Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

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Theory
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Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Theory » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:51 am

I admire what John Bogle has inspired at Bogleheads.org. Bogleheads.org is a wonderful social and learning environment where members can discuss and debate a wide variety of topics, as well as encourage and support one another.

What tips do you have for new Boglehead community members to be productive members and good citizens of the BH community?

Are there some lesser-known rules besides being polite and respectful and sticking with appropriate topics?

What common pitfalls have you seen amongst BH newbies, and how can they be avoided?

What tips do you have for new members who aspire to be successful and helpful members of the Boglehead community?

The Wizard
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by The Wizard » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:13 am

One thing we see from time to time is an interesting post from a newbie who then DISAPPEARS for a day or two while replies pile up. People wonder where the OP is and sometimes whether his post was real or fabricated.

So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Attempted new signature...

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VictoriaF
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:10 am

The Wizard wrote:So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Are you saying that a smartphone is a prerequisite to prudent investing?

Victoria {laughing at myself}
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

livesoft
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:25 am

It might be wonderful if folks had posts that started with …

"I looked at the Vanguard web site first, but …."
"I called up Vanguard first, but …."
"I read the wiki first, but …."
"I did a google search first, but …."
"I read the IRS instructions first, but …."
"I read the books first, but …."

but then this place would not be the same.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:24 am

To expand on The Wizard's comment, I see far too many threads in which a new member asks a question (as a first post) and a ton of responses ensue. However, we never see an acknowledgement that the replies were read - the post count stays as 1.

Our experienced members spend quite a lot of time composing responses. We'd like to know if the answers are helpful. Could those who've asked a question please post in the thread? A simple "thanks" would go a long way to letting us know the effort was worthwhile.
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sscritic
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:31 am

livesoft wrote:It might be wonderful if folks had posts that started with …

"I looked at the Vanguard web site first, but …."
"I called up Vanguard first, but …."
"I read the wiki first, but …."
"I did a google search first, but …."
"I read the IRS instructions first, but …."
"I read the books first, but …."

but then this place would not be the same.
If not first, at least show that you made an effort in your second post:

"Thanks for the link. I followed it and read it for myself. It answered all my questions."
"Thanks for the link. I followed it and read it for myself, but one thing still confuses me."
"Thanks for the link. I followed it and read it for myself. It answered all my questions, but it prompted a new one. I tried searching for the answer myself, but I came up short."

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:34 am

Another tip:

At some point, try to go beyond asking questions to answering questions. A few first posts are answers, but most first posts are questions. Later, but not too much later, you should transition from asking to answering.

Don't be a taker and never a giver.

I like your reference to "productive members." That is a good indication that you will be a giver. I look forward to your contributions.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by placeholder » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:54 am

Learn to use the search feature(s) to look for previous threads on topics of interest.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by chaz » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:35 am

VictoriaF wrote:
The Wizard wrote:So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Are you saying that a smartphone is a prerequisite to prudent investing?

Victoria {laughing at myself}
So I use a dumbphone. :)
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by chaz » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:36 am

Look at the forum's wiki.
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

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CABob
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by CABob » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:51 am

After you have composed a post with a question stop to review your draft to see if you have been clear in describing the situation and have asked the right question.
Bob

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cheese_breath
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:59 am

Have a good sense of humor. Occasionally one of us may poke or rib another in a manner that might be misinterpreted as offensive by newer folks. After awhile you'll learn who they are. (Hint: I might be one.) Don't take offense if someone pokes at you. It means you're part of the group. We're all friends here.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by rayson » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:00 pm

The Wizard wrote:One thing we see from time to time is an interesting post from a newbie who then DISAPPEARS for a day or two while replies pile up. People wonder where the OP is and sometimes whether his post was real or fabricated.

