0) Don't be a douchebag.
1) The "game" is open to everyone: US and International Arsians, subscribers and non-subscribers. You do have to have been registered on the forums for at least 45 days in order to participate.
2) The recommended spending limit is ~$25 plus shipping. Most of you won't listen to this, but don't say we didn't tell you.
3) Someone on Ars will see your address in addition to the 2016 Secret Santa Team. If you don't like that, don't sign up.
4) You can indicate that you prefer a recipient in your own country, but we can't guarantee that you will get that assignment, especially if you do not live in the United States.
5) You must sign up on the site with your Ars username. Once you have registered on the site, you will need to send a PM to Secret Santa Elves to verify your sign up. You don't need to use the same password for the site as you use on Ars for automatic verification to work.
6) Whitelist email@example.com to receive reminders and messages from your Santa/recipient through the automated system.
7) You may get a shitty gift. If you don't like that, don't sign up.
8) Don't send a shitty gift, jerk.
9) In order to remove yourself from the deadbeat list, you must submit confirmation that your gift has been sent. If you have a tracking number, you can simply submit it through the site and it will be noted promptly. Otherwise, you can send an email or PM to one of the Secret Santa Team members with one of the following:
- A digital photo of the box, preferably with a readable tracking # on it
- A copy of your receipt from the post office, preferably with a readable tracking # on it
- A forwarded e-mail shipping confirmation, preferably with a tracking # in it
- Whatever else you have that proves you shipped a gift, not merely that you purchased one
Make sure that if you don’t submit your shipping confirmation through the site, it includes the name you have signed up with, so we know who you are.
Also, if your recipient is one of the Ars Secret Santa Team, you should either submit your tracking number through the site or PM your shipping confirmation to one of the other people on the team. All of the elves can see emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, which means you probably don’t want to go that route to stay secret. If you don't send a shipping confirmation, you're not off the deadbeat list, and promises mean nothing. Don't even bother telling us your lame excuse if it isn't also attached to a confirmation.
A word about shipping and tracking numbers:
If you're shipping via USPS, we strongly encourage you to shell out a few extra bucks for whatever service level includes a tracking number. This is not mandatory, but it is strongly encouraged and it really does help when shipments disappear in the night. If this is a problem for you, we encourage you to not sign up.
10) Shipping deadlines are earlier than the absolute deadline most shipping companies post. This is so that we can establish potential deadbeats in enough time to ensure that they can be replaced. If you don’t ship or at least order your gift before the deadline, you will likely be deadbeaten and replaced.
11) If you are currently or may soon be in financial hardship, don't sign up. If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck, don't sign up. If you are one family, pet, or medical emergency away from being in dire financial straits, don't sign up. If you don't have $25 + shipping to put toward Secret Santa right now, don't sign up (unless you plan to hand-make a gift). If you don't like that, don't sign up.
Telling us that you thought you could afford it when you signed up but now you can't won't mean anything. Cold and heartless? Yes. Has this excuse been used by dozens of you in years past? Yes.
12) Don't break the law.
13) The final deadbeat list will be posted by January 1, 2017 at the latest. Whoever is on it at the time will be outed. Deadbeats this year will at minimum be barred from participating next year.
*In addition to these rules, we request that everyone verifies that they have received a present via the link on the site. This will help identify shipping issues so we can make sure everyone really does get a gift.