Terms and rules

Forum Rules

The Rules of Home Theater Forum are intended to ensure a friendly and professional atmosphere for all members. Please take a few minutes to read through them. Most are straightforward, and none of them should impose any burden on people who are here to relax and enjoy discussing their favorite hobbies. They are important, though, and we do enforce them. Violations may result in any or all of the following: public or private warning, removal of the offending post, thread closure and/or temporary or permanent suspension.

1. Real first name. We ask all members to register with at least their real first name. This makes communication among members more personal. Every member also has a unique "username", which may or may not be the same as your real name. The username can be anything as long as it is not profane or obscene, an email address, a celebrity name other than your own or otherwise objectionable. Your username will appear on every post, and your provided real first name will be listed immediately below. Obviously we have to trust people when they provide us their real first names at sign-up time. It's an honor system, and we do not go out of our way to check on people. But if circumstances indicate that a member has given a false first name (e.g., if the member publicly discloses that his listed first name is false), then we are obliged to take appropriate action. Historical note: You may notice that many members with join dates of 2006 or earlier have only a username. This is because, for the first nine years of HTF's existence, members had only a username, which was required to be their real name. However, as the forum grew, it became increasingly difficult for new members to create a username that was both real and not already taken. The current system was designed to address this problem. During the transition to the current system, existing members were offered the opportunity to change their username, and that is why you will see some members with join dates of 2006 or earlier who have a separate username and real name. But regardless of whether they changed their username, all existing users were "grandfathered" in at the time of transition to the current system. Other than the transition to the current system, which has been completed, changes to established names are not permitted except in extraordinary circumstances, at the sole discretion of the owners of HTF.

2. Valid email. All members must supply a valid email address when they register. Your email address will not be visible to other members, and you can opt out of our newsletter and forum notifications. We will not share it with anyone, but it is essential that we have a reliable method of contacting you. It is each member's responsibility to keep the email address associated with his or her HTF account valid and up to date. If we try to contact a member by email and the email is returned as undeliverable, the account will be suspended until the member contacts us.

3. Topic areas and sections. You will notice that HTF is divided into specific topic areas (such as "Hardware “) and sections (such as "AV Receivers "). Please post your topic in the appropriate area and section. If you start an off-topic thread, don't be surprised when one of the moderators moves it to the appropriate area and section.

4. No politics or religion. We do not permit the discussion of politics or religion at HTF. However, there is a narrow exception to this rule. If the subject matter of a movie or television show includes politics and/or religion, then they may be discussed insofar as they pertain to that specific movie or television show. We stress, however, that such discussions are carefully monitored and will be moderated if it appears that any participant is using this narrow exception to introduce a broader political or religious discussion than is warranted by the movie or television show under discussion. Also, anyone who has not seen a particular movie or television show is disqualified from discussing its political and/or religious content under this rule. Note: Posts by HTF staff including reviewers may on occasion be given wider discretion by site management.

5. Respect for copyrights. Home Theater Forum has a strict policy of respecting the rights of copyright holders. We do not allow promotion of bootleg material or discussion on how to obtain it, and we immediately delete all links to sites that deal in bootleg material. If you have any doubt whether a source is legitimate, please check with a moderator before posting any links. We also do not allow discussion of (a) how to make unauthorized copies of video or audio materials, (b) how to defeat any form of copy protection (including, for example, how to make "personal" copies of commercially produced DVDs), and/or © how to obtain equipment that can only be used for such purposes. In one form or another, this rule goes back to the very origins of HTF. We are serious about it. Please do not try to debate copyright law with us. We're not interested in discussing what the law should be. Public discussion about copyright law is allowed as long as it doesn't violate any portion of this or any other site rule. We believe it is in the best interest of HTF to enforce this policy strictly, and members test it at their peril.

6. No dealers or promotions. If you want to advertise something on HTF, we would be delighted to talk to you about it. Please email advertising 'at' hometheaterforum.com for our rate card or details on becoming a Sponsor. But if you have joined HTF under the impression that it's an opportunity to promote something at no charge -- whether it's a product, a website or your own personal blog -- please think again. Unless you have explicit prior permission from the owners of HTF, you may not post links or any other type of promotion anywhere on this forum. Promotion takes many forms, but it's like pornography; we all know it when we see it. The following is a list of the kinds of things we don't permit; it isn't meant to be exhaustive, and just because something isn't on the list doesn't mean we'll allow it:

  1. a. Dealer advertisements
  2. b. Referrals to e-commerce sites
  3. c. Links promoting a personal for-profit website
  4. d. Links by staff affiliated with other DVD review sites to their reviews elsewhere (again, this will be permitted with prior permission from HTF's owners)
  5. e. Links to eBay or any other auction site
  6. f. Referrals to ebates or any similar site
  7. g. Links to personal items for sale (except in the designated areas). We don't want to prevent all links to other sites, but please use good judgment. References to information relevant to an ongoing discussion are helpful and appreciated. Using HTF to promote another site is not.

7. No breaking "street date". Please do not post information about retail or other sources that have DVDs or other video releases available for sale before the official "street date".

8. No group buys. We do not allow "group purchases" without prior permission of the forum's owners.

9. For sale areas. We have specific areas reserved for the sale or trade of home-theater-related merchandise only. Those areas have their own posting guidelines and rules. They are the only areas where items may be offered for sale or trade. Please do not include references or links in your signature to items being offered for sale or trade.

