This document is a sort of an informal, but not in anyway less enforceable, explanation of what is and isn't allowed on the forums. For the legal blurb you agreed to when registering, you can check out Terms of Service
About These Rules
This is not a complete list of what you can and cannot do on these forums, nor is it really meant to be. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, even if there is not a specific rule about their particular misdeeds in this document. Rules lawyering and seeing just how far you can push the rules will, more often than not, result in a worse outcome for you. We do strive for fair moderation at all times, but this is a privately owned forum, and we really don't owe anyone an online platform. Using this forum is a privilege, not a right.
Don't be an asshole
It's really that simple, if not always easy. It's fine to disagree on things, but if you can't get your point across without being disrespectful, maybe the point isn't worth making.
On Personal Information
Please do not post anyone's personal information on the site. A lot of us go way back, and have known each other for a long time, which is great, but we would like to request that you keep other people's personal details off the forums, no matter how well you know them. Personal information has become something of a commodity for the Internet at large, and very little access can potentially open a person up to all kinds of shitty behaviour from the anonymous masses. Anything more personal than a name, should not really be shared about other people on the forums.
You're free to add any personal details you wish on profile to make you easy to find and connect with, but you don't get to make the call for someone else. The correct answer to people looking for contact details "Check their profile"
or @ mentioning them, if they're active on the forums.
On Intellectual Property
Posting someone else's copyrighted material you don't own or links to illegal downloads and such is obviously forbidden, since you agreed not to do anything illegal, when you signed up, but it is also worth noting that a significant chunk of what we make and enjoy on the site, is very much dependent on a tremendous amount of goodwill from copyright holders. Every single fan design or reproduction you've enjoyed here is there, because the copyright holders allowed it. It may be because they're cool, don't care, or just don't know about it, but that is really beside the point. We rely on this goodwill to keep doing what we're doing, so maybe don't mess with the delicate balance unnecessarily. Everyone knows people pirate software and entertainment, but keep it off the forums. If you're feeling particularly fired up about the shortcomings of intellectual property rights legislation, maybe take it up with a legislator, instead of here.
Any sort of unauthorized usage of other people's work is a bannable offense. Taking other people's models (or parts of them) and posting them here or elsewhere without attribution will result in a ban. If you're using or modifying someone's hard work, get permission to whatever you're doing beforehand.
Credit, where credit is due
If you didn't make something, make sure to mention who did. Even if the license terms don't require attribution, it's nice to mention.
We're not the Internet Police...
... and neither are you. We're not really willing nor able to make sure our members are on their best behaviour all around the Internet. You really should not follow people around either, especially to police their behaviour. While we can't police anyone's behaviour off the site, we do reserve the right to ban you, if you're being particularly shitty elsewhere on the Internet, and it starts affecting us negatively.
We are, however, the SFM police...
... and you are not. Please leave any kind of enforcing the rules to the staff. You can inform about the rules (nicely), but don't get to make demands. Make sure you hit the Flag
post button before moving on.
On nudity and other things you shouldn't be looking at at work
People should be able to view SFM at work without worrying about someone looking over their shoulder. Nudity is fine for character artwork, but you should include a clear warning that it might not be suitable for the office (NSFW is a popular acronym), and should enclose it in spoiler tags. Don't post anything overtly sexual, pornographic or gory. There are better places for that sort of content. Starship porn is fine.
On naughty language
Try to keep the cussing to a reasonable amount. Punctuation should clearly outnumber curse words, and you should see the bit about not being an asshole above. There currently isn't a filter in place, but we're not above adding one, if you abuse the privilege.
There is nothing wrong with being an "idea guy"
as such, but you should realize that ideas are the easiest part of any creative endeavour. Everyone has more ideas than they know what to do with. Keep that in mind when pitching your next big project to others.
The primary reason to post in this forum is to get feedback on your work. That certainly doesn't mean you're obligated to follow or agree with it, but it does mean that you shouldn't get annoyed by it, even if it is not what you wanted/expected.
That being said,
Give useful, actionable feedback
Any feedback you give should be constructive, and in case of criticism, actionable. If you point out a problem, you should be able to suggest a solution. Keep in mind that whatever your solution is, it's merely a suggestion. If they choose to go another way, you shouldn't get annoyed by it, even if it is not what you wanted/expected.
We're not a fansite
While we're certainly fans of the genre, SFM is primarily a scifi art site, not a fansite. The artists are the ones that decide what goes in the end for any given project. If a project deviates from any particular canon, you're free to point it out, but don't get too hung up on it. It is the artist's prerogative to choose what goes and doesn't go on their project, and they don't owe the the fans anything. This is doubly true for fan designs in established canons.
Don't ask for models
Releasing or not releasing a model is up to the artist, and it's not really something you should bring up in their project threads.
Don't ask for updates
I'm sure the author would post them, if they had them.
Show your attempts
If you're trying to make something, you should actually try to make it first. Post what you have so far, so that we can see if it's an easy fix, or if you need a different approach. Also, it's a good way of showing you're not actually looking for someone to do your work for you.
Show your solutions
If you solve your problem, post the solution and result. That way the next person looking for advice can find it easier.
We have quite an extensive archive, and there's some cool stuff in there, but please take the time to think whether you "good job"
adds anything to threads that are years old. There's always the Like
button to show support. Returning to you own old projects is always appreciated though.
Forum Specific Information
You should check out the sticky threads on top of all the forums:
Work in Progress