Rules

Last updated February 19, 2016.

Tech Support Guy Rules

The following rules are guidelines for using the Tech Support Guy web site. Our goal is to provide useful technical support in a congenial atmosphere, which is the ultimate guideline we will use when evaluating the conduct of any member. The administration, at its discretion, has final say as to the specific action to be taken, if any, for violations of rules. Further, the administration reserves the right to close or delete any thread, post, signature, or other content that it deems unacceptable for any reason, regardless of whether such content violates a specific rule. Note that the use of this site and any information contained within it indicates your acceptance of our terms of service. If you have any questions, email [email protected].

No illegal activity. Be family-friendly.

General Posting Guidelines

Read the Stickies

Prior to posting in any particular forum, please read the sticky thread(s) that are at the top of that forum. There are helpful suggestions, additional rules/guidelines that can save you valuable waiting time and minimize confusion/misunderstandings.

Be Polite & Don't Abbreviate

We also ask that everyone use proper forum etiquette when posting. This means that you should always be polite and respectful of others and profanity is never appropriate in any shape or form (even if alternate symbols are used in its place). This would also include refraining from using what's commonly referred to as "chat/text speak" (typing "u" instead of "you" or "r" instead of "are", for example) as this can lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Furthermore, to make posts easier to read and understand, please use proper punctuation and capitalization, separate large blocks of text into several smaller paragraphs, limit the use of abbreviations and acronyms as many users are not familiar with them (when in doubt, spell it out) and do not use excessive formatting or type your message in all capital letters as this is considered shouting on the internet.

Link to Articles

It is illegal to post copyrighted articles in their entirety. Therefore, do not post full articles. You may quote a small section of an article as long as you also provide a link to the source. Any such excerpts from articles quoted and linked to be wrapped in quote tags to avoid confusion as to authorship.

Report Problems - Don't Join Them

Should you find a post objectionable and/or offensive or if you have an issue with another member, first and foremost use the report button. This alerts the administration to review the report and take any action that may be deemed necessary. Please refrain from addressing the post in the thread or continue with any inflammatory posting. That generally only serves to make matters worse by inciting retaliation and escalating the situation. Please be sure not to abuse the report button by overusing it or making unfounded and/or frivolous reports.


Requesting & Providing Support

When Asking a Question:

  • Please provide as much detail about your computer or issue as possible. If possible, include error messages word-for-word.
  • It is recommended that you download and run the TSG SysInfo Utility and include the log produced in your post.
  • It is our policy not to assist members with homework-related questions. While the Internet is indeed a great resource for helping students with their assignments, we feel that an important part of the learning process involves putting in the effort required to do the research needed to find the solution. Providing students with the answers does nothing to help them actually understand the assignment or develop valuable problem-solving skills.

When Providing Help:

  • Be sure to read the issue carefully so that you fully understand it and only post if you have a viable suggestion or solution. Replying only to say that you don't know or don't use that particular product is irrelevant and may warrant a warning or infraction.
  • Please refrain from making suggestions that are not relevant to the question asked. For instance, if someone asks for assistance with their browser please don't reply only to say that you don't use that one and suggest that they should use another as that doesn't address their issue. If you are actually helping with their issue then its fine to suggest that they might want to try a different browser but not as the sole recommendation.
  • Please do not recommend running registry cleaners and/or system optimizers. The staff at Tech Support Guy generally recommend that registry "cleaners" not be used because many of the "errors" shown in scan results are actually incorrect or "false" detections and "fixing" them may cause serious problems. Some resulting issues can appear immediately while others may only become evident months or even years later when you discover that you can't uninstall a program or software you haven't used for a while doesn't work properly. Furthermore, fixing any "real" errors or attempting to optimize the system by tweaking it won't result in any significant gains in space on the hard drive and/or performance so it's best to simply avoid using these types of programs.

Keep Support in the Forums

For the safety of our members, we must require that all technical support take place in the forums and not allow assistance be given via email or private message. This offers the opportunity for peer-review with the hope that any potential harmful advice can be corrected. Having problems and solutions publicly visible may also help someone in the future who is experiencing the same issue(s). If you're looking for live support, there are other (paid) sites that provide that service. Also, due to the risks involved, we also do not allow live remote control of computers by our volunteers.


