Forum Rules & Guide
The moderators, administration and fine long term members attempt to do their best to help the most number of people.
The most important person on the Forum is the person who is there to get information (the customer).
Customers who come for information may not enjoy reading through dozens of pages of "social" comments and short posts ("I agree, etc."), so we ask forum users to try and provide the most information and least "noise" possible in the main forum rooms. These rooms include:
The Hearth Room
Classic Wood Stove Forum(s)
The Boiler Room
It's a Gas
The other rooms can be more conversational and social, especially the Inglenook - which is the area for off-topic but non-political discussions.
All forums are moderated. Please read our moderation FAQ if you have interest in why and how we moderate our forums.
Note that the Terms of Service refer both to themselves and to the Forum Rules.
Also, they mention we reserve the right to update and change them.
If you are concerned about any of the TOS or Forum Rules, the best thing to do is to contact a Moderator or the Admin using the Conversations feature.
What this means is that you and every other purchaser has a right to place a rating/review on our special section at:
However, quoted from our original forum rules, please note:
"It is against the Forum Rules to spend endless threads promoting a certain brand or product, even if you don't financially benefit from it (and, of course, if you do!)."
The reasoning is simple - if a single member has 200 posts complaining about a certain product or brand, it tends to slant the forum in a direction which may not be accurate. However, if 20 members review their stove in our ratings sections and have poor experiences, that is likely to mean a lot more. The same goes for positive reviews and posts. If a member starts a thread saying "Do you like your Upland Stove?", you are certainly free to answer in the affirmative and point to the stove review you posted. If they ask about the details how you run your Upland Stove, you should feel free to share. This is all educational as opposed to a sales pitch.
We have various benefits for industry members including free PR postings.
If you would like to post PR, contact us and give us your username and industry affiliation.
Please be sure to read the Forum Rules for Commercials Members:
Short and sweet part - forums posts or signatures are NOT the place to promote your business or your products. Those who wish to promote their products here or sponsor the site should contact me for a quote on our advertising programs. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
By necessity, our Forum Rules are stricter for those members who have a commercial interest in a product or service which is hearth related.
Commercial members (Manufacturers, retailers, distributors, importers, contractors, agents) should not INITIATE contact with our members by email, PM or other methods.
If a commercial member desires promotion on hearth.com, they should contact the webmaster at email@example.com for paid sponsorships.
Note: if a member initiates a conversation with PM or email, etc., please feel free to work with them, preferably taking it to your private emails if it is a longer conversation.
Signatures: In general, we discourage the use of links to your sales-orientated business or web site in your sig. We will make exceptions once members have established themselves as long term visitors who are here to help People...as opposed to those looking to promote their product or web site.
The first rule is effectively the GOLDEN RULE of any respectable forum. If what you are doing here could not easily be done by every one of the hundreds of industry employed forum members......without degrading the forum conversations singly or a a whole...then DON'T DO IT. This should be easy to apply. This means no pushing your product over others, announcing sales, etc.
If one of your primary reasons for being on the Forums is to get more business for your company, then we would ask that you contact us for paid advertising sponsorship programs as opposed to using and abusing the Forums and membership to push your product or service. This is effectively covered under the First Rule, but repeated just in case you didn't understand the first time.
If you are a commercial member here, please refrain from attempts to cast a bad light on competitors products. Even if you have a legitimate gripe, this is not the place to express it since there are often many sides to such issues, and mostManufacturers refrain from participation here - as they well should. Again, the forums are primarily for person to person (consumer/end user) advice.
The Forum is for helping People person to person. It is not a free-for-all which you can manipulate to achieve your goals and desires. Any abuse of the Forum lowers it's value (knowledge wise AND financially) to the owners and members of the web site.
The Forums and the entire Hearth.com site are a commercial enterprise, just like yours! As such, we rely on providing a good product to our customers...our readers! This product is called trust. Although we have commercial ads, they are always clearly separated from our advice and content. However, commercial members who abuse the Forums make it much more difficult for our members to assume that the advice or discussion is from an independent viewpoint.
Using the Forums for commercial gain contrary to the rules and guidelines is, in effect, theft of service.
Thanks for understanding.
Note: For inquiries regarding paid sponsorship, email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The "no commercial posts" rule extends to emails and private messages - you should not contact our members by either method in an attempt to sell them on your product UNLESS they start the conversation by sending you a PM or Email. Once such a contact is made and moving along, please take the conversation to your private email or phone.
If you ever get a hankering to promote your brand or other regional/national business on Hearth.com, see our Industry Advertising Information and shoot me an email.
