Community Rules

Rules for the Foldit Community
Updated 11/02/2017

We want the Foldit community to be a pleasant and safe place for all members. To ensure this, please follow these simple rules as you play Foldit and interact with other community members on the chat, forums, feedbacks, and other areas of the website.

RULES (please keep in mind that this is not just in regards to in-game chat but also applies to Foldit-sponsored Discord, postings on our website, as well as social media.)

  • Keep the conversation family-friendly since there is a wide range of ages in the community. Anything deemed offensive or obscene will not be tolerated.
  • Do not harass, threaten (directly or indirectly), embarrass, or do anything else to another user that is unwanted. This means: don't say bad things about them; don't attack their character, race, heritage, etc. If you disagree with someone, respond to the subject, not the person. Do not make offensive references to a person or group by race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, orientation, age, disability, etc. and no offensive IDs or nicknames. You can respectfully disagree, but don’t be rude or belligerent.
  • Do not discuss illegal activity (e.g. offering or discussing where to get warez, pirated movies, etc.) under any circumstances.
  • Do not shout (i.e., TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS).
  • Do not impersonate any other user in chat nor try to hide your identity by pretending to be someone else.
  • Do not release personal, real-life information about other members.
  • Do not spam with websites for either personal or commercial purposes. Posting a personal website link once is okay, just don’t do it repeatedly. Posting a link that is about another player is not okay, unless it is a news item.
  • Do not transmit or facilitate distribution of content that is harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, vulgar, sexually explicit, or in a reasonable person's view, objectionable. Community standards may vary, but there is no place in these spaces where hate speech is tolerated.
  • Do not repeat yourself over and over to try to get noticed, as this is disruptive. (Bumping posts without additional content also falls under this category.)
  • Do not use scripts to copy data from other players or external sources.
  • Do not actively use multiple scoring accounts simultaneously.
  • Do not disrupt the flow of chat in chat rooms, Discord, or on our website with vulgar language, abusiveness, hitting the return key repeatedly or inputting large streams of text so the screen goes by too fast to read, etc. This is online vandalism and it ruins the experience for others.
  • Name calling & belligerent behavior won't be tolerated. Do not air your grievance of the day in these spaces. If you notice a bug or issue in the game, you are encouraged to post helpful feedback in feedback or the forums. The developers won't receive your feedback in the chat. Repeated griping only serves to degrade the conversation and agitate fellow players. Players who gripe and create a negative atmosphere may be reported to Moderators or team members who will warn, and subsequently kick from chat if the player continues. Again, this also applies to Discord, our website, and social media pages
  • Respect others in all of these spaces.

The Foldit admin team will use the following guidelines when considering how to address violations made by a player:

  • 1st offense - The player will be warned via PM they have violated our community rules.
  • 2nd offense - The player will be issued a 24 hour chat ban.
  • 3rd offense - The player will be issued a 2 week chat ban.
  • 4th offense - The player will be given a permanent chat ban, and will no longer be able to post on the website. They will still be allowed to play the game.
  • 5th offense - The player's account will be deleted.

Attempting to circumvent chat bans by being disruptive on another IRC account or the Foldit website will be counted as another offense. Foldit mods (veteran players that have been granted chat moderator status) retain the right to kick/temporarily ban players who violate these rules. These instances will be reported to the Foldit admin team, who will evaluate whether it qualifies as an “offense” and take appropriate action.

Depending on the severity of the offense, we may deem it necessary to escalate a player’s violation status, and in some cases, immediately ban a player from the game without warning.

This is not a comprehensive list and we reserve the right to take action on a case-by-case basis, as the team sees fit. Please keep in mind, no action will be taken on the whim of a single admin but will, in fact, be the result of discussion by the entire admin team (except in the most severe cases that require immediate action). These guidelines for admins are put in place to protect players from unjust actions.

General Guidelines

Foldit is truly a global game, where everyone has something to offer. As you play, please remember that some subjects are more sensitive than others. When you use chat or Discord and/or post on the website, respect your fellow folders, and let common sense be your guide. If you veer off course (and it can happen) the moderators will step in and guide you, but only if you make them do so. Allow the moderators to help keep the community a welcoming place for everyone. Rather than correcting behavior, it is always better to ignore people who bother you and inform a moderator if someone is being disruptive.

However, if you have an issue with a moderator, please send ‘agcohn821’ a private message with necessary details (time, date, quotes) and it will be investigated accordingly. All decisions are final.

Please be aware that we may not be able to answer your questions right away. Please avoid posting your question or screenshots multiple times.

...and the most important (and simplest) rule: Use common sense and don't be a jerk.

These rules do not cover all possible things that can happen in an active community.
Generally speaking, if you avoid being disruptive to other players and if you are polite and helpful to the less experienced members, you are less likely to be removed from chat/collect violation. A little thinking before typing goes a long way.

Got a problem with someone?

People being people, protracted heated arguments (some over relevant tech topics, some not), personality clashes, and other issues arise online just as in real life.

Bear in mind that the moderators will kick people who are disruptive to the chat, but this often will include both or all of the participants in an ongoing fight. From the outside it is often very difficult to see who is the instigator.

If you just can't get along with someone, consider using the "ignore" feature of your chat client (this will also work in game). In most clients you simply have to type:

/ignore nickname-to-be-ignored

Gameplay Guidelines

What is cheating?

Any method of copying data from other players or external sources in order to increase your solo score is cheating. If you'd like to collaborate or expand upon another person's work, you must do so as an evolver. Cheating circumvents the intention of Foldit and jeopardizes its scientific goals.

What about secondary structures?

Yes, you may copy or attempt to reproduce secondary structures. In addition, you may copy sequences inside a design puzzle.

From the Foldit wiki:
“Secondary Structure refers to the three-dimensional, local shapes that serve as building blocks for all proteins. These are alpha-helices (spirals) and beta-sheets (ribbons). They come in different sizes, but the essential shapes are the same. Every protein will have at least one of these structures, and usually several. Secondary structures serve principally to stabilize the core of the protein. The secondary structures are stabilized by hydrogen bonds.”

What about tertiary or quaternary structures?

Copying tertiary and/or quaternary structures from other players or third parties is forbidden.

From the Foldit wiki:
“Tertiary Structure refers to the 3D conformation of the fully folded protein in its entirety. Usually this means the same thing as the protein’s native structure. The tertiary structure is stabilized by hydrogen bonds, salt bridges and disulfide bonds, and also by formation of a hydrophobic core.”

“Quaternary Structure. Some proteins are made up of multiple, separate proteins (called "subunits") that join together in order to be functional. Hemoglobin, for example, is made up of four subunits arranged in a certain way. Quaternary structure refers to the particular arrangement of protein subunits.

Since most Foldit puzzles consist of proteins that contain only a single subunit, quaternary structures are generally not relevant in most cases. However, quaternary structures can be found in symmetry puzzles, which feature proteins that contain multiple identical subunits.”

Is it ok to attempt to reproduce another person’s structure visually?

Learning from other players and sharing strategies is acceptable and encouraged. However, remember that diversity helps Foldit's scientific goals. Please keep this is mind as you collaborate with others.

If you have any questions about these community rules, please feel free to message community liaison, agcohn821 directly.

To view the old community rules, click here.

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Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons