The One Stop Rules Shop

Who needs it, who got it, who hands it out and why.
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The One Stop Rules Shop

Postby [violet] » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:42 pm

Collected here for your amusement and amazement are summaries of most of the rules and conditions of NationStates, as set by Max Barry, and site Administrators, [violet], and SalusaSecondus, with precedents from Moderators past, present, and future. The core precepts for all rules in both game and forums can be found in the NationStates Terms of Service (TOS) ( and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (

Please be aware that the following rules are not set in stone. Each case is different, and may be subject to conditions not readily apparent to the regular player. Consideration is given not just to the specific offense, but also the nation's (and in some cases, the player's) prior actions and infractions. Also, new rules may be added as circumstances dictate, and Max and the Admins may invoke special rulings as they see a need. Previous rule set here.

Table of Contents


Acceptable Flag Policy
Adult-Only Content
Appeals Process
Bad Faith
Banned Topics
Class Regions
Customizable Field Violations
English Language
Exceptional Circumstances
Forbidden Links/Warez Requests
Garish Posts
Illegal Activities
Malicious Content
Mods as a Weapon
Nation Hijacking
Posting Past a ban/Lock
Privacy violation
Puppet Flooding
Regional passwords
Restoration of Deleted Nations
Script Rules
Selling Nationstates accounts
Sharing Accounts
Thread Hijacking
WA Multiing
Last edited by Sedgistan on Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:25 am, edited 22 times in total.

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Postby [violet] » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:42 pm

How do Moderators moderate?

* For a list of active moderators, see here.

Moderators consider a number of points when coming to a judgement.
1. What rule was broken (Flaming, spamming, trolling)?
2. How was it broken and how badly?
3. What is the history of the poster in question? Is this an older member who has never received a warning? A brand new member who came in guns a blazing? Someone who has had multiple warnings?
4. What was the context of the post in question? Was the player baited into it? Is this two players who have been arguing with each other across the forum?

The same offense may receive a harsher punishment if the poster has a history of rulebreaking and a lighter one if the poster has a reputation for good behaviour; in general, offenses are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Note on Mod Actions: All Mod actions are recorded for Moderator record keeping and can be requested by asking in Moderation or through the Getting Help page. If a player feels that a Mod action was unjustified or too harsh, they may appeal using the appeals process.

    Warning Levels: An official warning or forumban (*** Red text ***) will cause your warning level to go up. Your warning level can be checked through the User Control Panel. The level goes down after a few months, though the record will remain for Moderator use. Bear in mind that your warning level is forum-side warnings only. There is no magic "warning number" that triggers a ban or deletion, Moderators judge based on a player's history as well as the rule being broken and how.

Can Moderators play too?
Yes, Moderators are all chosen from among the players and they are allowed to participate in RPs, debate in General, play games in F7, and propose legislation in the WA. Moderators are welcome to express their political, religious, and social opinions when appropriate. What a Mod cannot do is use his or her position as a Mod in the game to attempt to get ahead as it were. For example, a Mod cannot say, “Don’t argue with my opinion or I’ll ban you” in a debate in General, when not acting as a Mod.

    Special Instances: Mods may be occasionally accused of breaking various forum or game rules. These will be dealt with in the usual fashion, and the Mod accused will not be permitted to contribute to the ruling. Accusations of mods abusing their powers should be reported the Getting Help page, where our admins will be notified of the report. Please note that such accusations are treated very seriously and the administrators are less patient than we are, so do not make frivolous or unfounded complaints.

What are the various types of Moderators?
For a quick and easy reference, check out the thread with all the details in Moderation listing Information and contact emails.

How do I know when a Moderator is acting as one?
Usually official Moderator Actions are rather noticeable. Using the *** warning text *** for example, drawing attention with colored text, or attaching a Moderator Signature. When in doubt though, ask.

Can a Moderator act as a Moderator in a thread that they are in?
Yes and no. A Mod will not rule on a person they are in a forum/game conflict with (such as an RP conflict or a debate in General) unless the action is one where speed is needed (Such as posting graphic images). However, if a Moderator sees other posters breaking the rules, they are free to act as they see fit. Mods can also perform ‘bookkeeping’ tasks such as editing posts to repair bad code or splitting threads.

Do Moderators have to be on all the time? Are they on shifts?
No, Mods come on when they have time. Remember that Mods are unpaid volunteers, and do have things that require attention outside the forums. This is not a complaint, simply a statement of fact.

Do Moderators have to monitor each thread and post?
No, there are far too many posts for that and not enough Moderators. Mods rely on players making reports in Moderation.

Can Moderators moderate a thread in which they have bias?
Yes and no. Mods might be active as Mods in a thread where they would seem to have a conflict of interest. That said, Mods usually do not moderate in threads or situations where they feel their judgment is not neutral or there would be an appearance of bias.

Note on Mod Oppression and Mod Bias: NationStates moderation is based on acting against rule-breaking in the games and the forums. Political opinions do not factor into official decisions by moderators. We make our rulings and interpretations as official representatives of NationStates, and are acting in the name of Max Barry. Our only agenda is RULES ENFORCEMENT. All viewpoints are acceptable so long as they are argued within the rules.

Privacy: While anyone can request moderator intervention, certain aspects of moderation decisions are not discussed with players due to concerns over privacy and security. Moderators cannot and will not give out email addresses, IP addresses, passwords, or other personal details about players or nations, regardless of who is asking. This is for your protection as much as it is for ours. Because of this, some cases may be resolved with no visible effect: i.e. If a WA multi-scan is requested and comes back negative, there is no need for anybody beyond the mods to know. If you forgot your password and didn't supply an email, we have absolutely no way to know that the nation is in fact yours. The security of your nation is ultimately your business, not ours.

Jurisdiction: Moderators are responsible for the NationStates site. We have no jurisdiction over any third-party sites, forums, or groups, and cannot guarantee their content. Where Moderators participate in off-site groups, they do not act in an official NationStates capacity. Actions that take place outside NationStates should be reported to the administrators of that site or to law enforcement. They may additionally be reported to NationStates via a Getting Help Request, but we will not take action except in the extraordinary case that a user is judged to pose an unacceptable ongoing risk to users of the NationStates site or the site itself. Please don't bring non-NationStates business to the NationStates forums or the Getting Help page.

Updated jurisdiction 2017/11/27 -NERV
Fixed typo in "Jurisdiction." - Kyru, AUG 20 2018
Last edited by Ransium on Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:55 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Reason: typo fix

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Postby [violet] » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:42 pm

General Guidelines

1) Keep it PG-13. The standard for both the forums and game is the US movie rating "PG-13". Mild swearing may be tolerated, mild sexuality may be hinted, but explicit or excessive versions of either or both may result in proportional mod response. See the Adult-Only Content rule below for further information on how this applies to the site.

2) Keep it Civil. While being abrasive, mean-spirited, and mean are not against the rules, they do make you much harder to get along with and will be considered as aggravating circumstances, whether intentionally or not. Someone who's generally decent but has an off day is always going to get cut more slack than someone no one likes to be around. Additionally, if someone's being decent, it's really hard for that person to do something that will get them in trouble. When in doubt, a simple guideline is 'Don't Be A Dick'. Thanks, Scolo.

3) No rules lawyering. The intent of a post (while sometimes hard to judge), is a very important factor when determining whether or not it is actionable. The Moderation team does its best to interpret it. Agreeing or disagreeing with a moderation decision at whatever length you wish is perfectly within the rules, so long as it is done tactfully and civilly. Please see the Appeals Process (listed below) for further information.

