Storyline and Theories Rules
1. Obey all general BZPower rules, as found in the Reference Desk.
2. No flaming. This essentially means insulting people. Before you submit your post, ask yourself if you have let slip an insult, and edit it out. And in general, calm down and remember this is all about entertainment. Chill and stuff. Note: Posting in all caps is considered yelling which can be seen as flaming, so is also not allowed.
3. No trolling. This is a murky issue that basically means being stubbornly antagonistic or hostile -- failing to be cordial and polite even while disagreeing, for example -- without actually clearly flaming. This sparks others to flame, making them look like the culprit when really the troller is. In other words, to quote the main BZPower rules, it is "trying to force someone into an argument".
Note: Please do not confuse trolling with disagreement. This is a discussion site and so we do want you to speak your mind, but to do so politely and remember that we are a community. By the same token, please do not act offended if someone expressed disagreement with you, and do not claim that they have no right to do so.
4. No spam. Posts must add to the discussion's subject. Stay on topic, and avoid "repetition & agreement spam", which basically means posting the same thing others have already posted or just quoting them and saying "I agree". (Note: Some topics ask for individual opinions on a subjective subject, and simple agreement posts in those are not necessarily spam. But in for example a topic asking for a canon answer to a storyline question, they would be spam. Many members seem to have trouble judging the difference -- basically, if there is a single objective answer that can't be logically debated, there's no need to add agreement.)
5. No confusing titles. The title must tell everybody what the topic is about -- any that don't should be edited by staff to clarify things.
6. No topic revival past 60 days since the latest post. The official topics are exempt from this and may be revived at any time.
7. Do not make "dupe" topics, which means a topic about the same specific subject as an existing active topic (meaning a topic that hasn't "died" by going past the revival limit). Before posting a new topic you should skim the current topic titles in S&T and if you find one about what you wanted to talk about, simply post in it.
8. Do not post your topic more than once. If you get a Mail error, or "Page cannot be displayed" when posting a topic, do NOT click "Back." Close the window, and bring BZP up in a new one, so that you can get back to this forum, and check to see if your topic really did go through. Most times it has.
Note: The exception to both of the above rules is if the previous topic (either by you or someone else) has died, but you think there is still room for discussion. In such cases you may repost the old topic, but please include a note about it as you do.
9. No offensive/inappropriate language or content, and avoid controversial subjects. Note: Occasional comparisons of Bionicle storyline aspects to controversial real-world subjects may be acceptable if they are done very carefully, but are best avoided because they tend to get out of line too, and Bionicle isn't the real world anyways. (But comments about such subjects posted only for their own sakes will be removed; find other sites to discuss them.) Above all, remember this is a family-friendly site.
10. If you have any questions or concerns about these rules, please PM me and I'll try to answer in a timely fashion.
*Theories on the official storyline, based on evidence. (See "theory definition" section below for more.)
* Questions about the official storyline (sometimes answered and closed, but left open if remaining questions have no definite answer, etc.).
* Comments/observations/praise/criticisms about the storyline.
* Asking for "like or dislike" opinions/reactions about story-only subjects.
* "What I/you would do differently" topics about the storyline
* "What if" (alternate events and theorizing on their results) topics -- used to be banned due to too many, but now allowed again to encourage more discussion. Although we should still try to stick relatively close to what we can reasonably extrapolate; in-depth storytelling about alternate scenarios are usually better made into a fanfic story in the Library.
* No speculation topics. (See "theory definition" section below for more. Basically these try to guess at what is canon -- however, within reason they may be okay if they're simply rephrased as a "what I'd do differently" topic)
* No coincidence topics, such as "Makuta reminds me of the LOST Smoke Monster! Discuss!".
* No "little mistakes" topics, such as about comic artwork flubs (although there's a gray line here with criticism topics).
* No "post-it-here" topics, which means a topic trying to act like an official "only post about this subject here" topic, or a topic providing no content and asking repliers to make the content. (A topic that asks a specific question does not count as this, although there's some gray areas.)
