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The Worst Rules to add to ANY server (revised edition)

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hooptiecoupe's Avatar hooptiecoupe
Level 43 : Master Network
As a Minecraft Server reviewer, I've come accross some really great servers, and some REALLY bad ones.
the one thing i see people complain about the most is : SERVER RULES.

Too often, server owners make there rules to vaque and then dont fully explain how they want that rule
carried out to there admins and mods. This ends up leading to ALOT of staff abuse and banning.

The goal of this article is NOT to be a LIST or a rant. But, to be a NON-BYASS and CONSTRUCTIVE
disccusion on how you as a server owner can improve the rules on you server
And also, to help server owners See why making these rules too vaque
will cause a LOT of headache not only for the players,
but for your admins and yourself. Consider the following chapters and ask yourself,

Can i possibly REWORD this rule to make it apply better to my server?
DO i REALLY need this rule?
How can i make this RULE more clear to my admins WITHOUT tieing down my players?
Am i willing to let 1 Bad player ruin it for everyone by adding a rule cause of 1 player that did so and so?

While im not saying you CANT or SHOULD'NT add these rules, It would be wise to work on being
more detailed on these rules.

I speak from experince, no only as a Minecfraft player, but also as a server owner.
you can find my server by going here: LINK

The biggest thing to remember....
In all the time i've done server reviews, i've found that the MOST SUSSCESFUL servers
tend to have less than 10 rules. Anymore than that, and players tend to get very confused over whats
allowed and whats NOT allowed. Most will leave your server in favor of somewhere else thats LESS restritive.
I've been on a server with 45 rules. there player turn around was about 40 minutes.
they had money, so they could advertise there server. But, the players that returned or became part of the community? very few. there forums were quite, the website was barely visted, meaning,
they did not get any REAL player support outside of the occasional person bying an banned item from the shop.

Do you want long term or short term players? long term players may not pay or support you now,
but 2-3 months from now?.. they'll be dropping 25-100 bucks to help you out.
short terms players will likely spend 5-10 dollars for a quick perk like, colorful shoes, or a rainbow trail or a coloured nickname. but when after about 2-3 weeks. They wont come back cause they grew tired of your excessive rules.

meaning, you may get a little bit of income to support your server costs in the short term.
but, what about the long term?

In short:
The goal when choosing what rules to add to your server should be.. "Keep it simple"

don't overload or burden the player with rules that other rules you have already cover.
Try to let the 'natural' rules of the game and plugins you've added do the job of automatically providing the rules.

Chapter #1 - "NO GRIEFING"
One of the heavist rules that server owners tend to leave too VAQUE and heavily open for MAJOR sugjestion is

But, what DEFINES this rule? what do YOU consider to be NO GREIFING? have you disccused this rule with your community and with your admins so that its clear what IS and ISN'T acceptable on your server?
(after all, you are paying the bills.)

One ADMIN may see someone using tnt to blow up landscape and call that GRIEF, but what they didnt know is that
the person is terraforming to prepare for a build.
Another ADMIN may see building 1x1 pillars as GRIEF, but,... some of the BEST builds all start with
1x1 pillars. In doing research on server community websites, this is the most common rule i see abused by staff because it is not clearly defined.

The Majority of Protection PLUGINS out there allow for 100% protection of land claims,
so if your policy is, NO GRIEFING on LAND CLAIMS, you dont even have to say it. The plugins will
auto-protect from this issue. While there is no need to GET HIGHLY detailed on this subject to your players,
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you disccus this and lay down the ground rules of what this rule means to you with your
admins and MODS. Otherwise, your ban appels section is going to get flooded with people saying they were banned
for spawning chickens into the chicken farm., or they were banned for using tnt on there landclaim to remove
terrain to build something (i've seen these reports on server websites, so i speak from experince)

This is also a common rule i'v seen on many servers.
In my experince, when this rule as been added its cause the server has major issues with lag.
Some servers will even go so far as to say " no saying tacos, .. no saying pigs... no saying test....
or anything else that implies lag on the server.

The problem that happens when you add this rule is, when 20 people on your server are saying lag,
your admins are banning them for saying it when it is a legit issue that you need to be aware of and fix.

Instead of restricting players from saying it. Listen to them, Where is the lag occuring?
Perhaps there near a redstone device on a clock, or the chunk is corrupted and you need to delete it and reload it.
If its a modded server, perhaps a chunk loader or some other modded item is running causeing major lag in an area.

In which case, talk to your players, find out whats going on.
You'll spend more time banning and unbanning people cause of this rule than you will simply fixing the issue.

One thing you may try doing is: give player the ability to do /ping or /tps (and essentials command, but there are other plugins that do similar commands) This would allow players who are experince lag to see what the
server's TPS is or what the memmory useage or CPU load is on the server.
(afterall, there is no harm in letting your players know how your server is holding up under pressure.)
A player may even notice whats happening and offer a solution to help you fix the issue.

