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GIRS User Agreement

Greater Iowa Reef Society
User Agreement

The Greater Iowa Reef Society is operated per the Constitution and By-Laws. The terms "we", "us", "our", "Staff", "GIRS", "Board of Directors", "BoD" encompass those volunteer representatives, both elected and appointed, who serve to moderate & administrate the service provided by this web site ("Service"). BoD members are not responsible for any user-generated content and accounts ("Content") other than Content associated with their own individual accounts.

Registration on the GIRS Forum is free! By accessing the services GIRS provides, you accept, without condition or limitation, all of the Terms & Conditions (also referred to as "rules", "guidelines", etc) contained within this User Agreement.

We reserve the right to amend this user agreement at any time (when appropriate) and without prior notice. This agreement will be updated when such changes arise. You agree to any changes made within the agreement by continuing to use the Service.

Users are mainly within the State of Iowa and the surrounding areas of adjoining states, but this is not by any means a restriction. This is a community of individuals who share a common interest in the aquarium hobby. Please think before you post, keep your comments limited to the topic at hand, and above all - be nice. If you come across any violations to these guidelines or have any problems navigating the site, do not hesitate to let us know through the Forum's Contact Form or the "Report" button. We'll be happy to address your concerns. We encourage everyone to participate in and enjoy our community while at the same time adhering to these rules.


All activity should be done with integrity and mutual respect. This is, by far, the most important guideline of all. We aim to ensure that the forum is an enjoyable place that you want to visit time and time again. Our underlying philosophy is that the strength of the relationships we build sets us apart from other groups (here on the forum as well as in person) and this is what makes GIRS a great community to be a part of.

Users should be mindful of themselves and others. We strive to keep GIRS a friendly, civil, insightful, mature and fun group, and a family friendly/work safe website. We only ask that you attempt to do the same! Posting of topics containing situations or products that are not family/under-age friendly is not permitted. Please don't post it here if you wouldn't say it to your grandmother. Feel free to challenge points of view and opinions, but do so respectfully and thoughtfully.

The language of this forum is English. If you are not a native English speaker, please do your best. We are glad to have you as a member and will be supportive and polite.


"Content" includes, but is not limited to, posts, conversation messages, classifieds, photos, videos, usernames and titles, signatures, account/profile information, profile status updates, profile comments, blogs, chat posts, and avatars. Content submitted express the views of their author only.

All Content you submit or upload may be reviewed by staff. All Content you submit or upload may be sent to third-party verification services (including, but not limited to, spam prevention services). Do not submit any Content that you consider to be private or confidential.

You are granting us with a non-exclusive, permanent, irrevocable, unlimited license to use, publish, or re-publish your Content in connection with the Service, unless the Staff receives formal instructions from you prior to the material being posted. You retain copyright over the Content.

Copyrighted material includes images and text produced and owned by others. You agree to not use the Service to submit or link to any Content that is under copyright or license, risks copyright or trademark infringement, or is otherwise in any manner a violation of any local, national, or international laws, except where you own the copyright and grant permission for it to be permanently displayed within this forum. Information copyrighted or owned by any individual or entity other than you should not be posted on the discussion forums without the consent of the owner. If such an event occurs, the individual posting the information shall be held solely responsible. You cannot legally post entire articles or news in the forum without permission from the copyright holder. Even if you attribute the article correctly - it’s still copyright infringement. Under Fair Use provisions you can legally post a small abstract of an article, or perhaps the opening paragraph. The exception to this rule is press releases; they are meant for distribution and can be copied and distributed. If you are not sure if you can copy something, then err on the side of caution and simply post a link to the material. Photos, articles, and posts submitted to the Service may be used by us in the sharing of links and articles.

You agree to not use the Service to submit or link to any Content which is considered to be profane, obscene, vulgar, explicit, discriminatory, defamatory, racist, sexist, abusive, hateful, threatening, spam/spam-like, harassment, stalking, predatory, cyber-bullying, trolling, likely to offend, encourages unlawful activity, or contains adult or objectionable content, personal information of others, personal communications with others, unsubstantiated gossip, libelous remarks, personal attacks, or directly misleading information.

Intentionally misspelling words, misplacing punctuation marks, or using similar characters in an attempt to bypass or "trick" the obscenity filter (such as "$" or "@" instead of "s" or "a") is not permitted. The obscenity filter is set up to block out certain words: let it work as intended, or use random characters for the entire word. You'll get your point across just fine.