S&T uses a very precise set of definitions of words related to theories, which are often confused for varying definitions in common parlance and jargon, so this little guide will clearly define them to avoid future confusion. There isn't any new canon story anymore, but there are still various unanswered questions about old story we can still theorize about, and Greg Farshtey, Christian Faber, and a few others have still recently revealed tidbits of relevant information. By the way, these are essentially the definitions used in proper science and in standard English in general, with the exception that "speculation" is usually more informal than we use it here.
"Theory" -- A theory is an idea that hopes to predict future story revelations, or present a reasonable explanation or occurance or the like, based on "evidence." You may post topics about your story theories, or post similar related theories to someone else's in their topic for sake of conversation there.
Note: Theories may be disproven sometimes and closed; this doesn't mean that you broke any rules by posting it, but merely that once it's disproven, there is nothing left to discuss. So such topics are treated like question topics and closed because they are answered, more or less. [This almost never comes up nowadays, except for topic-starter closure requests.]
"Evidence" -- This means some canon fact that is already known, which could be used to support a theory, but doesn't absolutely prove it to definately be true. Evidence can be interpreted in many different ways based on your "presuppositions" or starting assumptions, and often what will seem like good evidence for one theory to one member will to another member seem the exact opposite. Please do not be surprised or alarmed at this -- it's normal. And please remember not to tear down others for having a theory you disagree with; rather try to congratulate them for being creative and thinking, even as you disagree, because we want as much story discussion as we can get.
"Proof" -- This refers to things that are known absolutely to be true, with no room for logical debate against them, in the canon storyline. A lot of members get confused about this, thinking that a theory is illegitimate if it isn't proven, but that would miss the point of theories to begin with. Also, we do not use the term "proof" to refer to evidence for theories to keep things clear. In other words, if an idea is proven, it's already canon fact and not a theory.
As a rule, you should treat even your own theories with granules of salt, and not invest yourself emotionally in "demanding" it must be true. Just see your theories as one possibility, and be prepared for the strong possibility, no matter how good your evidence, that it isn't the case.
Note: Be careful when assuming something is proven. Sometimes people think something is a fact when it is actually only strongly inferred or implied.
"Speculation" -- This isn't allowed as only content of a topic startpost. Speculation is exactly the same as theories in one way -- it's cool story ideas that often could very well turn out to be true. We do not wish to put a damper on the imagination -- quite the opposite. But speculation is very different in an important way -- it has no evidence; it's just something that "MIGHT" be true. There IS, however, a gray area where speculation can be okay in replies to a theory; in response to one person's theory about a well-known mystery, you could simply say "I tend to feel this other idea is the answer, though I don't really have good evidence, so I applaud your evidenced-theory." And such an aside comment can even be okay in a topic's startpost content, as long as your main theory is not dependent on it (for example, a brief comment speculating on how your basic theory could be expanded on in the story). Also, of course, non-canon storyline ideas are greatly encouraged to be turned into fan fiction stories and posted in BZPower's Library forum divisions.
The standard spoiler policy is two weeks of tagging for new media. In other words, when referring to plot events from a new book, web episode, etc, you should use spoiler tags for at least two weeks after wide release. After that, you can discuss plot points freely.
Official Topics Policy
There are only a few current official topics. Unfortunately since BZP's archives were almost completely lost, a wide variety of the old official topics, which had detailed factlists, are also gone. On the upside, almost every relevant factoid can be found at BIONICLEsector01. The policy details are:
1) There are two kinds of official topics, both of which are revivable at any time as long as the topic is open.
2) For a normal Official topic (that lacks the word "Guide" in its title), all discussion on the subject it is about belongs in that topic. Other topics on the same subject may only be made with permission from staff. [The only current, canon-related topic that this applies to is the Greg Compendium, and that is not even absolute, as guide style topics about certain subjects not (yet) covered by Official Guides are usually okay. It does apply to the Multiverse fanon Official Topics as well, but only for S&T, as fanfics based on it belong of course in the Library.]
3) For an Official Guide topic, other topics on that subject may, yes, may be made without permission. These topics serve as one optional, always-revivable place where members can post about the subject if they so choose, and to have their factlists for easy reference to common questions related to that subject.