Community Guidelines

Our community, first and foremost, is a shared resource. We are a community that is focused, building, productive, and thoughtful. Knowing our Rules is helpful in navigating our community, but these additional guidelines are meant to be helpful as well when steering through typical online community issues.

Most of these guidelines are applicable to all of our spaces, not just the Discourse forum, so you might see staff members linking to these guidelines in other spaces like the Discord server.

Table of Contents

Learning Discourse

Discourse is a new platform for our community, so there will be a learning curve to getting used to everything. We highly recommend responding to Discobot in your DMs for the basic user tutorial for your first order of business as a new user, as well as the advanced user tutorial once you’ve got some posts under your belt.

These resources will help you get acquainted with the platform as well as learn about the features we specifically have:

For more information on when to use some of the 32-Bit Cafe’s platforms, see When to use different communication methods.

Participating in the Community

Social media has conditioned a lot of online behavior that is actually pretty antisocial if you think about it, focusing on things that aren’t actually important for connecting with other humans. We ask that when using our community spaces, including the Discord server, you aren’t perpetuating harmful social media culture.

We cover a lot of egregious offenses in our Rules, but there are some additional cultural activities we discourage in the Cafe:

  • Posting links to content (like videos or articles) without any explanation, context, or why you’re sharing with the community at large
  • Posting as a “character” (we’re authentic and earnest here, you should be too!)
  • Assuming the worst intentions in conversations
  • Interrupting ongoing conversation with a topic you want to talk about instead
  • Polarizing language instead of finding a common ground or expressing empathy
  • Dumping memes

Instead, we ask that you respect everyone, discuss topics with civility and empathy, and treat this place differently than you would other spaces that thrive on outrage, extreme emotional responses, and discord among members. We always approach conversations in good faith, even if they can be difficult to talk about or understand where the other person is coming from—it’s the cornerstone of our community.

Taking breaks

Sometimes folks might feel guilty for taking breaks from the community, web-building, or projects, but this is a much-needed aspect of elongating the lifetime of interest in your hobby. Burning out helps no one, especially when this side of the web depends on folks’ participation and ongoing maintenance.

Take frequent breaks. Go outside, spend some time with your other hobbies, and use your website as a way to highlight and showcase these parts of you. It’s a natural and necessary part of growing as a human being. Keep your interest alive by diversifying what you’re doing rather than intensely focusing on it for so long that you burn out and disappear altogether.

There is no need to ever apologize for bouts of inactivity, no matter how long. Just resume as if you never left!

Responding to old threads

Also called “necroposting,” this is an often-debated aspect of online forums. In the 32-Bit Cafe, we’d much rather have folks respond to threads that may not have been posted in lately than create a new thread about the same topic. This not just keeps things tidy, but it can also re-engage folks that may not have interacted in a while.

Post freely and revive threads whenever you see a topic you’d like to jump in on.

Appropriate Types of Discussion

Think of our general spaces as communing with coworkers or acquaintances at school. Ultimately, we are here to work alongside and with other folks in the personal web to help others build their personal websites, tools, services, and anything that might help grow this side of the web. Whenever you are responding to a topic or starting one, you should THINK:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it helpful?
  • Is it inspiring?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?


Conversation here in the Cafe should be positive and encouraging. We welcome folks who are looking for encouragement, need feedback, or otherwise would like a positive space to discuss ways to move forward, even in times when we’re not feeling our best. We do not subscribe to toxic positivity, which is too far in that direction; instead, we want to promote balance and progressively positive thinking.

There’s no reason to express dislike and bring down others who are excitedly talking about a subject. If someone talks about something that you’re not interested in or actively dislike, feel free to keep it moving, start a discussion about a topic you’re into, or wait until someone is talking about a topic you like.

Cliques and inside jokes

We encourage everyone to get to know others with similar interests, create their own personal friend groups, and collaborate with others on projects, coming back to the Cafe to get things done both collectively and independently. However, we ask that inside jokes are kept to a minimum in order to keep these spaces inclusive as possible and easy for anyone to jump into a conversation. The 32-Bit Cafe does not encourage clique-ish behavior: projects and events within these spaces should be open to everyone, regardless of experience level.

Voiding or monologuing

“Voiding” or “monologuing” in this case tends to be when someone is dominating a conversation with walls of text, responding to themselves repeatedly, or talking about topics without expecting input from anyone, essentially using a chatroom or thread as a blog. Since this is a community meant to discuss things with each other, we ask that if you find yourself responding to yourself a lot without input from others, it might be worth to take a look at the type of topics you’re discussing to determine the level of appropriateness for this space.

Hyper-specific niche topics might not be appropriate for this forum, since we’re focused on building websites. Instead of starting a new topic, consider creating a blog post or webpage on your website that discusses these rather than using the community as a conduit to discuss your niche that others might not relate to or understand. Once you’re done, share with us—we’d love to see what you’ve added to your website.

An exception to this can be if a thread is started to talk about a project a member is working on, and the project owner is repeatedly replying to the same topic in order to update others on the status of or additions to the project. This is not quite the same as monologuing, as folks here would be interested in seeing the continuous updates. However, we’d encourage folks to update the initial post rather than posting a reply, but thread bumping is allowed.

Mental health topics and discussion

Because our spaces are public and may be archived in the future, deeply personal information about yourself should be avoided to respect your own privacy. This is especially true with web forums, which can be entirely archived, and we are no exception. While our community likes to keep privacy in mind, this is not the only reason to approach these subjects with a different level of care.