So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
+1

In addition, I always appreciate bogleheads who take the input from fellow bogleheads and report back how it worked out after a few months or even years.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:06 pm

cheese_breath wrote:Have a good sense of humor. Occasionally one of us may poke or rib another in a manner that might be misinterpreted as offensive by newer folks. After awhile you'll learn who they are. (Hint: I might be one.) Don't take offense if someone pokes at you. It means you're part of the group. We're all friends here.
I take an exception. I am very serious.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:09 pm

chaz wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
The Wizard wrote:So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Are you saying that a smartphone is a prerequisite to prudent investing?

Victoria {laughing at myself}
So I use a dumbphone. :)
In my case, even the dumbphone is deficient. It does not work inside my apartment and I have to get out and wonder around until I can make a call.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:21 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:Have a good sense of humor. Occasionally one of us may poke or rib another in a manner that might be misinterpreted as offensive by newer folks. After awhile you'll learn who they are. (Hint: I might be one.) Don't take offense if someone pokes at you. It means you're part of the group. We're all friends here.
I take an exception. I am very serious.

Victoria
See what I mean? :D
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:23 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
The Wizard wrote:So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Are you saying that a smartphone is a prerequisite to prudent investing?

Victoria {laughing at myself}
So I use a dumbphone. :)
In my case, even the dumbphone is deficient. It does not work inside my apartment and I have to get out and wonder around until I can make a call.

Victoria
My dumbphone is deficient too. I think it's the user part that doesn't work.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by VictoriaF » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:25 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
chaz wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
The Wizard wrote:So if you start a thread asking for help on something, you want to check back every few hours to see if more input is needed. This is why smartphones were invented...
Are you saying that a smartphone is a prerequisite to prudent investing?

Victoria {laughing at myself}
So I use a dumbphone. :)
In my case, even the dumbphone is deficient. It does not work inside my apartment and I have to get out and wonder around until I can make a call.

Victoria
My dumbphone is deficient too. I think it's the user part that doesn't work.
My user part walks the talk.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

Sidney
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Sidney » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:27 pm

Good suggestions above, especially about doing a little homework in advance.

Very long posts might not get as many reads. If there are no paragraphs or structure they are sure to be skipped.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Sidney » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:29 pm

The Wizard wrote:This is why smartphones were invented...
I almost never use a browser on mine. Never with sites that are not formatted for mobile.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:34 pm

VictoriaF wrote: My user part walks the talk.

Victoria
My user part can't walk and talk at the same time.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

FlyOverState
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by FlyOverState » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:53 pm

A newbie's first post should be about how boring index investing is and how much more can be made from market timing...
Thanks, | John | | FlyOverState

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Kosmo » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:32 pm

Some people write excessively long posts with lots of words, but they leave out important information like interest rates on student loans. Including as many details and actual numbers like rates, terms, dollar values, etc. can let people pull out their calculators or spreadsheets and literally run the numbers. If something's missing or doesn't add up right, the smart folks here will let you know.

One thing that bugs me, but isn't so much an etiquette issue is that some people put the short short version of their question in the subject line. Then you read through the post and the question(s) at the end is different. Which is it? I'm guessing people write the subject line first, then get carried away with the pay and forget what they're asking about. I guess I'm saying that you should write your story and then name it afterwards.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:31 pm

Use preview before posting. Twice. This is especially important if you have quoted someone. Often, quotes get misattributed when the poster is careless and doesn't preview. See that your quotes match up. Sometimes when I am quoting someone who has quoted me, I want to remove my quote, but I have to be careful not to delete the closing square bracket of the poster I am quoting.

[quote is not a quote marker. If you have [/quote or /quote] in your text, preview will reveal it to you, but only if you only take the time to look.

Lesson: look before posting.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by sscritic » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:33 pm

Follow up tip:

After you post, read it. If it is messed up, then you can click on edit and fix it. Maybe you didn't see the [/quote when you used preview, but you should see if after you post.

Bad formatting is not polite (that is the polite way to express it).

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by chaz » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:57 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: My user part walks the talk.

