Rulebreaking Top 10

We ask all forum users to follow the Forum Rules. When they don't, our volunteer moderators step in. For details see the Moderation FAQs.

To ensure that moderation is carried out consistenly and fairly, the moderators work as a team, observing each other's work and discussing any situation that requires it. They follow moderation guidelines that apply equally to all members. The administrators supervise, oversee, and review the actions of the moderators.

Below are the Top 10 reasons, explanations, excuses, and complaints we most often hear after moderation actions, particularly when users claim that their post should not have been moderated or that they should not have received a reminder, warning message, time-out, or ban. If this is the case for you, save yourself and us time and trouble by checking the list below. One of the cases likely applies. If not, let us know and we'll review the situation.

Top 10 Reasons, Explanations, Excuses, and Complaints

1. "I didn't know about the rule."

This could be true. Please take the time to review the rules now since you are held responsible for following them. If you received a reminder or warning message about a rule, the moderators assume that you now know about it. You don't need to reply to reminders or warnings; just follow the rules in the future.

2. "Somebody insulted me so I insulted them back."

Each member is responsible for following the rules in their own posts, no matter what anyone else posts. If another user breaks the forum rules, click the "Report Post" icon next to their post and report it to the moderators so they can take care of it. You can ignore an insulting post made by another user or even reply to it if you stay within the rules yourself, but rule-breaking by other users does not give you license to break the rules as well.

3. "The moderators singled me out. You punished me and not the other guy."

The moderators don't know forum members personally and have no reason to single anyone out or play favorites, nor do they. They follow moderation guidelines that apply equally to all users. Moderation is handled as privately as possible so you aren't aware of the reminders and warnings issued to other users, only your own. If you and another user both broke the rules (e.g., traded insults) and these posts were reported to the moderators, then they were each handled according to the same guidelines. That does not necessarily mean that discipline matches; if one user's rule-breaking is more serious than the other user's or one user has broken rules before and the other user has not, one user may earn a time-out while the other user receives only a warning.

4. "The moderators are biased."

The moderators are well-practiced in staying neutral when moderating forum discussions. They are not permitted to moderate to favor or suppress any point of view. In fact, the moderators themselves have a diverse set of views. Their team approach, transparency, and supervision ensure that personal opinions do not affect moderation. You can express almost any opinion, whether it's a popular opinion or not, as long as you follow forum rules. If you insult sometime else while expressing an opinion, any warning or discipline you receive is a result of the insult, not the opinion.

5. "It was a minor problem. Nobody cares that I broke the rules."

Most moderation is the result of complaints by other users. Some forum rules are minor, such as the prohibition on on one-word posts and "+1" posts. It's the total number of such posts that make the forums less enjoyable for other users. Therefore, we remind users about these rules without making big issues out of them. If you broke a rule thinking nobody would mind, chances are it was a minor rule and it produced only a minor reaction, e.g, a reminder. If you broke a major rule in a way you thought nobody would mind, such as insulting somebody who has an unpopular opinion, it's still breaking the rules.

6. "You let other users break that rule."

No user is allowed to break the rules. Either the post you saw was not breaking the rules or we weren't told about the post. The moderators can't read the over 10,000 messages posted every day and don't always catch rule-breaking but they review every post that is reported by forum members. Post that break the rules are moderated and/or the user informed. If you see posts that break the rules, report them to the moderators. Otherwise, the moderators may never know about them.

7. "My time-out was excessive."

Messages and disciplinary actions are based on the rule involved, the nature of the violation, and any history of prior violations. In most cases users get only reminders or warnings for a first violation of forum rules. For repeated rules violations or violations of the most serious rules (e.g., personal insults), warnings or discipline move up the scale: reminders, warnings, time-outs, longer time-outs, bans. The goal is to get all users to follow the rules and if a time-out was for many days it's to show that you need to take the rules very seriously.

8. "You should let me link to my own website because it's a great site."

Your website or another site/product/company/service that you are promoting may be great, but the forum rules do not permit accounts to be created or used for promotion or self-promotion. We can't ask the moderators to evaluate other websites or expect them read your mind; some users have useful websites but other users join MacRumors to build web traffic, sell something, or shill. Therefore we keep the rule simple: the forums may not be used for promotion. You can link to your website in your user profile and your forum signature but avoid such links in your posts. If you are a new member without a track record of forum posts, you won't be given the benefit of the doubt if you are making posts with links to product, services, or websites.

9. "I was only joking."

The moderators appreciate humor as well as anyone but humor that breaks the rules isn't appropriate. If you insult another user and they are offended, or you post false information as a hoax, later saying "I was just kidding around" is a poor excuse. Users come from different backgrounds and cultures and speak many languages; sarcasm can easily be misjudged and is best avoided.

10. "The moderators made a mistake."

This could be true, since we're all human, but it's unusual. Users who claim this typically don't understand the forum rules. However, if you ask us about a moderation action, we'll review it. If we find that it was handled incorrectly, we'll fix it.

Other Reasons, Explanations, Excuses, and Complaints

We sometimes hear these as well:

"Other sites let users do that."

MacRumors is stricter than some forum sites but more lenient than others. The rules have been fine-tuned for years, to best suit our forum members. When you post at MacRumors you need to follow the MacRumors rules.

"I have the right to free speech."

The free speech guarantee in the U.S. Constituion prohibits most government interference with speech. It does not apply to a privately owned forum site. The policy that MacRumors has chosen is that you can express almost any opinion, whether it's a popular opinion or not, as long as you follow forum rules. The exceptions, such as hate speech, are covered by the Registration Agreement.

"I was recommending a product, not promoting it."

Perhaps that's the case, but that's also what shills say. If your purpose in registering for and using a MacRumors account appears to be for the promotion of a particular website, company, product, or service, you may not get the benefit of the doubt. This is a popular website that, unfortunately, attracts shills who make fake recommendations for their own products. The forum moderators can't read minds but they are well-practiced at spotting accounts fitting the pattern we see far too often: the same product recommendations posted in many threads, suspicious reviews, numerous product links, posts that read like ad copy, etc. The forums are intended for personal discussion and interaction. If you use them that way and avoid posting about only one site/company/product/service, you'll avoid problems and accusations of promotion or advertising.

"If I stop visiting the site you'll lose ad revenue."

This is true. Site income depends on ad views. But it would not be fair to consider that when enforcing the rules. That's why we use volunteer moderators who do not benefit from site revenue.

"I'm a paid member."

We very much appreciate the users who contribute to MacRumors and support the site, and they tend to be longer-term users who know the rules and follow them. But it would not be fair to treat them differently under the rules because the rules are designed to keep the forums as useful and enjoyable as possible for all members, and nobody should be able to pay for exceptions. The moderators do not benefit from site contributions and purposely ignore membership status when moderating.

"I don't think it's a good rule."

You are free to discuss the pros and cons of the rules in our Site and Forum Feedback forum. The rules have worked for us but they are still revised in reaction to changing conditions and feedback from users. Just remember that you are subject to the rules as they are currently defined, whether or not you agree with them.
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