HLP is a large community with diverse views from all points on the political, social, and spiritual spectra. While we may disagree on certain issues, a core HLP value is that we will be respectful of one another when discussing them. Being respectful means that you debate the arguments, and you don't attack the person making them; you contribute meaningfully to discussion, and do not disrupt it for others. This also means that racism, homophobic language, sexism, personal attacks, and harassment are behaviours that can earn you an immediate ban. All warnings, temporary restrictions, and bans are at the discretion of the moderating team, based on the respect principle. HLP's moderators will strive to intervene early to correct unacceptable behaviour instead of resorting to immediate formal actions; if you are the subject of a warning, this is an opportunity to change your behaviour and learn from it.
The games and mods here on HLP were made by people willing to give up massive amounts of their free time, often over the course of several years, in order to provide people with something to play. This can only happen when people are willing to be giving. Giving of their time to make games. Giving of the models, graphics and code they make. Giving of their expertise in teaching people how to do what they do. The worst community members just take what they're given and then complain about what they were given for free. The best community members are the ones who are willing to give back. Even if you haven't got any game design skills you can still give back. You can still tell people what worked and what didn't. If you find a bug you can give up a few hours to help the person who spent years making the game you're playing ensure that the next person doesn't have the same problem.
The discussion in the off-topic areas are also only productive because of members who also give up their free time to participate. HLP has many passionate and often highly-educated members. Please don't take our membership for granted. Making any areas of the forums hostile places, and especially the truly optional areas, will merely eliminate them.
This community lives or dies on ability of its members to be respectful toward each other, and for this reason, this is the foremost rule on HLP. Finally, posting activities which are illegal in most democratic countries (e.g. warez / piracy / phishing / spam) or content that is generally unacceptable for consumption in public (e.g. pornography) are also not permitted.
In summary: before hitting that post key, ask yourself "Is this post worth posting? Does it actually add anything significant to the discussion? Is it something the other people discussing this issue will want to read? Is it an attempt to explain your point of view or just an attempt to show why you're right? Will it antagonize somebody else simply because I'm annoyed?" If your answers aren't going to make this a more enjoyable place to visit for everyone, perhaps you should edit that post one more time.
Helpful Tips and Reminders
- HLP has a 'Report Post' Function. In FreeSpace terms, think of this as "Call Support." When you have a problem with a post or thread, use this function to bring it to the attention of the HLP staff.
- Criticism is a valuable part of the creative process, but please remember that creators can't work without motivation, and criticism usually stings. Try to be compassionate and constructive when providing feedback - think of the process as a collaboration, working together to build something better. It's okay to say 'this doesn't work for me', but try to point to things you liked as well and offer a path forward. Conversely, please value thoughtful feedback you receive, even when you decide not to act on it.
- Unless a post violates the guidelines, it is freely made. The member has a right to say it, and your right is to engage with and debate it or ignore it. Your right is not to try to suppress it and advocate for its removal. Conversely, posts which aren't meaningful or otherwise useful - in short, noise - serve no purpose and are heavily discouraged, particularly in the mod-specific forums. Stream of consciousness posting (e.g. a forum-based Facebook/Twitter page) is noise; there are dedicated threads for these types of posts, please use them.
- HLP is not the place for you to bend all discussions toward a particular item of your focus to the detriment of everyone else (don't bring your soap-box to every thread). Bumping ancient threads without a meaningful contribution to them, double-posting, or spamming multiple threads with the same question or comment are also frowned upon.
- Off-topic forums will generally have more latitude given by moderators than will the project or mod-specific forums, as the latter exist exclusively to serve those projects, and disruption has greater negative effects there; however, this does not mean the off-topic areas are a free-for-all where the rules may be flaunted.
- The HLP staff have a variety of technical moderation tools which they can and will use to improve the forum environment should informal reminders prove inadequate to deal with you. Follow the guidelines and don't become subject to one of them. Among the more common tools are: Warning, Moderated (posts require approval), Muted (read only access), Ban (temporary or permanent), Monkeyed (restricts you to projects of which you are a member), and Political Prisoner (a ban from General Discussion). There are more creative options. Don't be a test subject.