Well here is a good starting point:
1) Do NOT post links to or requests for warez.
This is pretty well black and white - posting links to or requests for warez can and will get you banned posthaste. When we say warez, here is what we mean:
* Copies of games
* ROMs of console games (not including wholly from scratch creations, subject to any licenses said creations may have)
* Leaked versions of non-yet-released games, even ones that will be freely available in the future. Just because you've got your hot little digital hands on a copy of the Duke Nukem Forever open beta a few years early, doesn't mean that you can share it here.
A slightly less black and white subject is abandonware, so let's spell this out: Abandonware - that is, software that has outlived its commercial life and has been nominally abandoned by its owners or developers - is not legally distributable just because some dude on the internet says so. Unless the copyright holder has relicensed the software for free distribution or public domain use (as with, for instance, Castle of the Winds), you cannot post links or requests for said software in this forum. End of story.
Now, no-cd cracks. As long as you own the game in question, we have absolutely no problem with you asking for a no-cd crack. We are all acutely aware of the issues arising from current copy protection schemes. However, this only applies if you are legally allowed to play the game in question. Again... no warez.
2) Thread titles must be work safe, descriptive and on topic
This is straightforward. Keep the language in thread titles clean. We don't restrict language usage in posts (up to a point), but thread titles are a different matter. Whatever luridly foul things you wish to say about Luigi, you can find a work safe euphemism for the title. Also, letter substitution fools nobody, but strings of unpronounceable symbols are acceptable.
Now for the descriptive and on topic bit. It's very simple - use the thread title to sum up or describe what you are saying in your post. Do not use the title as a deceptive hook to lure people in. Do not post something useless like "How do I..." and have the question in the post.
Use a game's full name rather than just a abbreviation of it. Starcraft instead of SC. Star Control 2 instead of SC2. Soul Caliber 3 instead of SC3. SimCity 4 instead of SC4. Abbreviations mean different things to different people, so Be Specific.
Also, be careful about using the word "official" or "perpetual." Do not simply declare your thread official by fiat. Threads are only "official" or "perpetual" if management says so.
In a decision between two threads on the same topic, the thread with the most clear thread title will take priority over the thread with a more obscure topic, even if the latter is posted first.
3)Avoid thread duplication
As a general rule, moderators allow a good latitude for threads on closely related subjects. However, at moderator's discretion, threads may be consolidated if they are not sufficiently distinct from other active threads. To help avoid having your thread locked, always review the thread titles on the first page VGCharts before posting. If you are going to post a subject that is similar to that of an ongoing discussion, take great care that your thread topic and your post body clearly show how your thread differs from the others out there.
4) LAN parties
You can publicize your LAN party here as long as it's not for profit. If you do charge admission, please run it by the mods first. We understand that sometimes a fee is needed to cover room rental, power, etc.
5) Inlining of images
Do not inline anything over about 800x600. Don't inline anything at all, if you can help it - linking is best most of the time. Exceptions to the size guideline are made for declared screenshot threads.
6) Fair use of offsite content
NO LEECHING. For both text and images, respect the rights and wishes of content creators.
Do NOT inline images that you aren't hosting without permission - even official screenshots from an official game site. If you want to use someone's bandwidth, ask them. Otherwise, just link to the image or page, or host it yourself.
Do NOT copy and paste whole articles. Fair use of copyrighted materials is not carte blanche - if you want to quote from an article or review, then quote an excerpt, and provide a link to the larger piece. Common sense prevails.
Do NOT post scans of magazine articles, or links to them.
7) Substance. Substance Substance Substance Substance Substance!
Content is king. Threads lacking content can and will be locked. Some tips to keep you and your posts out of trouble:
* Do NOT post just a link. Links have context - expound upon that context. For example, Mario Piano Videos. Post a link, but also give some background on what the link is to, or better yet, comment on how Mario has influenced pop culture. This way, it's not just a link and run. Remember: the reader's interest is not only in the link, its in what you have to say about it, how you make sense of what would otherwise be a blind link (and a subsequent poor thread). The only exception to this rule is for game patches - bearing in mind rule 2, go ahead and get that link posted as fast as possible.
* Do not post only that Item A sucks, or that Item B is better than Item C. Give reasons why, post links to documented problems, of screenshots, or whatever you can. Similarly, do not reply to other posters with "you're wrong." Explain why you disagree, and perhaps point to the correct answer.
* No "In Before The Lock" (IBTL) posts. Repeat offenders will be warned, and disciplinary action will be taken if those warnings are not heeded.
* No posts specifically to to say that a poster or the thread sucks, either with words or pictures.
* When introducing a new game to the community, give context. What is the game about? Is it part of a franchise? Does it share similarities with other games? What does it do in a new or different way?
* No spoilers in threads which are not clearly marked for them. One year is the cutoff under which a 'spoiler' becomes 'general information', which can be discussed in any thread at any time.
8) Platform criticism.
Posts slamming a particular platform without basis - be it a specific console, macs, windows, or anything similar - will not be tolerated. The forums are here for gamers of all persuasions, so unless you're in a thread specifically geared towards platform comparison/discussion, keep your anti-platform comments out of the thread. Note that there is a difference between laying down gratuitous smack - one of our founding principles - and trolling.
10) If you think a thread or post needs moderator attention, email email@example.com, send a PM to any of our fine moderators, or tell us on the Mods IRC channel.
Naturally, we as moderators do not read every post in every thread, and appreciate a helpful head's up from readers when something untoward is going on. When you contact us, please tell us the sub-forum the thread is located in, the thread the post is located in, and the post(and poster) in question, as well as the rule you believe is being broken.