MFK 2020 and Beyond

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Hand of the King
Aug 29, 2009
I crash at the K-Pg
Greetings MFK!

As has become abundantly clear to the majority of our user base, the Forum is currently undergoing growing pains as we recover from the Great Server Crash of 2015. As we have recovered as a community, a dichotomy has arisen in our ranks: older, established Members who were largely around prior to the crash: and (mostly) younger, newer Members who have come to the Forum thanks to our extremely successful Social Media campaign as spearheaded by the wonderful Jerry ( Gr8KarmaSF Gr8KarmaSF ).

When one combines two distinct schools of thought with the fact that myself and Justin ( JK47 JK47 ) were the only active Staff for the past few years; it has led to, shall we say, issues.

That being said, something needs to give.

I have been working for several years now to try to bring the Forum to order. It started first by attempting to rebuild our user base. This was done through the Social Media campaign mentioned above, and was wildly successful. Our site traffic consisting of real, unique visitors is currently roughly double what it was at the time of the so called "good old days" of the Forum so frequently mentioned in arguments. After this, I cleaned up the Marketplace, rooting out scammers, and finally fixed the search issues. After attending to the marketplace, I brought on a bunch of new Staff Members to help with the overall administration of the Forum. I am currently working toward cleaning up redundant areas of the Forum to simplify determining where one should post a new thread.

Now, the next step of bringing the Forum to order is to properly bring it to ORDER. This will be accomplished by returning to a strict enforcement of the Terms of Service that every Member of this community agreed to in order to join.

Due to the current nature of the United States, the country in which this Forum is based and in which a majority of our Members reside, I am forced to take our Country's highly divisive political and politicized atmosphere into consideration. MFK has long enforced a proscription on political and religious topics, as these items tend to be what precipitates confrontation.


TOS Clarifications

Listed below are several clarifications to the TOS to allow the Member base to understand how these rules are to be enforced. This also addresses issues that the Staff views as being of a high priority in our attempts to bring peace to the Forum.

- Flaming/Picking Fights (Section 4, Paragraph 6): This section states that Members are to engage in proper etiquette with one another. If you don't like another Member, leave them be. Don't keep rehashing the same fight in every thread.

- Posting of Political/Politicized content (Section 5, Paragraph 8): We all know the things that start fights amongst Americans in this day and age. Politics (all of it), guns, climate change, ANYTHING to do with Presidents Trump or Obama, blue lives vs black lives matter, etc. Any content that touches on any of these subjects (even those not expressly listed herein) are forbidden by the Terms of Service and as such will be considered malicious and will be subject to punitive action.

- Avatars (Section 4, Paragraphs 1,6,11; Section 5, Paragraph 8): As an extension of the above proscription on political or politicized content, this will be extended to include avatars. In order to fairly and uniformly enforce the proscription of political or politicized content, ALL avatars must be directly related in some way or another to the Aquarium or Fishkeeping hobbies. A fish or something similar that somehow incorporates political content will be considered a violation.

- Openly questioning Administrative Action or defaming the Forum (Section 4, Paragraph 6): recently, a small but very vocal minority of the Forum has begun to repeatedly and openly voice their dissatisfaction with the Staff enforcing, well, anything. This has been particularly evident with the treatment of several younger and newer Staff Members. This behavior is a violation of the ToS and will not be tolerated.

- Sales or Solicitation of banned species (Section 5, Paragraph 7): Attempts to buy or sell banned species on MFK will result in a Member losing access to the parts of the Forum in which one has the ability to buy and sell (MFK Marketplace et al). Members are expected to do their due diligence. Repeated attempts will result in a permanent ban.

- Enforcement and Authority for Interpretation (Section 8 Paragraph 1, Section 13 Paragraph 1): The Staff of has the authority to limit privileges of a user account or deny access. This is not the intent of the Staff, but is a reasonable option that is available to us. We, the Members of the Staff, have the right to amend the enforced standards of the Terms of Service with a public announcement, as is being given here.

Enforcement of the ToS are not limited to the previously listed items. The items listed above are simply those considered by the Staff Members to be the current "hot button" issues which it has been decided must be addressed directly.


The enforcement of said rules will be carried out through the use of MFK's Warning and Infraction system. Upon the receipt of an infraction, one will accrue points. As a Member accrues points, their status will change. As of the date of this notice, all Members of not on probationary status are to be considered as having a "clean slate". As such, the Staff are not to take punitive action against a Member for anything done prior to this announcement. Members are also expected to treat one another with similar courtesy. In accordance with a "clean slate" approach to managing the Forum, this will also result in Members who instigate issues who view themselves as being "friends" or "allies" of the Forum receiving punitive action for engaging in activities herein proscribed. We on the Staff do not need assistance in this regard. A "clean slate" means a level playing field: follow the rules, even if you're a friend of the Administrator. You're not above the rules. There will be an appeals process for any infraction issued (more on that in a proceeding section).

When a Member receives punitive action on the Forum, this information will be logged in their profile. The points accrued will be that which moves a Member through the actions of infraction.

The first infraction will serve as a warning, and will allow a Member to retain their full privilege Member status.

The second infraction will place a Member in Probationary Member status for a time of no less than a year.

The third infraction will result in the Member receiving a ban for a period of no less than one month.

The fourth infraction will result in a Member being permanently banned from the Forum.

In effect, this is a "three strikes and you're out" approach, with a freebie to start.

To be clear: the Staff reserves the right to skip these steps and award troublesome Members a higher tier punitive action without notice. This shall not be done capriciously however, and will require approval from an Administrator level Staff Member. Non-sequential punitive actions shall only be taken in the most grievous of circumstances.


A Member who has not been permanently banned has the right to request an appeal and a review by an Administrator level Staff Member. These are to be done by posting in the section One on One with the Administrator with a thread title clearly stating your intent to appeal an infraction. An Administrator will review the infraction in question and make a decision based on circumstance and evidence. Administrators can see all deleted content and will use such to determine the validity of the infraction. This has been done more than most Members likely realize, and I fully intend to continue this tradition to ensure that this Forum remains fair and open. If a Member should feel as though an infraction was issued in error, the burden of proof falls on the Member in question. The Member is expected to provide proof to verify and validate the appeal. A lack of supporting evidence could cause your appeal to be denied.

Enforcement Timeline

In the interest of fairness, these guidelines are not in effect immediately. Such proscriptions and enforcement thereof shall come into force with the full weight of the Terms of Service of with all potential adverse actions implicated therein no sooner than 1 October 2019. Until such time, the Staff will be issuing guidance to the Members of MFK and closing threads that are construed as violating the Terms of Service. Staff Members are required to state a reason for their closure of a thread, though they are not required to cite exact rules. "Politics" or "Politicized Content" (for example) are acceptable answers in this regard. The requirement for all members to have fishkeeping or aquarium hobby related avatars is in effect immediately, but Members will not be subject to receiving punitive action for avatars until 1 October 2019. Staff may remove avatars as they see fit starting immediately.

This thread is a notice, and is not for discussion. Questions, comments, and concerns can be posted here:

>>>Click this link to go to the discussion thread<<<
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