That said, moderator decisions are not to be taken in bad faith. For instance, if something is ruled to be acceptable, don't turn around and use that ruling to bait another player (e.g. "In this case, I don't think Player 2 intended to be malicious when he described Player 1 as a 'maladjusted rapscallion.'" "Okay. Hey, Player 2! You're a maladjusted rapscallion! Moderator 3 said it's okay to call people that!"). This will never end well for you and it's best to simply leave things be; if you are doing so in an attempt to demonstrate that a moderator decision is wrong, simply file an appeal.

4) Thread Ownership. It's accepted that in the RP forums (Nationstates, International Incidents, NS Sports, Portal To The Multiverse, Global Economics and Trade, Factbooks and National Information) have what's become know as 'thread ownership', giving creators the opportunity to maintain more control over their RP situations and environments. Whereas discussion forums (General, Arts and Fiction), given their nature, are not given that consideration, to avoid the dismissal of opposing views. We reserve the right to split out posts from threads in special circumstances where the player or players are breaking rules.

Reporting Guidelines

Forum-side violations are to be reported in the Moderation Forum. All other violations are to be reported using the Getting Help Page. The GHP may also be used in any instance in which you would prefer your privacy to remain intact, and is our preferred method of receiving player reports as it allows for better bookkeeping. You can link to individual telegrams and RMB posts by clicking on the timestamp ("2 hours ago") and then copying the URL or by clicking the Report link in the lower-right hand corner of your screen.

Most importantly, in-game violations should be reported to the Getting Help Page while forum violations should be reported via the Moderation Forum.

Forbidden Actions

Adult-Only Content: content that is suitable only for adults is prohibited from being posted to the site. This includes both text and images anywhere across the site, including the forums, RMB posts, dispatches, and telegrams. We use the US movie rating "PG-13" as a standard to judge what content fits within this rule. Key components are:
  • Violence - depictions of violence are permitted, particularly in text, but that which is extreme, persistent or gory is not acceptable.
  • Language - mild swearing is tolerated, but extreme or excessive amounts is not allowed. Note that swearing directed at other site users or groups is likely to cross over into Flaming or Trolling.
  • Sex - mild sexuality may be hinted at, but explicit content is prohibited, as well as all forms of erotic roleplaying and cybering.
  • Nudity - depictions of a sexual/erotic intent or nature are not permitted, whether in text or images.
  • Substances - the PG-13 standard typically prohibits depiction of drug use. While we do not do so, please bear in mind our policy on promotion of Illegal Activities.
Please note that nation names and custom fields (e.g. motto, animal, currency) are held to a higher standard. Please see also the Banned Topics section for further relevant information.

Advertisements: Advertising sites unrelated to NationStates is not permitted. If you really want an ad, contact the Admins, and purchase banner space. Advertisements for websites/forums directly related to Nationstates are allowed.

Bad Faith: It is expected that players post with the intent of making the site a better, more enjoyable place to be - this is good faith posting. Bad faith posting is when a person is no longer interested in this goal, and instead seeks to score points, contributes nothing useful, or is deceitful.

This standard is enforced in the Moderation forum by default as well as Got Issues, and may be declared as applicable by the Moderation Team in other threads elsewhere when said threads involve policy discussions, mechanics discussions, discussions of potential additions/modifications to the game or forum, or other pertinent announcements. These threads, like Moderation "discussion threads," are meant to gauge the opinions of the community and otherwise help better player experience; posting in bad faith in such is detrimental to this process.

Where this rule is enforced, posts that violate this standard will be removed from the thread to the "Evidence Locker", so the removal can be reviewed by other Moderators if necessary. Players will not be otherwise punished for posting in Bad Faith; however, please note that repeated Bad Faith posting may cross over into spam, flaming or trolling.

Class Regions: Class regions are special regions that exist for educational purposes. Unless you are an invited member of that class, you should not move to a class region.

Commercialism: NS may not be used to promote products or services, with the exception of free products or services directly related to the site, such as a Discord channel for region members. Players may not post offers or requests of NS Store purchases or other cash-equivalent items in exchange for anything, including for joining or remaining resident in a region. For more information, see here.

Customizable Field Violations: Using offensive terms and language in a nation's motto, currency, national animal, demonym and/or national title. Also applies to using offensive and/or pornographic imagery in a national flag or banner (For more information on this decision, go here). Note that malicious use of any human or racial terms as national animals is expressly forbidden.

*Ex-Nation Flag - Don't use it. It's a moderation tool, and is meant solely to designate ex-nations.
*Commend/Condemn icons - only the WA gets to hand these out. Don't use them.
*Game Moderator/Forum Moderator/Administrator/Issues Editor/Roleplay Mentor badges - don't use them. See "Impersonating a moderator" below.
*Animated flags are subject to removal as well if they're overly flashy or disruptive to the eyes.

English Language: NationStates is an English language website. We ask that posts on the official forums be made in English, outside of the dedicated specific language threads in the General forum. We do not normally enforce an English language requirement on other areas of the site (e.g. Regional Message Boards), with the exception of all communication with site staff, which must be made in English.

Flame/Threats: Personal attacks against other players, expressed via OOC (out-of-character) comments; insults, swearing and anything posted with intent to offend. In-character remarks can be interpreted this way as well; watch what you post if other posters are unaware you're not serious. Erudite slams while maintaining a veneer of politeness can also be considered flaming. Repeated instances of flaming directed at the same player can be considered harassment, a more serious offense.

Flamebaiting: Posts that are made with the aim of angering someone indirectly. Not outright flame, but still liable to bring angry replies. Flame baiting is a far more subtle and covert action; it is an underhanded tactic that is designed to provoke a response from another player. It's in the same context of trolling but with flamebaiting it's just the one person. Also included under flamebaiting is malicious quote editing, changing the contents of a quoted post without showing the original text, either through color changes or strike-out.

Forbidden Links/Warez Requests: Referral links (where you derive some sort of financial or other benefit) such as Cyber-war, Outwar, plus all other variants. In addition, certain sites are expressly prohibited, specifically (but not exclusively) 4chan,, ebaumsworld, albinoblacksheep, plasticnipple, Encyclopaedia Dramatica, A Voice For Men, and Fred Phelps' godhates<group> hate-mongering sites are not allowed. Use discretion when linking to another site.

Garish Posts: We like fonts and colors, really we do, but anything used in excess becomes annoying. Think twice about posts that make other users cringe... especially if you've been repeatedly asked to refrain by players and mods alike.

Gravedigging: Posting a reply on a long unused thread. Adding legitimate new material is permitted, but the acceptable age varies from forum to forum. Check the stickies in each forum to determine the standard for what constitutes gravedigging.

Harassment/Griefing: Harassing/griefing a nation or region because of their words or actions is forbidden regardless - in telegrams, Regional Messageboard (RMB) posts, and on the forums.
*Accusations of misconduct that may bring real world repercussions outside of NationStates do not belong in public spaces on NationStates and will be punished as harassment. Players may post, in general terms, about factual repercussions taken in response (I.e. removal from a region or regional position), but may not go into details or link to material that does.

Homework: Requests for assistance with homework in any forum are forbidden.

Impersonation: Any attempt to maliciously impersonate another nation or region, including employing a similar name is illegal according to the FAQ. Note that the impersonation must be "malicious" to be a prohibited action, and we generally require the report to come from the impersonated party. We do not normally consider impersonating another nation or region for gameplay advantage to be inherently malicious (e.g. "false flag" operations), but malicious impersonation of specific players remains prohibited. (i.e. you can create a nation named "Testregionia Security Officer" in an attempt to impersonate the Testregionia government, but you may not create a nation named Examp13stan, and pretend to be the player Examplestan.)

