you by contacting the board administrator or using the "forgot password" link available upon login. You can change your password at any time from the "Profile" tab.
You may edit your privacy settings in the "Profile" tab. If you opt to have your e-mail address remain hidden, only forum Staff will be able to see your e-mail address (as they may need to contact you about matters related to the Service or your Account). If you opt to have your e-mail address be viewable, only registered Users who are logged in will be able to see it.
AVATARS, SIGNATURES, AND OTHER PROFILE INFORMATION
Always exercise caution when deciding how much personal information to disclose to other Users of the Service. Minors shall not discuss or disclose their last name, location (home address or specific town; state or country of residence is acceptable), age/date of birth, personal photograph, or any other identifying information. Adults may share their own information at their own discretion, but should avoid sharing information that could be potentially dangerous. Never ask for someone to disclose their personal or identifying information, and never share someone else's personal (non-commercial) or identifying information without their express written consent. Never share a Minor's personal or identifying information.
Avatars must be 100px X 100px or smaller and must be family friendly in nature. Avatars which are deemed inappropriate* may be deleted without warning. Additionally, the Staff may revoke a User's privilege to display an avatar.
FORUM ETIQUETTE, RULES, AND DECORUM
Signatures and other Profile Information, including links to external websites, must also be family friendly in nature. The Staff reserves the right to edit, without warning, a User's signature and other profile information if any of the content is deemed inappropriate*. The Staff may also revoke a User's privilege to display a signature.
Forum etiquette and decorum should be followed out of consideration for the other Users on the board.
Post Content and Tone
Although healthy (friendly, civil, constructive) debate of controversial avicultural topics is permitted, any post which is deemed to have a tone which is inflammatory, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate,* which contains content that otherwise violates these Terms, or which is deemed to contain false or potentially dangerous information (e.g. bad medical advice) may be edited or deleted, and the User warned or corrected. This is not a guarantee that all intact posts on the FINCHforum are accurate and free of errors; the views expressed in each post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the FINCHforum or its Staff. Any advice that appears on this site is merely for informational and educational purposes, is not verified by the FINCHforum or its Staff, may be inaccurate, and is not to be construed as actual, professional advice. If you need advice, seek the counsel of a qualified professional.
Posting New Threads
If possible, discussion about a single topic should be centralized within a single thread. Therefore, before starting a new thread, please search the forums to see if a topic is already discussed in an established thread, and add to it, rather than creating a new thread. Failing to do this may result in a warning and your new thread being appended to the established thread. Likewise, if you have several questions about a related topic, post them together (do not start a new thread for each related question).
Adding to Existing Threads
Posts should be relative to the thread that they are in. If your post is unrelated to the thread it may be moved.
Posts should be made with a normal sized font and written in English (or an English translation should be provided); excessive use of caps-lock should be avoided. Posts which are difficult to read due to formatting may be edited or deleted and the User warned.
Interacting with Other Users and Staff
For one-on-one conversations, use the forum's Private Messaging (PM) service. PM service is not intended for solicitation or recruiting. Please know that the use of PMs does not confer protection from being held accountable for any illegal or rule-violating behavior, and that PMs may be monitored if such behavior is reported or strongly suspected.
Please be respectful, polite, and courteous to other forum Users and Staff; rude or abusive behavior may result in the restriction of Account privileges or Service access. This is true even if the behavior in question occurs outside of the Service; if the Staff is given sufficient evidence of a User acting abusive toward another member of this Service on this website or elsewhere, that User's Account privileges or Service access may be restricted or revoked.
Advertising and Product Promotion
Only those advertisements related to birds or bird-related wares (bird cages, bird foods, and the like) will be permitted, and only in following designated areas, which may also have additional regulations for you to be considerate of:
- "Marketplace" forum
- Business Listings can be added to the Avian Business Listings subforum of the Resources forum. Refer to the posted guidelines in that subforum when creating a listing.
- You can also include a link to your own commercial website in your profile and signature, as long as that website meets the other requirements set forth in these Terms (family friendly, not spam, etc.).
- Products may be mentioned in the natural progression of discussion as for educational purposes (i.e. for the hobby keeper's discussions of bird-related issues, moving to potential solutions which may include subsequent suggestions of products [including where to buy those products*] to implement those solutions). Excessive marketing or product pushing is not permitted in non-designated areas, however; if the moderator team feels that promotion is excessive within a post, the post may be edited or deleted and the User warned.
- *Any individual with a vested commercial interest or rewards-based incentive in the sales or promotion of a product may only provide a direct link in their post to the website where said product(s) is/are sold IF a non-affiliated party requests such information from them first. Conversations between an interested party and the individual marketing the goods may also take place via PM as long as the PM does not take the form of an unwanted solicitation.
- Any user may write an article (posted as a new thread) that formally reviews or otherwise showcases a product or product line for educational purposes as long as the following conditions are met:
- The title of the thread must start with the phrase "PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT:"
- The author must truthfully diclose his/her affiliation with the product being reviewed/showcased at the very beginning of the article/post; i.e. make a statement such as: "I sell this product," "I am sponsored by this product," "I get discounts if I help promote this product," or "No affiliation, I just want to share my experiences with this product" for example.
- Authors must follow the same rules above (#4, #5) when it comes to posting links to where the product(s) being reviewed/showcased can be purcahsed.
