Theistic Satanism: Home > Email groups > Rules

for the
Theistic Satanism email groups
founded by Diane Vera

  1. Topicality guidelines for individual email groups
  2. Why all these rules?
  3. Kinds of discussion that are welcome
  4. Your first post
  5. Netiquette
  6. Topics off-limits in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in Theistic-Satanists-and-others, but welcome in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics
  7. Where to discuss other Satanic groups, leaders, etc.
  8. How to respond to budding off-topic discussions
  9. How to respond to posts you find insulting
  10. Enforcement
  11. Lurkers and participation requirements for private and semi-private forums
  12. Additional suggestions
  13. Contacting the moderators

  1. Topicality guidelines for individual email groups

    This page contains rules for all the following email groups:

    Below, here on this page, are rules pertaining to ALL the above-listed email groups. In addition to the rules on this page, please see also the topicality guidelines for each specific group by clicking on the relevant link above, if you have not read them already. Some additional topicality guidelines can also be found in the sectons below on Kinds of discussion that are welcome, Your first post, Where to discuss other Satanic groups, leaders, etc,, and How to respond to budding off-topic discussions.

  2. Why all these rules?

    In our experience, the rules on this page are necessary in order to have a collection of Satanist forums which both (1) are well-publicized and open to the general public and yet also (2) have a high signal-to-noise ratio, containing lots of interesting, intelligent, high-quality discussion.

    Unless strictly moderated, a high-profile public Satanist forum tends to attract not only spam and endless flame wars, but also all manner of stupidity, both from immature Satanists and from hostile non-Satanists, e.g. preachy Christians, crowding out the more serious, intelligent kinds of discussion.

    There are also some large, moderated Satanist forums that tend to be dominated by topics (e.g. politics, debates with Christians, debates with staunch LaVeyans about the meaning of the word "Satanism") which likewise tend to crowd out serious discussion about theistic Satanism itself. To keep the main Theistic-Satanism forum focussed on Satan and theistic Satanism, we quarantine the more frequently-debated marginal topics to their own separate, smaller forums within our family of Theistic Satanism email groups./

    We also have a separate forum (Theistic-Satanism-ADS) for on-topic ads and announcements (as distinct from outright commercial spam). Our other public forums forbid ads and announcements, including requests for private contact, except from people who have also participated in discussion. Likewise any other posts that appear likely to be mass mailings. Otherwise, the main Theistic-Satanism forum would be overwhelmed with ads, announcements, etc.

    We also ask our members to adhere to standards of "netiquette" that are common in forums run by people who have been involved in online forums for many years. The aims of "netiquette" are to make posts (and digests) easier to read and to save disk space in subscribers' web mail accounts.

    But please don't let our high standards intimidate you. As long as you make an honest effort to follow our rules, we, in turn, make an effort to make our forums friendly to newcomers. For example, ours are not the kind of forums where new Satanists are ridiculed for mere ignorance. Newcomers to Satanism are welcome to ask questions in our forums.

    If you dislike the very idea of following rules of any kind, there are plenty of other Satanist forums out there that are both open-membership and completely unmoderated, and which may hence be more to your liking. But most of them tend not to contain very much interesting discussion -- unless you enjoy flame wars, incoherent rants, preach-o-grams, and spam.

    We're not interested in running just another of the many, many Satanist forums out there. We aim to host the highest-quality Satanist discussions on the net.

  3. Kinds of discussion that are welcome

    We attempt to welcome theistic Satanists of all kinds. Well, almost all kinds. Not welcome are those who insist that Satanists must be willing to participate in criminal activity. Also unwelcome - especially in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in Theistic-Satanists-and-others - are those who, on whatever grounds, insist that their particular form of Satanism is the only true Satanism and the rest of us are just posers, or whatever. (LaVeyans who wish to debate about the meaning of the word "Satanism" may do so in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics as long as they are reasonably civil about it.)

    Debate is welcome in these forums, but let's keep it civil. Try to make intelligent, reasoned arguments, and avoid gratuitous personal (or ethnic, etc.) insults or personal harassment (e.g. talking about another forum member's personal life without that person's permission). Gratuitously inflammatory or extremely stupid-sounding posts are not welcome.

