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Welcome to Off-Topic!
Off-Topic is the wild west of the forums, but who doesn’t like a bit of excitement in their day? This is a place to get random. Have you ever wondered if you have more umbrellas in your house than the average person? Go ahead and ask! Do you want to talk about how excited you are for an upcoming movie? Make a thread
_This thread is not an original work, but a compilation of many threads that have been made before. Links to the previous versions are provided in the final post._
* * *
# The Guidelines
First and foremost…
This is the first rule in Kongregate’s [behavior guidelines](http://www.kongregate.com/pages/conduct) and ultimately the source of all the guidelines below.
### Table of Contents
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[Spam](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4617303): What counts?
[Threads](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4617306): How to be legendary (or at least not suck)
[Links](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4617313): Making good choices
[Trolls](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4617314): Don't feed 'em
[Formatting](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4617320): Everyone wants to be one of the cool kids
[Language and terminology](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4623309): Understanding what you read
[Sources](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-reformatted-for-10-excellence?page=1#posts-4623311): Yo' thread so long, it has a bibilography
* * *
The fact that you are reading this sticky means you’re already off to a great start! Here are a few expectations and traditions; observing these will help you fit in.
Acting like you’re smarter or better others is a fine way of trolling, but it’s no way to become accepted. No one likes someone who thinks they’re above everyone else. Similarly, don’t bother trying to impress us with your IQ, popularity, wealth, hacker skills, sociopathology or general badassery. If you need to impress people on the internet, you’re probably really lame. Finally, if you’re ever wrong, just admit it! Carrying on a pointless argument makes you look like an ass and makes people not want to tolerate you.
Postin lyk ur typin a txt to ur bff inint cool. Learn to type things properly. Occasional spelling and grammar errors are okay, but typing an entire paragraph without punctuation or proper spelling is just flame bait; ditto for typing completely without caps or IN ALL CAPS. Ignoring this guideline will get you flamed, trolled or ignored. On the other hand, commenting on every little slip-up is annoying and makes you much less likeable; find the middle ground.
OT has a love-hate relationship with memes. If you’re confused by a reference, go [here](http://knowyourmeme.com/) and look it up. Constantly referring to memes will make you seem unoriginal, though, so choose wisely.
Don’t get butthurt (angry; mad) over stupid things. OT enjoys verbal horseplay, and if you’re going to dish it out you better be able to take it. Witty retorts are welcome, but losing your cool will make the regs lose respect.
Posts in the [Hey, OT](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/141571) appreciation thread are always welcome.
### Please don’t spam
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Spam is anything pointless or annoying that adds nothing to the forum. A [wise woman](http://www.kongregate.com/accounts/emily_greer) once said that spam is like porn—you know it when you see it. If you see something and think “that has nothing to do with anything,” it’s spam. If you see something and think “my oh my, that sure is cluttering up the thread/forum,” it’s spam. If you see something and think “they’re really only posting that to up their post count,” it’s spam. One word “lolwut” or “orly?” replies? Spam. Motivational poster replies? Spam. Replying with a picture of a can of spam? Spam. Basically, if you see something and think it’s spam, it probably is.
The best way to combat spam is to take 10 seconds before posting to think “is this actually adding anything to the conversation?” If the answer is anything but a resounding “yes”, just don’t hit the “submit reply” button. I know it’s really super to see your name and avatar with words by it, but it’s not worth risking a silence or ban over.
**_Kongregate is not an image board_**
Ragefaec, trollfaec, foreveralone, oh my! There is a whole internet full of funny pictures and memes. While we don’t prohibit posting images, they will probably be removed unless they contribute to the conversation AND are accompanied by words. The more content you add, the more likely we are to take you seriously! A motivational poster and “u suk lol” will get removed; a small funny picture and with a paragraph of genuine discussion will probably be allowed to stay.
**_Quote pyramids are awesome!_**
Lolno. Quote after quote just to make a giant green ziggurat on the page is just another form of spam. Quote pyramids involving images (especially large ones) are doublespam. When in doubt, remember: don’t be a jerk.
**_I see spam! Wut do?_**
First of all, do not quote the post.
Second of all, DO NOT QUOTE THE POST.
What you _should_ do is flag it and let a mod take care of it. Quoting the post, even to say “get back on topic,” just makes the problem worse. If you want to get the thread back on topic, do so! Just don’t quote the post in the process. (Also: don’t quote the post.)
**_Quality, not quantity_**
If you still don’t understand why your post was spam after reading the above, then [this](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/104479) text-wall by Frogmanex should give you some. It is important to not think too much about having a high quantity of posts, but rather put some quality into them. [This](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/382490-quality-threads-dos-and-donts) post by Bunneh as well is an excellent example of what to do, or what not to do in a thread.
