Objective

To allow the highest degree of open discussion within our community while at the same time providing a moderated environment free of spam or malicious abuse.

Updates

This is the third revision of this document, and first published 2014-02-15.  This version was revised on 2016-02-10 to unify community standards that can work across both our new social network and the forums, and to clarify what is and is not okay.

Availability

Permission is hereby given to copy, redistribute, or use this policy as the basis for other documents, provided attribution is given to Highland Arrow.


We have content such as our discussion forums and the like where the community can freely comment and discuss games and our articles.  While we respect this dialogue and want to have it as unmoderated as we can, we do ask certain ground rules be respected.  Our moderators will remove posts that do not adhere to them, and may ban repeat offenders.

These are just guidelines, and Highland Arrow reserves the right to delete posts or ban disruptive members for whatever reason they see fit.

Behavioural Guidelines

1. Politeness (or: "Don't be an asshat")

Treat other posters with respect and dignity.  Don't harass people or call names.  If a schoolyard bully would be doing it or saying it, it doesn't belong here.  You don't have to like people, but you do have to treat them respectfully.  If you can't do that, then don't post.  If people end up blocking you because you're being an ass, we're not going to cry about it.

OK: Heated debates, offensive jokes, shitposting that isn't malicious.

Not OK: Targetted harassment of someone, making accounts to get around blocks, being a general dick the community doesn't want around.

2. Spam

Posting a single message five times.  Linking to commercial websites.  Advertising YouTube channels, blogs, etc.  While we allow commercial accounts to sign up to the social instance and post as they see fit, spamming is not okay.

OK: Creating an account, posting in your own account your products, articles, and so forth.

Not OK: Interjecting into existing conversations purely for the sake of advertising where it's irrelevant, repeating the same ad over and over, or just flooding in general.

3. Racism / Sexism / Discrimination in general

This one's a doozy.  It's "okay" to be a racist bigot, if you are actually going to have intellectual discussions about topics, but the prevailing problem here is most genuinely racist/sexist people don't do that - and for that matter many people who are so quick to claim harassment or discrimination.

It's tough to draw a line here, because we want to be as permissive in speech as possible, and this is a highly-subjective call in the best of situations, so here's the the line we decided on: you are entirely okay to push your own opinions on your own feed as much as you like.  However, it's not cool to interject into someone else's convesations with them if you're not welcome.  So sure, say your piece, if they tell you off - don't push it.  Because that's the line.

OK: Discussing controversial topics reasonably, having unpopular opinions, voicing your views.

Not OK: Getting in people's faces with opinions they did not solicit

4. NSFW Material

This is a bit of a pickle.  We don't mind pornographic material, and we often even cover it of late, such as Hatred.  But there are people who do not want to see this in their feeds.  As such, when discussing it on the forums, do so only in the threads of those names specifically, and when discussing it on our social network, which is to say our gnuSocial instance, please label all NSFW content with the hashtag #nsfw.

5. Use a proper username

Impersonation usernames aren't acceptable, unless clearly labelled as parody.  Likewise, related stuff obviously meant to spam or antagonize isn't cool either.

6. Properly secure your account

Multiple-user accounts (ie for a company) are only allowed if clearly marked and it is made clear who is posting at any given time.  It is not acceptable in most cases for a single user to have multiple accounts (often called "sockpuppets"), and if found, all accounts involved will be banned.  Do not share your password with anyone, including Highland Arrow staff or community moderators.

OK: Business accounts with clearly-marked posts saying who made them, users with a business account and a personal account, additional accounts for characters, such as those in a video game made by the owning user

Not OK: Multiple accounts owned by someone not falling into the cases mentioned above, sockpuppetry for spam or harassment, ban evasion

Please especially note: using other gnuSocial instances to get around sanctions on our own will see you blocked server-wide with extreme prejudice.  We can't stop you from going elsewhere, but we will take steps to protect our community if you antagonize them.

7. Discuss our content productively

If you have a well-elaborated comment or criticism to make about our content, we welcome it.  Simply griping and complaining about how often we cover a topic or that something isn't "worth" being covered or the like usually isn't productive however.  General rule of thumb: focus on how to improve existing content.  If you are just banging on about something without any signal to the noise, then we'll probably remove the posts in question.  In any case, it's best to email that kind of feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as that is how you can get in touch with us directly.

