ZOID CITY Community -- Site Approval Rules

Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose Initial Screening Description and Disclosure
Advertising Your Site and the Honor System Back to thetop of the page. Back to the ZOID Documentation. Back to theMain ZOID Page.

Introduction and Purpose

If you are a member of ZOID you owe it to yourself and your community to voluntarily display this banner on your site. Other competition community approve their members' sites, and owners of sites with strong political messages, unpopular views, and other controversial subject matter, can not join or find themselves disqualified. At ZOID most personal sites CAN compete. Let the world know that ZOID stands behind free expression! Yes I can at ZOID!

Site approval rules and procedure at ZOID CITY Community lay the groundwork on which members whose sites span a wide range of style and content can coexist peacefully together. Intellectual freedom, the freedom to read and write about one's interests and passions, is the cornerstone of ZOID City Community. Intellectual freedom is the privately granted equivalent of the freedom of speech found in the US Constitution. Both youth and adults need intellectual freedom as do those not competing but simply visiting sites. Intellectual freedom means that members can create web pages without fear of censorship and link their sites to others that they feel are important. Honoring intellectual freedom also makes for a wide variety of interesting sites on exhibit. ZOID City Community's site approval rules, uphold intellectual/academic freedom while placing the power to avoid offensive sites in the reader/visitor's hands through description and disclosure and truth in advertising.

ZOID CITY Community's site approval rules are more complex than those at other web site competitions, but they reflect the complexity needed to be as clear as possible. As part of ZOID CITY Community's philosophy of open communication, all members and visitors also deserve a thorough explanation of the way we operate. ZOID CITY Community's rules therefore contain definitions to let members with controversial sites know that they are welcome and that the diversity that they bring our commuity is valuable.

For fighters and anyone who wishes to place a site in an exhibition space, approval is a three step process. Part one is initial screening. Part two is description and disclosure, and part three regulates advertising on the ZC2ZC3 mailing list. Please read this entire document even if you feel it does not apply to you. In the event of controversy and misunderstanding, the Board of Trustees will use this document as a guide to determine and explain our actions to you, the commumity, and the outside world. You are responsible for knowing and understanding what is in this document.

Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose Initial Screening Description and Disclosure
Advertising Your Site and the Honor System Back to thetop of the page. Back to the ZOID Documentation. Back to theMain ZOID Page.

Initial Screening

When you apply for membership in ZOID CITY Community, you submit your URL for screening. To be a part of ZOID CITY Community your site must be:

  • NOT Obscene
  • NOT Criminal
  • NOT Commercial

Of course there is more.......Words mean very little without their definitions. Let's begin with obscenity:

ZOID CITY Community uses the defnition of obscenity available in Chapter 201.235 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. This closely parallels the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miller vs. CA.

A web site is obscene if:

(a)An average person aplying contemporary community standards would find, [that the site] taken as a whole, appeals to prurient [sexually arousing] interest; [AND](b) Taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value [including humor]; and

(c) Does one of the following:

1) Depicts or describes in a patently offensive way ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated.
2) Depicts or describes in a patently offensive way masturbation, excretory functions, sadism or mascochism.
3) Lewdly exhibits genitals

According to this statute, obscenity is NOT:

  • Literate erotica such as you might find in Yellow Silk magazine, the Angwels Common World, and Gav and Peloso's Interactive Story. Bawdy stories such as appear in the Decameron, Shakespeare or the Canterbury Tales are not obscene either.
  • Dirty jokes.
  • Medical information about safe sex, reproductive health, and contraception.
  • Artistic depictions of the human body, including photography.

Please keep in mind that in most reasonably sized cities and towns in the United States, much material that is sexually explicit, rich in foul language, and that otherwise quite controversial is available legally to those under eighteen, often through public libraries and book stores, museums, or the mail. Much of this material is beneficial either as art, literature, political works, or health information, and this material is NOT obscene. In almost all jurisdictions in the U.S, however, obscenity is off-limits to those under the age of eighteen and often illegal for adults as well. Since many of our members are under eighteen, obscenity has no place in ZOID CITY Community.

Now on to crime: A criminal web site is one that promotes offenses against persons or property. Hacking and warez are both property crimes. So too are pyramid schemes. Promotion of taking up arms against those of different ideology or ethnicity is advocating murder or assault. Pedophilia is statutory rape or sodomy. Quite simply put, murder, assault, rape, theft, including white collar theft, have no place in ZOID CITY Community.

Crimes against persons and property do NOT include:

  • Civil disobedience
  • Victimless crimes such as gambling, imbibing mood altering substances, ownership of fire arms, or consensual sex between adults. One can argue whether these acts are moral, and some clearly have a cost to society. These acts, however, do not involve coercion (force) of unwilling others, and one can argue that these "crimes" are illegal due mainly to the whims of a well-meaning but puritanical government. Victimless crimes usually do not directly harm anyone other than the person(s) doing them.
  • Statements about the superiority or inferiority of racial, ethnic, and religious groups. This is political speech, even if it is offensive.
  • Explanations of how to commit a crime that are merely for educational or literary purposes.