### What about threads?
* * *
Off-topic does not mean no topic. Threads with silly focuses (what’s your favorite flavor of ramen?) are welcome. Threads with no focus (lololol be random!!1!) are not. This includes, but is not limited to, things like “let’s all increase our post counts by counting to 100 GOGOGOGO,” most threads where the first post is only an image, or any time when the original poster (OP) has shared a story without providing a topic for discussion.
**_Use the master threads_**
If there's already a thread open on a topic (eg., [introductions](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/433) and [departures](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/43778)), please use it rather than starting a new thread. In particular, things about [My Little Pony](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/169635-the-official-my-little-pony-thread), [Touhou](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/145002-the-touhou-thread), [furries](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/206166-the-official-furry-thread-3) and [anime](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/132707-anime-addicts-anonymous) should be kept to their designated threads. If you're not a fan, leave those threads alone.
In particular, we have ongoing problems with **brony and anti-brony** threads.
--We have one (1) thread for discussion of MLP and posting brony stuff. If any others crop up, _do not post in them_! [Just flag and ignore](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/223649-stop-posting-in-brony-or-antibrony-threads).
--We have no (0) threads for posting anti-brony stuff, just like we have no threads for posting anti-Semitic, anti-black or even anti-furry stuff. If any anti-brony threads crop up, _do not post in them_! [Just flag and ignore](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/223649-stop-posting-in-brony-or-antibrony-threads). The mods and admins will thank you from the depths of their souls.
_Bumping old threads_
"Bumping" refers to posting something without value (often just the word "bump") in order to return the thread to the top of the first page. This sort of thing gets spammy really fast. Please don't bump threads, especially not ones that are really out-of-date. That being said! If you _do_ have something to add, feel free to revive old threads.
**_What is a bandwagon?_**
A form of spam thread, when people make multiple threads along a similar vein. “Hey bro, where’s my sandwich” becomes “Hey bro, where’s my dog” becomes “Hey bro, where’s my dildo.” It clutters up the page to no real purpose, and inevitably becomes more inappropriate as time goes on.
**_What about image threads?_**
[OT is not /b/](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/22733). There are plenty of imageboards out there—feel free to use them! Don’t do it here. Motivate-me, /b/-or-chan-related or you-laugh-you-lose threads will be locked and creators may be silenced. While in theory these threads _could_ be harmless, in practice they usually end up annoying and/or inappropriate. Exception: Kongregate has a tradition of threads where users post pictures of themselves. One recent example was [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/149712-itt-post-photos-of-yourself).
**_This thread is inappropriate ohnoes!_**
First of all, do not post in the thread.
Second, DO NOT POST IN THE THREAD.
What you _should_ do is flag it and let a mod take care of it. Posting in the thread, even to say “this is inappropriate” or “flagged,” just bumps the post back to the top of the list and gives it more attention. Bear in mind that **anyone bumping a spam/inappropriate thread may receive the same punishment as its creator.** The more egregious the thread, the harsher the likely punishment. More on this subject from the great figures in OT: [arcaneCoder 2008](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/19357), [FuzzyBacon 2009](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/52678) and [Gevock 2011](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/52902-ot-guidelines-dont-post-in-spam-threads-rev-5-31#posts-3763932).
### Choose your links wisely
* * *
Can you post a link here? That depends!
—If it’s porn or a shocksite, absolutely not. (Kongregate’s [behavior guidelines](http://www.kongregate.com/pages/conduct) are still in effect.)
—If it’s a [referral link](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/40894), we’re not interested. We know you want reward points/that next picture/to win a free time machine, but we don’t actually care. If everyone posted their links here, the forum would be totally unusable.
—If it’s a youtube/music link, share it in the master-thread that is located [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/77488-youtube-video-links-masterthread). People do check them out.
—If it’s something you thought was hilarious but doesn’t offer a topic of conversation, please don’t share it.
—If it’s something you thought was hilarious AND it can serve as the starting point for a conversation, start a thread! But remember to _state the topic_ for conversation as well as sharing the link.
### Don’t feed the trolls
* * *
“Troll” is an internet term for a person who wants to ruffle some feathers and make people upset. They aren’t usually evil, just extremely bored. What they want is for you to pay attention to them; ignore them and their power is lost.
Fighting back is the worst possible thing you can do: it gives them exactly what they want—attention. The best way to combat trolling is not to get in an argument with them, but to straight-up ignore them. They want to be important and to ruin your good time—don’t let them. Flag their post and move on.
An argument needs at least two parties for it to continue. If one person says “u suck lololol” and the other one ignores it, it’s not an argument. No matter what anyone else is doing, your actions are your own. This is extra-super-important because, no matter who started it, if you’re harassing someone you may be silenced for it. Don’t let give someone the satisfaction of getting you in trouble! Instead, flag the post and let us deal with it.
### Formatting like a boss
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This section was copied almost wholesale from [ArcadianFire](http://www.kongregate.com/accounts/ArcadianFire)’s new user guide [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/188069-off-topics-new-user-guide). Many thanks to him for his excellent work!
_ **Quoting posts** _
Kongregate has the option to quote posts, thereby making it clear precisely what you’re responding to. Simply click the ‘Quote Post’ button located below someone’s username (boxed in red):
If you only wish to quote a small portion of a post, use bq. Just type “>” and then copy and paste the relevant portion. It allows you to quote small portions of posts rather than entire posts. It really cuts down on the length of your post, and also prevents quote pyramids from forming.
`> Like this`
_ **Editing posts** _
There’s not need to post multiple times in a row. People tend to get annoyed when you do this, so knowing how to edit your posts is important. There’s a little button underneath your post count labeled ‘Edit Post.’ Use this button to make changes to your post. You can add anything you missed or change grammatical/spelling errors with this button.
Click on the “edit post” option as outlined above, then look to the right of the typing field and you will see a small button labeled ‘delete post’:
* * *
_ **Other formatting** _
`~~crossed out text~~`
Posting an image:
**Note** : You cannot post images directly from your computer. You’ll need to first upload the file to an image-sharing website like Imageshack, Photobucket, Tinypic, Imgur, etc., then post a link to the image.
### Language and terminology
* * *
Kongregate is relatively lax about swearing. We care quite a bit about how people interact, though-- saying "oh, crap" is an entirely different matter from telling another user they _are_ crap. Similarly, racist or hateful terms are not allowed.
Other terms you may see and wonder about:
**Alt** – Short for alternate account.
**Brony** - A fan of the new My Little Pony (MLP) television show.
**ITT** - In this thread; a topic or activity for the thread.
**Necro** - Bumping a thread that was out of use (dead) back to life.
**OP** – Original post / original poster (aka the first post or person in the thread).
**OT** – Off-Topic, the Kong subforum you’re currently using.
**OTer/Otter** - A person who frequents OT.
**PM** – Private message.
**QFT** – Quoted For Truth. Used to agree with a post, though if you have nothing to add this practice is frowned on as spammy.
**Reg** - Short for regular, another term for an OTer.
**SD** – Serious Discussion, another subforum on Kongregate.
**Shuckle** - A generic substitute for assorted offensive terms. Explanation [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/201470-shuckle-censorship-petition-100-user-signs-3-forum-mod-signs).
**TC** – Short for tinychat. Many OT regs use a video chat there; go [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/140109-ots-official-tinychat-thread-oott) for more info.
**TL;DR** – Too long; didn’t read. Post was too long for the average OTer’s attention span.
**/2/** – It’s not as prominent as it used to be, but some users refer to Off-Topic as /2/ due to the number and forward slash in the URL for the subforum.
People here use acronyms for others’ usernames (e.g. YM12, ARK, TT, etc.), and learning those will help you understand what's going on. It gets especially confusing when the nickname refers to the user's previous or original account rather than their current name. Hang in there, eventually you'll be able to tell CJK from MFT in a heartbeat.
_Much of this section is copied outright from [ArcadianFire's](http://www.kongregate.com/accounts/ArcadianFire) new user thread [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/188069-off-topics-new-user-guide). Many thanks to him for putting it together._
* * *
Dec 26, 2013: An addendum and clarification about the issue of language can be found [here](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/213748-ot-guidelines-edited-again-for-15-excellence?page=1#posts-7646738).
Want some clarification for anything you see here? Need some help with some unpleasant spam or a flame war? Unhappy with something you see happening? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of the forum moderators via the methods in [this sticky](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/208538-updated-mod-contact-info).
If you need help with any aspect of the site, you can always email [email@example.com](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).
As noted in the first post, this guide is not an original work but rather an attempt to unify and update the many similar threads that have gone before it. These include:
[Sep. 2008](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/19357), arcaneCoder
[Oct. 2008](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/22733), AlisonClaire
[April 2009](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/40894), arcaneCoder
[May 2009](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/42720), Off-Topic Council
[Aug. 2009](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/52902-ot-guidelines-dont-post-in-spam-threads-rev-5-31), AlisonClaire
[Aug. 2009](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/52678), FuzzyBacon
[Aug. 2010](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2/topics/104479), Frogmanex
[Jan. 2011](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/135344), Darkir (Provis)
[Jan. 2011](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/135826), Marh
[June 2011](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/188069-off-topics-new-user-guide), ArcadianFire
There have recently been some issues with people posting in other languages. Back in June I explained it like this, in a response to a shout someone left on my profile:
To be perfectly fair, a shout on my profile isn’t exactly the ideal way of disseminating information and I recognize that. \>.\> My bad.
Now, however, what started with an occasional post has turned into a real problem. So I give you the following new rule: all posts in OT must be in English. Crappy English is acceptable, but English it must be.
If you really MUST post in another language, post it in the [official international house of languages thread](http://www.kongregate.com/forums/2-off-topic/topics/133907).