10. No personal attacks. We expect all members to treat each other with consideration and respect. While we encourage lively debate, we do not allow personal attacks. This includes direct attacks, such as name-calling, as well as indirect attacks, such as repeated baiting of a member in a provocative or belittling manner. If you believe that you have been subjected to a personal attack, or have witnessed one on another member, please see the section on Dealing with Problems for instructions on how to proceed.

11. A site for adults. We assume that everyone here is an adult, and we expect everyone to act like it. This also means that we do not screen or remove content to prevent minors from being exposed to mature subject matter; that decision belongs to their parents or guardians. Nevertheless, we want HTF to remain professional in both tone and appearance. So please do not use profanity to excess, and please do not use any profanity (whether mild or harsh) in the TOPIC/SUBJECT header of a post or thread, because those may appear on the Main Forum Page or on other featured pages. Also, we strongly discourage any use of profanity directed against either another member or someone who may be reading this site (such as a studio executive or movie director). Remember: This is the internet. You never know who may be "listening".

12. No quoting entire articles. We do not allow the copying and pasting of entire articles from other sites or publications, even if proper credit is given, unless you have express permission from the copyright holder. Please quote only relevant excerpts, and provide a link back to the original in its entirety.

13. Pictures within limits. We allow pictures to be included in messages as well as used as user avatars, but please be careful when referring to pictures on other sites. Many of these images are copyrighted and cannot be used elsewhere without express permission from the rights holder. Any images that are considered distasteful or inappropriate for the HTF audience may be removed. Also, excessive use of pictures may be taxing on members whose internet connection isn't as fast as yours.

14. No "bumping". We do not allow "bump" or "to the top" posts, even in the "For Sale" areas. Please do not post unless you have something new to say. This rule also applies to successive posts by the same poster. If you want to add something, use the edit function to add it to your existing post.

Dealing with Problems
15. Reporting a problem. If you have a problem with another member's post, or if you believe a rule has been violated, please send a report to the moderators using the "!Report" button that appears under each post. This will automatically generate a private report identifying the member, the thread and the post. These reports are treated as confidential and are not available to anyone outside the moderating staff.

16. Don't get into fights. If you believe that you have been the victim of a personal attack, please follow the procedure outlined in Rule 15 "Reporting a problem," but do not respond in kind. Responding to a personal attack as if you've been "called out" only aggravates the situation, and it puts you as much in the wrong as your attacker. Let the moderators handle it. If you absolutely must say something to your attacker, do it privately in email.

17. Moderator instructions. HTF moderators (also known as "administrators") are responsible for running the forum on a day-to-day basis and enforcing these rules. Please comply with any instructions from a moderator, whether those instructions are general or specific. Failure to comply with a moderator's instructions will have serious consequences.

18. No public disagreements. Anyone arguing with a moderator regarding enforcement of forum rules and guidelines or disciplinary action will be immediately removed. This includes "indirect" argument, where a member vents about a moderator's action being "unjustified", "excessive", etc.

19. Contacting a moderator. If you have an issue with or complaint against a moderator, raise it privately in an email or private message with the moderator in question. Do not, under any circumstances, raise such issues in public postings. In addition, before contacting the forum's owners with a complaint about a moderator, remember that the owners have personally selected and place great trust in their moderators and are unlikely to be swayed by someone who complains about a moderator without even bothering to contact him or her directly. Please remain civil when dealing with moderators, whether in their official capacity or in their ordinary postings as members of HTF. Abusive or disrespectful conduct toward a moderator will not be tolerated, regardless of whether it occurs in public postings or in private communications.

20. We make the rules. Forum rules and guidelines are not up for debate. This is not a democracy, but rather a private forum. Anyone openly debating these rules will be removed. In addition, anyone publicly challenging or "calling out" the forum's ownership or administration on the policies or conduct of the forum will be removed.

21. Each member is responsible for own posts. The opinions expressed by posters at HTF are their own and cannot be imputed to HTF, its moderators or its owners. Every poster on this forum accepts full legal responsibility for the contents of each posting by him or her as well as for the fact that it was posted. You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use HTF to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violate of any law, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless HTF, its moderators and its owners with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your post(s) or message(s). HTF, its moderators and its owners shall bear no legal responsibility for the mere presence of a certain post or message on this forum, any failure to delete it and/or any opinion expressed therein.

22. Advertisers responsible for ads. Advertisers on HTF are solely responsible for the content and truth-in-advertising of their respective ads. In addition to occasional direct ad sales, we use a third-party advertising company to serve ads when you visit HTF. This technology uses information about your visits to this website and the sites upon which we advertise, to serve our ads to you. In the course of serving our advertisements to you, a unique third-party cookie may be placed or recognized on your browser. In addition, we may use Web beacons, provided by our third-party advertising company, to help manage our online advertising. These Web beacons enable our third-party ad serving company to recognize a browser's cookie when a browser visits this site and to learn which banner ads bring users to our website.

23. Personal information. You agree not to use any personal information regarding any member of HTF for any purpose other than personal communication with that member.

24. Reservation of rights. We reserve the right to delete any message or portion thereof, to suspend posting privileges, and/or to delete member accounts, with or without explanation and with or without prior warning. We also reserve the right to refuse to delete any member account, at our discretion.

25. Amendment of rules. These rules may be revised from time to time. Members are responsible for periodically reviewing these rules to ensure compliance. If you have any questions about any particular rule(s), please email any one of the moderators or the owners of HTF.


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