The pipTalk Philosophy
Most of our rules are simple common sense and courtesy.
Watch your language, don't post themes that aren't appropriate to a family audience (although we do have forums for more mature themes), and treat the other people here the way you would want to be treated. Any post that advocates harm to a human being will be removed. No big surprises, I'm sure.
But in addition to the kind of conduct you would expect in any open forum, there are a few things we would ask that are more specific to our type of forum - Poetry. Passions takes copyright very seriously, so we insist that anything you post in the forums be either your own work or clearly marked as in the public domain, always citing the author and source.
Also, we have forums that are devoted to discussion and those that are strictly for poetry. Please try to confine your posts to the appropriate category. Don't post discussions in the Poetry forums (they will probably be deleted by the moderator). Select the most appropriate forum for your post, and please post in only one forum. Cross-posting wastes our limited resources and will result in all duplicates being deleted.
If you have a large inventory of poems you've written we'd love to see them all - but, please, not all at the same time. We like to give the other poets room to post their material, too, so our software allows no one to post more than three poems a day. This also gives you the time and opportunity to reply to the works of your peers, always an important part of our community.
We have a great bunch of people at the forums, and everyone is having a wonderful time. Abiding by these simple rules will keep it that way!
What are the forums?
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How to use
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The underlying philosophy of Passions is one of Respect and Tolerance. Writers are a diverse group. And, very often, they are also a very opinionated group. We welcome opinions, and we thrive on diversity, seeing both as tools for growth.
Obviously, you're not going to agree with everything you find written at Passions. We consider that a good thing. How you express your disagreement, however, can too easily become a bad thing. Arguing against a concept or idea, even vehemently, is a good thing. Attacking the supporters of that concept or idea is a bad thing (even if the attack is subtle and indirect). Asking others to listen to your viewpoints and consider your arguments is a good thing. Refusing to listen to the viewpoints and arguments of others, simply because they contradict your own beliefs, is a bad thing. Conveying positive emotions (this is what X does for me) is a good thing. Conveying negative emotions can also be a good thing, but all too often becomes a bad thing (I hate Y).
Respect and Tolerance are simple words to say, but not always simple to live. It's not easy to respect a person that represents the antithesis of your value system. It's not easy to tolerate something you strongly feel will lead to disaster and hurt. But everything another person says, does, and believes is the result of their individual history. People who do bad things (by our own definitions) aren't always bad people. Sometimes they are just misguided (by our own definitions). And sometimes (hard as this is to believe), they aren't bad or misguided at all, and it is our own definitions that need to be reevaluated.
We can only learn and grow through understanding. And understanding is the real key to respect and tolerance.
Our belief in the strength of diversity means we try to not disallow any group of individuals - and that includes both the young and the innocent (not necessarily the same). That's simply another way of saying that Passions is a Family site, and you should assume there will be young people reading your posts.
We have the Adult forum for more mature topics that won't fit into this framework, but every other forum adheres to a GP rating. No vulgarity. No sexual innuendoes or suggestions. Just good, clean poetry and prose. Most of our Members are proud of the fact they can invite anyone, be it family or business acquaintances, to Passions and know they need not be ashamed or try to explain away the vulgarity. We would very much like to keep it that way.
It should always be remembered that our inherent diversity extends not only to what we write, but also to why. Everyone here writes for different reasons, and most of us post our work for equally different reasons.
Some are here to share what they've learned about this craft we call writing, some to learn (and we would hope those two groups overlap), some to simply express themselves, some to find support and understanding from others of like spirit, some to appreciate and participate in the beauty of writing, some to enrich and further their understanding of life, some with the hope of touching the lives of others in a meaningful way - the list extends nearly to the limits of human differences. Any reason for reading or writing is a valid reason. And all are welcome at Passions.
It is perfectly acceptable - desirable - to help your fellow Passions Members fulfill their reasons for being here. Just don't be surprised, confused, or offended to discover they may not be here for the same reason you are.
In most free countries, including the United States, there are laws that preclude a government from passing statutes abridging the freedom of speech. But that doesn't mean your boss at work can't abridge it, nor does it preclude the principal of your school from doing so. Your mother or spouse can still tell you to shut up (and at some point, probably will). Freedom of speech doesn't mean you have the right to print your views on the front page of your local newspaper regardless of the wishes of the publisher. In point of fact, the only right you have to Freedom of Speech exists solely between you and your government.
But legalities aside, there is still a strong social current in the free world providing for Freedom of Speech. And Passions, we think, is very much a supporter of that philosophy. We strongly believe you should have the freedom to speak your mind. To a large extent, that's precisely why Passions exists at all - to provide a forum for free expression (with the obvious hope it can sometimes be beautiful expression, as well).
But Freedom of Speech doesn't exist in a vacuum. With your Freedom of Speech also comes everyone else's Freedom to ignore you. And "ignoring you" can take many different forms. Yes, you have the legal right to say whatever you wish to your boss. And he has the right to fire you, insuring he won't have to listen to your tirade again. You have the right to cuss and swear in church, and the Members of that church have the right to ostracize you and ask you to never return. Freedom of Speech means you can speak your mind - it doesn't mean people are forced to listen.
At Passions, we sometimes exercise our right to ignore you by deleting posts.
We have never deleted a post in the forum because someone disagreed with our policies. We have deleted posts that attacked or derided a Member. We have never deleted a post because someone found fault with our decisions. We have deleted posts that were vulgar or glorified violence and hate. We have never deleted a post because someone constructively disagreed with another Member. We have deleted posts that served no purpose beyond the venting of hostility. Deleting posts, you see, is our way of not listening. And we suspect it's a lot less painful than losing your job.
How often does this happen? Not very. We think it's a tribute to our Members and to the atmosphere they've created within our forums. The number wouldn't even be as high as it is except that we invariably warn people and wait for a second unacceptable post before banning them from the forums. And, yes, that happens, too. 'Cause we really don't have to listen.
I've spent a lot of time talking about the strength we find in our diversity, so in closing I'd like to talk a little bit about our similarities.
As writers, we all care about our craft, about expressing ourselves, about the human dependency on language. Words flow through our veins, providing warmth for our souls and life for our dreams. As writers, we care about knowledge, understanding, and insight. We care about beauty. But above all and more than most, writers care about people. It's why we do what we do. It's why we're here, together, at Passions. Our nationalities may vary, our skin color differ, our backgrounds diverge, and our thoughts and beliefs and viewpoints be as night to day - but what we hold in our hearts, as writers, is really not so very different.
It is our differences that make us strong. But it is our similarities that have helped make Passions a family.
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