*Impersonation of moderators or administrators can lead to immediate deletion. Note that using Moderation's Custom Warning Tags in your posts is deemed impersonating a moderator. *** Don't use the moderation red-text warning tags. *** Similarly, do not impersonate other staff members such as Issues Editors or General Assembly Secretariat members, and do not use the *** GenSec ruling code. ***

Mods as a Weapon: Threatening another nation with moderation action if they don't do "action" is not allowed. Representing yourself as a moderator is considered impersonation, and is not allowed. This includes using the moderator's warning code. (See also "Impersonation", above)

Monetization/Gambling: It is against site rules to use money, a substitute thereof, or any good/service with equitable use (NS Store purchases, game keys or vouchers, e-giftcards, etc.) to incentivize or monetize any activity on NationStates, to include but not be limited to: joining or participating in a region, joining or participating in a thread, joining an alliance (roleplay or gameplay), etc. Similarly, it is against site rules to use the same as a "reward" for participation in any of the aforementioned or any "game," "contest," etc.

Nation Hijacking: Stealing someone else's nation by gaining their password is a very serious offense and likely to result in a permanent ban from the site. Note the section on shared accounts for when an account is shared.

Posting Past a ban/Lock: If a nation is forumbanned, that nation's player is not permitted to post on the forums with other puppet nations until the forumban expires. This also applies to nations who receive a ban from posting to Regional Message Boards, or a ban from sending telegrams; do not use a puppet to get around this ban. Doing so will result in the deletion of both the puppet and the originally banned nation. Questions or appeals regarding a ban should be submitted via the Getting Help Page. Similarly, do not repost a locked thread unless given permission by a moderator.

Privacy violation: Players on NationStates have a reasonable expectation that their privacy will be respected. It is not permitted to post or otherwise share another player's personally-identifying information (i.e. social media accounts, IP addresses, postal addresses, E-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or other real-world identifying information).

Puppet Flooding: Any player or group of players creating large numbers of puppets for the purpose of spamming, harassing, or annoying a region, be they invaders, defenders, or natives, may find all such puppets ... and their main nations ... deleted without warning. Note that Moderators do not enforce regional bans unless a player has a significant record of harassing members of the region (i.e. prior rule-breaking). In other circumstances, it should be handled by the Regional Officers.

Regional passwords: Attempting to hack, crack or guess a region's password is prohibited. Note that using deception to gain a region's password through someone giving it to you willingly is not prohibited, so long as other rules (e.g. on Malicious Impersonation) are not violated in the process.

Selling Nationstates accounts: Strictly prohibited. Under no circumstances are you allowed to sell nations/regions for any form financial (or items with financial value) compensation.

Spam, and the different types of it
There are many types of spam, but the general definition is making a post that doesn't have any sort of use. Excessive bumping, tagging, and random posts with irrelevant information are all examples of spam. The same applies to in-game posts on regional message boards and telegrams.

*Excessive Bumping: Bumping is adding a meaningless (*bump*) post to a thread to push it back to the top of the list. Bump rates vary between forums, but as a rule, once every 24 hours is the maximum outside General or II where it may be acceptable to bump any thread that has fallen past the first two pages. If the bulk of your posts, or posts in the thread are bumps, you should take it to mean that there is not enough in your topic, and let it end.

*Forum Spam: Off-topic, irrelevant and multi-posts that do not belong, such as smiley spam, meme spam, linkspam, and attempting to increase your post count.
-- Fishing for attention can be distracting, even upsetting to other players. Your Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites are more appropriate places for it. This especially applies to unnecessary drama. Please, do not drop a drama bomb on a chat as a way of getting a response.
-- Greeter Spam is only posting a 'hi' or 'hello', especially in the chat threads. Please add something to the ongoing conversations, even if you're introducing something new.
-- Trollnaming is a post made only to call out a player suspected of trolling. This can also be considered flaming. Report trolls in Moderation. Don't name them in-thread, and if found, do not feed.
-- Tagging is considered spam as well, since we have the "bookmark topic" feature (it's in your Profile and a menu option on every thread).

*Regional Advertising Spam: Regions can advertise themselves either via Telegrams, or in the Gameplay forum as per the requirements in the Guide to the Gameplay forum.

The rules on sending recruitment telegrams can be found in the FAQs. Most importantly, they must have the "recruitment" checkbox ticked before sending. Note that there are niche circumstances where a telegram encouraging a nation to move region may not require the recruitment checkbox be ticked, such as a region schism resulting in the community splitting between two regions, a telegram asking a member of your region's military to deploy to another region on a mission, a region relocating its community to another region, or a welcome telegram that encourages nations to move to another region. We strongly encourage you to seek a ruling on your situation first via GHR if you are unsure whether one of those exceptions applies to a telegram you intend to send.

Posting regional advertisements on the Regional Message Boards of other regions is not permitted. Minor violations of this should be handled by a region's Regional Officers; egregious and multi-regional violations should be reported via GHR for Moderators to handle.

Tagging nations (whether in Dispatches or RMB posts) for the purpose of regional advertising is prohibited.

*IGNORE Cannon Spam: Just posting "IGNORED" or 'Ignore Cannon Fired', with or without accompanying pictures, is spam. If you don't want to play with someone, don't. Work it out with the participating players, or withdraw from the roleplay. Add to your ignore list as you like, but don't gloat about it. If you use the Ignore Cannon as part of your IC method of explaining why $player is no longer involved, do it with some class - and do it in character.

*Image Spam: Posting of images, particularly repeated or multiple images, that do not serve to help the flow of the thread. This includes images in both in-character and out-of-character posts.

*Like Spamming (RMB): We all like to acknowledge posts we think worthy, and the posters appreciate the occasional thumbs up. What no one appreciates is like spamming. Be discriminating in what you chose to like. Sending excessive notifications by liking massive amounts of posts will get your likes deleted and a warning.

*GHR (General Help Request) Spam: Sending (repeated) messages that are not related to either game issues or reporting rulebreaking behavior. Also included is sending repeated appeals for the same situation after you have received a final appeal on the matter as per the published procedure.

*Regional Message Board Spam: Posting multiple messages on your message board within a short period of time can be considered message board spam. Founders and regional officers they designate may suppress spam (or any other messages) on the regional message board.

*Signature Spam: Maximum size should never exceed eight lines, including blank lines and a quote box is four lines; signatures should not use more than two of these. Signatures exceeding eight lines will be reduced using spoiler tags. Large font sizes should be avoided and may be trimmed without warning. See Advertisements and Forbidden Links above. See also Reppy's Sig Workshop for a guide on building your signature.

*WA Advertising Spam: Non-natives and region-hoppers are forbidden to post WA advertisements or requests for proposal approval outside of their native region. The game-created regions (Listed above) are no exception to this rule. Requests for proposal approval may be telegrammed to WA delegates, but must be tagged appropriately. More than one request per proposal may be considered spam if the telegrams are materially the same. WA campaign telegrams shouldn't be sent to non-WA members. Tagging nations (whether in Dispatches or RMB posts) for the purpose of WA proposal campaigning is prohibited.

Thread Hijacking: Appropriating a thread for a discussion totally unrelated to the original purpose of said thread. Hijacking can take the form of a single post or a long discussion. Such posts may be split or deleted, and the poster warned.

