潛規則

I have seen this word a lot here and there, never really had the time to look into what it really meant. Today I found its definition at wikipedia and iciba.

潛規則是指沒有正式規定,而在某些人群中被行為各方普遍遵守的規則。但在中國歷史上,往往是潛規則而非種種明文規定,在支配着現實生活的運行。
潛規則在不同時間、不同領域往往有不同稱呼,如在明清官場被稱為「官場陋規」,在現在一些行業被稱為「行規」、「規矩」,在某些場合又被稱為「不成文規定」。
潛規則通常有不法、不道德、或者其他不能明說的內容,但也有一些規則是因為沒有道理而且瑣碎而成為潛規則。前一種情況比如給官員送紅包,或者在一些國家少數民族、女性職員不容易被提升到重要崗位;後一種情況比如在歐美不要穿着一個演唱團體的T恤衫去看該團體的演出。但通常前一種情況的用法更多。

1. implicit rule, unwritten rule , unpublished rules
2. casting couch, hidden rules

Basically, it means unwritten rules. Rules that facilitate the operations of the underlying system, yet unwritten due to the high possibility of being questioned and low chance of justifying it.

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