One of our primary goals is to strike a balance between fostering serious discussion and avoiding elitist, status-hogging attitudes. As a result, it is often difficult to make a choice between turning someone away from the community and allowing someone to stay who is not yet ready to participate in the level of discussion we expect from our members. For greater detail on this issue, please see aloiis's post here. Because of these concerns, we have developed guidelines for who we feel will benefit most from the type of community we are offering. If you fall outside of this, we may ask you to reconsider whether Animal Lounge is the right place for you.
Common sense. This is the backbone of the rest of the expectations. Follow the rules, don't be a jerk, listen to what others have to say.
Openness to questions and alternatives. We do not make a practice of grilling our new members. However, if something you say doesn't make sense, be it in your intro or elsewhere, be prepared for (polite) questions about it. We're not interested in questioning to 'prove' one's therianthropy, but to aid in lucidity in discussing and understanding.
A critical mind. You don't need to have everything (or even anything) figured out, but you do need to approach things in a reasonable manner.
Personal responsibility. You are responsible for what you say here. As a part of that responsibility, please be honest and do not dodge or ignore questions about things you've said. Remember that "I don't know" is always acceptable.
Be civil. Posts that are centered around flaming or snarking are discouraged. In addition, we want to be a welcoming space for people of all backgrounds. Because of this, sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, ableist, etc., comments are not allowed. For example, individuals accessing this space may have a learning disability (or friends or family with one) and we would like to make sure that they do not have to come across comments like "that is so retarded." There is no reason that our members should feel the need to be disrespectful towards marginalized groups, and if you feel such a need, you will be asked to shape up or leave.
Use LJ-cuts for long entries or for images larger than 200x200 pixels. Typically an entry longer than 50 lines should be cut. In addition, any NSFW ("not safe for work") content should be cut and noted as such.
Related topics such as totemism and Otherkin are welcome and encouraged. The experiences we are focusing on covers a wide range, from therians to animal-like Otherkin to people who just feel animal. People who do not fit into this category are also welcome to join and participate, but keep in mind the nature of the community.
There are no taboo topics. However, we would like to see discussions that go deeper than those found in most communities. Lighter-hearted discussions are welcome as well, but there are probably over a thousand topics debating P-shifting on the web and vast numbers more on why wolves are the most common animal type. Are more needed? Debates over terminology are allowed to an extent, but generally discouraged. As a rule of thumb, if talking about whether someone is using a term correctly or not would detract from the discussion, don't do it.
Don't post anything clearly off-topic (for example, don't make a post about the cheese sandwich you just made, no matter how delicious it was). Advertisements of communities, websites, events, etc., related to therianthropy are allowed.
Lock or don't lock. Locked entries, and comments responding to such entries, should be considered as staying within the community unless otherwise specified.
The decisions of the moderators are final, but feel free to contact one of us if you have any questions or concerns.