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Community and Moderation Standards - April 2021


HLP Community Standards - Version Date April 2021

Hard Light Productions is a forum (and associated Discord) dedicated to a love of gaming.  First and foremost, it is a community about FreeSpace, mods, modding, and the shared interests of the people who have joined it.  This is an old online community, full of people who have discovered and re-discovered FreeSpace through the years.  It is a community for everyone.  We have several community standards designed to guide community participation and moderation practices.

1.  This is an inclusive community to which everyone is welcome.  We are open and accommodating to new faces, we ensure that minority groups are respected, and discourage and eliminate user behaviour that runs contrary to these principles.

2.  The usual list of unwelcome behaviour applies:  discrimination/attacks on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc is prohibited.  This list is far from exhaustive.  We do not list every type of toxic and sanctionable behaviour here as we are firmly against rules-lawyering and we expect users to use reasonable judgement.  If speaking it loudly in a restaurant would get you thrown out there, use caution writing it here.

3.  Use of the "Report Post" feature is encouraged - and not simply for direct rule violations.  This is the equivalent of a moderator ping and simply flags a post or thread to the moderators' attention, which allows them to review for potential problems or just keep an eye on things.  If you're not comfortable reporting another person's post but feel a thread needs attention, report your own.  A report does not mean moderators will immediately take formal action.

4.  Please think before you post. We strive towards a co-operative, constructive and friendly community. Nobody can read the intent or tone behind your post; they can only read what you put into the post. When reading other people's posts that come across as rude, please also be aware of the hurdles of text-only communication, language barriers and social handicaps. In the event that someone else posts something you find truly objectionable, report it instead of engaging or continuing to engage. If in doubt: Don't escalate. Contact a moderator instead.

5.  Personal attacks are discouraged.  This includes both direct attacks on an individual, and abusive behaviours like direct/indirect threats, gaslighting, stalking, persistent focus/bullying, dogpiling, and other types of interpersonal attacks.  Users who engage in this behaviour will be warned and, if they persist, removed from the community.

HLP Moderation Standards

The moderation and administration teams are made up of volunteers whose job is to keep the community functioning and available to all its participants.  They will exercise the following principles:

6.  Moderators will attempt to use the least serious moderation tool available to correct behaviour.  This may take the form of locked threads, unofficial warnings posted in public within threads, official warnings, mutes, and bans (temporary or permanent).

7.  Moderators will make decisions in conjunction with at least one other member of the moderation team prior to taking actions other than temporary thread-locks.  Due to the rapid conversational nature of Discord, moderators there will act quickly but will consult with other staff on long-lasting measures.  Moderators will not take part in moderation decisions for issues they are involved in, aside from temporary thread locks.

8.  Moderators will be expected to exemplify the community standards in their behaviour; however, just as no user will be removed or sanctioned for minor correctable issues, the same principle will be applied to moderators.

9.  As of this revision date, moderators will be selected from the community, by the community, with the input of the moderation team.  The community may nominate members or volunteer for addition to the moderation team at any time.

10.  Formal moderation decisions resulting in action against individuals will be transparent and made public (informal warnings will remain private).  This balances the need for community transparency with the interests of individuals warned for minor issues.  An edit will be added to posts for which a user received formal moderation action in order for consequences to be readily visible to the community.

11.  Moderators will not edit user posts subject to the following exceptions: for maintenance/housekeeping (resource posts), to remove content in accordance with point 2, or to add a sanction decision in accordance with point 10.  These edit decisions (excluding resources) will require the input of at least two moderators.  Moderators will not delete posts except for announcement threads, the info threads in gaming discussion, or other housekeeping reasons as determined by multiple members of the moderation team.

12. Appeals:  A user subject to moderation action may consider appealing in private to a member of the moderation team.  This will be brought to the other moderators for a second look, including any new mitigating information that may be presented.  However, a user appealing a formal action seeking a lesser punishment should be aware that an appeal may also result in a more severe punishment, and should weigh this carefully.  Frivolous appeals for reconsideration will be discouraged, possibly through more serious consequences imposed as a deterrent.

The following are the previous rules in effect, now deprecated but preserved for posterity.  These are replaced by the current standards in the header post.

--- Quote ---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.
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