Hey hi hello!
My name’s Michael Son, and I’m the Editor in Chief over at Tapas. I made a post regarding forum ground rules (link) back in 2015, and thought it would be helpful to post an updated version of this guideline for newer members, and provide a refresher for some familiar faces. We'll also be updating our guidelines from time to time to better accommodate the growth of the forums (which, fun fact, has been visited more than 20 million times to date).
At the heart of all of our guidelines and policies is an attempt to provide and maintain a welcoming, healthy, and creator-friendly culture. Tapas is home to over 40,000 creators and I'm incredibly proud of the positive attitude and commitment to helping one another that we've all fostered together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
1. There's Never a Wrong Time to be Polite
Always be courteous to your fellow Tapas readers and creators. Don't forget that there is a real person behind every post, who, just like you, wants to be treated with respect and tolerance. Keep your cool even in the most heated discussions. Above all else, I want everyone to feel safe and welcomed in our forums. Any behavior that threatens the culture we've all helped to build will not be tolerated.
We try our best to resolve issues behind the scenes by communicating directly with readers and creators. If you feel that there are posts that are actively hostile or are attempts to instigate any hostility, please flag those posts or get in touch with one of the moderators listed at the end.
We operate with a two strike policy. First time offenders (depending on severity) will receive a temporary ban (typically lasting 3 to 7 days), and repeat offenders will receive a permanent ban.
2. Tag, Search and Quote are Your Friends
I highly recommend trying to search for topics before creating a new topic (if you're asking a question, please search through the "ANSWERED" tag to check if it has been asked before). Be respectful of readers and creators, who have already created similar topics and have generated ongoing discussions. A great way to jump in an active topic is to quote an existing post or tagging someone already active in the topic to engage them. We want to reduce multiple topics dealing with the same issues to make the forums easier to navigate for everyone.
With the increase of readers and creators participating in the forums, we've noticed that there have been a considerable amount of similar topics being created. We'll be closing and unlisting similar topics on a regular basis to make the forums more organized and allowing for newer readers and creators to have an easier time finding topics relevant to their interests.
Depending on the similarity between topics there may be instances where topics are unlisted rather than closed, if moderators feel that the level of discussion that have taken place merits ongoing responses.
3. Do Not Solicit Sales on the Forums
Please refrain from trying to make any form of sales on our forums. Link dumping to a kickstarter or store front without contributing to the betterment of the forum will not be tolerated. If you want to link to your kickstarter, storefront, etc then please make a topic that will help the community (whether it's things you've learned, or questions about how to improve).
4. Report Posts When Necessary
In the past, we've encountered a number of spam bots, which prompted us to adopt a two-step authentication system for flagging posts, which means if two people were to flag a post, then the post will be placed under an interstitial visible only to moderators to either confirm or dismiss the flag.
Beyond reporting, if you feel that a topic has escalated to a point where discussions are no longer healthy or a cause for concern, please tag one of the moderators listed at the end. Often times, a moderator will jump in and close the topic to try and deescalate the situation, then read through to try and contextualize the situation. Afterwards, we'll send out warnings or followups with the involved parties and either re-open the topic or permanently close and unlist the topic with a closing statement regarding why the decision was made.
5. Categorize and title your topics appropriately
Ratique covered this in her recent topic (link) regarding making topic names that avoid ambiguity. With so many topics being created daily, it's important for topic titles to be clear and concise to help readers and creators navigate and find relevant topics more easily. Also, please try and utilize the Categories tool to help sort topics.
6. Have Fun
This might seem silly, but seriously, we want everyone here to be happy. This might be my personal tyrannical decree, but I really want everyone to want to be here. If you're not having fun on the forums, please think of why and what we can do to make it better. After that, I want you to reach out to me and we'll see what we can do to make things fun again.
And now, I want to introduce you all to some of the forum moderators!
@ratique has been a long time community forum moderator. If you've ever used the Tapas forum, you've probably seen her around! Not only is Ratique a beloved moderator, but she's also the creator of Devil's Acre (link) and Queen of Gods (link).
@cain3 is a staff forum moderator, and also manager of the Help Desk section. Cain is incredibly knowledgable about Tapas and comic related publishing. Feel free to tag Cain in comic related creator questions.
@Bethany is a staff forum moderator, and also an associate editor for novels. If you have any questions related to novels, then please feel free to tag Bethany.
@michaelson (me!) is a staff forum moderator, and Editor in Chief. If you have any questions pertaining to Tapas (company, policy, or content related questions) please feel free to tag me.
While we do periodically check the @STAFF account, we primarily use it to make product or event related announcements. So, if you do tag our staff account, please be patient for a response. It's better to tag one of the aforementioned moderators instead.
Well, I hope that's been helpful and clears up some questions you might have had about the forums.
As always, Tapas is a work in progress, and is constantly going through changes and improvements. If you have any suggestions for the forum policies and guidelines, please feel free to chime in and we'll be more than happy to consider it.
Have fun, and see you around the forums.
-Michael & the Tapas Staff