Infractions & Points

If any of the outlined rules are broken, a moderator may add an infraction against that user's account. Each infraction will add points to the offending user's account. The number of points per offense will vary depending on its severity, previous warnings, and the user's intent. Most points will expire automatically after 6 months. More serious offenses may include points that last longer. The most serious offenses carry enough points to cause an immediate permanent ban.

1 Point, Expires in 6 Months

  • Circumventing Company/School/Parental or Other Restrictions (read more)
    Because we are unable to verify the actual situation or intent, no assistance will be provided to those trying to circumvent Internet filters or similar restrictions and any such threads will be closed. Furthermore, we will not assist with violating the "Terms of Service" of any product, service or web site. Unfortunately, it is against Google's Terms of Service to download videos from YouTube. They have contacted us directly to request that we do not support with downloading videos from YouTube. Any posts with instructions or information about how to violate Terms of Service will be closed or removed.
  • Forum Flooding (read more)
    (Applies only to Community Forums, not to technical forums.) While we do not want to discourage members from participating in discussions, to be fair to all members we must limit the number of new threads and posts created by the same member to prevent "forum flooding." As a rule of thumb, you should strive to limit starting new threads on average to no more than 3 or 4 new threads per week. You should also try to avoid replying excessively to the same thread when no other member is participating in the discussion. We will enforce the "spirit" rather than the "letter" of the rule. As an example, you may want to post 6 good threads in a week and only one or two the next week. Please be considerate of other members when deciding to start a new thread. Do a search of threads that already exist—chances are you will find one that covers your "new" topic.
  • Irrelevant/Inflammatory Content (read more)
    While we certainly don't discourage productive and useful debate relating to the particular topic at issue, posts that are made for the purpose of arguing or debating, in a nonproductive or inflammatory manner, an irrelevant or ancillary issue with either the topic starter or another poster are not permitted.
  • Misuse of BB Code / Formatting (read more)
    Over-use or misuse of BB Codes / Formatting may be held as an offense at moderators' discretion. This would include particularly annoying, large, flashing, or otherwise unnecessary over-use of such special features.
  • Multiple Postings (read more)
    It is simply not acceptable to post your question more than once, or to post it in more than one forum. Choose the forum that your question or post best fits in, and place it there and only there. If, after posting, you feel it should be in another forum, use the "Report Thread" button at the bottom of the post and we'll move it. We also reserve the right to move posts to other forums and delete duplicates.
  • P2P and File Sharing (read more)
    We do not support P2P file sharing applications or web sites where the aim or much of the content is illegally shared copyrighted music, videos, or other files. This includes torrents, Kazaa, LimeWire, RapidShare, Pirate Bay, and the like. Any threads requesting help for such will be closed. Obviously, this does not include legitimate sites like YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Metacafe, etc, that have a strong content policing policy. If you're interested in the topic of P2P, you are free to discuss it on our site, but information on how to use these services will not be provided.
  • Bypassing Passwords (read more)
    Please do not ask for assistance with (or ways to bypass) a forgotten or unknown password, personal identification number (PIN) or any other type of access code that may be required on a computer, mobile device or web site. As there is no way to verify the actual situation or intent, no assistance will be provided and any such threads will be closed.
  • Profanity (read more)
    Tech Support Guy was designed to be a community of people who can help one-another, and should be completely free of any profanity and vulgar language. There is absolutely no excuse for being rude to a user. Uncivilized and offensive language (especially cursing of any sort), images, or anything else, used anywhere on the board (including your user name) is completely unacceptable.
  • Unauthorized Malware Removal (read more)

    Anyone can ask another member to run online anti-virus scans, SuperAntiSpyware, MalwareBytes and/or AdwCleaner in an effort to help them with malware that's considered a minor nuisance such as popups, adware and redirects. Should these initial scans not fix the issue or they appear to have worked but the user returns with the same type of problem then the member who tried to help is expected to click on the Report button to request that the thread be moved to the Virus & Other Malware Removal forum. Regular members are not permitted to use more invasive tools such as FRST, ComboFix, OTL, etc. which are restricted for use by Malware Specialists or Trainees only.

    For more serious matters, in order to ensure that advice given to users is consistent and of the highest quality, those who wish to assist with malware removal must first graduate from one of the training universities or be approved by the administration as already being qualified. Those currently authorized to help with malware removal have the title of either Malware Specialist or Malware Trainee in a banner below their username.

