CNET Forums and Comments Usage Policies

CNET is dedicated to developing and maintaining a friendly online community, where members of all ages and technical backgrounds feel relaxed and comfortable. Like any community, CNET has certain standards. When members join our forums, they agree to abide by these rules. To remain a part of the CNET's community, members must be considerate to others. Repeated violations of these standards may result in a member being barred from entry or participation in the community forums.

Member names and personal information
While CNET does not prohibit the use of nicknames for your username or "handle" in our forums, please refrain from using anything offensive. If you choose a username that, in our sole discretion, is obscene, indecent, abusive or which might otherwise subject us to public disparagement or scorn, we reserve the right, without prior notice to you, to automatically change your username, delete your posts from our sites, deny you access to our sites, or any combination of these options. And also never post a message under another person's name or pretending to be another person. When posting a message to a forum, your username is the only information that is displayed. However, you should always exercise judgment when revealing personal information about yourself when you post messages in public forums. For more information, please read CBS Interactive's Privacy Policy.

Topics of discussion
While these discussion forums encourage a wide range of opinions, please keep your posts focused on the topic of the forum in which you are submitting your message. Each forum has a different topic, so what is appropriate in one forum or thread may not be appropriate in another. All queries are answered in the forums and not answered by email, so that everyone can benefit from the replies and its content.

Inappropriate language
The use of inappropriate or offensive language is not permitted in these forums. Inappropriate or offensive language includes, but is not limited to, any language or content that is sexually oriented, sexually suggestive or abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, or that contains racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable material of any kind. We ask that you please be considerate to other members in the forums when posting your messages.

Harassment and flaming
CNET members are not permitted to harass or "flame" other members. Please do not post or transmit any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable material of any kind, including, but not limited to, any material which encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, violate the rights of others, or otherwise violate any applicable local, state, national or international law. Please note that this also includes the posting of taunts (trolling) in a forum solely for the purpose of deriding that forum's topic and/or members.

Copyrighted or trademarked materials
It is illegal to post any content that is copyrighted or trademarked, unless you hold the copyright or trademark. Any material protected by copyright may not be posted in the message boards without the expressed permission of the author or owner of the copyright on that material. This includes reproducing the full text of news stories, articles, etc. It is acceptable to provide a link to copyrighted material, to post brief excerpts, or to paraphrase other works, though we do strongly encourage you to cite the original source whenever possible.

Piracy or unlawful activities
This community forum is a place for ideas and constructive participation, and not a place to violate any laws or to discuss illegal activities. This type of activity includes, but is not limited to, advocating or asking for information regarding software piracy or unauthorized emulators of software or hardware, sharing or distributing viruses, licenses, registration information, software keys, "cracks," or other information designed to do harm to or allow unlawful access to any computer hardware, software, networks, or any other systems. Please refrain from posting this kind of message.

Posting advertisements, signature links, and solicitation of our members
This is a forum of ideas, so advertisements are not allowed in this venue. Members may answer other members' questions about their occupation or business, of course, but blatant advertising or solicitations of or for businesses is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, personal resumes, business or personal surveys, class action lawsuit recruitment, recruitment of beta-testers, personal for sale ads, and/or links to products or services with which the poster is affiliated, whether or not a fee is charged for the product or service. Spamming or flooding the forums, in which a user posts the same message repeatedly, is prohibited. Signature links or advertisements posted within a member's post are also prohibited, unless authorized by CNET.

Pyramid schemes or chain letters that involve money are not only prohibited by CNET standards, but they are also illegal. It is permissible for members to mention services or products they or companies they are affiliated with provide, as long as the information is germane to the topic, is not a blatant advertisement, and the members mention their affiliation with the company in the content of the message.

Posting images
Forum members are allowed to embed images in their messages by linking to an image that exists on another site. In addition to the copyright restrictions mentioned above, users should also refrain from embedding any images of a sexual or offensive nature. If you are uncertain is an image is acceptable or not, please just post a link to the image with a warning that it goes to a page that some may find offensive. Any links to clearly offensive or pornographic materials will be removed immediately at the moderator's discretion.

Posting links
Our policy on linking to other forums is pretty simple. Members may link to any other site that provides information that helps answer another member's question or is just of general interest to members of that particular forum. One of the most basic tenets of the Web is the open exchange of information, and the CNET forum managers wholeheartedly support this type of exchange.

The only type of linking (besides porn and spam, of course) that will not be allowed on our site is when members solicit people to leave our site and join a competing service. That's just common sense. We won't allow people to use our site to promote a competing service any more than a brick-and-mortar store would allow his competitor to paste flyers all over his walls. However, people are always welcome to link to any online resource, whether it's on our site or any other site, in order to share useful information with fellow members.

Other general rules of conduct
You shall not post on these forums any Content which (a) is libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, harassing or threatening, (b) contains viruses or other contaminating or destructive features, (c) violates the rights of others, such as Content which infringes any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret or violates any right of privacy or publicity, or (d) otherwise violates any applicable law. You may not post on these forums any links to any external Internet sites that are obscene or pornographic. You shall not use these forums for any commercial purpose, to distribute any advertising or solicitation of funds or goods and services or to solicit users to join competitive online services.

Banning of users
CNET reserves the right at its sole discretion to restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to any part of these forums. If you violate any of the rules stated in this document or any other terms of use documents, the offending messages will be removed. Any member who violates our policies and refuses to comply with the policies of these forums will be banned. For more information, please read CBS Interactive's Site Terms of Use.

Managing user content
Members of these forums are solely responsible for all Content that they post on our site. CNET shall have the right, but not the obligation, to correct any errors or omissions in any Content, as it may determine in its sole discretion. CNET and its affiliates further reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to delete or remove any user content from the site and to deny the access of any member to all part of this site, at any time for any reason without prior notice or liability. However, we obviously don't want to do that, so just follow the rules, okay?