First, we'll post the general gist of what came up in the mods' discussion, which should give you a general idea of what's expected. A more in-depth version is provided under the cut. We encourage reading it to gain a thorough understanding.
We intend to place restrictions on the following:
a). Posts that only relate to FMA by a character name.
c). Posts that focus on real life events not directly related to FMA.
Therefore, before you post, please consider the following questions:
a). If I changed the name of a character, and made the same post, would it be at all recognizable as FMA?
b). Would someone new to the fandom, who wasn't around for past famous jokes and discussions, still understand what I am talking about?
c). Will this be meaningful, and recognisable as FMA, to people in other places or countries, who aren't undergoing the same real-life experiences as I am?
There have been, for a long time, many complaints regarding off-topic posts. Considering how busy this community is, it rather hurts the community as a whole. The team of mods have been attempting to address the issue, yet unfortunately we have had some issues on deciding what is and isn't off-topic. As such, enforcement has been sporadic.
In other words, we apologise for not dealing with many off-topic posts that we should have.
However, a few of us put our heads together and constructed the following guidelines. Please feel free to discuss your thoughts in comments. We only want what is best for the community as a whole, and we are aware that one person's 'spam' is another's 'good time'.
The Community's Ideals:
1) To be an open forum for the discussion of the anime, manga, and related franchises of Fullmetal Alchemist. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist, its characters, its plot, and its fandom are to be the primary topics of discussion.
2) This community is not meant to be a forum for the discussion of current events, even those that affect individual community members.
3) It is also not meant as a forum for the promotion of communities, events, or topics not directly related to the show.
However, these are very broadly defined, and allow a lot of individual interpretation as to what is or isn't on-topic. The guidelines we are attempting to introduce are as follows. Remember, they are open to discussion at the present time!
What's Being Restricted:
A) Characters. Fanwork, discussion, and speculation devoted to the characters is allowed and encouraged. However, a character is more than his or her name. We ask that you please refrain from posts centering on anything unrelated to FMA, even if they happen to share a character name. For example, a photograph of a street sign saying 'Fletcher Street', or a truck with 'Havoc' written on it.
If you want to share your ideas or fanworks related to in-jokes, we recommend that you use LJ's search engine to find some of the several communities dedicated to that kind of material.
C) World events. We're all affected by events in our lives. However, this community is FMA. Real life isn't, really.
It would therefore be appreciated if details of current events, such as personal issues, weather, political or social events (as just examples) would be kept out of posts. Not only do they not really relate to FMA unless forced to, they also have controversy issues.
If You're Not Sure:
What all this comes down to, of course, is simply "be on topic!" Be sure that you're talking about FMA before you post. If you're unsure about how something will be received, ask yourself these questions:
1) If I changed the name of a character, and made the same post, would it be at all recognizable as FMA?
2) Would someone new to the fandom, who wasn't around for past famous jokes and discussions, still understand what I am talking about?
3) Will this be meaningful, and recognisable as FMA, to people in other places or countries, who aren't undergoing the same real-life experiences as I am?
If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then you may wish to consider your post off-topic, and restrict it to the appropriate communities, or else to your own journal, where you are always on-topic!
What We'll Do:
If we see, or have brought to our attention, a post that is considered off-topic, a moderator will take the following action.
First, we will consult the question with any other mods that are easily available at the time. If we agree that the post is off-topic, we will post as a mod to the topic and let the poster know that her or his post is out of bounds for the community and needs to be removed.
After leaving the notice for at least two hours, to give the poster a chance to save anything she or he wishes, the post will be deleted by a moderator.
If a poster feels that her or his post was deleted unfairly and was not off-topic for the community, she or he will have the chance to appeal to a different moderator and the case re-judged.
Unlike for other moderator actions or rules, no action will be taken against posters for repeated infractions.
No poster will be temporarily or permanently suspended for posting off-topic, unless it qualifies as deliberate trolling. Nor will they be suspended for requesting that their case be rejudged.
Again, I'd like to repeat that discussion of these guidelines is welcome. Please also be aware that this is only regarding unique posts in the community, not comments or comment threads.
The mod team is still working on getting the FAQ updated and the rules settled, so please bear with us during this transitition period as we work with you to make this community a nicer place.
Thanks for your attention!