Rules are put in place to keep the enjoyment of Arelith community. There are only 5 rules on Arelith servers. Sometimes they are called the Golden Rules. Note that there are separate articles about Wiki rules and Forum rules.
The following are rules that all players agree to abide when entering the Arelith server. Players are responsible at all times for abiding by the rules of Arelith and role playing, and will be held accountable to them. Please, make sure that you read and understand thoroughly each of the 5 player rules, and if there is a question, don't hesitate to ask (e.g. on forums). For more explanations and specifics see articles listed here.
Arelith staff enforce these rules stringently to provide a richer, fuller RP experience. The rules are vague on purpose. For example, there is no definitive line between griefing and good roleplay. DMs will apply judgment with good sense, and players should too. Arelith rules do not function on Zero-Sum ('black or white') mentality, instead following the spirit of the rules, not the letter. Ruling example can demonstrate that.
- First of all, please address questions about specific incidences with DMs, privately.
The most current version of rules can be found in game in players' Journal at all times.
RULE 1: Role Play
"We expect you to Role Play here. OOC and // talk are not allowed. Stay in character. Famous characters, using unearned titles, or using external software to modify the physical appearance of your character (including headpaks) is prohibited. Also note, that character names, skin tones, etc. can be rejected at DM's discretion and if asked, you are expected to remake without complaint. Similarly, if your character concept is harmful to the immersion of the world (e.g. you're playing Drizzt) you will be asked to delete and start over with a different concept." 
RULE 2: Abide by the Rules of Engagement
"Combat actions and political actions (using our Citizenship System) against other PC's (PvP) MUST BE INTERACTIVELY ROLE PLAYED. That means you interact, they interact, etc: BEFORE any action occurs. No exceptions. If your character is killed by another PC (or vice versa), you must wait one realtime day before participating in PvP or interacting in any way with that PC or other hostile PCs from the battle unless both sides explicitly agree to. You are always free to take flight from PvP. Having an opposite or evil alignment is not sufficient reason for PvP action. Before attacking another player the dislike/hostile state must be activated." 
RULE 3: No Excessive Theft
"Stealing more than ONCE per real time day from the same player is prohibited and will result in painful penalties, or worse. Stealing 'once' means one successful item or gold theft. One item means one stack of items - so you can steal 99 stacked arrows, or one bow. Please note, that stealing or destroying someone's furnishings is considered griefing if more than ONE piece is damaged/stolen. Please use the pickpocket skill with extreme caution, as there can be dire consequences when used wrong." 
RULE 4: Be Nice
"Cybering is NOT PERMITTED on this server. There is a vast age range that plays on Arelith, for this reason, restrict any conduct you may be involved in to a "PG-13" level of interaction. Unwarranted rudeness, potentially offensive role play, inappropriate sexual references, foul language, harassment, killing non-hostile NPCs without DM supervision, and poor gamesmanship (including wanton destruction, griefing of any kind, exploiting known or unknown bugs, transferring items, logging to avoid consequences, etc) are prohibited. To conserve server resources for all, ownership of game property is limited to one shop, one quarter, OR one guildhouse (a quarter that contains other quarters), OR one ship, and any number of temporary shops (marked as such) per PLAYER (not character, CD key, login name, etc. Player. Real, flesh and blood player)." 
RULE 5: Listen to the DMs
"The Dungeon Masters are to be considered the final authority in any dispute, question, or issue that comes up, and by playing on Arelith, you agree to abide by their decisions. If there is a dispute with a DM ruling, or if you feel you've been dealt with unfairly, OBEY THE RULING at the time, and then contact the administation team and they will resolve it. Send any complaints or compliments to them by PM on the forums." 
"Disregarding any of these rules will result in punitive disciplinary actions up to and including permanent removal from the Arelith community if it is deemed necessary for the community as a whole." 
On Rules, Rulings and Shadow Rules
There are huge differences between a rule, a ruling and a shadow rule.
The 5 Golden Rules are the rules on Arelith that every player agrees to obey on entering. These rules are universal.
A ruling is something one or more DMs make, based on these 5 Golden Rules. This is done in a specific situation, towards specific player(s), and with specific knowledge of the specific circumstances. These are what are called "case by case situations". The DMs will always try to make clear which rule is violated, how and why.
A shadow rule is something that some players (incorrectly) believe are rules. The most common reason for the spread of shadow rules is that one or more players generalize one or more specific rulings into a rule, believing that said "rule" is universally valid in any situation. Many cases are alike, and the DMs might come to the same ruling for several different similar cases. Nevertheless, such a ruling should not be perceived as a universal rule. Spreading shadow rules is not very different from rumour mongering, and it's not advisable to do so. Always confirm with a DM or a dev.
- (Read thoroughly)
The rules exist to protect the community and limit incidents that may occur, as many players can be passionate or feel personally attacked for actions that may happen IC. However, not all the rules are necessarily set in iron. If all the players involved in certain situation don't feel the need to be protected by certain rule, they may OOCly agree to be excempt from it.
As example, normally you can only steal from a target once every 24 hours, but two rogues may have stealing contest from one another, or even organize a stealing event. In the latter case, a DM is better contacted. As long as everybody involved knows (OOCly) that the rule is going to be waivered for the sake of RP and everybody is fine with it, there's no harm done, and the rule is safely ignored.
If your actions are going to affect a third party that is not present at the moment, it is better to assume that their consent is not given.
It's also adviceable that you take a screenshot of the chat the moment you agree to waiver your personal protection for safe-keeping, and confirmation with the DM Team should a situation get out of control.
Remember that waivering a rule is an act of OOC cooperation. If you feel that the RP goes in a direction that you are not willing to follow, you should inform any player involved that you don't want to be excempt from the rule anymore.
Be mindful that some rules may never be waivered (cybering, muling), and others exist in a permanent grey zone (metagaming, god-emoting).
As always, don't game the system. Don't think in how something is technically not breaking a rule. Use your own intuition to discern what is fine and what is not, and if that fails you, ask around. The players and the DMs both will fill the gap.
Contesting a Ruling
Any ruling can be brought to the administration team for review, if you think you were treated unfairly or not given an adequate understanding of why there was issue. They will take a second review of the ruling and follow up as they see fit, from enforcing the ruling to undoing it. There are no higher powers to which you can appeal.
- In game Journal, Day 7, Month 08, 0042 ((16.3.2009))