    But there's a difference between stupidity and ignorance. We also aim to avoid the insulting treatment of newbies that is common in too many Satanist forums. Do not ridicule a sincere question.

    Also unwelcome are pornographic posts (because these forums have no minimum age) and posts advocating murder, terrorism, or other criminal activities, or which are otherwise illegal in themselves (e.g. in violation of copyright laws). We also do not allow advertisements for groups known to advocate violent criminal activity in the name of Satanism. Discussions about specific groups or ideologies of this kind should be confined to Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics if you are eligible to post there. (Otherwise they may be discussed in Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3.)

    Advertisments are in general unwelcome in all our forums except Theistic-Satanism-ADS, although some on-topic advertisements/announcements will be allowed through in other public forums on a case-by-case basis. An on-topic advertisement is more likely to be allowed through if (1) the poster has already participated regularly in discussions and (2) the advertisment is buried discreetly inside a larger on-topic post.

    Posts containing ads or announcements will be reviewed carefully by the moderators and may be delayed longer than other posts.

    Please note that our forums (except Theistic-Satanism-ADS) are, primarily, discussion forums. Posts consisting of announcements, articles, or poetry (especially the same announcements, articles, or poetry that have also been posted to lots of other Satanist forums) are welcome only from people who also participate in discussion. Please do not join these forums just to post an announcement or other mass mailing.

    Also, in forums other than Theistic-Satanism-ADS, please do NOT post a message whose sole or main point is a request for people to contact you privately (via email or IM) unless you're already a regular participant in forum discussions. And, even then, such requests -- if any -- should be sprinkled only very lightly amongst your posts. If your main point in replying to a message is to ask the sender to contact you privately, please send that reply via private email rather than to the group.

    Our discussion forums allow and encourage debate about our philosophical differences. However, let us at least accept the fact that Satanism is not just one single religion. Feel free to debate about the truth of particular beliefs themselves, but that's a different matter from arguing over who is or isn't a "true Satanist."

    Also, different theistic Satanists have had different kinds of experiences with Satan. So, to avoid interminable debates that go nowhere, let us all agree, at least, to accept the idea that Satan is a multi-faceted entity -- an idea consistent with even the traditional Christian view of Satan (e.g. "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" - 2 Corinthians 11:14).

    In particular, most of us regard Satan as neither purely malevolent nor purely benevolent. What Christianity traditionally considers to be "Evil" isn't necessarily considered "evil" by a non-Christian. (See Satan and "Evil" in Christianity (and Satanism).) On the other hand, most of us don't see Satan as a 100% goody-two-shoes deity either, even from a heretical point of view. So, if you feel that most of us are "blaspheming Satan" or somehow depriving Satan of His "glory" by not considering Him to be either purely benevolent or purely malevolent, then these forums are probably not the place for you. If you are a theistic Satanist who wishes to debate about Satan being "Evil," please do so in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics or in T-S-a-o-3 rather than in the main Theistic-Satanism forum or in Theistic-Satanists-and-others or Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2.

    Likewise, debates among Satanists about the definition of "Satanism" should be confined to Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics and T-S-a-o-3 In the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o and T-S-a-o-2, feel free to debate about theology, demonology, epistemology, history, mythology, and magick, but not about the basic definition of "Satanism" itself. For purposes of those two forums, we simply accept the following definitions: A "Satanist" is anyone whose worldview features a favorable interpretation of Satan, and a theistic Satanist is a one who believes in and reveres Satan as a deity.

    (The above two paragraphs apply to debates among Satanists. They do not fully apply to Christians or other Abrahamics, who are not allowed to post in the main Theistic-Satanism forum or in T-S-a-o or T-S-a-o-3 but are allowed to post only in Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2 and Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 -- the only two of our forums in which people of mainstream religions are allowed to post. Naturally, Christians and people of other mainstream religions would regard Satan as purely "evil," if they believe in Satan at all, and they are allowed to voice this opinion in T-S-a-o-2 (as long as they make an effort voice it in a civil fashion) as well as in T-S-a-o-3. However, if a Christian wishes to debate with us about what he or she thinks the word "Satanist" should mean, such debate should be confined to T-S-a-o-3.)

