Author Topic: Guidelines For Forum Conduct  (Read 5773 times)

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Guidelines For Forum Conduct
The Rules

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.

 

Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
Where is the full list of forum rules? Is this sticky-thread "it", or is there some other document somewhere?

I am VERY annoyed that I had to ask this a third time.

 

Offline Scotty

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
Where is the full list of forum rules? Is this sticky-thread "it", or is there some other document somewhere?

I am VERY annoyed that I had to ask this a third time.

There isn't one.  Go read the thread I posted in GenDisc, and you'll learn both why there isn't, and why there never will be.

You are very helpfully doing your level best to skirt your way around the guidelines in a way that maintains and adheres very strictly to the letter of the guidelines, but utterly tramples all over the intent behind them, and in doing so prove my point entirely.

The next time you try this it's going to be a pretty severe formal warning.

 

Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
But... I don't get it. Don't people have to read a list of rules and click an "I agree" checkbox in order to become members? What does it show them?

Even if the "guidelines are only guidelines" policy change is global... I can't be the only one who had trouble finding this page, and then didn't know for sure whether he was looking at the right document. Can we do something about that?

 

Offline Kopachris

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
But... I don't get it. Don't people have to read a list of rules and click an "I agree" checkbox in order to become members? What does it show them?

No.  This is a privately owned and operated website.  Do you make houseguests read and agree to terms of service before you invite them in for dinner?
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Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
:confused: Just about every forum I've ever registered on has had a rules page you have to read before you can become a member. Surely HLP has one. Or had?

Aside: prospective forum members are complete strangers; why would you be inviting a complete stranger to dinner? Or has the way new member registration works really changed that much since 2006?

 

Offline Scotty

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
It's obvious what you're trying to do, Aardwolf.  You're looking for a codified version of the forum guidelines that you can quote and point fingers and say "this does not fit with this collection of words".  If you're capable of self-reflection at all, I implore you, realize that this is exactly the problem with the forum guidelines.  You're so hellbent on proving that you're right that you're totally subverting the idea of behaving like a decent individual.

Just stop.

 

Offline rev_posix

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
:confused: Just about every forum I've ever registered on has had a rules page you have to read before you can become a member. Surely HLP has one. Or had?

Aside: prospective forum members are complete strangers; why would you be inviting a complete stranger to dinner? Or has the way new member registration works really changed that much since 2006?
From the registration form, which is followed with a large "I accept the terms of the agreement" button, before a nick and associated info is entered (emphasis mine):

Quote
You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum.

Note that it is impossible for the staff or the owners of this forum to confirm the validity of posts. Please remember that we do not actively monitor the posted messages, and as such, are not responsible for the content contained within. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted messages express the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this forum, its staff, its subsidiaries, or this forum's owner. Anyone who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to notify an administrator or moderator of this forum immediately. The staff and the owner of this forum reserve the right to remove objectionable content, within a reasonable time frame, if they determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, however, please realize that they may not be able to remove or edit particular messages immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well.

You remain solely responsible for the content of your posted messages. Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries. The owners of this forum also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or any other related information collected on this service) in the event of a formal complaint or legal action arising from any situation caused by your use of this forum.

You have the ability, as you register, to choose your username. We advise that you keep the name appropriate. With this user account you are about to register, you agree to never give your password out to another person except an administrator, for your protection and for validity reasons. You also agree to NEVER use another person's account for any reason.  We also HIGHLY recommend you use a complex and unique password for your account, to prevent account theft.

After you register and login to this forum, you will be able to fill out a detailed profile. It is your responsibility to present clean and accurate information. Any information the forum owner or staff determines to be inaccurate or vulgar in nature will be removed, with or without prior notice. Appropriate sanctions may be applicable.

Please note that with each post, your IP address is recorded, in the event that you need to be banned from this forum or your ISP contacted. This will only happen in the event of a major violation of this agreement.

Also note that the software places a cookie, a text file containing bits of information (such as your username and password), in your browser's cache. This is ONLY used to keep you logged in/out. The software does not collect or send any other form of information to your computer.

While I deal with the back end more than anything, which is why I didn't really contribute much to the discussion when the referenced guidelines were being drafted, I do try to keep somewhat up to date with the community (call me Sir Lurks-a-lot).

Might I point at the rules for the penny-arcade forum for a comparison?

http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/165388/the-rules

Specifically:

Quote
On Rules Lawyering

These rules are not complete and are not intended to be. These forums are privately owned and the administration reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time. The excuse “but there's no rule about it!” will never be accepted as an excuse for bad behaviour. It is expected that all users are intelligent and mature enough. While we strive to be fair in the moderation of these boards, said enforcement is subjective by its very nature. Please see the FAQ below for information on what to do if you feel you have been treated unfairly.