Illegal Activities: Don't promote illegal activities or start threads describing the best way to get away with them.

There are nearly 200 nations in the (real) world with different and often contradictory laws. We judge what is "illegal" based off the countries that are most significant to us in terms of traffic to the site and hosting: primarily the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Facilitating (i.e. posting instructions on how to break the law) or encouraging others to commit illegal activites are considered to be "promoting" them. Admitting to a crime can also often be seen as promoting, unless expressing regret; posts admitting to committing a crime must be clear that they are neither endorsing it nor contain information that facilitates committing that crime.

Note that this applies to "real world" crime and is not intended to prohibit how people play their nations (e.g. through issues or roleplay) unless such behaviour crosses over into promotion of RL illegal activities.

Trolling/Baiting/Gloating: Trolling is defined as posts that are made with the aim of angering people. (like 'ALL JEWS ARE [insert vile comment here]' for example). Someone disagreeing with you does not equate to trolling. Intent is incredibly important and will be judged by the moderators to the best of their abilities. Honest belief does not excuse trolling. Disagreements are expected and conducting yourself in a civil manner is ideal. Trollbaiting is the action of making posts that attract trolls. A prime example of trollbaiting would be gloating over the results of an election.

Gloating over punishments handed out to other players is not acceptable. Another form of the offense, IGNORE gloating, is typically seen in the roleplay forums, though it can appear elsewhere. Politely informing another nation that you are henceforth using the "ignore" feature is acceptable, but repeating it in different threads or over long periods is considered gloating and will be dealt with appropriately. Other cases will be considered on an ad hoc basis.

Attempting to dehumanize ethnic or religious groups by referring to them with a lowercase letter and censoring another letter out is not allowed. Calling a group by its proper name is cool. Trolling via censoring it as if it is a profanity -- not cool. Don't do it.

WA Multiing: A basic rule is one WA nation per person. (You may have as many non-WA nations as you like.) Any WA nations operated from the same computer will be treated as multies. If you have family or roommates who want to be in the WA too, work it out with them. It is your responsibility to make sure you have resigned from the WA before someone else joins from your computer. There is no way for us to truly know how many people are on the other side of the connection.

Appeals Process

If you are warned, banned, deleted, or have content removed or locked by a mod, you may appeal. This invites a second moderator to review the decision and decide whether it was correct.

Who Can Appeal

You can only appeal a mod decision about your own content: You cannot lodge a "third-party appeal" on behalf of somebody else. This applies even if you are the original reporting party. For example, if you reported another player's post for flaming, and the moderator decided it didn't constitute a rule violation, you may not appeal. Moderators may choose provide a second opinion on request in such cases at their discretion, but are under no obligation to do so, and will not entertain Final Appeals in third party cases.

You may not repeatedly appeal the same decision; see "Final Appeals" below.

Where to Lodge an Appeal

For most forum issues, such as a moderator warning you for something you posted in the forum, reply directly in the relevant thread, stating that you wish to appeal the decision. If this isn't possible, instead start a new thread in the Moderation forum with the pretitle "[APPEAL]."

If you've been banned from the forum, or your issue isn't forum-related, instead lodge an appeal by filing a Getting Help Request.

Don't post in the forum if you've been given a ban there, not even to lodge an appeal.

What to Say

The appeal will be reviewed by a moderator who was not involved with the original ruling, so you should make sure your appeal clearly states what, exactly, you are appealing. Don't assume the reviewing mod will automatically know what you're referring to.

You don't need to argue why the original decision was wrong, but do provide any additional context or information that might inform the mod's decision.

Where relevant, include links to forum threads. For account deletions, be certain to include another nation name or an email address where you may be reached.

Always remain polite and courteous. It may be upsetting to receive a warning or ban, but you must remain respectful throughout this process. Mods don't always get things right, but they are happy to overturn decisions when there has been a genuine error.

What Happens Next

You will receive a response via the same channel through which you filed your appeal. That is, if you filed a Getting Help Request, you will receive a Telegram; if you posted in the forum, that thread will receive a reply. This will come from a moderator who was not involved with the original decision. It will usually be prompt, but if you don't receive anything within 36 hours, you may inquire as to your appeal's status.

If the response to your appeal is still not satisfactory, you may lodge a "Final Appeal."

Final Appeals

Final Appeals are time-consuming, and you should lodge one only when you believe a significant injustice has occurred--not for minor forum warnings and short-term forumbans (which would be over before a Final Appeal could conclude). Frivolous appeals may result in warnings being added to your nation.

A Final Appeal is the only way to overturn the result of a regular appeal. You should lodge it in the same way you lodged your original appeal, stating that you are requesting a Final Appeal. It will be reviewed by a panel of three or more mods who weren't previously involved in the decision, including at least one Senior Game Moderator. (The presence of a Senior is to ensure the panel is sufficiently experienced, not to provide a higher authority: the panel's decision will be reached by consensus, with no individual having greater influence than another.)

Final appeals usually take at least a few days, and sometimes much longer, so please be patient.

Admins (including Max Barry) are not moderators and not involved in rulings or appeals. If you bypass this process and go directly to admin, they will almost certainly toss it back at the mods, or simply ignore it. Admins will only be involved in cases involving changes to the game framework, or serious claims of moderator abuse, such as those that might cause a moderator to be stood down. In this case, you should file the appeal as normal, and admins will be alerted by mods.

Legal Threats or Actions

If a player commences legal action against NationStates, staff, and/or affiliates, we are required to terminate all future service. This may involve the deletion of all of the player's nations, as well as the private archiving of all posted content and/or log files. Moderators are not authorized to discuss any legal matters involving NationStates or its staff, and so will not be able to respond to appeals or requests for further information; instead, all communication should be conduced via legal representatives. Repeated threats of legal action will also generally result in a permanent ban from the site.

Restoration of deleted nations

Deletion of a player's nation ("DEAT") is used as a punishment in cases of severe or repeated rules violations, and is normally a permanent punishment. Separate to the above Appeals Process, in cases where a nation has been correctly deleted, but the player that owned the nation has demonstrated positive contributions to the site for a period of years subsequently, Moderators will consider a request to restore a mod-deleted nation. A request can be made only if all the following criteria are met:
  • The nation cannot have been deleted for an offensive name.
  • The player is not currently Delete-on-Sight. DOS players are unwelcome on the site.
  • At least three years must have passed since the deletion of the nation.
  • At least one year must have passed since the player's last rule violation. If you are not sure when this was, you may ask us first.
  • At least three years must have passed since the previous request. If your request is denied, you will have to wait before making another rather than badgering staff repeatedly.
  • The player must have been participating on the site in the interim. While there is no particular time-period or level of activity attached to this requirement, it is intended to rule out those that disappear after their deletion, and return only to request their nation be restored, or who have only managed the above "one year since last rule violation" requirement through not being on the site.
  • The player must show acceptance of and contrition for their past poor behaviour.
  • A player may only ever request one nation be restored. We are not interested in restoring swathes of deleted puppets, and if you have managed to lose Examplestan 1 and Examplestan 2 each through poor behaviour, you would only ever be able to get one back.
A request must be made via Getting Help Request, clearly setting out the nation whose restoration is being requested, and the reasons why. Requests that meet the above criteria will be considered by at least three Moderators, including a Senior Game Moderator. This process may take several days, so be patient.

Please note that restoration is a privilege granted at the discretion of Moderation, not a right, and even if all the conditions above are met, Moderators may choose to deny the request for any other reason, and are not obliged to provide an explanation. Note that no appeal of the decision is permitted. However, the intent is to reward the behaviour of those players that have genuinely reformed, so in those cases, we would expect to approve requests that meet the criteria above.

