This page describes the official rules of eCritters. These rules are strictly enforced, and punishment will be issued to anyone who violates them.
There are two main forms of punishment around here: warning and freezing. Small rule violations are typically given warnings, while larger ones lead to immediate freezing.
Warnings are exactly what they sound like: a staff member will eeMail you explaining what you did wrong, and asking that you not do it again. After you've received many warnings—the exact number depends on the type of warning involved, but is typically somewhere between two and four—any further rule violation, however small, may lead to a freezing.
Freezing is the ultimate punishment on eCritters. When a user is frozen, their account (and everything inside the account, like pets, eem, and items) is permanently disabled. If additional accounts belonging to the same user are found, they are frozen too: users—not accounts—break rules.
Freezing isn't a part of the game; there are no cartoon police men shown to frozen users. A typical user here is never frozen, and the eCritters staff doesn't make jokes about unfairly frozen users, because it's too rare of an event to be funny (and also because we take freezing very seriously).
Here is a list of unacceptable behavior which will be punished:
Spam is a word used to describe annoyingly unnecessary messages on the forums and in eeMail. There are too many different types of spam to list all of them here, but the most common are as follows:
- Forum messages which contribute nothing to the discussion, especially when they contain nothing but a smiley or a word like "lol".
- Sending or posting the same message multiple times. For example, posting the same thread in two forums. (We know that post buttons can be hit twice by accident, and there will be no punishment in cases like that.)
- Posting a message in the wrong forum. This is most serious when an advertisement is posted in the wrong forum.
- eeMailing an advertisement to a user who never asked to receive it.
- eeMailing or posting chain letters. Believe it or not, this applies even if the chain letter claims not to be one.
Spam is typically handled with a warning, but very serious spam attacks (like flooding a forum or eeMail box with an extreme number of useless messages) will result in a frozen account.
Threatening other users is a very serious offense, and will be dealt with accordingly. Threats are only allowed when they consist only of actions which you are allowed to do (by these rules on-site, by morality off-site); so, for instance, threatening to pelt a user or boycott their goods (real-world or in-game) is allowed, but threatening to kill them or steal their items isn't. Joking threats are also allowed, but don't try to use that as an excuse for a real threat, because it won't work.
Tricking other users into doing something they didn't mean to is called scamming. Examples include fake items in shops, links which buy an item the user didn't intend to (they don't work, but the intent is still there), and fake login forms. Anyone caught scamming will be frozen without warning.
Contrary to popular belief, pricing an item unreasonably is not considered a scam unless the shop owner claims that the item is actually worth that much.
- Unauthorized account access
Using another user's account without their consent is one of the most serious crimes on eCritters. Anyone caught doing so will be immediately frozen. In some cases, we may even contact the criminal's Internet service provider, or their local police.
Posting obscene content on the forums, or eeMailing it to a user who didn't request it, will result in a freezing. Our standards of obscenity are a bit different from the general population: a post with curse words or sexual references in it is not considered obscene here. Pornographic content is the most common form of obscenity that we do recognize.
- Bug exploitation
Using unintended behavior (bugs) in the site's code to your own advantage, or another user's disadvantage, is not allowed. If you find a bug (either accidentally or by looking for it), you must not trigger it again. We would also appreciate it if you let us know about any bugs you find, but that's not a requirement.
- Insomniac Puzzles and Crittanian Trivia cheating
Cheating at Insomniac Puzzles or Crittanian Trivia by getting the answer from someone else ruins the game for everyone. Anyone caught asking for answers or hints or giving another user answers or hints will be frozen immediately without warning.
- Abuse of multiple accounts
Multiple accounts are allowed on eCritters, but they may not be abused to play games like Random Eem, Dice, Lottery, Insomniac Puzzles, or Crittanian Trivia more often than would otherwise be possible. If you were allowed to play those games an unlimited number of times, we would allow it on one account; the limit exists for the benefit of the economy.
Violating this rule affects the eCritters economy very seriously, which ruins the game for everyone. Therefore, anyone caught cheating in this manner will be immediately frozen.
- Art theft
Using someone else's art without their permission is art theft, and is a violation of copyright law in the United States and many other countries. Most cases of art theft result in a freezing, but warnings are sometimes issued in very mild cases.
In addition to all of the rules you just read, please follow common sense. We can't list every possible bad behavior here, so even though staff-murder isn't mentioned in the rules, you won't be let off the hook if we catch you trying to murder staff members.