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Forum Rules


Updated: 09 May 2021 (v2.09)


Japan Reference (JREF) is a place to exchange information and ideas, post pictures, and chit-chat on all things Japanese. Japan Reference is frequented by people from all over the world, coming from all walks of life and each having their own opinions and impressions. In order to keep the JREF community vibrant and harmonious, it is imperative that all our members respect and follow our forum rules and standards.

Japan Reference (JREF) uses an automated infraction system, in which each violation results in infraction points assigned to each user for a specific amount of time. Infraction points are cumulative, the total of infraction points depends on the severity of a user's action. Read more on the infraction system under Section XV below.

I. Mutual respect

The Japan Forum is built on mutual respect. We encourage controversial discussion as long as you show respect to other members as well as their views and opinions, even if you disagree with them. Avoid flaming and other offensive, profane or hostile behaviour. Do not engage in personal attacks and insults. If you feel a discussion is getting out of hand or that you have been attacked, contact a Team member by using the report button or by starting a Private Conversation (PC).

I.1 Display of courtesy

Our members and staff go to great lengths to answer questions and support requests. As a matter of general courtesy and basic "netiquette," we ask posters to acknowledge their efforts by either replying to their thread in a timely fashion or by expressing their gratitude with a "like". While the absence of such civility is deplorable, it will not result in an infraction. Be advised however that any future requests by members deemed discourteous and/or uncooperative may simply be ignored.

II. New members

Welcome new members to the community! Help them learn how to find information and resources, so they will get involved in the community much faster and easier. Do not just point them to the search function or a search engine, but offer them constructive assistance and helpful links.


III. Language

General discussions and questions should be in English. Questions about Japanese language as well as Japanese discussions should be posted to our Japanese fora in either Japanese or English. Threads in other languages can be posted to a dedicated subforum.

Pay reasonable attention to written English communication standards. This includes the use of proper grammatical structure, punctuation, capitalization, spacing, and spelling. In particular, "I" should be capitalized, add a space after - not before - a comma, a period, and other punctuation. Multiple exclamation marks as well as "shouting" (the usage of capitalised characters aka "CAPS lock" - all-CAPS) are also discouraged. SMS messaging shorthand ("text-message-speak"), such as using "u" for "you", "plz" for "please", "gonna" for "going to" or "wanna" for "want to" is not acceptable.

IV. Profanity and trolling

Please avoid explicit, obscene or vulgar language, imagery or behaviour. Forum posts containing profanity will be removed without notice.

We do not allow links to websites with pornographic, nudist, racist, hateful or other inappropriate or offensive content as well as links to pirated software ("warez").

Posting of inflammatory messages with the sole purpose of starting an argument ("trolling") is not allowed. We encourage our users not to respond to such messages, but to report them to Team members.

All images posted to the forum, the media gallery, and all other sections must be family and work safe. Sexual or graphic imagery or content considered risqué is not allowed.

V. Off-topic posts, thread hijacking and reopening locked threads

Avoid posting messages that are out of context or irrelevant to a topic. While we encourage your participation in discussions, such posts will either be moved to another forum or deleted in order to ensure a thread's consistency. If you do want to write a post relating to another topic, please start a new thread in an appropriate subforum.

Do not re-post comments from a locked thread without explicit permission of a Team member.

Nonsensical posts, gibberish and other gratuitous posts without content will be removed without notice.

VI. Duplicate posts and thread bumping

Do not post the same message more than once in a forum or on many forum sections. Duplicate posts will be deleted without warning. Reposting the same message repeatedly can be interpreted as spam and could result in receiving an infraction and in the worst case the loss of your membership.

VII. Post ownership, account and post deletion

Posts are considered the opinion of the poster and are not necessarily endorsed or approved by Japan Reference (JREF). When posting to the Japan Forum, you grant perpetual non-exclusive rights to Japan Reference (JREF) to republish, in any form, the posted material.

Please note that we do not delete accounts, posts and/or threads unless they violate our Forum Rules or Terms of Service.

VII.1 License of user-provided content

  • You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services provided by Japan Reference (JREF). By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Japan Reference (JREF) a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Japan Reference (JREF) to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in site rules.
  • You understand that Japan Reference (JREF), in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Japan Reference (JREF) to take these actions, e.g. Content may be re-factored for various browsers or mobile devices.
  • You confirm and warrant to Japan Reference (JREF) that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.

VIII. Copyrighted material

When copying or quoting external resources, a link to the original website must be provided for any copyrighted materials or articles taken from a resource other than Japan Reference (JREF).

Copyright infringement is illegal. Japan Reference (JREF) will adhere to the law to the best of its ability. Never post an article in its entirety. When posting copyrighted material, please use small sections or link to the article. When posting copyrighted material please give credit to the author in your post.

IX. Advertising and solicitation

Solicitation for commercial and charity-based organizations of any kind, without the written consent of Japan Reference (JREF), is strictly forbidden. Any solicitation activity through user-controlled content including, but not limited to user names, signatures, member profiles, and posts is strictly forbidden. This includes the posting of referral links ("affiliate programs").