Staff will ultimately decide if something is appropriate or not; please remember that we may have junior users. We reserve the rights to remove or modify any Content submitted for any reason without explanation. Requests for Content to be removed or modified will be undertaken only at our discretion. We reserve the right to take action against any account with the Service at any time. Staff will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, however, it is impossible for us to review all messages.

You agree that we do not control the information and material posted or transmitted on or from the forum or other services provided, and that the opinions, statements, advice, suggestions, offers or other information or material are those of the author, who remains exclusively liable for their content.

You retain full responsibility for all content or material you post, and grant us a permanent and irrevocable right to display this through the services provided. You acknowledge that any content or material posted by you is non-confidential.

Although copyright of any posted material is retained by the original author, you grant us the right to act on your behalf in cases of copyright infringement, i.e. where material posted by you on GIRS has been copied without your permission by a third party. However, you acknowledge that we are not obliged to do so under the provisions of this agreement.


You agree that your user account and profile, which may include avatars, signatures, titles, blogs and graphics, are all subject to the terms and conditions of this user agreement.

You agree that you will create a single user account and no others. Shilling (fake persona), or creation of a Shill account is expressly forbidden. Use of multiple accounts in order to distinguish between personal and commercial activity is not required (refer to Sponsor section of this agreement). Multiple accounts may be deleted or merged into a single account, and where a multiple account is used in a manner which may violate any part of this user agreement, both multiple and primary accounts may be suspended.

Usernames should be appropriate. Usernames that resemble e-mail or web addresses (or anything of that general form) shall not be used. While it is your choice, most people use a "handle" as a username instead of using your real full name. If your username is deemed inappropriate, we will contact you regarding a username change.

Signatures must be setup in your profile such that they will appear at the bottom of every post you make rather than manually added to individual messages. Some signature content is controlled by permission settings (font, size, lines, links, smilies, videos, etc). Unless you are a GIRS Sponsor, signatures may not include email addresses, phone numbers, prompts to contact, a sales pitch, or commercial links.


Group buys are permitted on the Service, but can only be initiated by a GIRS Member (in the Members Forum) or a GIRS Sponsor (in the Sponsor Forum). Only GIRS Members may participate in a Member Group Buy, but any user can participate in a GIRS Sponsor Group Buy, unless the Sponsor states otherwise. Group buys must be made available to all current GIRS members.


Our Classifieds section is offered as a benefit for GIRS Members as a means for selling, buying, trading, or giving away personal livestock, equipment, and dry goods.

We rely on the honor system to help encourage fair trading. It is not our role to enforce transactions. In cases where it is brought to our attention that blatant fraud is taking or has taken place, we may, at our our sole discretion, take appropriate disciplinary action.

  • Classifieds encompass any exchange: For Sale, Willing to Buy / Looking For, Trade, Free, Re-home, etc.
  • All classified listings must be posted in the Classifieds section.
  • Only GIRS Members may list an item in the Classifieds section, but everyone can participate.
  • Place only one listing per item or group of items. Do not post or repost the same item or group of items in more than one section of the Classifieds. Instead, modify the listing.
  • We expect listings placed to be related to the topic of this forum (aquarium hobby). Non-hobby related items may be sold under the "Not Hobby Related" category, but these should be kept to a minimum, and should be within reason.
  • Do not place a listing directing others to or containing links to your listing on another site (including but not limited to, auction sites, Craiglist, and social media).
  • Listings may be removed by our staff at any time for any reason. Do not attempt to re-post a removed listing; contact the Staff with any concerns.
  • All Willing to Buy/Looking For listings must include an intent to purchase or trade.
  • Do not place listings requesting free items or donations.
  • Sponsors may post personal items in the classifieds section, but it should be clearly stated that they are personal items.

For clarity, users may link to someone else's off-site listing, and they may do so in the general forum area (i.e. outside of the Classifieds section) as long as they don't have any vested interest in the sale of the item (i.e. no shilling) and the listing is not made by a GIRS user. We understand that it's not always possible to know who is and who is not a GIRS user, but repeated abuse of this guideline can result in disciplinary action.

For additional listing recommendations, please refer to the GIRS Classifieds Guidelines


The Classifieds area is not the place for discussion, feedback, negative comment, or your opinion about a particular seller or item that is up for sale or trade. If you have no intention of trading something for or buying a particular item, but you wish to voice a concern, you might send the seller a Private Message (PM), but you should otherwise refrain from posting in their listing.

