Community Acceptable Use Policy and Rules

(Also known as the Terms of Service -- These are the terms you agree to when you join the community.)

You are responsible for knowing and abiding by the rules listed on this page.  Failure to abide these rules can result in your temporary or permanent removal from the community. 

The site administrator reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the user agreement without prior notice to the user. It is the responsibility of the user to regularly review the terms of this agreement.

The user agrees to the following terms:

1. All information that you provide to us for your membership is correct.

2. You must use a real, working email address in registration so that your password and membership information can be emailed to you.  Registrations with fake email addresses will be removed.

3. You will not use your membership to spam, harass, or exploit other members in any way.

4. Remember that we are a community with younger members -- do not use anything deemed obscene in a posting title

5. Any post with adult content, which includes adult language (beyond the damn and hell level), must have 'adult content' in the subject. 

For instance:

Adult Content: My week at work.  This post could discuss a lousy work week and use the word 'fuck.' 

Adult Content: Love Grows Scene.   In this post for critique the characters are interacting on a personal level (grin).  However, under no circumstances can the scene show actual graphic sex.

If you're not sure, the best bet is to mark the post as Adult Content.

6. Under no circumstances can you post sexual content including, but not limited to, the examples below:

Explicit sexual scenes.

Scenes that include rape. 

Any sexual material involving children

Any sexual material that serves no purpose except to titillate (i.e. all sexual content must be necessary to advance the plot).

Because of problems with underage members, the site will no longer allow the posting of erotica stories, even to the private boards.

If the moderators deem that your material is improper for the boards, do not argue with them in the posts.  If you think that the call is wrong, you can bring it to my attention (

Any member is free to exchange material with other members off the boards, of course... but be aware that if I receive word of someone sending inappropriate material to underage members, that person will be removed from the site -- so be very careful about exchanging erotic and sexually graphic material.

7. No mass posting or flooding of the boards is allowed.

8. Copyright is a major issue for us -- we are sensitive to not only our own copyrights, but those of others. For that reason no fanfic of any sort is allowed on the site or in chat.

By joining this community, you agree that you will not:

1. You will not post anything, whether text or image, for which you personally do not own copyright. Short sections of other material -- no more than 500 words -- can be posted, but only for information and teaching purposes.  If, however, the material is available online, use a link instead.

2. You will not copy any Forward Motion content without the express written permission of the person who wrote it. This includes material written in chat.

3.  You will not post spam or ads for the exclusive purpose of drawing customers.  The administration reserves the right to judge posts and decide if it is appropriate or not. Join in the site's activities and get to know the people at FM before you post information about 'the perfect site for people here.'

4.  Chat is part of the community and runs by the same rules as the boards.

Violation of  these terms is cause for immediate removal of your post and a warning, and persistent violation will result in your removal from the community.

Community Interaction Rules

Rules for Everyone

You own your own words. That means that you and you alone are responsible for the content of your posts and any consequences of those posts. With that in mind:

  • Treat others the way you would wish to be treated.

  • Don't ask for location, age or other personal information about a member of the site, either on the boards or in chat.

  • Discuss issues, but do not point fingers. "That is a stupid idea," is an acceptable post, though perhaps not a particularly well-thought-out one. "You are a stupid person," will result in a moderator removing your post without warning. People who use name-calling, harassment, or abusive language toward other members will be removed from the community.

  • Do not leap into the flames. If you see an inappropriate post, IGNORE IT. Let a moderator know it's there and one of us will remove it. Do not respond to it -- the only effect that will have is that your post, too, no matter how erudite and well-thought-out, will vanish with it.

  • If you wish to discuss in a reasoned manner something that is going down in flames elsewhere, do so in a separate post with a similar title. That way people will be able to find your post, but it won't be deleted or get you into trouble in the community.

  • We are a Writing Community.  While some discussions go far a field of writing, remember that the purpose of the site is to help improve writing skills and how to best meet the needs of those seeking  publication.

  • Do not post fiction on inappropriate boards. This includes poetry, short stories, chapters, excerpts, etc.  Remember that we are not a site for readers. Fiction material posted on the site must be on the critique boards and be posted for the purpose of finding help to improve the work.

Legal Issues Broadly, don't do anything illegal in here or your membership will be revoked. More specifically:

  • Respect people. Don't harass, stalk or verbally abuse anyone.

  • Don't post inappropriate material to minors.  That means don't discuss your drug use, personal sexual activity, or how you shoplifted the DVDs.  Don't post story material that would be considered sexually explicit. 

  • Respect the law. Do not attempt to use these forums for the illegal sale or purchase of any form of contraband. (That includes the exchange of illegally made copies of music CDs.)

  • Respect copyrights. Don't post anything for which you don't own copyright, and don't copy anything for which you don't own copyright.

  • Chat is part of the community and the rules posted for the site apply there as well.

Be Polite

The following rules on religion, war debate and politics have mostly to do with being polite and accepting that we are a diverse group.  We can find common cause in our pursuit of writing.  Always keep in mind that if you keep a discussion on touchy subjects focused on the writing aspects you should be fine.

Don't attack anyone else on their beliefs, and don't start a debate to tell the world your own.  This is not the site for those discussions.