Added back in honest belief does not excuse trolling because it was forgotten. - NERV 11 Jun 2014
Added in explicit warning that use of official moderation warn tags is counted as impersonation, because apparently this needed clarification.
Added in section on Commercialism - Mouse 19 Oct 2015
Removed mention of swastikas, as per this. --Cogitation, 12 Nov 2015
Added clarification of Privacy Violations. --Cogitation, 2 May 2016
Changed "thread subscription" to "bookmark topic" under "Spam, Tagging." — Kyrusia, 2 June 2016
Added General Help Request Spam -- Kat 26 July 2016
Amended "Commercialism" to define "commercial" — Kyrusia, 29 July 2016
Added a very clear warning about erotic roleplay/cybersexing being forbidden on all areas of the site -- Kat, 30 August 2016
Removed the part about Founder spamming the Regional Message Board to clear it as the Founder/Delegate/Regional Officer being able to suppress spam (and the message board displaying more than the last 25 messages now) made it defunct. -- Kat, September 21, 2016
Added "NS Sports" and "Factbooks and National Information" to the 'Thread Ownership' rule for clarification, as such has been enforced there for n-number of years. — Kyru, 29 July 2017
Updated reporting guidelines and harassment. 2017/11/27 -NERV
Added clarification about prizes/giveaways - Jan. 22, 2018 - Reploid
Added links to the pedo-topic ban addition- August 9, 2020
"if the telegrams are materially the same" line added to WA Advertising spam - Aug 22 2020 - Sedge
Puppet Flooding & Regional Happenings Spam reworded - Feb 01 2021 - Sedge
Appeals Process reworded as per this announcement - 17 Feb 2021 - Sedge
Impersonation/Regional Passwords changed as per this - 19th Feb 2021 - Sedge
Commercialism changed as per this - 28th March 2021 - Sedge
Appeals Process reworded again as per this announcement 20th August 2021 - Sedge
Legal Threat protocol added to Appeals section - Fris
English Language section added viewtopic.php?f=16&t=519187 21st May 2022 - Sedge
Adjusted colours for Dark Mode legibility + added a few horizontal rules - 29th Aug 2022 - Esty
Regional Happenings Spam binned, Impersonation and Regional Advertising Spam updated as per this 12th Nov 2023 -- Sedge
Added impersonation of other staff members + GenSec code use to the Impersonation section, 4th Dec 2023 -- Sedge
Small update to WA Campagining/Recruitment re. tagging of nation: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=544201 3rd Jan 2024 - Sedge
Addition of "restoration of deleted nations" section 23rd Jan 2024 - Sedge
Update to Bad Faith rule as per this 21st Feb 2024 - Sedge
Offensive Material rule replaced by Adult-Only Content rule as per this 5th March 2024 - Sedge
Last edited by Sedgistan on Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:28 am, edited 89 times in total.

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Executive Director
Posts: 16231
Founded: Antiquity

Postby [violet] » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:42 pm

Malicious Content policy

As per the site FAQ, "malicious" content is forbidden as a general category. This includes material that a reasonable person would believe celebrates or endorses violence against real-life people.

This applies to all content, including forum posts, RMB messages, factbooks/dispatches, as well as telegrams and nation fields and flags.

The most common (and asked about) type of this kind of material relates to Nazi Germany, which is inextricably associated in the public mind with a real-life atrocity. NationStates has deemed that nations that mimic Nazi Germany unavoidably give the appearance of celebrating or endorsing the Holocaust, and so these are prohibited under this policy.

It's important to note that we judge the appearance of the content to a reasonable person, not the intent of the poster.

Some people ask why this policy doesn't ban nations from mimicking the Soviet Union, the USA, or other real-life nations, which also have real-life violence in their histories. However, their names, references, and symbols are not primarily associated with such violence to most people; that is, a reasonable person isn't likely to believe that a Soviet or American-themed nation is celebrating or endorsing an atrocity.

How this applies:


This policy is applied strictly to nation flags, names, slogans, and custom fields, as these are often displayed to site visitors in lists or summaries, without any further context. It is necessary, therefore, that each one individually avoids violating the malicious content policy.


Words, symbols, and designs that are widely and primarily associated with real-life acts of violence or genocide are prohibited. This includes swastikas, as well as invented designs that to a reasonable person echo the symbology of Nazi Germany. See also "Acceptable Flag Policy" below.

Nation / Region Names

Words widely and primarily associated with real-life acts of violence or genocide are prohibited, including references to Nazi organizations.

Nation custom fields (currency, slogan, etc)

Words and phrases widely and primarily associated with real-life acts of violence or genocide are prohibited.


Moderators will consider the entire post, as well as the context of the thread in which it is posted, when determining whether content violates this policy. Greater latitude is given to content that is part of a good-faith discussion, particularly within legal or ethical contexts.


It is permissible to discuss any historical event or government, employing relevant names and references, providing this is done without appearing to endorse or celebrate real-life violence.

Note, however:
  • The One Stop Rules Shop maintains a ban on specific topics, which currently includes Holocaust denial, due to the frequency and pointlessness of such discussions.
  • Latitude is granted to the discussion of the death penalty, political assassination, and wartime action, in the sense that posts may support these concepts without being deemed "malicious," so long as they do so within the context of a reasonable ethical, logical, or legal argument. For example, a poster may express support for the death penalty without violating this policy, if it is done within a genuine attempt at a reasonable argument, without using hateful speech or targeting particular cultural groups.

Roleplay content isn't generally actionable under this policy, as celebrations or endorsements of violence are fictional, not directed against "real-life people." However, fictional content may not positively portray or reference real-life atrocities, e.g. by roleplaying the actions of Nazi soldiers. Content is not exempt from this policy merely by claiming to be fiction; it must also appear to be fictional to a reasonable person.

This site was founded by an author, and we apply generous creative license when considering fiction. However, all content must avoid appearing to celebrate or endorse real-life violence.

Acceptable Flag Policy

As per the FAQ, flags are subject to the same minimum standard as any other content: they can't be obscene, illegal, threatening, malicious, defamatory, spam, or have the primary aim of offending or upsetting people. And:

Originally Posted by
Does that apply to my nation's flag?
You betcha. In fact, we're much stricter on nation flags than we are on forum posts, because they're not open for challenge and debate. If you want to make a political point, don't use your flag -- use the forum, where other people have a right of reply.

We expect there will be many borderline cases (there always are), but it's a simple principle. If a flag celebrates death, slavery, violence, or other not-nice things against real people, that's malicious, and will have the primary effect of offending.

We don't ban particular patterns of colored pixels, we're not banning the symbols of every group that scored a particular body count; we're prohibiting content that is malicious in nature and to most people will have the primary effect of offending. Not a few people, not just you, but most people. That's the criteria. The mods' job is to judge which is which. For more details, see the Acceptable Flag Policy and the Site Policy on "Malicious" Content thread.

As such, what causes a flag to be more or less offensive is dependent on a variety of current events of a cultural, political, military etc nature, and may change without warning. For example, if a zombie attack destroys Japan, a flag displaying zombies eating Japanese citizens may become widely offensive and be removed as a result.

The forums permit relatively free speech on a range of issues, so, as the FAQ says, if you've got a political ax to grind, do it here, where people can argue back. Please don't put it in your flag when you know it will piss people off.

