What are the Forum Rules?
We've established the following Forum Rules so that everyone can get the most out of the VWT4 Forum.
Please note that these rules apply to all submissions to the forum such as images, video and audio clips, as well as content associated with you such as avatar images.
Usernames may be moderated if they...
Contain website or email addresses.
Contain contact information (i.e. phone numbers, postcodes etc).
Appear to impersonate someone else.
Contain swear words or are otherwise objectionable.
We reserve the right to moderate posts which...
Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others or are otherwise considered to be trolling, baiting, flaming or antagonising other users of the forum.
Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable.
Contain swear words or other language likely to offend (this includes use of alternative characters which leave the expletive or the intention of the expletive legible in context).
Break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes breach of copyright, defamation and contempt of court.
Advertise products or services for profit or gain without the appropriate authority.
Are seen to impersonate someone else.
Include contact details such as phone numbers, postal or email addresses where inappropriate.
Are written in anything other than English.
Contain links to other websites which would contravene the forums own rules.
Describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others.
Are considered to be "spam", that is posts containing the same, or similar, content posted multiple times or are simply advertising.
Are considered to be off-topic for the thread discussion.
The VWT4 Forum welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our community but please make sure your comments are in line with the above Forum Rules.
Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individuals may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and support action against those responsible.
What is moderation?
Posts on our forums are checked by a team of moderators to make the VWT4 Forum a pleasant and enjoyable place to be, and ensure that they meet the Forum Rules. It should be recognised that the team of moderators are volunteers and perform their function largely due to a sense of responsibility and pride in the forum such as it has become.
Moderators may close, edit, delete or challenge off-topic or other rule-breaking discussions, and make decisions on posts that have been referred to them by users reporting posts or that they see in the course of their time online.
Why must we have moderation on the VWT4 Forum?
At the VWT4 Forum, we allow as much freedom as possible to have relevant discussions on our threads. However, we also assume responsibility for making sure that these discussions stay polite and relevant and do not violate any laws or the Forum Rules. This is why we have a set of Forum Rules that we ask everyone to follow. Moderators only intervene on messages that break these Forum Rules.
Moderation is necessary so all users can participate in this online community without fear of intimidation by other users or being subjected to offensive content. Also, people may intentionally or unintentionally post content that is unlawful, putting themselves as well as the VWT4 Forum at risk of legal action. Moderation helps avoid expensive legal action that could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the individual case.
Please take care when copying text from someone else's post into your own. If the text you have copied into your post is seen to break the Forum Rules, your entire post may be removed.
We provide explanations through private messaging for most moderation decisions so that we can make the moderation process as transparent and as fair as possible. In some cases the reasons for removal may not be apparent to other users of the forum, but the person who posted the comment will usually receive a private message explanation when the decision is made to intervene on it. If you need to contact the forum administration about a moderators decision, please fill in the "contact us" form providing a link to your post or a copy of the moderation message you received.
How do you moderate the forums?
VWT4 Forum posts are checked or 'moderated' in three different ways, depending on the type of forum they are posted in;
Pre-moderation: Every single post is checked before it appears on the forum. (most commonly used in the classifieds section to ensure appropriate content)
Post-moderation: All posts appear on the forum immediately and are checked afterwards. (the majority of the forum is moderated in this way)
Reactive moderation: Posts are usually only checked if a complaint is made about them. This approach is only used on forums intended for adults and is therefore generally only applied in the WFC section, created for the posting of more adult (less family friendly) material.
If you see a post on any forum - that you think may break one of the Forum Rules, please use the 'Report Post' link to alert a moderator.
Is moderation done by humans or computers?
All moderation is done by a team of individually selected human moderators. A post is never edited or deleted without being read and reviewed by a human moderator. However, we have filters to prevent certain offensive words from being posted, or to detect posts using words which may indicate a breach of the Forum Rules. These posts are then sent to the moderation queue to be reviewed. These filters are only additional tools to help improve the efficiency of human moderation.
What criteria do moderators use to make decisions?
Moderators are trusted to work under their own initiative, judging the appropriate nature of posts against the Forum Rules and using their own moral compass to do so. They have been individually approached and selected to perform the role due to having exhibited a history of suitable behaviours since they began using the forum. Moderators tend to have sound judgement skills, however when in doubt, moderators refer comments to the forum administration who will offer guidance and advice. On some occasions the forum administration will intervene directly in the same way as a moderator, usually where a breach of the Forum Rules is so serious that further action may be necessary.