Religious and Personal Belief Discussion

The following rules have been put in place to protect all members from harassment, and to keep this site pleasant for everyone who comes here. If these rules do not suit you, you are welcome to join other communities that are less strict in their implementation of "No Proselytizing." I will strictly enforce this rule.

  1. Always remember that we are a writing site. Discussion about a religion for the sake of writing material is allowed.  However, never let the discussion slip over into a defense of a religion or an attack of another.

  2. People on this site have the right to their own beliefs. No one requires any member to discuss or defend their religious beliefs.
    People may stop any conversation about religion simply by saying, "My beliefs are personal and I don't wish to discuss them." If a member pursues a personal religious conversation past that point, either in chat or on the boards or in private message on the site, he may be warned or removed from Forward Motion, depending on persistence or attitude.

  3. If your religion demands that you try to gain converts, this is not the place to look for them. We have a firm NO PROSELYTIZING rule -- this means that you cannot approach any member of the community at any time (including using site member lists to gain access to member e-mail addresses) with the intent of trying to convince him to join or consider your religion or personal beliefs. 

  4. This includes any personal belief that may not be recognized as a religion, from vegan choices to PETA and anything of the like.  If any such discussion starts into an attack/defend mode, drop it and move on.

    WE ARE A WRITING SITE. WE ARE HERE TO WRITE, AND TO TALK ABOUT WRITING. Religion in this neighborhood is an interesting side venue, to be studied for its value as story background and character development, the way one studies insects or botany or grammar and scene construction techniques. Nothing more and nothing less.

Iraqi War Related Debates

The rule on this one is very simple.


No matter what your opinion on the events of September 11th, 2001, or their ongoing aftermath, you may not discuss the events here.

Do not post links to Iraqi War News, do not discuss the war on the boards or in chat.

As with religion, discussing historical war-related material is always allowed for writing purposes.  If the discussion drifts over into a debate the people involved will be banned from the site.

Political Debate

Political discussion (whatever your country and affiliation within it may be) falls into the same categories as religion and the war debate.  Politics may be discussed for writing purposes, but if the discussion (on the boards or in chat) starts to turn into a shouting match over whose side is better, it will be removed and the people involved warned or banned.

Rules Specifically for Writers ---Purposes and Goals

Our main goal is to help each other get published. We do this by presenting and participating in workshops on our varied areas of expertise, by reading and critiquing each other's work, and by encouraging each other to submit finished works. We also provide networking, contacts with professionals in the field, and a chance to work with writers who have similar interests.

Some of our members are pros, others have published in small presses, and still others are just now beginning to submit work. Some are still learning how to finish work.

We are open to members of all levels of experience, and of all ages and interests. If you can't find someone who shares your interest, tell us and we'll see if we can recruit someone who does.

We are a working writers' group, and our main premise is that writers write. If you join we'll do our best to help you achieve your goal of getting your stories into print---your goal is one we share. You have to take an active part in the work, however.  While you might learn a great deal just by lurking, you can achieve more by joining in the classes, critique groups and other parts of the site.

If you are interested in improving your writing, but not in publication, you are still welcome.  Just be aware that the others will be offering you publication ideas.

Rules of Critiquing

All material to be critiqued must be posted on the boards.  No external links are allowed.  The only exception is when critiquing an entire novel where the manuscript is sent to a specific person who has agreed to read and comment on it.

1) Critique the writing, never the writer. Never say, "You are..." or "You should..." Instead say, "The writing is..." or "The story should..."

2) Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.

3) Critique the story as it is, not the way you would write it.

4) Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a story to give it a fair critique for things like grammar and punctuation.

5) Remember what your biases in story material are and critique around them.

6) Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings.

Things you may not say while critiquing.

"That's awful."

"That's stupid."

"You couldn't write your way out of a paper bag."

Rules of Being Critiqued

1) Read your critiques carefully. The person who has written them has taken the time to listen to your work, and wants to help you find ways to make it better.

2) Explain only if necessary. Don't rebut.

3) Be willing to make changes. Conversely, don't change anything you feel must remain in order to make the story yours.

4) People at FM assume you are serious about learning to overcome problems, whether you want to be published or not.  If you are not going to work with the critiques, don't post your stories and waste their time.  This is not a reading group -- we're not here just to tell a writer how good they are.

Things you may not say when being critiqued.

  • "You're wrong."

  • "You're an idiot."

  • "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries."

Always Remember

Membership is a privilege and not a right. This is a private site, and I will revoke the membership of anyone who causes problems, whether it is a reason clearly defined in the rules or not.  People are inventive, and writers are often the worst -- they come up with interesting ways to cause trouble.

You can be warned, or banned temporarily or permanently.  However, this is not something that often happens.

Forward Motion is a site dedicated to helping people reach publication.  We have members at various stages of their careers, as well as people who just want to learn to write better for their own enjoyment.  Thousands of people have found help here at some level.  It is an enjoyable site that does not require you to do more than be polite to the other members and avoid posting material that will lead to hot tempers.

So with that in mind, have fun and good luck with your writing.

Lazette Gifford, Site Administrator


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