Do NOT assume that all the players joining your server are little kids, or "newb" players who dont know anything about
servers, minecraft, gaming, computers, the internetz. They may be smarter than you when it comes to certain areas.
and so might KNOW what there talking about. Dont be afraid to get a little help from your players when it
comes to tracking down lag issues.  This is the #1 death killer on servers. People will RAGE QUIT from servers
with heavy Lag.... and they won't come back.

So, its improtant to listen to your players when it comes to lag, dont ban them. Thats just putting a bandaid on a serious wound that needs stiches.

I've run a server for over 2 years and have never added this rule. the few times people have said it,
i ignored it. UNTIL 4 people at one time starting saying "i have lag" .. "anyone else have lag".. then other would say yes...
i would check the console and find i'm having issues, i would talk to the players to find out whats happening,
and, as it would turn out, an admin or another player had spawned in a gazzilion cows, or pigs or someother mob
for a grinder he was testing. The mobs were destoryed, and everything would go back to normal.
No one was banned. Many of those players are still a part of my community and still active on my server
(even though we've gone thru a TON of changes) or there active on the other servers we endorse or sponsor.

The main point is, don't ban players over such little things. Instead, teach your admins and mods how to
keep people ON your server.

I was doing a server review once, and i noticed (like many other servers i've been on..)
that they had a no advertising policy. Dont get me wrong, this can be a GOOD rule to have. It gives rights to your server staff to ban or otherwise punish people who get on and start shamelsy advertiseing..whatever.

But, what happens when you dont define this rule or when this rule is taken to the extreme? People STOP talking in chat. thats what happens. So, what is advertiseing, what does this policy mean to you?But most importanly, what does it mean to your community?

As an example, i was on a server recently. it was a wonderful server overall, excapt for one tiny flaw. there went heavy strict on this vaque rule. to the point where people were afraid to even talk in PM(private message)chat about anything remotly associated with another website(non-mc related) or server or even a youtube video.
want to talk about a PMC article while on the server? nope. you'll get banned. Want to talk about a cool youtube video from yogcast? nope. You'll get banned. I read there ban appels on there website, and these are REAL things that happend.
If you choose to add this rule to your server. Then it is VERY important you talk to your staff and community to let them know where you stand on advertiseing. A line should be drawn for what is and is'nt acceptable.
but at the same time, if you draw that line to far 1 way, you may find chat completely void of conversations.
or, you may find your chat window filling up with server advertiseing.

But, at the same time. DO NOT become overly strict with whats not allowed. I've seen too many time
where this rule is taken to the extreme and it end's up that the only people talking in chat are the mods because
everyone else is afraid of saying something that will get them banned for advertiseing.

The #1 best thing about minecraft is ...SERVERS. #2 is maps :)
servers are the LIFE BLOOD of minecraft. 50 years from now when sells of Minecraft are maybe 20 sells a day.
You kow what will still be around and keeping the community alive? SERVERS.So why should you prevent people's discussion of MC servers. Not allowing them to even have private conversations
among themselves about another server is a sure fire way to start making your players move from your chat, to skype
or some other private place.. after awhile, they'll get tired of even coming on your server cause they cant have private conversations without being policed by your staff.

The point is this, Let your players enjoy there private conversations. If they go to another server to play some mini games.
Dont worry about it. They made a HOME on your server and they'll be back. And maybe, ... they'll bring some of the freinds
that they met on that mini-games server back with them when they come back the in the next few hours after they get bored of those mini-games.

Now, on the other hand.. are people in PM's saying.. im going to another server, this one stinks..lets go to:.. "IP HERE"
If your having more than 5 people a month or even a week saying this to people they meet on your server in PM Chat...
You have problems. and trust me, if you dont get to the root of those issues. you wont have any regulars on your server.
just the 1-2 day players that come on, and leave the next day. I guarntee, one of the primary reasons there leaving. Is cause the staff  are banning people for VERY minor infractions on these kind of vaque rules.

In my experince, this is generally not even a rule to worry about adding as most players seem to know that its considered
poor manners to join a server publicly start talking about another servers IP.
Chapter #4 -  "NO ASKING for  ADMIN OR /OP"  (sugjested By: Draconoboris)

Common fact of life. People are going to ask for things. Choosing rather to ban them over it or not,
is weighty decision that you have to make.

This is a "FLUFF" rule that many servers tend to add cause they feel they need to say it.
But the fact, 100% of the players that join your server already know there not going to get OP 5 minutes into joining.
Any player who DOES ask for OP (if there not a Long time member that you know) is very likely
just getting on to troll or otherwise grief so its best to /mute or /ignore them. They'll leave on there own.