    Interpersonal squabbling is unwelcome in all the Theistic Satanism forums except Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera. Prolonged interpersonal misunderstandings (as distinct from philosophical misunderstandings) that arise in any of our other forums may be diverted to T-S-soap-opera, where attempts will be made to mediate and resolve them.

    Trolling is unwelcome in most of our forums. Posters deemed by the moderators to be apparent trolls will be confined to Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 until such time as the moderators are convinced that a given poster is not a troll after all. Likewise posters who seem extremely insane (e.g. one who claims to be the Antichrist or an infallible channel for some god without presenting reasonable evidence).

  4. Your first post

    The following applies to all our discussion forums, i.e. all the Theistic Satanism forums except Theistic-Satanism-ADS.

    When you join any of our discussion forums, please post a message introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about yourself and your beliefs and aims.

    You are not required to post at all, but, if and when you do begin to post in a forum other than Theistic-Satanism-ads, your very first post must be one or more of the following: (1) a self-intro post, (2) a substantive reply to another post, and/or (3) a post asking non-rhetorical questions about Satanism.

    A first-time post may not consist of just an announcement, or just an article or poem, or anything else that looks like it might be a mass mailing. (The point of this policy is to discourage those who join us for the sole purpose of posting mass mailings.) Also, your very first post should not ask people to contact you privately (though you may discreetly indicate an interest in private chat by including a AOL IM, ICQ, or Yahoo screen name as part of your signature). Please don't post in our discussion forums at all if you are unwilling to participate in discussion in the forum.

    (Exception:  In Theistic-Satanists-NYC, we allow announcements of PUBLIC local offline events, even from newcomers.)

    Note that a self-intro post is required to say considerably more than just something like, "Hello, I'm a traditional Satanist and I live in New York and am looking forward to meeting fellow Satanists." A self-intro post should contain at least several sentences explaining at least one of the following: (1) a brief description of your personal spirituality and/or worldview, (2) your personal perspective on Satanism and who/what Satan is, (3) how you became a Satanist (or whatever your religion or worldview is, if you are not a Satanist), or (4) your thoughts about various kinds of Satanism you've run into. Your self-intro post may also mention other interests of yours besides Satanism, religion, magick, etc.

    Note that we will count as a "first post" not only your very first post, but also your first post after having been away for a time too long for the moderators to remember.

  5. Netiquette

    When you reply to a post, please quote the post to which you are replying, and please ALWAYS indicate WHO you are quoting and/or replying to. Otherwise, it probably won't be clear who or what you are replying to, especially to those readers with individual-email or digest subscriptions. Please remember that a Yahoo group is not a threaded message board.

    But please edit your quotes. Don't quote the whole thing, but ONLY the parts you are replying to. At the very least, please edit out sig lines and the Yahoo footer at the bottom. Overly long quotes take up an annoying large amount of space in digests and web mail accounts.

    Please distinguish clearly, in some visually obvious manner, between quotes and the original portions of your reply. (Note that you cannot use colors and fonts for this purpose, because our forums do not preserve HTML formatting.) If you are replying to a post which in turn contains quotes or paraphrases of previous posters, please identify clearly who said what. Please identify all quotes in a manner which will be immediately obvious, upon even the most cursory first glance, to even the most casual reader who is viewing your post outside of any larger context. (The latter requirement is important for the sake of our moderators, who work in shifts, as well as for the sake of newcomers to a given discussion.)

    Avoid one-line posts, i.e. posts whose original, non-quote content consists of just one line. In particular, "me too" posts (one-line replies saying little or nothing more than "thank you" or "I agree") should be emailed privately to the sender of the original post, not sent to the entire group. On the other hand, don't send a "not me" post either, i.e. a reply saying just "I disagree" or "that's bullshit!" or some more dramatic equivalent (e.g. "What have you been smoking?") without explaining why you disagree. Some one-line posts other than "me-too" or "not-me" posts will be allowed through, in some cases where they both (1) say or ask something substantive and (2) include a carefully edited brief quote or paraphrase of whatever they are replying to. But, in general, one-line posts should be avoided.

