We Are a Community of Explorers

Welcome to Atlas Obscura, the world’s leading source for hidden, fascinating, and wondrous places around the globe! Here in our forums, you can share in your fellow travelers’ stories, tips, and experiences with us and each other. Whether that’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure you stumbled into on your travels, a question you had about the site for your fellow users, or just a comment on an ongoing conversation, we hope you’ll jump in with both feet, just like you were embarking on any other adventure.

Of course in order to make sure that Atlas Obscura’s community spaces remain welcoming and enriching to all, there are a few rules and suggestions to keep in mind when engaging in our forums.

This Is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would any communal space. Our forums are a shared community resource—a place to share experiences, knowledge, and interests through ongoing conversation. You’ve just pulled up a chair to regale a group of fellow travelers with tales of your experiences, and you can expect to be regaled in return. Be open, adventurous, and kind.

Your Participation Counts

  • The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be—and avoiding those that do not.

  • Our forums provide tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: favorites, bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Improve the Discussion

  • Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

  • Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

  • Your fellow travelers want to hear about the amazing places you’ve experienced, and share their own. One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Please spend some time browsing the topics before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.

Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:

  • Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.

  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.

  • Don’t post no-content replies.

  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.

  • Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.

  • Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. It’s a little heart. It makes people feel good to get a lot of them.

  • Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a New Topic.

Post Only Your Own Stuff

  • You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

  • Never post the personal information of yourself or others in the forums, including phone numbers, addresses, passwords, or any other sensitive data.

Always Be Civil

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech. Postings or verbiage that are construed as bullying, insulting, belittling, inflammatory, shaming, racist, sexist, homophobic, or generally prejudiced will not be tolerated. Again, just be kind.

  • This is a PG-13 public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends.

  • Respect each other. Don’t harass anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.

  • Don’t make assumptions about people’s genders, race, age, personal lives, etc. If you’re in doubt and have to know, politely ask. But be sure that you respect their privacy. If someone doesn’t want to talk about something, that is their right.

  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

  • These are not concrete terms with precise definitions—avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of The New York Times.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling

  • Ad hominem attacks

  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content

  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, try to provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

If You See a Problem, Flag It

  • Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

  • When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

  • Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

  • In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove posts, delete accounts, both in the forums and on AtlasObscura.com, without warning, and at their discretion, for any reason, at any time.

  • Let’s keep it simple: if you are abusive in the forums, you may be banned without warning, discussion, or recourse.

Terms of Service

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.

Let’s Explore Together!

With all of the internet etiquette out of the way, let’s get talking! The Atlas forums are a reflection of the experiences and people posting in them, and your contributions will help shape the atmosphere and direction of the space as it continues. Together we can create a hub of shared experience that reminds us all that the world, and the internet, is still full of wonder and possibility.