The Terms of Service for the Message Boards are as follows: (Note - the rules below may be updated at any time. It is the readers responsibility to keep informed of our rules before they post in our message boards).
By posting any messages or pictures in CruiseMates, you agree that CruiseMates has an unlimited license to republish anything you contribute. We may republish your posts for editorial or promotional purposes without your permission. We do promise not to make fun of you, unless you suffer a truly embarassing cruise incident and choose to share it with us in a hunorous way.
CruiseMates reserves the right to modify your posts in the following manner: to edit the posts by removing words which we deem to be in violation of our terms of service: obscene words or personal attacks. We also rserve the right to use your words for the purposes of advertising as in adding links (which are selected randomly by a computer program) to specific words.
Yes, we know you are thinking "what about censorship and free speech?" Free Speech only stops CONGRESS from passing a law forbidding the practice of free speech, we are not Congress. Obviously, not every letter to the editor written to the NY Times gets printed. We also reserve the right to selectively edit our message board posts. We will never change your editorial opinion, nor will we edit based on opinion as long as it is expressed in a reasonable manner, however we have had instances when people with an obvious agenda against an individual or company have chosen to bring their grievances to our boards for the purpose of exacting a revenge or to provoke a response. CruiseMates does not exist to fulfill the needs of any one individual, it exists for the good of all. Negative opinions are welcome, but blatant repeating of the same negative information purely to dominate conversations and re-direct it to one's own agenda will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to maintain the decorum in our boards by deleting messages for any reason.
While it is our policy to try to contact the authors of non-compliant posts to tell them why their post was deleted, failure to contact does not excuse anyone from these rules. It is your responsibility to follow our guidelines.
CruiseMates encourages active and open debate among our members. All we ask is that it's done in a lawful and civil manner. Accordingly, you agree to use CruiseMates for the terms in this agreement only. You may not use or allow others to use your computer to:
Post or transmit any content that is abusive, vulgar, obscene, hateful, fraudulent, threatening, harassing, defamatory or which discloses private or personal matters concerning any person, company or legal entity. This includes CruiseMates and its Staff.
Post or transmit any material that you don't have the right to transmit under law (such as copyright, or trade secrets) or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as nondisclosure agreements).
Post, transmit or link to sexually explicit material;
Impersonate any person, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
Post or transmit any advertising, promotional materials or other forms of solicitation including chain letters and pyramid schemes.
Intentionally violate the laws, rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the national, or other securities exchanges especially and including the rule against making false or misleading statements to manipulate the price of any security.
Intentionally violate any other applicable law or regulation while accessing and using our site;
Offer, sell or buy anything.
Post or transmit any file that contains viruses, java applets, ActiveX, corrupted files, "Trojan Horses" or any other contaminating or destructive features that may damage someone else's computer.
CruiseMates reserves the right to remove posts or restrict the posting privileges of individuals that exhibit a clear agenda designed to slander, insult, or otherwise undermine CruiseMates, its employees, our partners, or any other company or individual.
CruiseMates may at any time, without prior notice and at our sole discretion, remove any post, picture or terminate your membership for violating the above provisions. You agree to indemnify CruiseMates and hold us harmless from any actions, claims, proceedings or liabilities arising out of these terms and conditions. You're responsible for all statements made and acts that occur through the use of your user name. So please don't disclose your password to anybody. If it has been lost or stolen, let us know as soon as possible and change it immediately.
CruiseMates readers and contributors agree to disagree respectfully. If you disagree with an opinion set forth, challenge that opinion, but please refrain from ever attacking the person who asserted it. We will not tolerate personal attacks. The many people who read through our message boards do so primarily to locate information and opinion. We encourage opposing opinions generating a lively discussion, but when the differenece of opinion begins to resemble the Wide World of Wrestling we must take steps. Any CruiseMates member knows that people want information, entertaining reading, and friendly guidance. We aim to preserve it for them; and we believe you do, too.
Please format your posts to look like traditional Funk and Wagnall's English. That means employing capital and lowercase letters in a traditional manner. . . neither all caps, nor all lowercase. Using all capital letters is known as "shouting" on a board, and it makes the message an eyesore.
The Editors cannot, and will not take the time to answer email cruising questions. Thus, please submit all such questions to our message folders themselves. (You'll reach a much larger audience.) We've tried to set up CruiseMates so that there's a folder for just about everything. If you don't get a question answered on the boards, ask it again. . . someone will eventually get to it.
You're in Public
PLEASE BE AWARE that anything you post in any of the CruiseMates folders may be excerpted and indexed by search engines. CruiseMates has no control over Google or any other search engine. We will try to remove posts and any other links that may have been indexed by a search engine, but after we remove all trace of you in CruiseMates the search engine (Google, specifically, as the main one) says it updates its search ranking constantly - if they don't please contact them, not us. We did not ask them to index our pages, and we have no responsibility for what they do.
