There are very few "rules" on Windy City Gridiron. WCG is intended to feel primarily democratic, and most of the unwritten rules come by way of self-government by the community.
Free Speech on Windy City Gridiron: WCG believes strongly in free speech and in celebrating a diversity of people, and of ideas, on the site. Users are, in general, free to express their opinions without fear of retribution. The diversity of personalities, beliefs, and styles is appreciated as being part of what makes WCG strong, and WCG's contributors all operate within this belief system.
However, WCG is a community, and free speech does not mean "the right to say what you want, when you want, how you want," without being sensitive to, and respectful towards, the community as a whole. In a community, speech is not "free"--it comes with responsibility.
The following are simply not acceptable on WCG (excepting, in some cases, for obvious humor between people with an existing rapport); they violate WCG's Community Guidelines, and are subject to sanction as outlined below:
1. Personal attacks on community members, directly or through sarcasm/belittling
2. Comments that are intolerant, offensive, or prejudiced (sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.) in nature
3. Harassing/Baiting of users, aka "Trolling"
4. Relentless negativity.
WCG is aiming to be better than that. If you continue to do nothing but post negativity, you may lose posting privileges without warning. There's a difference between someone who aims to point out flaws and be constructive, and someone who is destructive. The goal is to make this community fun for everyone.
5. Politics and/or Religion.
6. Using WCG as a platform for self-promotion. We do not exist as a place for free advertising. WCG has worked hard to build up its own community and readership, and will not allow other websites to try and promote themselves on our website.
7. Foul language. We believe in keeping a PG-13 atmosphere for the most part, because there are children who read our blog. The only exceptions are during Open Threads. If you see an Open Thread, be advised: Almost anything goes. But keep f-bombs and strong language out of the regular threads.
Consequences for Violating WCG's Community Guidelines: WCG generally works on a version of "3 strikes and you're out." We do reserve the right to skip any and all steps, and move straight to a ban.
Strike 1: We will email you privately.
Strike 2: System warning issued.
Strike 3: You're out.
Note: While this is a process, WCG reserves the right at any point to send warnings/ ban members without prior notice. Examples of these times include spamming, trolling Game Threads, or obvious "over the top" offenses. We are willing to work with members who want to contribute productively, but not with members who are only out for their own personal agendas.
Procedure For Lodging An Official Complaint If you believe a user has violated the Community Guidelines and you wish to bring it to WCG's attention, flag the offending comment/post. Complaints are evaluated, and any appropriate follow-up action taken, internally. The user who made the complaint should not expect any reply unless the moderators have specific questions.
General Disclaimer: What is written above are guidelines that help to explain the policies, procedures, and processes WCG generally uses. It is entirely at WCG's discretion how to interpret and implement these guidelines, which are subject to change at any time. Keep in mind that a community is best policed by its members. If a user has violated the above code, simply flag the comment or send us an email and move on with your day. Any "replies" or attempts at correcting the behavior likely only encourage that user.
Also be aware of the tone of a comment/FanPost/FanShot. Most remarks are harmless by subject and often may be correct, but by adding offensive language or nasty/snarky tone it becomes something we don't need on WCG.
WCG believes in "trash talk" and in general encourages it; however, it must remain in a light hearted and fun manner and all parties involved must be open to it.
WCG hopes to never have to ban a user based on these guidelines and will in most cases lean towards lieniency, but for the community to move forward and continue to grow these guidelines need to be followed and enforced.
Each and every blog (SBN or otherwise) has their own set of guidelines enacted by that blog's owners. Any WCG user that leaves comments/FanPosts/FanShots or enters into conversation or debate with a user on that site are subject to any guidelines that apply to that site. If a WCG user continues to receive warnings or bans from other SB nation sites, they may be subject to a WCG ban or a SB Nation network-wide ban.
In the end, our intent is for WCG to be what you want it to be: a place for good, friendly and informative discussion and debate. The one thing it cannot become is a grab bag, free for all of foul language, baseless argument and an unsafe environment for all who visit the site.
If you ever have any suggestions or feedback for us, please speak up. Contact Dane or Adam, and let us know what's on your mind. Thanks.