The Buyer/Seller Feedback & Vendor Experiences forums are the proper location for GIRS Members to provide feedback about a transaction. Members are encouraged to use these forums to post details of a particular transaction, both good and bad. Threads and posts in these forums should reflect an accurate description of the transaction from both parties involved. These forums are NOT a place for name calling, back and forth banter, or opinions from those not involved with the transaction.


Commercial Members are defined in Article III: Membership | Section 5 of the General By-Laws.

Although GIRS Sponsors are provided with additional guidelines, all other commercial posts, transmissions, user names, signatures or avatars are in violation of this user agreement.

You acknowledge that these definitions cannot suit all scenarios, and that we reserve the right to determine whether the content of any of your posts violate this agreement.


The forum does not discourage nor endorse any commercial entity. Sponsors must adhere to all the forum policies including these specifically set out for Sponsors. For information about how to become a Sponsors, please contact the Staff.

  • Sponsors are assigned this status at our discretion. We value our Sponsors participants and the knowledge they bring to the forum. Only authorized Sponsors may post commercial content.
  • Sponsors have a sub-forum specifically dedicated to their products and services.
  • Sponsors may not post unsolicited Content that advertises services or contains price quotes outside of the Sponsors Forums.
  • Outside of the Sponsors Forums, when a user is looking for help or asking questions (about products, techniques, etc), Sponsors may post in a manner to direct them to the Sponsors Forum or a thread that is related to their question, their own commercial website, a website in which they have a commercial interest, etc, as long as any content is limited to answering the question or solving the problem/issue.
  • Similarly, Outside of the Sponsors Forums, if (and only if) a user requests (solicits) a Sponsors to provide information or pricing on a product or service, you may respond as stated above.
  • Sponsors are not allowed to post replies to a "Buy" listing in the Classifieds indicating that they have the item being sought; such communication should take place via private message.

We welcome the knowledge and experience that our Sponsors bring to the table and we do not wish you restrict your ability to share information with our users and participate in discussion. However, this should not be taken advantage of and does not imply permission to threadjack or post blatant advertising; please do not abuse this policy.


We reserve the right to monitor and review the content posted or transmitted on or through its services, including, but not limited to, the forums. You acknowledge that we are not obliged to do so under the provisions of this agreement, but will endeavor to so with the resources available.

Moderation is at the sole judgment of the GIRS Staff, and although the motivation behind any moderation will usually be provided, this is entirely at our discretion.

Content can be manually moved by Staff into the moderation queue for further review. Content can also be automatically placed into the moderation queue by the forum software. Users of the GIRS forum may also trigger content to be moved into the moderation queue through the Reporting system (referred to as "Crowd Moderation"). The Crowd Moderation feature shall not be abused.

Do not be abusive toward Staff. Remember, we are all volunteers! Complaints about Staff decisions may not be made in posts; instead, send a private message to the Staff member or contact the Board of Directors.

Do not repost any content that has been removed or placed in the moderation queue.


If any part of this agreement is deemed to have been violated, we reserve the right, without condition and at our discretion, to take appropriate disciplinary action according to the current Discipline Policy. Such action may include (but are not limited to) editing content, removing posts/threads from public view, and/or individual account suspension.


We will not allow the access of any information provided by you to any outside bodies or external companies, schemes, databases etc. except where your actions require the information be passed onto appropriate authorities (police etc). You acknowledge however, that any personal information you offer voluntarily on any part of the Service may be collected and used by other parties, resulting in unsolicited transmissions or messages.


You shall be responsible for, and indemnify and hold harmless GIRS and its representatives against, any claim arising from any of your Content.


In its duty to comply with relevant law, and co-operate with appropriate authorities, GIRS reserves the right to disclose your identity or any other information we may hold about you, where complaints or legal actions results from material posted or transmitted by you.


The information, material, facts, and opinions are user generated from various individuals or businesses and are provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, other than those imposed by and incapable of exclusion, restriction or modification under the laws applicable to this agreement.

The use of GIRS is at your own risk. We shall not be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury, or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, punitive or similar damages arising from the use or access of the Services provided by GIRS or your inability to access or use these services. This will also apply to any actions taken in response to or as a result of any information or material posted on or transmitted from the Service.

We do not endorse, nor are we responsible or liable for the accuracy or reliability or any opinion or statement posted or transmitted on or from the Service.


The user agreement and any disputes arising out of, or related to the Services provided by GIRS shall be governed by and construed and enforced in accordance with the laws, statutes and regulations of the State of Iowa in the United States of America.

If you do not agree with these terms, please do not register or use this Service. If you wish to close your account, please contact us.

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