And last but not least, let's examine commercial use: A commercial site is one used to sell a good or a service. If your site contains an order blank, an intelligent shopping cart, or an auction site; if you mention the prices of goods and services you sell on your site; if you ask for referrals for get-paid-to-surf services, or if the main purpose of your site is to advertise a profit-making business, your site is commmercial and has no place at ZOID CITY Community.

Also if your site asks for money for charity and has an address to which visitors can send contributions, you must send ZOIDRubashov state registrations or other proof that your cause is legitimate, and not a way to line your pockets. We unfortunately live in a world where fraud runs rampant. I do not want it happening at ZOID CITY.

Commerical Sites do not include:

  • Sites with links to commercial sites.
  • Sites with Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com or CDNow click through ads.
  • Sites with Link Exchange and similar banners.
  • Sites created to promote nonprofit or not for profit organizations that do not ask for contributions.

If you have a personal and a business site, enter the personal site only. ZOID City is a noncommercial, nonprofit endeavor, and not free advertising for your business. ZOIDRubashov pays out of her own pocket to provide advertising free space, and we intend to keep ZOID CITY Community and Community Competition ad-free.

If your site is in violation of any of these three rules, ZOIDRubashov, a member of the Board of Trustees, a screener, will send you an email explaining the violation giving you the option to change your site.

Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose Initial Screening Description and Disclosure
Advertising Your Site and the Honor System Back to thetop of the page. Back to the ZOID Documentation. Back to theMain ZOID Page.

Description and Disclosure

The second and third parts of the approval process are for members who wish to place their site in an exhibition space and, of course, for fighters. The best protection that anyone has from offense on the net is the ability to read. Disclosure and description places this control in the reader's hands. It provides potential visitors with a brief description of your site and disclaimers about material there that they might find distatsteful. ZOIDRubashov has been writing the descriptions, but you are encouraged to write your own description and disclosure Descripiction and disclosure is a social contract that makes for true safety in the long run.

Let me stress that description and disclosure is NOT self-censorship. First, ZOIDRubashov or you writes the description so you can control the advertisement for your site. Unlike a rating system, your description is custom tailored to your site. Second, in a diverse community, description and disclosure protects everyone, not just conservative and frightened parents. If bornagain Christian sites irritate you and inspirational literature repels you, reading the descriptions lets you know what sites you want to avoid.

First: either let ZOIDRubashov create a two to seven sentance description of your site, or you can create one yourself and email it to her. Here is an example of one below.

Paul Manzotti

The life of a politically active student at SouthHampton University in Great Britain. Includes a brief bio and links to sites about punk and rock singers, a football (soccer) team, and student activism.

orchid corn

Next, eiher let ZOIDRubashov list items on your site that may offend more conservative or sensitive souls, or you can disclose these items yourself. THIS IS NECESSARY due to the diversity of sites and opinions about what is acceptible even among good thinking people. You must warn visitors of controversial topics, so that those who might be offended can avoid your site. Those sites with warnings on them will display their warnings usually in bright red or pink letters. About half of all sites that compete at ZOID CITY have red lettering in their descriptions and disclosures. This means disclosure is not a real disadvantage.

Once again, this is NOT self-censorship because you are free to compete with other sites on an equal footing. You are also protecting yourself from those who might make trouble after viewing your site. No one should have to visit or accidentally bump into a site that offends them, and you should not have to deal with an offended visitor. Disclosure may also act as advertisement because they inform interested viewers of enticing features.

Your disclosure is also your defense in case there are complaints about your site content. (see below)

Here is the disclosure list. As you can see, it is quite extensive, but there are many things that offend many different people. You or ZOIDRubashov will need to inform others if your site includes any of the following:
  • Sexually explicit prose or poetry. It is entirely possible for a site to have explicit material and NOT be obscene. Such material includes literate erotica, bawdy stories, dirty jokes etc.... It also includes certain medical information.
  • Nudity. This means partial, artistic, and full nudity, as well as cartoons that show buttocks or breasts. Again, it is possible for a site to have nudity and NOT be obscene.
  • Profanity. This means dirty words, gutter language, cussing etc.... It means more than the seven words you can't say on the radio. Chances are very good that your site has profanity if you have a web board, interactive story, page of links, or access to any sort of chat. Nobody supervises any of these services twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, so dirty words are bound to sneak in. It is also all too easy for human ingenuity to outwit electronic chat room moderators. Policing profanity is just plain too much trouble for many smalltime web masters. True, the amount of profanity is often minimal, but it is there. Therefore please warn others. Also if you have profanity in any of your own writings or writings you quote from others, be they poetry or prose, please warn others.
  • Strong political views. You are entitled to speak your mind on controversial political issues. Just let others know that you are doing it. If you site is about abortion, capital punishment, impeachment, or conspiracy theories, to name just a few topics, let your visitors know ...in advvance. If you feel that you are a realist but others call you a racist, warn potential visitors. By the way, I believe most issues surrounding homosexuality are political.
  • Graphic violence. If it is on your site, let others know. Shocking the squeamish is not good for you or ZOID City or you.
  • Unusual religious ideas. Occultism, Satanism, Voudun, Santeria, Spiritualism, New Age, Wicca, Atheism, Paganism etc.... If your site deals with these topics (and I run a spiritualist site myself, that competes with red letters.) warn others. Bornagain Christians, skeptics, and rationalists have a right to avoid sites that might offend them, and if you are worried that Christians and others of more traditional faith get away scott free, read the next item in this list.
  • Religious proselytizing. You may call this witnessing, preaching, ministry, promoting yiddishkeit etc... If you are called to do it, that is your business, but if you are trying to attract others to your faith through the writings on your site, you owe them a warning. Some people, especially secular Jews, find proselytizing offensive, and many others dislike it on principle.
  • Chat rooms - any chat room. Read the paragraph on profanity.
  • Web discussion boards Ditto for the same reason as chat rooms.
  • Passworded areas. Some people get suspeicious when they see these. I think anyone who hacks their way into a locked area, deserves what they get. Nonetheless, let fearful folks avoid your site.
  • Recreational drugs, including those currently legal in the United States, and other victimless crime. If you have a site advocating the legalization of marijuana, even for medical use, please warn. If your site describes your trips on LSD, do the same thing. If you have a mixology page or want to write about your cigar collection, please warn others. I would consider smokers' rights political, but it probably falls under this category too.
  • Firearms and hunting. Many people, especially those from cities, find talk about guns frightening. Be community friendly. Let them know that your site is gun friendly.
  • Anything else that might offend a sensitive or conservative community member. Be inclusive with your warnings.

Here is how the warnings would look for the sample site above.

Warning: This site contains information about leftwing political activism, and punk music, as well as a small amount of foul language.

If you choose to write your own description and disclosure, have someone you respect look over your site and make sure that your description is accurate and your disclosure complete. The someone you select to referee your site, may be a trustee, fellow ZOID member, a parent, teacher, or good friend. If that person is unfamiliar with the site approval rules, have her read them first.

If ZOIDRubashov writes your description and disclosure, look it over and make sure it is accurate and that she hasn't missed anything either. You have the right to edit or ammend anything she writes.

It is to your advantage to have your disclosure and description as correct, complete, and up-to-date as possible. While trustees do not inspect sites on a regular basis, we will inspect them thoroughly if there is a complaint. In the event of a complaint, a good description and disclosure is your defense. You also have no reason to lie about your site's contents since sites with controversial material are allowed to compete. Deception violates the basic trust that undergirds safety at ZOID CITY Community, and we will deal with it extremely severely.

If you make any changes on your site and they effect your description and disclosure, please rewrite them or let ZOIDRubashov know .

Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose Initial Screening Description and Disclosure
Advertising Your Site and the Honor System Back to thetop of the page. Back to the ZOID Documentation. Back to theMain ZOID Page.

Advertising Your Site and the Honor System

Of course you might be asking, who will actually read these warnings and descriptions. The answer is that one of your jobs as a ZOID CITY Community member is to encourage all potential visitors, whom you do not know, to see your description and warnings before they reach your site. Here is how you do it:

There is NO official Vote Exchange or Sign My Guestbook board at ZOID CITY Community Competition. You may advertise your site via a sig-file in your correspondance to the ZC2ZC3 List to which all members belong. A sig-file is two to eight lines at the bottom of your email. The "sig" in sig-file stands for signature. This sig-file, should not lead directly to your site but instead to the http://www.zc2zc3.addr.com/zexib.html or it can include your site's URL along with a description of anything potentially offensive.

Please use this technique when writing to the ZC2ZC3 mailing list and to large organizations such as LOTH, NetSisters, Heartless Bitches, and other mass groups. If you are on a vote exchange mailing list, you can list your URL directly in the body of the message but please include any disclosure information. Remember, ZOID's approval rules are different from those at many other competitions. Remember your description and disclosure are your defense against complaints.

You are of course free to submit your site to search engines and banner exchanges while in competition and these require no forewarnings. Your own site may also contain a link to the voting area. This applies to all members, those both in and out of competition.

Table of Contents
Introduction and Purpose Initial Screening Description and Disclosure
Advertising Your Site and the Honor System Back to thetop of the page. Back to the ZOID Documentation. Back to theMain ZOID Page.