Victoria
My user part can't walk and talk at the same time.
Multitasking isn't easy.
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by CABob » Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:44 pm

If asking a question by starting a conversation give adequate thought and compose a Subject that is meaningful and will distinguish it from others and describe it purpose to those who may respond.
For example,
Help with investments.
Help me understand this.
What's this all about?
What should I do?
Are not particularly informative.
Bob

Theory
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Theory » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:07 pm

This is really a great compilation. Thank you for taking time to respond.

Inspired by sscritic’s reminder that we are all part of a community and should find ways to give back I loosely summarized what we have:

• Checking up on the thread and following-up on replies - sometimes more information is required to answer the question so timely responses help prevent the thread stalling (The Wizard)
• `Demonstrate due diligence you have made efforts to seek out information first. Your question may already be answered in previous thread or another source. Learn to use the search feature to find old posts (livesoft & placeholder)
• A good citizen acknowledges previous posts and the effort of fellow posters to help them. This is needed for clear communication, and just as important, a gratitude goes a long way to acknowledge the kindness and effort your colleagues (LadyGeek)
• Follow-up on resources and guidance… was it helpful, what questions remain? (sscritic)
• As you gain experience, “pay it forward.” We are members of a community, and we should strive to be “productive members. “ Help your peers, just as you have been helped (sscritic)
• Become familiar with the forum’s wiki (chaz)
• Check you composition, logic, and clarity. How clear have you been describing your situation? (CABob)
• Have a good sense of humor (cheese_breath). A poke it you may be playful, we are all friends here (cheese_breath… and Victoria’s wonderful dry wit operationalizing this for us).
• Tell us how it worked out, even if the resolution may be years later. It not only is rewarding to “teachers” to see how they helped someone but we also can learn as a community from your experience. (rayson)
• Keep posts brief, brevity is the soul of wit (Sidney & Kosmo).…. I am working on that one! 
• Be sure to include critical details “and actual numbers like rates, terms, dollar values” (Kosmo)
• Be internally consistent: the subject line should match the post question (Kosmo)
• Preview before posting, twice. If you quoted someone it can be mis-attributed if the quotes don’t line up (sscritic) –- (editor's note: I didn’t know about that one, I’ll have to play around to learn how to edit them).
• If you screwed up, use the edit button and fix it (sscritic)
• The Subject line should not only be consistent with the thread (mentioned above), but also informative and clear (CABob)

I’ll add one more that I just realized, kind of touched upon. I was aware of the Wikis mentioned by chaz which have been very helpful as I am slowly going through them. However I only now realized that there is a full summary of policies and etiquette which I just read. it was right under my nose in the left hand index. Here’s the link to it, I found it very helpful: Policies and Etiquette.

Thank you for your contributions to this list! I learned some new things, and perhaps some other newbies found this helpful too.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:22 pm

Theory wrote:I’ll add one more that I just realized, kind of touched upon. I was aware of the Wikis mentioned by chaz which have been very helpful as I am slowly going through them. However I only now realized that there is a full summary of policies and etiquette which I just read. it was right under my nose in the left hand index. Here’s the link to it, I found it very helpful: Policies and Etiquette.
Let me help you with that. In the upper right corner of every forum page are:

- Google search box (with more search selections just underneath)
- Wiki <---
- Blog
- Forum Policy <--- The thread is actually titled "Policies and Etiquette", but these are the guidelines used for this forum. Yes, please read them. :wink:

Clicking on the logo in the top-left corner will take you to the home page. Check out the left-side menu, as well as the links at the top of the page. For those interested, the home page has an RSS feed available.
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Theory » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:58 pm

Thank you LadyGeek, I have gone through it and the guidelines were very helpful. I also learned some new and interesting things about the forum governance!