Ban on Specific Topics

1. Pedophilia and "pedo-adjacent" subjects, including age of consent, are NOT welcome here!

NOTE: While we (and most people) tend to just use the term "pedophilia", please understand that these restrictions apply to BOTH pedophilia AND ephebophilia.
  • Discussions about pedophilia/ephebophilia. BANNED, FULL STOP, NO EXCEPTIONS.
    Discussion of such is simply not appropriate on a PG-13 website and is way too big an encouragement for the exact type of people we do not want here. This includes broad discussions about how such should be punished, as that inevitably turns into revenge fantasy gorn and attracts apologists trying to defend it. Specific news-worthy incidents can still be discussed (as an example, the Jeffrey Epstein trafficking case), but discussion needs to remain focused on the news event, not on "Well, was it REALLY pedophilia?" or "Was it REALLY that bad?"
  • Discussions/debate about "Is it really pedophilia/child porn when no actual children are involved?" BANNED, FULL STOP, NO EXCEPTIONS.
    Want to discuss the literary merits of the novel/film Lolita? Okay. Want to discuss whether or not erotic artwork/literature such as drawings, computer animations or fictional stories where no actual children are involved/harmed still counts as child porn? Sorry, while it could be an interesting subject of debate, it also invariably attracts the sort of people we do not want here.
  • Discussion/debate regarding age of consent laws, especially lowering thereof. BANNED.
    Yes, we know several countries have their age of consent at 16 (or even lower in some places.) Our bar is set at 18, full stop. This unfortunately shuts out other valid discussions such as "What about borderline cases between one party being over the limit and the other juuuuuust under it?", but such topics invariably attract the sort of people we do not want to be encouraging here. Debates regarding marriage age are tapdancing right on the line; acceptable when focused on the "entering a legally binding contract" angle as noted in the next point, not acceptable when it's focusing on the sexual consent angle. If you're not sure, better to simply avoid it.
  • Discussions/debates regarding the boundary between legal definition of a child/minor and an adult. Permitted, with one major exception.
    Want to debate voting age? Military enlistment age? Entering a legally binding contract? Gambling/drinking age? Go for it. But as pertains to "can legally consent to sexual activity", see the previous point regarding discussions about age of consent.
  • Discussions about the details of sexual mechanics. BANNED, FULL STOP, NO EXCEPTIONS.
    This should go without saying, but given the number of times we've ended up catching people cybersexing, it clearly needs to be restated. This is a political sim game, we don't need to hear about how horny you are, who you did, who you want to do, what you did it with, any details about your sexual exploits real or imagined, favorite sex toys, preferred positions, particular kinks or fetishes. This is a PG-13 site. Go somewhere else if you want to talk about your sex life or masturbatory habits.
  • Discussions where sex is mentioned/relevant. PERMITTED.
    Merely mentioning that sex is a thing is perfectly alright and just about inevitable when discussing topics such as sex education, relationships, abortion, rape, contraception methods and access, genital mutilation debates and so on. (In those last two cases though, do avoid going into the specifics of the processes please!) So long as it's not going into the details of Tab A into Slot B or skirting into age-of-consent grounds or otherwise going into non-PG-13 territory, we're not interested in stomping out all mentions of sex.
  • Euphemisms and double entendres. PERMITTED.... mostly.
    Most of us are either adults or at least older teens. The occasional wink-wink-nudge-nudge joke isn't going to get you slapped. Much like swearing, it is somewhat situational and can become problematic when done in excess. If it's not being done to try and sneak around the other rules or previous points above the occasional lewd joke isn't going to give anybody the vapors.
  • What about those of us who RP and have under-18 characters in our nations? Conditionally acceptable.
    It's one thing to mention it in context. It's another thing entirely to obsessively detail and focus on underage characters engaging in sexual encounters, or on corporal punishment and/or torture being practiced on a minor. That stops being "just RP" and very quickly shifts to "trying to fly personal sexual fantasies under a thin veneer of RP". Broadly speaking, unless there's some actual narrative purpose (and no, "Look how edgy/crazy my nation is!" is not narrative purpose) it shouldn't even need to be mentioned; if it's just there for no other reason than to shock or horrify people, then consider that it likely shouldn't be there at all.
  • What about the WA? Are we still allowed to make proposals on topics such as child exploitation? Conditionally acceptable.
    The GA works much like in-game daily issues do. Sometimes the daily issues tackle hard topics like the above, and so does the WA. Much like the dedicated roleplaying point above, as long as debates steer clear of turning into an NSG style debate violating the above points, there really shouldn't be any particular impact on WA proposals. We'd probably be looking askance at and likely acting on a nation trying to submit a blatantly pro-pedophilia proposal, but to date that hasn't exactly been an issue in the WA.
Violations of this topics ban are treated as PG-13 violations. As such, particularly egregious such violations could potentially come with an instant-DOS once moderation is aware of it. (And potentially a report to law enforcement.)

2. Holocaust Denial

NationStates has a broad ban on malicious content, which prohibits hate speech celebrating or glorifying violence against real-life people. We also specifically ban Holocaust Denial, which includes posts that explicitly deny the Holocaust ever took place, or clearly imply it might not have, or was fundamentally different to what it actually was. This is because the topic comes up somewhat frequently and derails threads while almost never producing any insight or meaningful discussion.

This topic-specific ban doesn't prohibit discussion of the Holocaust in general. However, please bear in mind that this topic is a common target for trolls. All posts must abide by site rules that govern flaming, trolling, and malicious content.

Regarding Sharing Accounts
What is "sharing accounts"?
As far as moderation is concerned, a nation account is shared if more than one person has accessed it. Whether a nation is being used by a group of players, or a nation is given permanently from Player A to Player B, both instances are shared.

Is sharing nations among multiple players allowed?
It is allowed, but moderation's stance on the act is to avoid it as an unnecessary risk. There are no "safe" ways to share a nation, only ways that are "slightly less unsafe."

What are the risks?
  • Personally Identifying Info - If you do not scrub your PII from the nation before handing it off, the recipient may be able to use that very same tool to see your personally identifying information, including your IP and email address! Anyone with access to that nation (and has that nation's password) can access the PII report! NOTE: Performing a PII scrub prior to transfer of a nation DOES NOT REMOVE ANY OF THE OTHER RISKS!
  • WA warnings - If you're sharing around a WA member nation while one or more people with access to it also maintain WA accounts, you run a greater risk of getting caught on the WA cheatscanner.
  • Warning history - If you share a nation that has a moderation warning history, you risk having that history associated with you.
  • Bans/DEATs/DOSes - Sharing nations around muddies the moderation trail and increases the risk of one or more players being at risk for moderation enforcement they didn't actually earn. Although moderation will do what we can to avoid this confusion, if players share nations around enough, it truly becomes almost impossible to definitively tell who has control of what.
  • Nation theft - Fact is, the more people have access to a nation, the less secure it is. If one of the owners hijacks that shared account, there will be nothing moderation can do to help the others recover it.
  • Outright malice - If one person with access to shared account goes on a rulebreaking rampage, everyone with access to that account risks having disciplinary actions levied against them, as the system will have trouble telling Player A from Player B when they both login to Nation X regularly.
So why don't you ban it?
Enforcing such a ban would be impractical at best. Hence it falls under the same general umbrella of "player responsibility" as things like your password security, caution about sharing computers or using publicly accessible ones, and so on. Players can share, and will share, and thus they accept the risks that go with it.

A Note concerning the NationStates Terms of Service (TOS) and FAQ
While it should go without saying, some players apparently think the TOS and FAQ don't apply on the forums. They do. Don't be stupid.