What happens to my post when it is sent to the moderation queue? Why do some posts take longer in the moderation queue than others?
On a pre-moderated forum such as when a user lists new items for sale in the Classifieds section, all posts join the moderation queue and will be passed or failed as soon as they are seen by a moderator. The time taken to review a post may depend on the length of the queue but in most cases, should be within the same day however at times, due to personal circumstances they may be less moderators available to look at the moderation queue and posts may take longer to appear.
Please exercise patience if this occurs to a post you have submitted and understand that the moderators are all volunteers performing the role in their own time. Their own lives will always come first.
Why has my comment been removed when other comments that break the House Rules in a similar way are allowed to remain?
One reason this may happen is because there will always be some grey area when making moderation decisions. When deciding whether to moderate a post, a moderator may give consideration to the level of potential risk, especially in cases of libel or defamation and may edit or delete a post to be on the safer side. Occasionally a breach may sometimes be debateable leading to differences in interpretation. One moderator may delete a particular post while another moderator might allow a similar post to remain. In fact, the usual course of events would be for the moderators to have a discussion "behind the scenes" either amongst themselves, with the forum administration or both to try and ensure the best possible outcome. While we take a lot of care to ensure fairness, occasional inconsistencies are inevitable in the moderation process - if you wish to complain about moderation please use the "contact us" form to contact the forum administration.
Why was my post removed without any explanation?
The VWT4 Forum usually explains moderation decisions via private message to make the process as fair and transparent as possible. If you have had a post removed and you haven't received a private message explaining why, there could be several explanations:
The comment is still awaiting a decision - if it is deleted by the moderator you will be informed.
Your private messaging inbox is full and unable to receive further messages until some are deleted.
Oversight - at times the moderators are very busy, not just with moderating the forum but also with their own free enjoyment of the forum. It does happen sometimes that a moderator may forget to send a message in relation to a moderation decision - this is never intentional or malicious and is inevitable. If you feel this may have happened please contact the forum administration or one of the moderators for that section of the forum.
Very, very rarely, technical issues may result in a private message failing to send or be delivered. If you think this has happened, let us know through our "contact us" form.
Why have all of a users' posts vanished?
If the user is a spammer or a user who has been banned for spamming before all of their comments are removed when their account is closed.
Are posts more likely to be removed if a complaint is made about them several times?
No, a post is moderated as soon as a moderator finds that it has broken a Forum Rule. However, there can be times when initial complaints don't have enough information to tell a moderator why or how it breaks the Forum Rules. In any case the moderators will investigate the individual circumstances of each reported post based on it's merits.
There will also always be some grey areas when making moderation decisions. In some cases, the breach may be debatable resulting in one moderator passing the post while another moderator may fail it or refer it to a supervisor. Moderators' decisions are regularly reviewed by the forum administration who will overturn them in the event of a significant error, however this occurrence will be rare since the presumption will be that the moderator was acting in good faith.
Reasons for moderation intervention
The forum administration welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, but please make sure your comments are in line with the Forum Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the forum or members of the public may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and support action against those responsible.
We reserve the right to intervene on posts which;
Advertise a product
Advertising or promoting products or websites is not allowed anywhere on vwt4forum.co.uk without the appropriate authority. This may include links to:
Personal websites or forums
Surveys and questionnaires
Commercial websites or auction sites that mainly exist to sell products
Details of charity or fundraising events
For example, if it's relevant to the debate, it's fine to link to a website that sells a part or service if its helping another user or recommending something they would like. However, posting up links to your own website or trying to drive buyers to your ebay auction or fundraising site may result in your post being removed if you do not have the appropriate authority (trader etc)
Risk breaching copyright law
Copyright law exists to stop someone from taking another person's work and passing it off as their own. It applies to the internet in the same way as it does to TV, books and the press. Breaking copyright law can result in being taken to court.
Please do not post large chunks of text copied from other sources as this may be an infringement of copyright. Short quotes to illustrate a point may be permissible, although this is at our discretion.
If you wish to refer to external sources of information, it's better to include a link to an appropriate external website.
