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HP FanficTalk Terms of Service
Last Modified: 7 June 2016
Let us start with a few words. Service. Cookies. Privacy. Law. Though these words can be confusing what with all the muggle governments we’re forced to answer to just to use the internet these days, one of our highest priorities here at HP FanficTalk (“HPFT”) is transparency. So before you jump in and join the fun, please read this page carefully.
What Am I Reading?
This page is our community’s terms of service (“TOS”). Basically, fancy words that mean that by using HPFT – even as a guest – you are agreeing to be bound by everything you see here, plus our Site Guidelines. We’ll say it again (nicely) – please read this page carefully.
Also, keep in mind that this page is a “living” document that may be updated from time-to-time as those aforementioned muggle governments modify their laws or as community needs demand, so be sure to check back at least a few times a year. You’ll always know whether anything’s different because even the slightest tweak also means a change to that “last modified” date you see at the top of your screen.
HPFT is powered by free, open-source forum software originally created and developed by Simple Machines (“SMF”). We run a modified version of SMF that we tinker with here and there to make sure things keep running smooth and that we’re creating the best user experience and interface we can for you. Currently our services are provided via a server in the United States.
As mentioned above, following the Site Guidelines is a must, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.
We also must insist that you don’t misuse our services. What is “misuse”? Generally, this means not attempting unauthorized access to HPFT or specific areas of the community that you haven’t been granted access to by administrators, staffers, or other members designated by site policy. Don’t try to modify the site, alter, delete, hide, or otherwise modify notices – especially legal notices like this one. Don’t break any laws while using our service and don’t try to appropriate the intellectual property of the site or any of your fellow users. Also, please don’t HPFT and drive, while crossing a busy street, or engaging in any other dangerous activity. We do permit mobile access, but we’d like you to be with us for a long time.
While guests can do certain things on HPFT, it’s also important to understand that certain activities and areas are reserved for registered users only. If you decide to take the plunge (and we sincerely hope you do), keep your password safe because you and only you are responsible for the activity that takes place on your account. Though we hope we’re never forced down this road, TOS violators and other rule-breakers can have their account temporarily suspended or permanently disabled. If you’re concerned that your account has been compromised, contact an administrator or staff immediately. They have tools at their disposal to help.
Finally, in order to ensure absolute compliance with United States law (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act or “COPPA”) and regulations implementing it (16 C.F.R. 312 or the “COPPA Rule”) we do not permit individuals younger than thirteen (13) from utilizing HPFT, directly or indirectly. Users and/or accounts that attempt to skirt this prohibition will be banned.
When it comes to your privacy, you can trust HPFT with two things: (1) we only collect the information necessary to allow the community to function and (2) we only use said information for internal, site-related purposes.
What does that mean? Let’s start with the word “collect” so everyone is on the same page. This doesn’t mean HPFT administrators and staffers maintain some massive spreadsheet of everything our users have ever done or said as part of the community. It does mean that certain information is maintained on our servers or even on your local computer or mobile device. Most of the time any data collection that happens is either passive (like logging an IP address), or user-initiated (like modifications you make to your account profile).
What do we collect? Using the definition above, we collect two types of information: (1) the information you give us (you should always know what that is) and (2) the information that’s generated by you using our site. Since the second category is a little less clear on its own, the list below should give you a good idea of what we’re talking about:
1. Internet Protocol (“IP”) Addresses and accompanying location information
2. Device Information (such as whether you are using a mobile device to reach HPFT)
3. Site Activity (such as what threads you’ve posted in and when or profile updates)
4. Error Messages (such as the one generated when you type the wrong password)
5. Cookies (small files that let HPFT recognize you when you visit and store preferences)
That list is not one hundred percent (100%) exhaustive, but it’s pretty darn close.
Do I have any control? Of course you do. When you’re first getting acquainted with HPFT you’ll find a lot of different settings that will help control how private your experience will be. If you’ve got any questions, just ask an administrator or staffer – they’ll do everything they can to help make sure the choice you’ve made matches the choice you thought you were making and can tell you how what you see and do will change based on those choices. You can also use your browser settings to block certain data collection like cookies.
What about third-parties? Aside from information discussed above that may need to be passed to a third-party server to make HPFT work, we will only share collected information with the following third-parties: site administrators and staffers and government agencies, individuals, or organizations to whom disclosure is made reasonably necessary in order to meet valid legal or regulatory demands or obligations, to ensure user or site security, and to enforce the TOS and site policies.
Remember that any information you post publicly may be locatable via search engines. Stay safe friends!