This, I believe, is what scotty is trying to get rid of.  From some of the discussions I have seen, this is one of the bigger issues that many have noted and have been 'bound' by, preventing them from taking action.

Also:

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Users are expected to have a reasonable level of social intuition regarding what is and is not acceptable social behaviour, and you should avoid saying anything to someone on these forums that you would not be willing to say to them if they were a) standing in front of you b) considerably bigger than you and holding a club.

Quote
The decision on what is and is not considered Being A D*ck is determined by the mod staff. The defense “but I don't think I was being a d*ck” is not an acceptable one, nor is “but I didn't mean to be a d*ck”. Your message is what you communicate, not what you intend. That said, we understand that there is room for misunderstanding and interpretation in this rule and moderation staff will be open to polite and reasonable messages explaining why you do not feel an interpretation of this rule was fair.

Remember that we do not owe you an internet forum and that this forum is almost entirely run by volunteers.

Myself, I would suggest that those who are more involved in the community look at the linked URL and adopt as necessary.  The PA community forums are some of the most drama-free and welcoming to new users I've seen anywhere, even with the occasional very heated debate (go look up some of the threads on how to deal with the overwhelming demand for PAX Prime tickets).

Soctty is a global mod, and has taken it upon himself to do something on his own that he feels is necessary to improve things.  And so far, in all the notifications I've received on the thread (email notification BTW, I see it before it gets edited or otherwise folded, spindled, or removed) I've not seen one single mod or admin object to it.

You may as well get used to it, it seems that it's here to stay and probably be adopted by others.
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Offline Aardwolf

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
I see. Thank you.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
Myself, I would suggest that those who are more involved in the community look at the linked URL and adopt as necessary.  The PA community forums are some of the most drama-free and welcoming to new users I've seen anywhere, even with the occasional very heated debate (go look up some of the threads on how to deal with the overwhelming demand for PAX Prime tickets).

The PA guidelines were actually mentioned several times and used as the basis for the set of guidelines we have now actually.

The problem hasn't been the guidelines so much as the enforcement of them.

Basically we're putting everyone on notice that the kind of rules-lawyering bull**** that has been largely ignored in the past isn't going to fly.
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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
Two questions:

1. Are there actual codes of conduct by which moderators exercise enforcement of the "guidelines" above.  And does it differ from the official guidelines?

2. Is there an actual legitimate appeals process for those actions?

This may be a private board, but it is also a community-funded board, as such I would expect that the responsibilities of those who run it would be made transparent for the benefit of all participating members.  If actions are taken which seem to fall outside the described guidelines, or if conversely action is not taken when the guidelines are seemingly violated, how does the membership know that the rules are being applied consistently?  One would think that as moderators/staff presumably have a responsibility to all forum goers, that it would be in their best interests to demonstrate that responsibility through a clear set of guidelines so as to garner the respect that would normally come with the position.  Previous discussions in this thread seem to indicate that the desired state is a loose set of guidelines which can be bent to or discarded when the situation warrants, rules which are deliberately not accountable.  However such an environment can only lead to inconsistent application of the rules and a deterioration of faith in the forum staff.

Though I certainly realize that all the staff are volunteers, I would also suggest that every person who contributes to the community both in money or time is likewise volunteering their times, so I would certainly advocate the the responsibilities of all and the limits to the rules can be enforced or appealed be made more clear and transparent.

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
1. Subject to the rules and guidelines, the moderators and admins have a certain amount of discretion in moderating the boards.

2. First, PM the staff member who instituted the action.  And be polite, don't hurl accusations.  Second, if you have exchanged several PMs and are not satisfied, PM another staff member.  Only if you have exchanged PMs with several staff members and the matter remains unresolved should you create a thread.  Generally this is bad etiquette (as it invites drama and mob response) unless something quite serious has occurred.

If you have a specific grievance, you should make a specific post about it.  Extrapolating from one incident to a general problem with the board is usually not warranted.  Despite several changes in both leadership and guidelines over the years, HLP tends to get along pretty well.

 

Offline Scotty

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
And be polite, don't hurl accusations.

We're still working on this part.  He did PM me though!  And also demanded I stop moderating him or resign, because I was obviously being biased against him for taking action I warned him I'd be taking twice if the situation persisted.

However, Akalabeth, since you can't seem to take no for an answer privately: No, I will not unlock that thread, and no I will not resign because you feel personally offended that I took exception to your conduct.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Guidelines For Forum Conduct
I hate Steam. Probably more than Akalabeth Angel as I have NEVER installed it on any of my PCs since I consider the entire concept of online DRM for games flawed and a complete and utter pain in the arse to deal with in practice given my ****ty net connection.

I also 100% back your decision to close that thread.

Anyone still want to debate bias?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 10:05:18 am by karajorma »
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