Any violation of this rule will result in a permanent ban without warning. Content relating to commercial or charity-based organizations is only allowed when posting a legitimate reply to a question provided the user has no affiliation to the organization.

Non-commercial advertising is only allowed in specific fora. Self-promotion and advertising in other forum sections will be removed. We consider such unrelated messages as spam and will revoke your membership without prior announcement.

Please contact us prior to promoting your website, blog or a free application.

X. Religious and political topics, proselytizing

While we do encourage the discussion of political and religious topics on the Japan Forum, political campaigning and religious proselytizing of any sort, creed or religion will not be tolerated. Political and religious topics should be confined to the Member Lounge unless they are related to Japan.

Discussions that assert the a priori truth or falsity of religious dogmas and belief systems, or value judgments stemming from such religious belief systems, will not be tolerated.

XI. Multiple accounts and disposable email

We do not permit multiple accounts. If you want to change your user name please contact one of the administrators. In addition, we do not allow the use of disposable email accounts and will disable accounts of users employing them.

XII. Torrents and file sharing

Japan Reference (JREF) does not permit posting hyperlinks to torrents, MP3s, or any other file-sharing services due to the sensitive nature of copyright protection. You are not allowed to request these kind of files from other users.

XIII. Signatures and avatars

Signature permissions vary depending on the user group: the number of printable characters, lines, hyperlinks and images is restricted. Please note that the general rules for appropriate content also apply to the signature. Graphics and/or hyperlinks to commercial or charity-based organizations, without the written consent of Japan Reference (JREF), are forbidden. Find more details on signature permissions here.

Do not use URL shortening services in your signatures.

Offensive and otherwise inappropriate avatars (see Section IV, Profanity) will be removed without further warning. Repeated violation will result in the members' inability to set their own avatar.

XIV. Personal information and cookies

Japan Reference (JREF) collects personal information including your email address and your IP address for all activity. This information will not be sold or rented to any third party entity. The forum software uses cookies to track certain information including read posts and fora. They are also used, at your option, to automatically log you into the software. In order to protect you all email addresses are verified before registration is finalized. For more information please refer to our our cookie usage and our Privacy Statement.

XV. Infraction system

The number of infraction points depends on the severity of an action. They are cumulative and assigned for a specific period of time. The Team members alone shall be the sole arbitrator of what constitutes a violation of forum rules and community standards. Failure to comply will result in actions ranging from issuing one or multiple warnings, to a permanent ban without warning from the site. Moderation decisions are not subject to discussion on the publicly accessible fora and subfora.

The guidelines the Team members follow are noted below:

  • 3 points: 1 day ban
  • 5 points: 1 week ban
  • 9 points: 1 month ban
  • 10+ points: permanent ban

Catalogue of forum rules and community standards:

  • Personal attacks and/or insults (Sections I, 3): 2 points for 10 days
  • Trolling (Section IV): 3 points for 15 days
  • Inappropriate content (Section IV): 5 points for 1 month
  • Spam, unauthorized advertising and solicitation (Section IX): permanent ban
  • Duplicate posts, thread bumping (Section VI): 1 point for 5 days
  • Quoting external resources without giving credit (Section VIII): 1 point for 10 days
  • Signature or avatar violation (Section XIII): 1 point for 10 days
  • Nonsense and gibberish (Section V): 1 point for 10 days
  • Poor syntax, lacking punctuation or shouting (Section III): 1 point for 5 days
  • Disrespectful behaviour towards a Team member, ignoring warning: 3 points for 15 days

XV.1 Appeals:

If you feel that you have been unfairly warned or banned from the site, contact the Team either through Private Conversation (PC) or through the Contact Us form on the site. Under no circumstances discuss moderation warnings and decisions in public. Such attempts will be regarded as trolling attempts, and will result in further actions. The moderation team will review the decision and inform the member in case it has been overturned.

XVI. JREF Team members

Neither Japan Reference (JREF) nor the administrators of the Japan Forum can be held responsible for the behaviour of any Team member of the Japan Forum, or any dispute among or between a Team member and any other member. Team members are not employed by Japan Reference (JREF) and have no legal affiliation with Japan Reference (JREF). Team members are considered as equal to any other forum member, and are only distinguished by their capacity to help moderate the Japan Forum according to their own judgement and availability. Please note that Team members are in no position to monitor all posts at the Japan Forum, and that the compliance with our Terms of Service as well as our Forum Rules is up to each Team member's judgement, without any liability to the administrators.

XVII. Disclaimer

Japan Reference (JREF) reserves the right to organize forum sections in order to best serve the majority of members. Furthermore, we reserve the right to remove unrelated posts as well as posts that violate the Forum Rules. Ultimately, we reserve the right to revoke your membership if you violate these Rules. Finally, the section headings used herein, including descriptive summary sentences at the start of each section, are for convenience only and shall not affect the interpretation of the Forum Rules.

Please consult our global Terms of Service and Privacy Statement, too.

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