    Avoid overwhelming our mailboxes with large numbers of posts sent in rapid-fire succession.

    Do not post complete articles, especially copyrighted articles, that are also publicly available elsewhere. Instead of posting the entire article, please post either a summary or a brief excerpt followed by a URL or other directions as to where we can read the entire article.

    At the other extreme, please don't post a message consisting of just a URL and nothing else. Tell us a little bit about the page. And don't just say something like "This article is very good." Tell us, specifically, what the article is about. Tell us enough to let us know why we would find it interesting.

    Please do NOT send e-cards or other automated messages to the forums. To tell us you wish us a happy Halloween or whatever, please do so within a larger on-topic post.

    Please do not write a message in all-caps. Here as in many other online venues, all-caps is considered to be "shouting," thus rude if overdone. Occasional words or sentences in all-caps should be used sparingly, if at all, as a means of emphasis only.

    Subject lines:  Please follow standard netiquette regarding subject lines. In particular: (1) Every post should have something on the subject line. Don't leave it blank. The subject line should clearly indicate the topic of the message. (2) If your post is NOT a reply to another post, then the subject line should NOT begin with "Re:". (3) If your post IS a reply to another post, on the same topic as the original post, then the subject line SHOULD begin with "Re:" and the remainder of the subject line should be unchanged. (4) If you are replying to a post, but the main topic of your post is different from the one on the subject line, then please insert a new topic at the beginning of the subject line, in a format like "New topic - WAS Re: Old topic".

    Files and HTML messages:  The Theistic Satanism email groups are set not to allow file attachments. File attachments will be removed automatically if sent. As a side-effect of this policy, HTML-formatted messages are automatically converted to plain text (and converted back to HTML again if you select that option when you join). Thus, there is no possibility of anyone receiving a virus by merely opening a message from any of these email groups. But this also means you CANNOT use colors and fonts in your messages.

    In our private forums, if you wish to share a file with us, please upload it to the "Files" area on the forum's Yahoo home page. (Our public and semi-private forums are set NOT to allow uploading of files.) Please upload a file ONLY if the material is not otherwise available on the web. If it's available on the web, please post a message containing a brief description or excerpt plus the URL. Also, please do not upload unauthorized copies of copyrighted material.

    If you upload a text file to the files area, please upload it in one of the following formats: (1) plain ASCII text (*.txt), (2) HTML, (3) rich text format (*.rtf), or (4) Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf). Plain ASCII text is preferred. Please do NOT upload Microsoft Word documents (*.doc). There are two reasons for this rule: (1) people with non-Microsoft operating systems cannot read Microsoft Word documents, and (2) many viruses have been tranmitted via Word documents. (For more about the latter issue, see Some computer technical issues.) Amongst the acceptable file formats, PDF is, by far, the least preferable due to disk space considerations.

    (Note: The "Files", "Photos" and "Links" sections of all our public and semi-private forums are now temporarily unavailable. When we get more moderators, an arrangement will be made for users to ask a moderator to upload files, etc.)

  6. Topics off-limits in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in Theistic-Satanists-and-others, but welcome in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics

    Both the main Theistic-Satanism forum and T-S-a-o are intended for discussion about about theology, demonology, epistemology, history, mythology, and spiritual/occult practices including magick. Questions, comments, and civil and rational debate on these topics are welcome  -  including discussion about the theological beliefs and spiritual practices of all theistic Satanist groups except for the few that promote violent criminal activity in the name of Satan or Satanism.

    But both the main Theistic-Satanism forum and T-S-a-o strictly exclude discussion of sociopolitical issues, which may be discussed in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. Participation in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics is limited to people eligible to post in either the main Theistic Satanism forum or Theistic-Satanists-and-others. The political and social views of Satanists are all over the map, and a lot of us are passionate about our views, so if we were to allow such discussion in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o, it would probably crowd out most other discussion. Either that, or people with unpopular political views are likely to get turned off and leave, or they are likely to offend others to the point of getting turned off and leaving. So, the main Theistic-Satanism forum and T-S-a-o are intended to be forums where we can put aside our political differences completely - and I do mean completely.