8. Don't use the community to complain about moderation

Abusing the forums or social network to complain about the fact you feel being banned or otherwise sanctioned for abusing the forums when you feel you didn't is self-defeating.  If you disagree with the moderation, get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  This is the only acceptable recourse.  Anything else will be removed.

 9. Don't bite the newbies

Everybody is a newbie sometime.  You don't have to hold their hand or cater to them if you don't like, but hazing the newbies, or being mean to them because they don't have that experience is not acceptable.  If there's a new user breaking the rules, don't dogpile on them.  Report the post to a mod and move on.

10. Newbie?  Be on your best behaviour.

The other hand to the above point is that if you're new, you should be trying to be on your best behaviour.  Coming in like you own the place when you're new is asking for people to respond negatively.  Likewise, newer accounts that are breaking the rules are going to be sanctioned more quickly, because of the likelihood of them being  a sockpuppet, or at the very least, not someone that is there for a productive purpose.

11. "First" posts (and other low-content posts)

(This is a forum-specific rule, the gnuSocial instance is designed for microblogging, so it would be senseless there.)

It's a stupid meme.  Don't do it.  You will get your post removed.  If you do it repeatedly, you will be banned.  Same goes for other low-content posts. No, images are not low-content posts, but if they're just repetitive memes they're basically spam.

12. Don't post anything illegal.

Really this should go without saying, but we'll say it anyways: posting anything that is illegal in our native Canada, or the United States wherefore resides our server presently, will see your account sanctioned and we will fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies in that regard.

Moderators

1. Identification

The people responsible for moderating in our different sections are marked in their respective forums.  On the Steam group, the moderators are listed on the member list before the general membership.

2. Affiliation

While Highland Arrow staff do have moderation privileges, most moderators are not Highland Arrow staff members, and they are not the proper vector to send messages to Highland Arrow through.  They will refuse such messages.  Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. instead.

3. Application Process

Promising and trusted community members will be contacted to ask if they wish to be a moderator.  We do not accept applications for the position.

4. Moderator Responses

Responses or comments which are official moderation statements will be distinguished as such.  On the gnuSocial instance, administrators are labelled with the logo displayed next to their username.

Sanctions

Generally speaking, we are not going to be too heavy on sanctions, and they will have to meet the following guidelines:

  1. Behaviour is not the first instance, you are going to need multiple instances of something happening to be sanctioned from a report, unless you did something really egregious or straight up illegal.
  2. It's not something that's going to "go away" if people just block them, such as the user using sockpuppets.
  3. There's a case for it causing harm to the overall community.
  4. Unless it's an instance where that's not going to help (hacking attempts for instance, or obvious spam), you must have tried to reason or otherwise work around the bad behaviour before we're going to do something about it.

In this case, there are a few levels of sanctions:

  1. Deletion - the offending content is deleted and the offending user is warned.
  2. Temporary bans - the offending user is banned from our instance for a period of time
  3. Permanent bans - the offending user is banned from our instance permanently

All admin actions can be found tagged in the !staff group in the Social Network, or on the forum in general discussion.  While not open for arguement really if an when they happen, we want to be fully transparent about them.

Sanctions on the gnuSocial instance in particular come in a few flavours:

  1. Warning - the first line of things.  If someone with one of those fancy Highland Arrow badges asks you to knock stuff off, please listen to them.
  2. Deletion - offending content may be deleted.  This might happen along with a warning if the content is illegal in some way.
  3. Sandboxing - if you keep posting content that upsets people or is not tagged properly, you might be sandboxed.  In some cases, some users may even request to be sandboxed.  When sandboxed, a user's posts will not show up in the public timelines browsable by everyone (logged in or logged out) but otherwise the site functions normally.
  4. Account Banning - If you keep on going after you've been warned, you may be temporarily or permanently banned.  You will be informed of the reason and for how long when you are.
  5. IP Banning - Users found to be using "alt" accounts to circumvent username bans will be banned by IP as well.
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Highland Arrow
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2013-09-15
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Canada