Are not in English
Contributions which are not in English are not allowed. This is because we have to ensure comments can be checked and to ensure that all readers of the posts understand them.
In addition to this, postings with heavy text speak or unintelligible language such as codes are also not allowed as this may disrupt the natural flow of conversation.
Risk breaking UK law
Contributing material to vwt4forum.co.uk with the intention to commit a crime, break the law, or condone or encourage unlawful activity is prohibited.
In addition we may remove posts which we consider could endanger other users - for example, offering medical and health advice, or encouraging drug or alcohol abuse or self harm.
Contain potentially defamatory statements
Defamation laws exist to protect individuals or organisations from unwarranted, mistaken or untruthful attacks on their reputation. Posting a defamatory statement on a forum is the same as publishing it in a newspaper or magazine and can result in a court case if a formal complaint is made. For more information, see our guide to Defamation.
To avoid breaking defamation laws in your posts, please ensure that you verify the information in your posting, especially when presenting negative statements as facts. Also avoid jumping to conclusions, exaggerating or making subtle implications. Remember that adding the word 'allegedly' to a statement does not stop it being defamation.
Both you and the VWT4 Forum can be held liable if you make a defamatory statement on the VWT4 Forum website. So we will remove comments where we have insufficient evidence to defend publication of your statement. This means the Forum moderators may err on the side of caution when considering some comments.
Are abusive or disruptive
Abusive or disruptive behaviour is not allowed on the VWT4 Forum. This includes:
Using swear words (including abbreviations or alternative spellings) or other language likely to offend. (this includes use of alternative characters which leave the expletive or the intention of the expletive legible in context).
Harassing, threatening or causing distress or inconvenience to any person or people.
Flaming: This means posting something that's angry and mean-spirited.
Trolling: This means saying deliberately provocative things just to stir up trouble.
Infringing the rights of, restrict or inhibit anyone else's use and enjoyment of vwt4forum.co.uk
Attempting to impersonate somebody
Using multiple accounts to disrupt forums, annoy users, or to avoid pre-moderation.
Bumping or creating duplicate threads, posting in such a way as to cause technical errors, or any other attempts to disrupt the normal flow of conversation.
Users who seriously or repeatedly demonstrate such behaviour may have their accounts pre-moderated or permanently restricted and may not be allowed to return.
Posts that contain offensive content are not allowed on the VWT4 Forum. Racist, sexist, homophobic, disablist, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable material will be removed and if extreme will result in immediate and permanent restriction of your account.
Posts that are unrelated to the subject of the thread entry to which you are contributing are considered 'off-topic'.
Please do not contribute off-topic material in subject-specific threads. If your post has been removed for being off-topic, you may be able to resubmit your post in a more relevant topic area.
Contain personal details
Including contact or identification details in comments such as phone numbers, postal or email addresses is not advised. Please do not reveal any personal information about yourself or others as it might inadvertently put you or someone else at risk. If it is necessary to disclose personal information, please use the private messaging system.
Risk contempt of court
Once a suspect is arrested for an offence, or offences, legal restrictions apply. The 1981 Contempt of Court Act makes it a serious criminal offence, once someone's been arrested, to publish anything which could prejudice their trial. Being arrested doesn't in itself indicate guilt, so messages posted to the board which presume a suspect is guilty also risk defaming the suspect.
Please use caution when discussing reports of an arrest or court proceedings. Even linking to archived news stories, blog entries and comments or any other source may be unlawful as UK contempt law would usually prohibit any reference to the previous conviction(s) of someone facing new court proceedings.
In addition, courts sometimes impose restrictions that prohibit the publication of specific information such as names and addresses of defendants.
Spamming or flooding is not allowed on the VWT4 Forum. Spamming means submitting the same or very similar contribution many times across forums or threads. Flooding means re-submitting your contribution to the same forum or thread multiple times.
Contain unsuitable URLs
When postings links, please make sure they are appropriate and may be considered "family friendly". For example you should not link to;
Unlawful, unsuitable or sexually explicit content.
Websites that require payment to access
Foreign language content
Websites that initiate a file download or require additional software in order to view them. This includes .pdf and .mp3 files.
Websites that advertise or promote products
In some cases the moderator will edit out the link/s leaving the rest of the post visible on the forum.
Can I appeal against a moderation decision?
