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Hey, everyone! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend. We've got a few announcements to make, and it's our hope that you'll find them useful. Drug Discussion Some of you might remember an old announcement back in March, which covered the basics of drug policy: It's worth revisiting this policy so we can address concerns that came up in recent times. As always, illegal substances are prohibited outside of an academic context, but you are allowed to joke about it (within reason; don't break other rules, and don't glorify or otherwise encourage their use). You can also seek help in life advice, but if you're struggling with drug-related problems, you should seek professional help. Legal substances like alcohol and tobacco are allowed, but be sure you don't do anything that encourages underage drinking and smoking. The same applies to electronic cigarettes. By legal and illegal, we're talking from a general North American (which is where the site is hosted, and where the majority of our members are from) standpoint. For example, it doesn't matter if weed is legal in some states; for the sake of consistency, consider it banned under our rules. As a general rule of thumb, you can treat illegal drugs as you would piracy: discuss it in an academic context, but don't glorify them, encourage them, or otherwise promote their use. Shortened URLs If you've ever seen links like tinyurl, goo.gl, and bit.ly, you've seen short URLs. While helpful at times, they can, have, and will be used for malicious purposes. In the past few months alone, they've been used to link to screamers, viruses, and other harmful content. On a site that allows you to set custom text for a hyperlink, like so, there's really no need for shortened URLs. One thing I'll readily acknowledge is that you don't have this option in statuses. Regardless, it simply isn't worth the risk. Don't use short links. If you see a short link, don't click on it immediately. Instead, use a URL lengthening service like LongURL to see where it takes you. If you see one on MLP Forums, please report it. The one exception to this rule: shortened URLs that redirect only to one (reputable) site. These include youtu.be (YouTube) and fav.me (deviantART). Easier Ban/Suspension Disputes A common problem with bans and suspensions is that many are unaware of how to dispute a ban or suspension. While the dispute email address has always been public, it's not in an easily-accessible area. Now, if you're banned, you'll be provided with the email address. The staff are fallible, and disputes are an important part of ensuring that the system is fair. Meetup Forum The Meetup Map thread was useful, but it had a problem: it was too big, and your post tended to get buried by a dozen or more others. To help make life easier for people looking for fellow bronies, there is now a dedicated meetup forum. Prefixes for Life Advice and Equestria Girls You may have noticed some changes to various boards on this site. Life Advice now mandates the use of topic prefixes, which serve to define each thread's purpose. To make this possible, you can now choose from four different categories: Brony Advice, Giving Advice, Seeking Advice, and Vent. Hopefully, these names are clear enough to explain themselves, but for the sake of completeness, I'll go over them: Brony Advice: Same as it was originally. If your topic is specific to being a brony, then use this prefix. Giving Advice: If you want to provide life suggestions, tips, and other advice to your fellow members, you can use this prefix to help people find it. Seeking Advice: Probably the most commonly used prefix. If you're looking for non-brony advice, this is the prefix for you. Vent: Feeling sad? Frustrated? Need a virtual pillow to punch? The Vent prefix is for you. Remember, you can make however many vent threads you'd like, and you can reuse the same vent thread. The Equestria Girls forum also has a new prefix. In order to help differentiate EqG1 threads from Rainbow Rocks threads, you can now label RR threads accordingly. Miscellaneous Staff now have role indicators underneath their badges. It's our hope that these will help you find the assistance you need Gender options have been updated. Transgender males and females now have the appropriate male and female symbols Additional contact fields are now available. You can now link to your Twitter and FIMFiction profiles The last survey-related emails have been sent. Finally, we have something fun in store for you guys in the coming weeks. Expect an announcement on that in a few days! As always, if you have any thoughts, questions, concerns, or suggestions, be sure to leave your thoughts down below!