Terms of Service (TOS)(
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (

Delete-on-Sight (DoS or DOS)
: Any player who has so worn out his welcome with rule-breaking behavior over a variety of nations may be declared DoS by the moderation staff. Any new nations created by this player can and will be deleted when spotted, and any threads they started or posts they contributed will be removed without warning. This is reserved for the most egregious violators, and is never unilaterally declared by a single moderator, but is agreed upon by a majority of active Mods and Admins. Moderators will, on request, confirm whether a player is Delete-on-Sight, and when possible will also provide a summary of the reasons for the DoS (e.g. "repeated trolling and spamming with puppets"). In some cases, for privacy or legal reasons we will not be able to disclose the reasons; this also applies to all DoSes carried out under the Exceptional Circumstances policy.

Humor on the forums: This site is based on a work of political satire, and is intended to be fun. Humor is welcome here, but be aware that standards of humor vary widely. It's up to you to balance your idea of humor against what the rest of the players here find funny, and it's up to the mods to be the final aribiters of what is permitted and what isn't. Keep in mind that this is primarily a political game, so try to keep the humor running along those lines.

Copyright: Users of Nationstates own the copyright to everything they post here under international law, assuming it's copyrightable material in the first place and belongs to them. The legal section only grants the site's Admins the licenses they need to store your material and make it viewable on someone else's computer. 'Royalty-free' means you cannot charge them for doing so. Were you to find someone had, for example, stolen your Nationstates weapon designs and used them in a movie or a line of toys, you as the copyright holder would still be fully entitled to take action against them. Putting something up in our forum does not remove your right of copyright ownership.

It's doubtful you could file action if someone went so far as to actually build, say, an NS-designed tank, because the description the user provides is not exhaustive enough for 'industrial application' and would require massive additional work on behalf of the tank-builder.

On the other hand, if another user steals your designs (and that would be either using images without your permission or reproducing large portions of text unaltered), that is plagiarism which deserves to be its own offense. If you point the moderators at the thread, they'll tell them to knock it off. Characters are covered by the same rules as technology; copying one directly and entirely is plagiarism (as above). Original characters are protected by copyright. Characters taken from existing media are not; no action will be taken in case of a dispute over Darth Vader.

Quoting posts in replies does not require copyright permission, since the 'fair use' part of copyright law allows reproduction of copyrighted works for purposes of criticism or commentary. Additional advice/commentary on "Fair Use" located here.

The Malicious Content Ruling above further details flag, and nation creation issues that can get you into trouble.

Finally, remember This. Is. Nationstates! -- not to be confused with /b/. Leave the "4 teh lulz" and rules-lawyering at the door.

Exceptional Circumstances

The rules listed in this document cover prohibited player behaviour on the site. However, in exceptional circumstances Moderators may act to remove a player who poses an unacceptable risk to the safety of the website or its users, even when site rules have not clearly been violated. Evidence from offsite sources may be considered in such cases. Should a player believe that another site user falls into this category, they should make contact with us via Getting Help Request or via email to . Such accusations are treated seriously and thoroughly investigated, and should not be made frivolously.

In such exceptional cases, Moderators will confirm on request that the player is Delete on Sight, but will not be able to disclose the reasons.

Edit log:
Removed mention of swastikas, as per this. --Cogitation, 12 Nov 2015
Added pedophilia topics ban information-- Reploid, 9 Aug 2020
Updated Sharing Accounts section to include the PII risk.-- Reploid 7 Sept 2020
Exceptional Circumstances section added, DOS section updated -- Sedge 9th Feb 2022
Ban on Holocaust Denial -- Sedge 14th Feb 2022
Added Malicious Content Policy -- [violet] 17th Jul 2023
Corrected typo in above -- Eluvatar 17 Jul 2023
Last edited by Sedgistan on Mon Oct 30, 2023 3:40 am, edited 22 times in total.
Reason: Removing link to old Malicious Content policy.

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Posts: 16231
Founded: Antiquity

Postby [violet] » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:43 pm

Script Rules for HTML site

The rules described here apply to any kind of tool (standalone script, browser extension, custom stylesheet, etc.) that interacts with NationStates in any way that is not using the NationStates API. If it's only using the NationStates API, you're in the clear and these rules don't apply! We encourage everyone to use the API wherever possible.

Deprecation Notice

Note!! Tools that interact with the server should use the NationStates API, rather than sending commands to the HTML site.

Authors of tools that interact with the HTML site must take extreme care to follow the below rules, which are complex and subject to change. Access to the HTML site by such tools is being increasingly restricted and may be blocked altogether in the future. Before you write a script that sends requests to the HTML site, consider whether it can use the API instead, which is a safer, faster, simpler, and more reliable environment for bots.

Identifying your Tool
Your tool must identify itself for any requests it creates and sends to the site. This helps diagnose and identify issues, and also allows us to contact you if something goes wrong and give you a chance to fix it.

The identification must include the name of your tool and a way to contact you the author (preferably email address; main nation name and/or the URL of your website are also all acceptable). If at all possible, the identification must also include the name of the user using the tool and the current version of your tool. In addition, for user-initiated requests, a UNIX timestamp (in seconds or milliseconds) of the time when the user initiated (by clicking a button or pressing a key) must be included as a URL parameter with the name "userclick".

If at all possible, your tool must identify itself by setting the User-Agent header with the relevant data. An example of how this looks in an HTTP-conformant way is:
Code: Select all
User-Agent: ExampleScript/1.2 (by:Testlandia; usedBy:Maxtopia)

If your environment doesn't allow you to set the User-Agent header (for example, in Chromium-based browsers), you must instead pass a URL parameter called "script" with that information. In combination with a userclick parameter, an example request URL looks something like this:
Code: Select all

Sending Requests
This section applies to any non-API requests your tool crafts itself and sends to NationStates; it does not apply to triggering existing buttons or links on the website (as described in the section "Modifying Pages"). When your tool sends such a request, we distinguish between manual and automatic requests, as well as between prohibited actions, restricted actions, and non-restricted actions. Each of these are governed by their own rules.

Non-restricted actionOk (with rate limit)Ok
Restricted actionIllegalOk (non-simultaneously)
Prohibited actionIllegalIllegal

A request is manual if and only if it is initiated by immediately responding to a user's input (mouse click or key press), at the ratio of one click to one request. You must not queue or delay performing the action (for example, to wait for a previous request to complete) in any way; you must perform the action immediately when detecting the input (such as in the appropriate callback), or not perform it at all. Anything else (including a second request sent by a user input) is considered an automatic request. Manual requests must be marked with a userclick parameter; see the section "Identifying your Tool'' for details.

Prohibited actions are:
  • Creating a nation
  • Answering or dismissing an issue
  • Sending a telegram
These actions must not be performed by a script, no matter if human-initiated or not, in any case. Note that most of these actions can be performed using the API instead.

Restricted actions are:
  • Posting a message
  • Suppressing / unsuppressing a message
  • Moving regions
  • Endorsing / unendorsing a nation
  • Banning / ejecting a nation from a region
  • Anything that generates a Happenings event line in a region, the World Assembly, or a nation other than your own
  • Anything that sends a request to the forums ( as a logged-in user, or a forum login request
  • Anything that affects a Trading Card, including placing a bid or ask, junking a card, and opening a pack
  • Anything that sends a command for a NationStates special event mini-game (e.g. April Fools, N-Day, Z-Day), including NS Challenge
  • Loading the Reports page
Restricted actions must only be initiated manually. For example, a tool that sends ban requests to the server at five-second intervals, regardless of user input, is executing restricted actions automatically, and is illegal. However, a tool that makes ban buttons appear on pages where they aren't normally present is legal (if all the other rules here are followed), as this requires a user's click to change anything in the gameworld.