There's really not need to PUFF up your rules list with this silly rule.
I commonly will see this rule added along with "use common sense" or , "think before you speak"
If people are using common sense, or thinking before they speak. They KNOW you won't give them OP.

So, why add this rule?

A side option that could be used is to simply /mute or /silence the player asking for a few minutes

Another issue with this rule is this:
Players who become regulars on your server will most likely WANT to help you maintain order & peace
or want to help with building And other maintenance aspects of the server.

One of the keys to running and maintaining a MASSIVE MC community on your website
is to NOT be afraid to delegate or let your members Step up and take the lead.
Your going to get to know who your long time players are by name.
Give them the privilege of asking for OP or ADMIN permissions.

If you don't want to give out OP, that's okay.Perhaps you can make a perm called ADMIN that gives someone almost everything that an OP would have with the exception of being able to /op other players or access the /pex file.
If someone as been coming to your server enough for you to know there IGN, and they've been reaching out on the forums,
There's a very high percentage that there NOT going to troll or grief you. They WANT to help.
So don't tie them down with a rule not allowing them to ask.

In my experience, people that solely want to grief or troll your server wont be on any longer than 5 minutes.
If you just ignore them. Or /mute them they go away and DONT come back.
Because they want to grief and troll and they see that your
not dumb enough to fall into the common tricks that they use to get /OP
Meaning, there going to go onto to another server until they find someone
dumb enough to give them /OP within 2 minutes of joining.
(yes it still happens, usually with inexperienced MC server owners
who started a server after playing MC for only 6 months.)

The point is, IF you choose to add this rule, Ask yourself:
Is this rule already blanketed by another rule?
Should I prevent players from reaching out for admin?
Is this rule rule REALLY necessary?

By keeping your rules light and easy to follow. Its less likely that people will be afraid to talk to you
And more likely that people will stick around and be willing to help you to maintain and run a successful server
The MOST successful server out there, Don't have this rule. (something to think about)
Chapter #5 - "NO TP KILLING"   (sugjested By: Draconoboris)

Before adding this rule to your server, ask yourself...

Is my server PvP server? is my server a NON-PvP server?Does my server Provide BOTH PvP & NON-PvP?

if you answered yes to ANY of these questions,then you should'nt be adding this rule to your server.
If you answered NO to any of these questions, then again.. you dont need this rule either :)

In the Server Configs, you can turn off PvP entirely if your a NON-PvP server.
And if your a PvP server, then putting restrictions on how players can PvP is only asking for trouble.

One of the most scary AND the most exciteing parts about PvP servers is tp'ing to players who invite me and
NOT knowing what will happen. If i accept a TPA request, then im taking responsibilty for what may happen.
The player who killed me should not be punished because of my stupidity to TPA to people i dont know.

Many plugins for 1.7.2, 1.8.1 and other MC versions allow you to setup where PVP is and ISNT allowed.
for instance, Factions plugins allows you to put flags on wilderness, warzone, and safezone
to protect from PvP is you wish. Makeing it so that PVP is only allowed where you want.
If your useing the ESSENTIALS plugin, your able to configure the backend so that players will be immune from PvP
for a small period after TPA'ing. Meaning, adding this as a rule is a WASTE of your time.

It only serves to confuse players on what is and isnt allowed when pvp'ing.
and also leaves a lot of room for new players complain on your forums because there were killed by
another player on your server .. it allows the sore losers room to complain and call foul play.

If someone TPA's to another player, there assuming all the risk and should not have rules protecting them.

 Really, putting ANY restrictions on what is and what is'nt allowed for PvP on your PvP server.
Is going to cause players to LEAVE your PvP Server.

All that is needed is a consideration of the plugins your using and configureing the backend of your server
so that Players are protected from PvP where you want them to be Protected.

Like spawn, or the faction home land, or there towny land, or some mini-game you have setup.

Everywhere else?
Players should naturally assume that they will be "swimming at there own risk"
Chapter 6: "NO HACKING"

Let me ask you, when searching the rules for PMC , or MCF or any website forum, or ANY major website.. like
steam.net, or IGN.com Do you ever see anywhere where they say


this is an unsaid rule accross the board of any server, or website.
hacking is illegal and causes an unfair advatage to one player over another.
or, it ruins the website experince, or in this case.. the server experince for everyone
else invloved.

Simply put, Theres no need to add this rule. Just use NOCHEATPLUS or a plugin like it.
and BAN the hackers when there reported.

People who used HACKED clients and CLIENT SIDE HACK mods, should be prepared
to assume the RISK of being banned from the server there using them on.

You can liken this understanding to punching your best freind in the face.
theres no rule in Life saying "NO PUNCHING FREINDS IN THE FACE"
but, you already know that if you do this, you will likely no longer be freinds anymore.
you therefore, FORFEIT your right to call that person a friend by commiting this act of meanness.
same thing goes for useing HACK MODS and clients.
you forefreit your right to continue playing on the server if the owner/admin/mod or a player
reports you for hacking.

