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Acceptable Use Policy

At PhinisheD we strive to balance the right of all members to openly and honestly express themselves with the right of each to be treated with courtesy and respect. We think it is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. Challenge or critique the substance of posted messages if you must, but try to be polite and gentle toward those who posted them. Maintaining the supportive environment on PhinisheD usually requires that members avoid polemics in general and political debates in particular. To get a sense of the tone of the discussion, we recommend that you lurk and read for a while before posting. Much like joining a conversation at a party, listening first and talking second will result in a better experience for everyone.

The webmaster and moderators of PhinisheD are loath to practice censorship and will generally refrain from editing or deleting messages posted on the discussion boards. However, we reserve the right to do so at our discretion. Messages may be deleted--and those who post them may be permanently banned from the site--if they employ obscene, hateful, or threatening language, constitute a direct personal attack on another member, or otherwise violate reasonable norms of civil discourse. Furthermore, advertising and unsolicited commercial appeals of any kind are strictly forbidden on the PhinisheD discussion boards. In short, please don't be nasty, hurtful, or rude, and please don't post spam. Advertising for non-commercial purposes, such as online surveys or free services, may be allowed at the discretion of the webmaster and moderators, but only if prior permission is sought. If you offer a commercial service or product that you think may be of interest to our members, you may suggest a link to your website by using the "Submit a Link" form in our Links directory, and we will consider adding it.

Members are prohibited from registering multiple user accounts--only one account per person, please. To preserve the egalitarian nature of the PhinisheD community, we also ask that you avoid using academic titles or honorifics in your username. Members are expected to avoid double- and cross-posting and to make a good-faith attempt to post their messages on the appropriate boards. The webmaster and moderators of PhinisheD reserve the right to delete duplicate messages or move those that have been posted in the wrong place. Members are expected to use the anonymous posting option sparingly and only for good reason, and not as a means of evading responsibility for their comments. Members must respect the confidentiality and/or anonymity of fellow members; please do not disclose or discuss the name, affiliation, location, opinion, or any other personal information about or posted by another user without their consent either on PhinisheD or elsewhere. What happens on PhinisheD stays on PhinisheD. Finally, members are asked to temper their use of polls, private messages, and other potentially annoying site features out of consideration for their fellow members. Willful violations of these guidelines may result in an informal warning or formal reprimand from the webmaster or the revocation of some or all site privileges.


Privacy Statement

Information Collected Automatically

When you visit PhinisheD, as when you visit nearly every other web site, the server gathers and stores certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. Only the following information about your visit is collected and stored:

  • The Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you connect from a university's domain) and IP address (an IP address is a number that is automatically assigned to your computer whenever you are connected to the Internet) from which you access PhinisheD;
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access PhinisheD;
  • The date and time you visit;
  • The pages you view; and
  • If you linked to the PhinisheD web site from another site, the address of that other site.

This information is used to learn about the number of visitors to PhinisheD, the sections they visit, and the types of technology they use to access the site, in order to help make PhinisheD more useful. From time to time, statistics may be compiled on aggregate visit data and published, but we do not track, record, or publish information about individual users and their visits.

Information You Give Us

When you register to become a member of PhinisheD or when you use the "Contact Tom" form or e-mail to communicate with the webmaster, you are required to provide a valid e-mail return address. Unless you explicitly opt to share this address with others, it will be available only to the webmaster and moderators and will be used only as a means of validating your account, responding to your questions or comments, or notifying you of PhinisheD system events. Your e-mail address will be held in the strictest confidence and will never be used for spam or shared with any other person or organization. Likewise, when you contact the webmaster and share other personal information with him, that information will also be held in the strictest confidence and will not be used for any other purpose or revealed to any other person or organization.

When you register to become a member of PhinisheD, you will be asked to provide certain personal information about yourself in a "prophile." Providing this prophile information is entirely voluntary. Members are encouraged to provide prophile information about themselves to help others become acquainted with them and to help foster a sense of community on PhinisheD, but that information need not identify you personally and may be as vague as you wish. Furthermore, the information you provide for your prophile will be visible only to other PhinisheD users and not to unregistered visitors to the site.

Information Available to Other Members

As mentioned above, personal information you provide in your prophile is viewable only by other PhinisheD members and only if you choose to share it. You may deny other members access to your e-mail address if you wish, and you may deny them the ability to contact you by private message as well. Using the who's online, prophiles, and buddy list features of the PhinisheD web site, members may be able to tell whether other particular members are currently visiting the site and determine which pages they are viewing. If you wish to lurk undetected and not allow your login status and location on PhinisheD to be observed by other members (except for the webmaster and moderators), you have the option to select "invisible mode" in your user control panel settings.

PhinisheD also includes world maps of members' and visitors' locations that are viewable only by registered members. Avoiding logging in or selecting invisible mode may not prevent your rough location from being plotted on the visitors map. The maps are plotted with relatively large dots representing IP addresses as indicated by an IP geolocation database. The database is fairly inaccurate and the maps are rendered in low resolution, and the individual dots are not identified as belonging to particular users.

PhinisheD members are identified in their posts by the usernames they chose when they registered. A "post anonymously" option is available to members who wish to discuss sensitive or confidential issues on the boards without revealing their usual PhinisheD usernames, and who request anonymous posting privileges from the webmaster. If you are granted anonymous posting privileges and post anonymously, and then edit or attempt to delete your post, your usual PhinisheD username will become appended to your message for all to see. If you must post anonymously, please do it sparingly and only for good reason, and for the protection of your privacy, only while in invisible mode and only if you are prepared to forego deleting or editing your message after you post it.

If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy on PhinisheD, please do not hesitate to ask the webmaster by clicking the "Contact Tom" link at the bottom of each page.


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