If you wish to appeal a moderating decision you may contact the forum administration using the "contact us" form. Moderators' decisions are regularly reviewed by the forum administration who will overturn them in the event of a significant error, however this occurrence will be rare since the presumption will be that the moderator was acting in good faith.
Can I appeal against the banning, restriction or pre-moderation of my account?
If you wish to appeal this decision you may contact the forum administration using the "contact us" form. However, please be aware that your account will have been banned, restricted or pre-moderated only by the forum administration after a consideration of the facts and in most cases you will have been contacted by them already.
What is defamation?
It is a law created to protect individuals or organisations from unwarranted, mistaken or untruthful attacks on their reputation. This means the publication of any statement which:
Exposes them to hatred, ridicule or contempt
Causes them to be shunned or avoided
Discredits them in their trade, business or profession
Generally lowers them in the eyes of right thinking members of society
Posting a defamatory statement on an internet message board or community area is the same as publishing it in a newspaper or magazine and can result in a court case if a formal complaint is made. Both the publisher (in this case the VWT4 Forum) and the author (you) risk being sued for making a defamatory statement. And there is no Legal Aid for defamation.
How to avoid it
Get your facts right. In English law YOU have to prove that what you write is true, rather than the person you've targeted having to prove that you're wrong. And proving things in court can be a very difficult and costly process.
Don't make these common mistakes...
Repeating others...If you repeat defamatory remarks about people or organisations made by other people, you will be just as liable to be sued as they are.
Jumping to conclusions...
If Mr X is seen going into Mercedes van dealership, this does not necessarily mean he's part-exchanging his VWT4 for a Vito, and will certainly not prove that he is.
Be very careful about the words you use. A firm may charge more for their parts or services than the expected market rate but describing it as "ripping people off" may well be considered defamation.
Representing all sides...
Presenting both sides of an argument is often good practice, but not a defence against defamation.
To say Mrs Y's van is not always washed/tidy/dent free, may sound harmless. But to people who know that Mrs Y owns a car Valeting company, the implication is that her company is a poor one.
If somebody was guilty of fraud once, calling him a fraudster in a way which might suggest he's still doing the same can be seen as defamation.
In spite of its use in a popular current affairs panel game, adding the word 'allegedly' to a statement you cannot prove does not stop it being defamation.
What isn't Defamation?
You can make negative statements about a large group of individuals, like the government or a local authority, but not about any specific person within those organisations. So it is possible to defame the Prime Minister or the President of the USA, but not their governments.
Dead people cannot be defamed.
Defending a statement
In the event that you are accused of defamation, there are three main defences...
This is the most common defence against defamation. It means that you have evidence that will stand up in a court of law that can prove what you are saying is true.
Honest opinion on a matter of public interest can also be used as a defence against defamation, provided the statement was made without 'malice' and based on established facts. (In legal terms, malice means making a comment based on facts you knew to be untrue, commenting on facts without caring whether they were true or not, or simply setting out to discredit someone.)
There are times when complete freedom of speech, without any risk of defamation, is in the public interest. For example, the Bill of Rights allows MPs to say what they like within the debating chambers of the House of Commons, so they can discuss issues without worrying about being sued. This is unlikely to ever be a defence relevant on the VWT4 Forum.
The Forum Policy will always be to err on the side of caution.
Defamation laws exist to protect individuals or organisations from unwarranted, mistaken or untruthful attacks on their reputation. Posting a defamatory statement on a forum is the same as publishing it in a newspaper or magazine and can result in a court case if a formal complaint is made. Moderation helps avoid expensive legal action that could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the individual case.
Both you and the VWT4 Forum can be held liable if you make a defamatory statement on the VWT4 Forum website. So we will remove comments where we have insufficient evidence to defend publication of your statement. This means the Forum moderators will be expected to err on the side of caution when considering topics that include Naming and Shaming.
The information provided on this site is intended as a guide only. It does not constitute legal advice.
Although the administrators and moderators of VW T4 Forum - VW T5 Forum will attempt to keep all objectionable
messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of
the author, and neither the owners of VW T4 Forum - VW T5 Forum, nor vBulletin Solutions, Inc. (developers of vBulletin)
will be held responsible for the content of any message.
By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar,
sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws.
The owners of VW T4 Forum - VW T5 Forum reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.