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by mlipps » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:33 pm

Is it too late to add one more? It drives me nuts when people dig up a year old thread without any real reason other than adding their opinion to it. If you have new information, maybe it's worth PM'ing the OP, but just to chime in on a thread that already had 85 posts is annoying.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by The Wizard » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:54 am

mlipps wrote:Is it too late to add one more? It drives me nuts when people dig up a year old thread without any real reason other than adding their opinion to it. If you have new information, maybe it's worth PM'ing the OP, but just to chime in on a thread that already had 85 posts is annoying.
Yes, there are times when it's better to start a new thread rather than resurrect an old one or branch off in a current thread...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:40 am

I removed a few off-topic comments.
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:43 am

As for posting in an old thread-

If the older thread is to assist a member in a certain situation, then consider creating a new thread and referring back to the older one. The idea is that we give advice for each situation differently, the information may not apply. Additionally, it may confuse the situation in the older thread.

If the older thread is a general question, then it's perfectly fine to post in the older thread. For example, resurrecting a question on the definition of a stock or bond. There's no sense duplicating information.
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:49 am

Being a good Boglehead citizen means trying to stay on topic. Topics have a natural tendency to drift a bit, which is to be expected. When you click the Reply button, try and remember the subject and flow of the topic and before you hit Submit, ask yourself if you are advancing the discussion of that subject.
cheese_breath wrote:Have a good sense of humor. Occasionally one of us may poke or rib another in a manner that might be misinterpreted as offensive by newer folks. After awhile you'll learn who they are. (Hint: I might be one.) Don't take offense if someone pokes at you. It means you're part of the group. We're all friends here.
The flip side is knowing when the humour is taking things off on a tangent from the discussion at hand.
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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by S&L1940 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:52 am

[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

bottom line, the dear wife and I would be in a bad place had we not found BH.org and never received the guidance and good sense that is so generously given here.
thanks again, Rich
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:10 am

Peculiar_Investor wrote:Being a good Boglehead citizen means trying to stay on topic. Topics have a natural tendency to drift a bit, which is to be expected. When you click the Reply button, try and remember the subject and flow of the topic and before you hit Submit, ask yourself if you are advancing the discussion of that subject.
cheese_breath wrote:Have a good sense of humor. Occasionally one of us may poke or rib another in a manner that might be misinterpreted as offensive by newer folks. After awhile you'll learn who they are. (Hint: I might be one.) Don't take offense if someone pokes at you. It means you're part of the group. We're all friends here.
The flip side is knowing when the humour is taking things off on a tangent from the discussion at hand.
Which directly relates to Lady Geek's removal of some previous comments in this thread, and I admit I was one of the offenders in those comments.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by dl7848 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:09 pm

d
Last edited by dl7848 on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Being a good Newbie Boglehead citizen

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:19 pm

dl7848 wrote:I'm sorry to see the posts removed. But that's life on this board. They've made it clear that we can't have a "lounge" since (I think) this board receives non-profit status (?) or something like that, and so there are boundaries that have to be followed.
This is a mixed bag. Remember that the objective of a moderator is to keep things on-track. I'll make a judgement call on a case-by-case basis. If anyone disagrees, I'm all ears and will reverse a decision if a good reason is provided. See Forum Policy, under "Member Rights in a Dispute," 2nd paragraph.

As for the "lounge," it's quite simply the wishes of the site owners setting the boundaries. Remember that additional forums require additional work by the moderators. Regardless of content - politics, religion, or just lounging around, we need to keep things straight.

In fact, that's how the forum policies evolved. It's not to support any specific perspective, but as a balance between keeping the peace and the moderators sane.

Long story short, we're all volunteers here and try to do the best we can. Allowing contentious topics (politics, religion, etc.) increases our workload considerably; the restrictions provide a balance. We try to enforce policy fairly to everyone.

I should also mention that we keep a "family-friendly" environment here, meaning things you can say in front of the little ones. It's not just language, but certain topics intended for the "over 18" crowd. We've gotten complaints if we loosen the restrictions otherwise.
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