Any screen names, photos or avatars and sigs should be hearth or home related - Like no Obama or GW Bush pics, references, etc...please keep references to your political beliefs, your gun collection, your religion or lack thereof, etc. off of Hearth.com (exception - The Ash Can posts at certain times of year when discussions are being had).
Signatures are limited to 4 lines and commercial messages in them are discouraged. Your signature can link to your member profile which can contain more links as well as information.
However, if a Hearth.com member does not want to actively visit, the solutions are simple.
1. You can change the settings under the Privacy, Preferences and Alert Preferences located under your username - so that no site mailings and email alerts are sent your way.
2. You can log out from hearth.com and delete the "cookie" from your browser so that if you happen by the site, you will not have any kind of automatic or form-filled-in login.
3. You can change your email address to an invalid one - add a character, etc. - this will 100% assure you are never contacted!
4. Make sure to remove your signature if desired - if it contains your URL or other semi-personal info.
If you have never posted, it will be possible to completely delete your account. Message the administrator or a mod and ask them to do so.
This forum, like many others, has a feature which allows members to contact one another in an individual fashion. This is also a good way of contacting the site owners or the moderators. Here are some of the basic instructions to using the "conversations" feature. The "inbox" menu item is one place where you can access your conversations or start one......etc.
A link to some instructions:
Conversation Guidelines and Rules
As is stated in our rules, we ask that you refrain from contacting people in bulk or to harvest their names or sell them anything - even individually. In general, one to one conversations are fine, but the system should not be used as a chat or group chat or to run mini-lists, etc. - please use one of the various other chat or email services on the web (google, yahoo, IM, text messaging, etc.) to run groups.
Conversations should not contain content which you would not post in public here - i.e., porn, personal attacks, etc. - Conversations are for helpful one to one contacts.
Are Conversations Monitored or Read?
The short answer is no. A longer answer would go like this. You should never say things or do things, here or anywhere (even in regular email, on facebook, text, etc.) which you would not want to be public or semi-public. We certainly would not broadcast or expose your conversations, but it is possible that a forum hack or other system malfunction could make them available to someone with technical knowledge.
There is no interface for moderators or the administrators where they can monitor or read your conversations. Doing so would require delving deep into the raw databases which power the forum.
A longer answer goes like this. There have been over 200,000 Conversations in the last couple of years. The Administration neither monitors or reads them, however if we are told or find out that something outside the forum rules and/or common decency is going on, we reserve the right to delve deeply into the database software and see if this is the case. When doing this, we typically only see the member name and the first few words of the conversation. In previous years, for example, we found a member who was selling (for money and favors) positive or negative mentions of stove brands! He was obviously banned. So the answer to the question "has the admin ever read a one to one conversation and does the admin have the RIGHT to read conversations on their system if there are serious rule infringements?" would be yes.
But you can rest assured we are not reading your conversations about the new GF, BFF, wifey, hubby, chain saw, whiskey, etc.....the best way for you to think about it might be like your corporate email. Your ISP or your company can read it if and when they want or need to, but chances are that most do not.
These members are there to help the organization of the site and perform many functions - from moving misplaced threads to the proper rooms to the closing of threads which have run their course.
Hearth.com is a moderated community - not a "free speech" zone. We strive to provide a decent and educational atmosphere - moderation is the key to providing the best experience to the most possible users.
We may delete or modify posts in an attempt to make them palatable for our GA (general audience) rating. We may also close threads if we feel the information is already provided in the existing posts.
Hearth.com is a "no-drama" zone and is NOT a social media site. Please refrain from soap operas, unhelpful opinions, useless posts, rule breaking or other such behavior. Again, HELPING OTHERS is our creed. If you feel that is not your purpose here (as a member), then it's best to find another corner of the internet to hang out.
The moderators and administration attempt to do their best to help the most number of people. You may not agree with all their rules and actions, but you must abide by them. The most important person on the Forum is the person who is there to get information (the customer). While we appreciate those who give the information as well, long time users should not monopolize the conversation nor feel entitled to break the rules.
Where is the line here? It is simply the line that the moderators and administration decide on - either globally or in each instance. We ask that you respect that.
As an aside, Hearth.com has become one of the most successful and largest web sites in the world specifically because of our attitude toward moderation. We realize that we are fairly strict in our monitoring - and yet are proud that the end result is an incredibly valuable resource for all.
The software has a feature whereby we replace selected words....usually with "lightweight" words meaning the same thing.
Note that your words are not really changed......in our data. Rather, what is done is that when these words are delivered to you each time by the software, they are replaced.
Rest assured that no one personally went in (in 99% of cases) and edited your words, sig, conversations, etc.