    The sociopolitical issues disallowed in Theistic Satanism and Theistic-Satanists-and-others include (1) the internal politics of the Satanists scene, including the organizational policies of Satanist groups; (2) the political, social, and economic views of Satanist leaders and groups; (3) any claim that Satan Himself endorses a particular political or economic viewpoint; (4) ethical issues of kinds likely to lead to sociopolitical discussion, e.g. any mention of anything having to do with LaVeyan "elitism" or "social Darwinism," which some theistic Satanists agree with and others don't, and (5) urban legends about Satanists or alleged Satanists in politics (e.g. anything having to do with the Illuminati, "the New World Order," the claim that the peace symbol is a Satanic symbol, or any claim that any particular political leader is a Satanist).

    The one exception to our prohibition on sociopolitical discussion in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o is that, in these forums, we do allow occasional brief mention of religious civil rights issues affecting Satanists, and we allow limited discussion of the practical difficulties of coming out of the closet to one's family or friends as a Satanist. However, the main Theistic-Satanism forum and T-S-a-onot allow ideological debate on such questions as whether it is "truly Satanic" to care about civil rights issues or to be out of the closet in a particular situation. Thus, for example, the typical LaVeyan put-down of "martyrdom" is off-limits in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o, as also are any theistic Satanist critiques of that view. But these are important topics, and we welcome debate about them in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics.

    As noted elsewhere on this page, other topics off-limits in the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o include (1) specific people or groups who practice or advocate violent criminal activity in the name of Satan, or any such allegations about specific people or groups; (2) debates amongst Satanists about the definition of "Satanism"; (3) debates amongst different kinds of Satanists as to whether Satan should be seen as "good," "evil," or neither; and (4) the policies of our forums, including these rules. All these topics may be discussed freely in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics and in T-S-a-o-3.

    Enforcement of our ban on sociopolitical discussion in Theistic-Satanism and T-S-a-o is very strict. Please don't even mention, for example, the Nazi (or whatever) sympathies of certain people in the Satanist scene. Also, if you feel the need to bring up a political issue to illustrate an essentially non-political point in reply to a post in Theistic-Satanism or T-S-a-o, even that should be done in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. In Theistic-Satanism or T-S-a-o, please post a strictly non-political reply and end it with something like, "I'll post some further comments in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. Please join me there if you wish to see them."

    In the main Theistic-Satanism forum and in T-S-a-o we also discourage, though we do not completely prohibit, discussion of Christianity except insofar as it is directly relevant to some form of Satanism. If you need to talk about Christianity in order to explain who and what you believe Satan is, fine. It's also fine to talk about Christianity briefly when discussing your own personal religious background and upbringing. But please don't use the main Theistic-Satanism forum and T-S-a-o just to vent about Christians, or to discuss Christianity apart from its direct relevance to some form of Satanism or to your own personal history. However, discussion about Christianity is welcome in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics, because Christianity is a key part of the sociopolitical climate in the countries where most of us live.

    If you are in doubt about where a post of yours should go, then it probably belongs in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. Please just go ahead and post it there, rather than posting it to the main Theistic-Satanism forum or T-S-a-o and asking us, the moderators, to make that decision for you.

  7. Where to discuss other Satanic groups, leaders, etc.

    Most of the forums listed on this page are for discussion about almost ALL forms of theistic Satanism. Thus, we may sometimes have discussions about other Satanic groups and leaders. However, in the interests of limiting gossip, we do have some limitations on how and where they may be discussed.