"swim at your own risk" is the common addage that goes with using risky hack tools
Why add this rule? Its a waste of RULE space.

Stay tuned for chapter 7 When we discuss "No Raiding" (faction & PvP servers)
sugjested By: Draconoboris

5 Update Logs

Update #5 : by hooptiecoupe 08/28/2015 10:46:37 amAug 28th, 2015

Finally completed and added Chapter 6: No Hacking

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12/17/2016 7:37 pm
Level 7 : Apprentice Explorer
dinosaur202's Avatar
Actually, the no hacking rule is a good rule. Even thought it may be obvious to NOT hack on a server, some people will take the fact that there is no rule against hacking to their advantage and use hacked clients, get banned and send a ban appeal on the lines of: "I H8 U THERE WAS NO RULE FOR HACKING WAAAAAAAAA UNBAN ME NOW NOOB".
07/19/2016 3:46 pm
Level 5 : Apprentice Sheep
Lamby777's Avatar
I have a server (If you want to join go to http://minecraftservers.org/server/368711) that has 18 rules but a lot of people say it's a perfectly made combination for server rules.
07/20/2016 1:46 pm
Level 43 : Master Network
hooptiecoupe's Avatar
18 rules is a lot though. What are the rules on your server? Also, considering that your so new at running a server.. Your server says your in alpha and the amount of players is still very low.... Who are these " a lot of people" that your talking about? Are you breaking off from another community? Cause currently your website has 2 members.

Not trieng to put ya down. We all started somewhere. :) but im calling ya on the lieing just advertise an alpha phase server.
07/20/2016 1:30 pm
Level 43 : Master Network
hooptiecoupe's Avatar
Ill check it out and get back to ya:) you can also advertise your server at hooptiesworld.com/servers if you need another place to get seen at.
02/03/2016 12:11 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Creeper Hugger
iMxAndyy's Avatar
So the image you used for this. would you say that is a good example or a bad example of a rules board?

because its the rules board from a server spawn build i made, pretty flattered you'd pick mine to use for this :)
02/04/2016 11:51 am
Level 43 : Master Network
hooptiecoupe's Avatar
I was searching google images. and found it :)

Do you have a link for the server spawn? or the Server that uses it? I'd be curious to see the whole spawn.
the design from the image looks pretty neat.

I actually think its a great example of a rules board because its very clear and visible.

'RULES" written clearly on top for players to find it, read it, and KNOW the rules of the server.
likely NEAR spawn I assume right?

Though, I can't read the rules that are on it and don't know the context of those rules.
I can see that its not OVER LOADED with signs and rules and it's not a massive WALL of text
saying what you can and cant do.

Dude, I was on a server not too long ago.. I should've taken pictures. 0_0
it was a MASSIVE hallway filled with signs for the rules.

DONT do this.. DONT do that.
No asking for admin, no asking for moderator, no saying potato, no begging for your loot back after pvp
No hackusating, No hacking, No griefing of ANY kind, No cursing, No asking for OP, No asking donors for
free /kit useage. , No selling banned items. No selling donor items, No spawn camping.. ect... ect..

that's just some of the ones I recalled.. it was literally about 50 rules of what NOT to do! 0_0
That's why I started this article, to open up a discussion and get people thinking about what rules they should add and NOT add.
02/10/2016 5:17 am
Level 33 : Artisan Creeper Hugger
iMxAndyy's Avatar

The image is from this post. the build has a schematic up there, The server i built this for no longer uses it though so you'd need to download the schematic to look around :)

Glad to hear you like the board, I thought we had done a pretty good job of easily displaying a few important rules at the top and a brief description below. The rest of the rules were available on the website.
09/25/2015 2:21 pm
Level 40 : Master Explorer
avrona's Avatar
In some of them you target only some server types. For example no.1. It only really applies to servers with players in survival mode, which i don't know how common of a server type that is. Also you don't need plugins to greif protect a not survival server.

Still a good article btw.
09/25/2015 4:20 pm
Level 43 : Master Network
hooptiecoupe's Avatar
no griefing applies to all servers. Espically creative servers.
The point i was making is that the rules should not be so vaque.

cause, banning someone for ..say.. building a 1x1 pillar.... cause you call that greif.. was it in the rules?
did you stay and see if he was using it to create an outline for a build? to set his borders of his protection area?

The point is, if you add proper protections, theres no need of this rule.
Heck, i've run my server for 3 years WITHOUT this rule  with NO issues of grief.

The 2 times it as happend, was due to updates causeing my protection plugins to break.
but, i updated everything and was back on track :) no rules against grief. Just set the server up right
09/25/2015 4:28 pm
Level 40 : Master Explorer
avrona's Avatar
But not all servers are about building. Besides you don't need plugins for a non-survival server to have greif protection.
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