2 Points, Expires in 6 Months

  • Copyright Infringement and/or Use of Pirated Software (read more)
    While we believe it's reasonable to make backup copies of CDs and DVDs that you own, a lot of people break copy protection for the wrong reasons. The law is still vague as to whether or not it's legal to break copy protection in order to make such a backup, even for personal use. (The DMCA, for example, seems to make it illegal). Because we do not support pirated software, we may request that you provide validation to confirm that your copy of Windows or other software is not pirated. If you are unable or unwilling to provide this validation, your thread may be closed.
  • Spam / Advertising (read more)
    You cannot post advertisements of any sort in any forum. This includes products, services, or web sites from which you'd directly or indirectly benefit in any way.

    Exceptions at the discretion of the moderators:

    1. Unaffiliated Announcements - If you see a great deal somewhere, you're welcome to share it with everyone by posting it in the "Tech Tips and Reviews" forum if and only if you are completely unaffiliated with that deal.
    2. Signatures - When posting a useful response, you may include your own web page (or that of your company) in the signature of your message. However, this does not precede other rules. (That is to say that you can't misuse vB Code in your link, provide links to naughty web sites, etc.)
  • WiFi "Piggybacking" / "Wardriving" (read more)
    We do not support the act of using someone else's Internet without permission. Also, please note that almost every ISP prohibits sharing your Internet connection with another home, and we will not assist you in breaking their rules.

5 Points, Expires in 12 Months

  • Offensive Reference/Text/Images in Signature (read more)
    Information provided in your Signature should not be offensive or derogatory in general or to any member specifically, such as attributing a quote to a member. If you are going to refer to or quote a member specifically, you should obtain the member's permission before so doing.
  • Multiple Accounts (read more)
    Users are not permitted to maintain multiple accounts, as it may mislead or cause confusion to other users. Some exceptions may be made.

7 Points, Expires in 12 Months

  • Illegal Activity (read more)
    As you might expect, we don't want anything illegal going on here. Users cannot post hacks, cracks, pirated software, or anything of the like. Furthermore, we do not allow instructions on how to complete illegal activities, such as pirating. Please don't ask for advice on using illegal software.

7+ Points, Never Expires

  • Impersonation (read more)
    This applies when administration suspects a user of misrepresenting their identity, whether to the web site in general, or to another user.
  • Hacking/Interference (read more)
    This is the deliberate use of any device, software, routine, or activity to achieve or attempt to achieve any interference with the proper operation of the site, as determined by the administration.
  • Threats/Harassment (read more)
    This would be threats of bodily harm or other harassment from a user, whether by email, private message, or on the forum, as determined by the administration.
  • Intentionally Harmful Advice (read more)
    This is a place to solve problems, not cause them. This offense applies when administration suspects that a user has intentionally posted harmful advice. For example, don't tell a user to type "FORMAT C:" in order to send an email.

Actions by Points

  • 3 Points = 1 Day Temporary Ban
  • 5 Points = 3 Day Temporary Ban
  • 7 Points = 7 Day Temporary Ban
  • 9 Points = Permanent Ban

Appealing a Decision & Contacting Administrators

We are always open to new ideas and suggestions. Please feel free to post any in the Site Comments and Suggestions forum, or contact a Moderator or Administrator privately (if you prefer). However, keep in mind that Site Comments and Suggestions, or any other forum for that matter, is not a place for members to complain or argue about actions taken by the moderators. Should you have any grievances or concerns that you wish to express then you are expected to follow the outlined procedure below:

If you don't agree with the action taken (or not taken) after reporting an incident then contact a Moderator privately for further discussion. If the matter in question involves a Moderator then contact another Moderator. Please allow 24 hours for them to respond. Following that, should you require further clarification then contact one of the site Administrators, Cookiegal or LauraMJ. Finally, if you're still not satisfied with the explanations given then, as a last resort, contact the site owner (TechGuy) whose decision is final.

Moderators and Administrators are not obligated to explain or justify any actions or decisions imposed, although they do generally post the reason for any such action in the thread in question as a courtesy and to avoid any confusion.

Under no circumstances shall any action, decision or rule change made by the administration (Moderators and/or Administrators) be discussed, argued or criticized in the forums. Any such posts or threads will be promptly deleted without notice.

Any disparaging or disrespectful remarks regarding this site and/or its Moderators, Administrators, rules and/or actions taken will not be tolerated in order to preserve the integrity and mutual respect within the community that we all enjoy.

Failure to comply with any of these guidelines may result in a warning, infraction, or ban from the site, at the discretion of the administration.