    • About their theological beliefs, or about their spiritual or magic(k)al practices - Okay in most of the Theistic Satanism forums, primarily Theistic-Satanism and Theistic-Satanists-and-others, as appropriate. Also fine in most of our private and semi-private forums. (Should not be discussed in the private Church-of-Azazel forum unless somehow relevant to the Church of Azazel.) Please be prepared to cite sources or otherwise substantiate your claims about any group.
    • About their social, ethical, and political views - Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics if you are eligible to post there. (Otherwise allowed in Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 and to a limited extent in Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2. NOT allowed in the main Theistic-Satanism forum or in Theistic-Satanists-and-others.) Allowed to a limited extent in most of our private and semi-private forums. Please be prepared to cite sources or otherwise substantiate all your claims.
    • About organizational politics and personalities, if substantiated - same as above. No unsubstantiated gossip, please. (See note, below this listing, on what "substantiated" means.)
    • Unsubstantiated accusations, if, and only if, your purpose in discussing them is to resolve a personal dispute with another active participant in the Theistic Satanism forums - Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera ONLY. (Note that participation in Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera is limited to people who have posted in (and are eligible to post in) either the Theistic-Satanism or Theistic-Satanists-and-others.)
    • About people or groups that advocate violent criminal activity - Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics and Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 are the only public forums in which they may be discussed. Limited discussion about them is also allowed in our private and semi-private forums. Again, no unsubstantiated gossip. Apparent sympathizers with such people and groups will be allowed to post in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics (provided they refrain from outright advocacy of criminal activity) but will NOT be allowed to join any of our private or semi-private forums. Note that Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics DOES allow posts which advocate changing the law in favor of now-criminal activities, or which advocate a different type of society.

    "Substantiated" can mean either (1) documented (e.g. via links to web pages or copies of relevant posts to other forums) or (2) confirmed by longterm regulars whom we have good reason to believe are both trustworthy and knowledgeable about the group or person in question. Our policy will be stricter, i.e. leaning more toward requiring documented evidence, regarding accusations than regarding other kinds of assertions.

    There are a few groups with which we've had ongoing problems, and about which, depending on the severity of our problems with them, we either (1) prohibit or at least strongly discourage any discussion at all in any of our forums, or (2) prohibit discussion in most of our public forums but allow limited discussion in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics and Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3. (The groups in question will not be named here, but you'll be notified if you try to post about them.) The purpose of these prohibitions is to minimize soap opera. However, most of these groups are not very unique or original in their belief systems, in which case you may discuss their beliefs without mentioning the groups themselves.

  8. How to respond to budding off-topic discussions

    If an off-topic discussion begins in a forum of which you are a member and you wish to reply, please do the following: (1) Immediately join (or apply for membership in) the appropriate forum to which the discussion will be most likely moved, if you are not already a member. Then (2) reply only very briefly in the original post's forum, saying only something like, "I disagree. Please see my forthcoming post in _______ [appropriate forum]," and (3) post your more detailed reply in the appropriate forum. If you are not willing to join the appropriate forum, then please don't reply to the off-topic post at all. Your brief post in the original forum should not contain any arguments for your positions but should ONLY direct readers to your reply.

    If a discussion is being moved from a private or semi-private forum to a more-public forum, then, in keeping with the more-private forums' confidentiality rules, you should NOT quote the any posts from the more-private forum in the more-public forum. Instead, begin the discussion from scratch in the more-public forum.

    Most off-topic discussions fall into one of the following categories:

    • Discussion about politics, which we define as including, among other things: (a) any advocacy of any political or social ideology in the name of Satanism, (b) the political views of various Satanist leaders and groups, (c) the internal politics of the Satanist scene, including substantiated discussion about the personalities or personal lives of Satanist leaders, and (d) any mention of any specific group which advocates violent criminal activity in the name of Satanism. All such discussion in either the main Theistic-Satanism forum orTheistic-Satanists-and-others will be redirected to Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics or, in some cases, to Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3.

    • Prolonged or in-depth discussion about Christianity, in the main Theistic-Satanism forum or in Theistic-Satanists-and-others except as directly relevant to Satanist theologies or to an individual Satanist's personal history. Off-topic discussions about Christianity by Satanists, Pagans, or occultists will be redirected to one or more of the following forums, as appropriate:

      1. Open-membership, moderated forums: (a) Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics (for in-depth discussion about the religious right wing or other political matters pertaining to Christian churches), or (b) counter-evangelsim (NOT one of the Theistic Satanism groups, but moderated by the same crew).

      2. Theistic-Satanists-ex-hard-Xian (T-S-x-h-X), if the main participants in the discussion are from a conservative Christian background, or are otherwise very familiar with hardcore Christianity. Note that T-S-x-h-X is a restricted-membership, loosely moderated semi-private forum.