The 32-Bit Cafe is not a replacement for support groups, therapy, or mental health organizations. We are a website-building community, which means we’re trying to focus on building up the independent web. This isn’t to discourage folks from addressing their mental health or talking about their experience, but rather, create an environment of positivity and encouragement, two things severely lacking in online spaces these days.

By not addressing this aspect of online community, the shared culture can quickly turn negative by:

  • creating bonds between people built upon shaky or unhealthy ground,
  • putting undue pressure on the same people who also need support to respond,
  • exhausting well-meaning communities into constantly giving support when they may not have the energy or appropriate resources to do so,
  • creating unhealthy dependencies on the community instead of seeking professional help,
  • and ultimately, discouraging folks from projects and activity that moves the community forward by changing the tone of the community.

Constantly being around negativity is actually bad for your brain. This can include constantly bringing up that you’ve had a bad day, which can also bring down the mood in chat spaces. We do not have vent forums or channels for a reason, and we ask that you kindly respect this aspect of our community.

Those who repeatedly use the Cafe as a replacement for seeking professional help may be asked to leave the community respectfully alongside resources they might find helpful.

This does not mean that you are not allowed to bring up or discuss mental health, neurodivergence, or disorders. Instead, we ask that if you do reference these, that it’s relevant to the discussion and that there’s a positive takeaway.



“I’m so depressed. I can’t work on anything.”

Why it’s not appropriate: Folks may not be equipped to be able to give you the right resources or things you might need when you’re having a hard time. It’s also hard to divert conversation away from someone in the middle of a mental health crisis, and this can be difficult to move away from in conversation to steer us back to appropriate conversation. Instead of posting this, it might be a good time to take a break, focus on self-care, or contact your support system for help. This isn’t an appropriate use of the community.


“I have depression, so I often find I can’t work on things.”

Why it’s better: In this case, talking about it more clinically or wholly allows you to bring up awareness to issues that folks might not be aware of, but it’s still not the best way to bring this up because it doesn’t quite end on a positive takeaway for folks to be to continue the conversation.

Most appropriate:

“I have depression, so I often find I can’t work on things. Here are some ways I try to get myself out of it, and sometimes it does work.”

Why it’s best: By discussing what you’re going through or have gone through with takeaways that are actionable and observable, other members are able to use your addition as a continuation of conversation rather than having to stop the conversation to provide support. It ends on a positive note, because you have taken steps to remedy the situation yourself, even if it’s happening to you now. This takes the pressure off to give you support and, instead, raises awareness about your experience and allows others to connect with you without the conversation being in a heightened emotional state.

If you do need help, we have some resources on our Code of Conduct that might be helpful to you.

Volunteering for Projects

Feel free to start projects or jump into helping others with their projects, even if you’re new! This can be a great way to get to know folks in the community and build rapport with others.

If you do plan on volunteering, here are some tips:

  • Start with a smaller scope: what can you do individually or with a small group?
  • Follow through on what you say you’ll do
  • Only sign up for tasks and projects you have the bandwidth for
  • Take initiative — it’s hard to delegate tasks when folks are using their free time to contribute
  • Communicate often and freely with one another, especially with feedback
  • Get organized as soon as you can with kanbans, checklists, or any system needed to make sure folks are staying on track
  • Set deadlines and turnaround times to ensure work is getting done
  • Check in with each other often and provide updates

If you find that folks are becoming inactive with the project or falling off communication, don’t be afraid to take over aspects that are falling behind to get the project done. Ask for more help from additional members or get the Baristas involved to help wrangle folks.

Our community is only moving forward if we have folks available and working together. The longevity of the independent web depends upon continued encouragement and motivation to sustain projects. We ask our members to monitor and manage their personal bandwidth as they explore the personal web and web-building. Burning out or shutting down does not help this side of the web move forward or grow, so be sure to take special care of yourself in whichever way makes you feel most refreshed. Consistency over intensity is always appreciated.

Types of Communication

When to use different communication methods

While it’s hard to think about any and all topics that could be discussed in 32-Bit Cafe spaces, here’s some suggestions to determine whether you should create a thread or use chat.

Use a chatroom (including Discord) if:

  • you want to just chatter away with other members
  • you want to talk about your day
  • you want to have some lighthearted banter
  • you want some immediate conversation

Use a topic if:

  • you have a specific topic you want to discuss
  • there’s news about something you want to talk about with others
  • you want to have an in-depth discussion

Ultimately, post a thread when in doubt. We’d much rather folks have discussions about what they want to talk about in the forums without hand-wringing so much about where to talk about something, which can be discouraging and prevent folks from posting at all.

Why did you move away from Discord?

We are not the only ones. Having all of our communication on one platform that is essentially a walled garden is not ideal for a community that is trying to get more folks to build, improve, and work on personal websites. Our Discord is still up and available to those who find that the platform is best for them, but we encourage folks to learn the Discourse platform and join in on discussions here.

Discord is not quite the platform for building community focused on productive activity and, after almost 10 years of the platform’s existence, we’ve found that the culture encouraged on Discord is not conducive to the type of community we want to build.

We hope that everyone will give this platform a decent try and give the Baristas feedback about how to improve our instance and make it better for everyone. While we may not be able to accommodate every situation or circumstance, we do try to give thoughtful consideration and weigh the outcomes of our decisions.