E-mail is private business, it is not proper protocol to re-post a private email in the message boards. These may be deleted for any reason. Even if you are the author of the email, it does not give you permission to post it.
RULE: It is a violation of our Rules -- and more importantly, United States law -- to copy into our message folders any full articles from copyrighted sources like The Wall Street Journal. Such postings may be a violation of copyright law. Contributors may summarize articles and post an occasional sentence or two (this is known as "fair use"), but not the entire piece. Violators of this rule may be subject to account termination without notice. Articles copied into our folders in their entirety will be removed. [PRNewswire and BusinessWire articles may be posted in their entirety since they are republications of press releases.]
REASON: We don't want anyone stealing our material, so we insist that you likewise respect other people's work.
No Advertising or Solicitation
RULE: It is against our Rules to advertise or solicit business any place in CruiseMates without our permission. This Rule is strictly enforced, and if violated, may result in the termination of your account or you might receive an advertising invoice to pay for our services. Solicitation includes, but is not limited to, requests to be e-mailed, the posting of phone numbers for your business, and the posting of one's own Web site address, if that site has a substantial commercial element to it.
No Touting, Hyping or Other Disruptions
RULE: The posting of notes which are unrelated to the folder title is a violation of our Rules. The same is true for the posting of messages that are solely designed to disrupt the conversation or annoy its participants. CruiseMates reserves the right, to be exercised in our sole discretion, to delete any such messages and to proceed with account termination without prior notice if we see it occur.
REASON: The message folders lose their usefulness if they are filled with off-topic promotional messages or messages that are posted just or the sake of mischief. Our readers don't like it, and we won't tolerate it, as it destroys the usefulness of the folder. A forum like ours is useful only to the extent that the people who use it do so in good faith.
RULE: It is a violation of our rules to "spam" a folder or folders, by posting the same note on multiple occasions in a single day. Repeat violators of this rule will have their account terminated.
REASON: The folders are for discussion and analysis. If a member frequently repeats the same message, it becomes difficult to have an intelligent discussion of anything.
It is a violation of our user agreement to collect the email addresses of our readers from our site for the purposes of solicitation. Anyone who violates this rule is subject to revocation of their registration status. In addition, CruiseMates will not be held liable for any consequences that result from the dispersal of unsolicitated email by unknown third parties to our readers.
CruiseMates Business Matters
Our message boards are for the purpose of discussing cruise vacations. Questions about CruiseMates as a business, or debates about our terms of service are not cruise-related questions. We consider our internal business matters to be private, and we choose not to open them up to discussion in our message boards. Not only is it not in our best interest, it is no one's business but our own. Plus, we know the vast majority of our readers are not interested. Our message boards are not run by democracy, we own the boards and since we pay to provide them to you for no charge at our time and expense, we choose what topics are not open to discussion.
Please treat the moderators with respect!
This is absolutely expected. Anyone harassing a moderator for any reason can have their messages removed and be banned at any time. The reason is that we are here to aid this community of cruisers, and we do the best we can to be objective and respectful of all of our readers and posters. But by the same token we are also here to discuss and express our own opinions. We are entitled to our opinions, including negative ones, and it is not proper to question our qualifications to work for CruiseMates just because you may disagree with our opinions.
Being blunt - there are cruise industry cheerleaders out there (travel agents, etc.) who never want anything negative said about a cruise line. Many of them live by this "code" and they expect us to do the same. We don't do that. We love cruising as much as anyone, but if we can't be critical we can't serve our main constituency; cruise consumers. Anyone who criticizes us or claims we are not qualified to work for CruiseMates just because we express a negative opinion is out of line and will be banned.
We don't ask our posters for their qualifications to do their jobs, and we expect the same courtesy from our readers. Discussions about CM staff qualifications are off-topic and not allowed. This board is about cruising and everyone has opinions. Opinions are all equally valuable - no one's opinion is any better than anyone else.
When someone asks a cruise question and we modertaors try to answer it seriously, to be confronted with personal questions or comments about our personal lives as a result is frustrating, distracting and frankly insulting. It hinders our ability to do our job objectively. Confrontational personal questions are attacks, plus they steal the focus away from cruising - which is the only topic in this forum.
We absolutely assure you that we do our message board moderator jobs with the blind eyes of justice. We do not look at the poster, we look at the message. Sometimes people get the idea we "do not like them." This is not true, plus it wouldn't matter. We are judges and umpires here, seeking to divine the truth in every case - not choosing favorites. We do not seek out confrontation, and we certainly don't enjoy it.
Therefore, we will not discuss CruiseMates business issues or answer terms of service questions in the message boards. If we get asked questions about CruiseMates the site, or personal questions, we may ask people to ask us by private message or email, but we will not engage in one-on-one discussions about our personal qualifications or private lives in the message boards.