Beyond that, no attempt should be made to market, advertise, solicit, sponsor, or promote any product, website, etc. for the purpose of commercial gain for yourself or anyone you are affiliated with.
The following is strictly forbidden: offering for sale any irrelevant products or services, soliciting for advertisers or sponsors, conducting raffles or contests that require any type of entry fee, and displaying text or graphical advertisements for services that provide cash or cash-equivalent prizes in exchange for hyperlinks to their sites. Posts containing any form of forbidden advertisement will be deleted and the User responsible for the post will be banned for spamming. Caveat emptor: the FINCHforum and its Staff are not to be held liable for the products or services offered by its Users or external sources.
Non-hosted (external) hyperlinks
You may only post links to family-friendly external sites or content such as photographs and video. If you post something which is deemed inappropriate*, your post may be edited or deleted and you may be suspended or banned for prohibited conduct. Additionally, you acknowledge that the FINCHforum and its Staff have no responsibility for the content, operation, business practices, or owner conduct of websites or linked material(s) which are not hosted on the FINCHforum's server. Any dispute or complaint concerning such websites or services should be directed solely to the owner or operator of that site or business or service.
Service or User Complaints
Complaints about the forum in general, specific posts, or other Users should be directed in private to a Staff member (via e-mail or PM or through use of the Service's built-in reporting system).
The FINCHforum is a non-profit Service. Donations are gratefully received, but are not considered payments for the Service and do not guarantee the availability of the Service. Donating Users must still abide by these Terms and will not be granted special treatment.
Users that disregard warnings given by the Staff may have their Account privileges restricted or revoked.
*See "PROHIBITED CONDUCT" below for examples of what is considered "inappropriate."
You agree that you will not use the FINCHforum's Service to transmit, disseminate, post, or upload:
(1) unlawful, harassing, antagonistic (including bullying, baiting, and taunting behaviors), libelous, tortuous, abusive, threatening, disturbing, graphic, or obscene communications of any kind, or materials which infringe or violate any third party's copyright, trademark, trade secret, privacy or other proprietary or property right, or that could constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any applicable law or regulation; or, that are otherwise objectionable, including without limitation, content that contains blatant bigotry, racism, sexism, or hatred, or that promotes illegal activities or physical harm against anyone;
(2) spam, chain letters, junk mail or any other type of unsolicited mass e-mail to people or entities who have not agreed to be part of such mailings;
(3) viruses or other harmful, disruptive or destructive files; or,
(4) content containing nudity or pornographic material of any kind.
You further agree:
(a) that you will not disrupt or interfere with another User's use or enjoyment of the Service;
(b) that you will not use or attempt to use another User's Account without authorization from the owner, nor will you disrupt or interfere with the security of, or otherwise abuse, the Service, system resources or Accounts, or any servers or networks connected to the Service;
(c) that you will not attempt to obtain unauthorized access to the Service, or to private areas on the Service;
(d) that you are solely responsible for your actions in relation to the Service, and for any communications transmitted under your Account;
(e) that you will not forge personal information or otherwise impersonate another or create a false identity;
(f) that you will not systematically extract, collect or harvest, through electronic means or otherwise, any data or data fields, including without limitation, User identities or email addresses from this site;
(g) that you will not operate, or utilize any list whose purpose is to transmit untargeted or unsolicited mass emails, including but not limited to safe email lists;
(h) that you will comply with all laws relating to the transmission of technical data or software exported from the United States;
(i) that you will comply with all applicable local, state, national and international laws and regulations, including without limitation those related to privacy and data collection. Violating the law may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, with notification of your Internet Service Provider and local authorities if deemed required by us;
(j) that you will not use abbreviations of obscenities, self-censoring of obscenities (where one or more letters in the word is replaced with a special character such as *), or any other attempts to circumvent the word censoring feature of this community software; and,
(k) that you will keep strong political and religious sentiments out of user names, profiles, signatures, and other content.
You agree that any member of the Staff may in his or her sole discretion remove any material that appears to violate any of the foregoing, and that the Staff may immediately limit or terminate your Account or access if it appears you have violated these provisions. Beyond this, the Staff reserves the right to edit or delete posts and/or Accounts at any time for any reason.
LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY
Under no circumstances, including, without limitation, negligence, shall the FINCHforum or its Staff be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages, resulting from the use or the inability to use the Service or Resulting from any goods or services purchased or obtained or messages received or transactions entered into by means of or through the Service, or resulting from unauthorized access to or alteration of your transmissions or data, or other information that is sent or received or not sent or received, including but not limited to, damages for loss of profits, use, data, or other intangibles, even if the Staff has been advised of the possibility of such damages and regardless of the legal theory on which such damages are based.
You agree that the FINCHforum and its Staff are not liable for any failure to deliver, hold, or store e-mail or Private Message(s) transmitted through the service. You agree that the FINCHforum and its Staff do not endorse the subject matter of any of its forums or any of the contents of communications transmitted through its Service. You also agree that the FINCHforum and its Staff shall not be responsible or liable to you, or to anyone, for the statements or conduct of any other User or third party on or arising from the use of the Service.
If you are dissatisfied with the FINCHforum's Service, your exclusive remedy is to discontinue use of the Service.