Actions that aren't listed above and only affect your nation, such as changing its custom fields are non-restricted actions. Other actions that only scrape information are also non-restricted actions. Non-restricted actions can be performed manually or automatically.

Automatic requests are subject to a rate limit of 10 requests per minute (or one request every 6 seconds). Manual requests have no rate limit (but usually must follow simultaneity).

A tool must not execute restricted actions simultaneously, but must instead wait for the completion of each command (that is, a complete response from the NationStates server) before issuing the next one — this is widely known as the "simultaneity rule". A tool must not spawn background processes to enable multiple simultaneous server connections that each perform a restricted action. A tool is theoretically allowed to send simultaneous non-restricted actions, but we recommend applying simultaneity universally as this makes things easier for everyone involved.

If you're working in a synchronous/imperative programming environment, simultaneity is relatively straightforward: do not have multiple threads of execution simultaneously making HTTP requests that perform restricted actions, even in response to multiple user inputs. For example, in a GUI program like an android app, it's easier to follow this rule than not to. However, as soon as you're working with asynchronicity in any fashion (multiple threads, or using a language's asynchronous features like async/await in Javascript or C#, or generally working with an asynchronous HTTP interface such as XMLHttpRequest or fetch() in the browser), this can be tricky, and you must take great care to not violate this rule. If you're unsure, you could use Wireshark or a similar network analysis tool to make sure your tool is above board.

If your tool runs in the browser, the section "Modifying Pages" has additional guidance on how to best handle simultaneity.

Modifying Pages
You're free to write and use tools that modify what NationStates pages look like, with few exceptions.

For the most part, prohibited page items are entirely off-limits to tools. These are:
  • The telegrams user interface, e.g. page=telegram, page=compose_telegram, anything within <div id="tgcompose"></div> on a nation page, or any other place from which a telegram can be sent.
  • The "Getting Help" interface
  • The NationStates Shop
Note that this list may be expanded in the future. We will give ample notice if this happens.

Your tool may freely customize everything that affects the look (but not the layout) of any NationStates page (including prohibited page items). This includes fonts, colors, margins, paddings, borders, and more. Note, however, that we don't make any assurances (beyond those explicitly listed in these rules) about the format and markup of any part of the site, and they can change at any time without any notice.

Your tool may adjust the layout of existing NationStates page items, or augment existing page items with new elements, or auto-fill existing form elements, with some restrictions:
  • Any prohibited page item may not be modified in any fashion.
  • If NationStates itself creates multiple buttons that allow the user to perform restricted actions, you must not relayout these buttons in a way that allows faster clicking unless you also follow the simultaneity rule. See below for details.

Your tool may offer alternate input methods (such as keybinds) to any existing page items (including prohibited ones). To qualify as an alternate input method for prohibited page items, or to buttons that perform a prohibited action, each distinct input sequence must map to one unique click location per page. For example, it’s okay to map the keys 1-4 or voice commands “one” to “four” to issue answers 1-4, but it’s not okay to make one button that programmatically decides which issue to answer and clicks the button, or to autofill a text box.

Your tool may add links, buttons, or alternate input methods (e.g. keybinds) pointing to other NationStates pages. Such a button may not perform a prohibited action in any case. If such a button performs a restricted action, clicking it must abide by the simultaneity rule. Note that this is an all-or-nothing situation - as soon as you introduce one button to send a restricted action, you must ensure that all possible restricted actions (including buttons that were not added by your tool but by NationStates itself!) that can be performed from the current page follow the simultaneity rule.

If your tool wants to create its own pages, it can use This opens a blank page that includes the side and header bars, and your tool can inject its content into <div id="content"> within that. We expect that this URL will remain stable for the foreseeable future. Note that NationStates ignores any additional URL parameters for this page, so you can freely use those to distinguish between different pages of your tool; we recommend that you include the name of your script in the URL, for us to track it and for different tools not interfering with each other. For example, you could generate and use links to ... t/settings and ... =something, and your tool then parses this URL (window.location.href in Javascript) to display the appropriate page to the user.

Handling Simultaneity
Specifically in the context of a tool that runs in the browser, special care has to be taken to follow the simultaneity rule. A proven method of doing this involves disabling all form buttons in the button onclick handler, and reenabling them when the request has completed. The correct time depends on how your tool operates:
  • If your tool lets the browser handle the form submission, don't reenable buttons at all, since a full page load will be initiated.
  • When using XMLHttpRequest, either the loadend callback can be used, or the readystatechange callback with readyState == 4 (DONE).
  • When using jQuery, the complete callback function passed to jQuery.ajax or is called at the correct time and can be used to re-enable buttons.
  • When using Fetch API, buttons can be re-enabled once the Promise returned from one of the Response object's methods (such as text()) is resolved.
  • For other methods, consult the corresponding documentation to know when an issued request is fully completed.

To disable/enable form buttons, the following snippets (using jQuery) can be used.
Code: Select all
$('form input[type="submit"], form button').attr("disabled", true).addClass("disabledForSimultaneity");

Code: Select all


It is illegal to distribute a tool that breaks game rules when used in its primary, default, or intended manner. For details on how we deal with tools that violate these rules, see this post.

Rate limits and simultaneity handling apply to a tool only within its operating domain and the confines of its possibilities. For example, a Greasemonkey script, a browser extension with only a content script, or a user stylesheet only operate within one tab and can't worry about following simultaneity or the rate limit in other tabs. Similarly, a browser extension (with a background script) has access to multiple tabs and needs to ensure that the rate limit is followed across all tabs it operates in; it cannot (and need not) concern itself with tabs in other browsers, or tabs in the same browser it does not have access to through security measures in the browser. Standalone tools aren't responsible for what other unrelated tools do on the same computer. Users of your tool should be made aware that taking advantage of this (for example, by running your otherwise legal auto-refreshing tool in 100 browser tabs, or starting a standalone scraper tool 100 times) may lead to punishment.

Tools may generate any clickable links to NationStates that a user could also type into the address bar manually, so long as the crafted URL is not presented in a way that deceives the user, and clicking it would not otherwise violate the site rules or the terms of service. For example, crafting a URL that shows nation statistics that can't be reached through clicking on the site is fine; crafting a URL that is known to be slow to DDoS the site, or a URL that spams an RMB is not fine; and if you send a URL to resign from the World Assembly to a Delegate and pass it off as "hey, click this to see my puppy dispatch", you can expect very harsh punishment.

There is no guarantee that any URLs not explicitly specified here will remain stable or accessible.

NationStates offers an API, which provides a faster, more efficient interface for many scripts. It is governed by its own rules; these Script Rules don't apply to any API request. It is a much more bot-friendly environment, with far higher rate limits, and there are some things that can only be legally done via the API. You should, if at all possible, choose the API over the regular HTML site.

You must not deliberately attempt to circumvent being throttled or rate-limited, e.g. by cycling requests across different IP addresses so that they appear to come from different people, or switching between nations. This applies to nation creation, RMB post suppression, and any other automatically applied rate limit.

Tags: script bot automated automating tool utility robot program agent rules illegal banned
Last edited by Roavin on Wed Dec 27, 2023 2:11 am, edited 22 times in total.
Reason: fixed minor inaccuracy

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