    • Any posts by Christians, Muslims, etc. to any forums where they do not belong. These will be redirected immediately to one of the only forums where they are welcome, either Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2 or Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3, as appropriate.

    • Posts by people trying to decide whether they want to be Satanists or Christians:  These will be treated like posts by Christians and will be confined to Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2 and/or Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3, as appropriate. If they seem to be leaning toward Satanism, they will be allowed to apply to join Theistic-Satanists-ex-hard-Xian after a few posts in our public forums.

    • Longstanding issues of contention between theistic Satanists and LaVeyan atheistic/symbolic Satanists or between Satanists and RHP Pagans, if these come up in the main Theistic-Satanism forum. Such discussions will be redirected to Theistic-Satanists-and-others or, in some cases, to Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics.

    • In the private Church-of-Azazel forum:  In-depth discussion of other Satanist groups or paradigms, without any relevance to the Church of Azazel. Such discussions will be redirected (without forwarding) either to one of the public Theistic Satanism forums or to the semi-private Black-Goat forum.

    • In the counter-evangelism forum:  Budding religious debates, or any expression of disrespect for any of the religions and worldviews whose adherents are welcome there, including any put-downs of either atheism or theism. Likewise any detailed discussion about Satanism, Paganism, etc. All such discussions will be moved to Theistic-Satanists-and-others, Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2, or Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3, as appropriate. (The counter-evangelism forum itself is supposed to focus on brainstorming ways to respond to pesky fundies.)

    • Personal squabbles among Satanists, Pagans, or occultists:   These will be redirected to the semi-private Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera forum. Personal squabbles involving other people (e.g. Christians) in Theistic-Satanists-and-others-2 will be redirected to Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3.

  9. How to respond to posts you find insulting

    In most of our forums, we prohibit personal flaming. An occasional flamey post may still get through due to moderator error. If you see a flamey post directed at you, please do NOT immediately respond in kind. Instead, please send a complaint to the moderators. In most cases one of us will respond with a public apology for letting the post thru, plus a gentle reprimand to the person who posted it. If you choose to respond to the flame yourself in addition to complaining to us, please try to respond CALMLY. You may reply to defend your own character, clarify your position, and show errors in the flamer's reasoning, but please do NOT go on a full-fledged personal counter-attack.

    (Some forums, other than ours, have a policy of allowing an equal counter-attack. Our problem with this idea is that what constitutes an "equal" counter-attack is very much a subjective judgment call. Furthermore, in our opinion, responding CALMLY and without blatant insults does a much more effective job of showing that you're the reasonable party and that the other person was being an asshole. A calm response also has a better signal-to-noise ratio for our readers, which is our main concern.)

    Occasionally we may choose to redirect flamey posts to either Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera or Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 rather than reject them outright. We redirect flamey posts to our semi-private forum Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera in cases where we believe that there is an underlying personal misunderstanding that can perhaps be resolved via discussion in a small forum. On the other hand, our public but relatively small forum Theistic-Satanists-and-others-3 is where we redirect posts from obnoxious Christians (and likewise from Satanists) and suspected trolls.

  10. Enforcement

    1. In the public, open-membership, moderated forums:

      In these forums, individual posts are moderated to keep out spam, flames, and other prohibited kinds of posts. Off-topic posts will be moved to the appropriate one of the forums listed here, if there is one. Posts deemed by the moderators to be inappropriate to any of these forums will be rejected. Posts that are basically appropriate but contain a portion that is deemed by the moderators to be decidedly inappropriate, for whatever reason, may be edited.

      If a post of yours does not appear on the list within 24 hours, feel free to email the moderators asking why. (Occasionally, posts disappear due to a technical glitch rather than deliberate deletion.)

      If a pending post of yours is moved to another forum, you will be notified via email if you are not already a subscriber to the target forum. If a post of yours is edited, this will be indicated via a bracketed note in the post, and an explanation will be sent to you via private email.

      On the other hand, if a post is rejected, you will, in many cases, not be notified, especially if you are a first-time poster. (The moderators will try to notify most senders of rejected posts, but do not have time to write to spammers, etc.) If a post of yours does not appear on the list within 24 hours, nor have you heard from us, it is up to you to follow up by writing to the moderators if you care enough to do so.

      Only very rarely do we ban a member of one of our public, moderated forums. Because individual posts are moderated, banning is rarely necessary. Occasionally we ban persistent spammers.

    2. In the semi-private, restricted-membership, loosely moderated forums:

      In these forums, individual posts are not moderated, except those of members who have been put on moderation. Most new members will be on moderation for a short time. In addition, members will be put on moderation temporarily if they (1) get into either a personal quarrel or a prolonged off-topic discussion, or (2) have a persistent habit of not trimming quotes. Those put on moderation due to a quarrel will, in most cases, be taken off moderation after they have settled their quarrel in Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera. Those put on moderation due to an off-topic discussion will, in most cases, be taken off moderation soon after the discussion has been moved to an appropriate forum. Those put on moderation because of a persistent failure to trim quotes will usually be taken off moderation soon afteremailing the moderators with a promise to trim quotes in the future. Frequent repeat offenders will remain on moderation and, in extreme cases, may be deleted or banned.

      If you feel that you've been kept on moderation for an excessively long time in one of the semi-private, loosely-moderated forums, feel free to email the moderators a request to be taken off moderation. Please don't jump to conclusions as to the reason why you were kept on moderation for so long. (The most likely reason is that we are overwhelmed with other things to do and simply haven't yet gotten around to taking you off moderation.) Remember too that people get taken off moderation ONLY in the private or semi-private forums. In the public forums, ALL posts are moderated, from everyone except the moderators themselves.

    Questions or complaints about these rules or their enforcement should be either emailed privately to the moderators or posted in Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics (or in Theistic-Satanism-soap-opera) if you feel a need to discuss your concern publicly.

  11. Lurkers and participation requirements for private and semi-private forums

    Lurkers (people who are members but don't post) ARE welcome in our public forums.

    On the other hand, from our private and semi-private forums, lurkers will be periodically expelled. To ensure your continued membership in a private or semi-private forum, you must satisfy its minimum participation requirements. For the forums listed below, you can find their minimum participation requirements on the linked pages:

    For all our other private and semi-private forums, to avoid being deleted you must continue to post at least four or five substantial messages every three months EITHER in the forum itself or in one or more of our public forums, or in any combination thereof.

  12. Additional suggestions

    Below are some more tips on what kinds of discussion are welcome here. The following should be taken only as suggestions, not as rules:

    1. If a post upsets you, don't reply immediately. Write a quick draft, but don't actually send your reply until after you've cooled down a bit.

    2. If you're catching up on your email after having been away for a while, don't send your replies immediately upon composing them. Wait with sending your replies until after you've read all the recent posts, to make sure you aren't beating a dead horse.

    3. Try to be especially diplomatic when talking across a cultural divide, e.g. when talking to people who live in other, very different countries, or who have either a lot more or a lot less formal education than you do.

    If you hear from Christian lurkers:  Note that we do not allow Christians to post in most of the Theistic Satanism forums. But we cannot prevent Christians from lurking in our public forums. Therefore, if you post here, be prepared for the possibility that you may receive private email or Yahoo IM's from Christians hoping to "rescue" you from Satanism and bring you back to Christ. At least one such Christian -- a very strange one -- has been known to play some pretty nasty head games. To be prepared, please read An online exorcism attempt (and some very important warnings to all theistic Satanists online). I suspect that this person is only the tip of an iceberg, and that there will be others like him in the future.

  13. Contacting the moderators

    If you need to send an urgent message to the moderators, e.g. if you have second thoughts about a message you just posted to one of the forums, please write to the moderators as instructed here, so that your message will reach all the moderators, including whichever one is currently on duty.

    If you have disagreements with our moderation policies and wish to discuss them in a PUBLIC forum, not just via private email, the appropriate forum for that purpose is Theistic-Satanism-ethics-and-politics. Otherwise, to voice your complaint privately, please send it to the moderators. Likewise for all other administrivia pertaining to our forums.

    IMPORTANT:  Please do NOT try to contact us by writing to the "owner" address of one of our individual Yahoo groups. Mail sent to one of our "owner" addresses is likely to be perceived as junk mail and deleted unread. Instead, please write to the moderators as instructed here.

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