HPFT Site Guidelines
last updated: August 1, 2018
HPFanficTalk (or HPFT) is a moderated multi-fandom/original fiction archive with a dedicated, responsive staff who monitor stories to ensure the archive remains a safe place for people of all ages, genders, races, and sexual orientations. HPFT has a strong culture for author feedback and reviews, including an active forum with dedicated sections for story help and review requests. We also have frequent reviewing events, along with other fandom-centric activities (including movie nights, fic nights, awards, and inter/intra-house competitions). We encourage all readers to give their favorite authors feedback, even if it's just a couple lines, and we also encourage authors who feel that they're not getting enough feedback to check out our forums.
Table of Contents
- General Site Use and Guidelines
- Ratings on HPFT
- Posting Stories
- Reviewing Stories
- Contacting the Staff
General Site Use and Guidelines
- All information in open areas of the archive (including story summaries and reviews) must be rated T or lower.
- Stories must have the appropriate rating and reader advisories attached to them.
- Rude or abusive behavior toward other authors or the staff is not permitted.
- Spamming is not permitted, nor is reviewing your own stories.
- You are not permitted to include direct links in stories or reviews on the archives. You are, however, allowed to mention other fanfiction sites and supplementary material (e.g., tumblr or pinterest), and you may directly link to them on the HPFT forums or in your user bio.
- Use caution in sharing personal information. You are not permitted to share your legal name, phone number, or fine location data in public areas of the archive or forum.
Ratings on HPFT
- A: Stories rated A should contain content appropriate for all readers, including children - i.e., they should require no reader advisories.
- T: Stories rated T should contain content appropriate for teen readers and up. They may include limited swearing, sexual content, violence, and allusions to potentially sensitive material (including eating disorders, self-harm, and abuse) with some restrictions and appropriate reader advisories.
- M: Stories rated M should contain content appropriate for mature readers. They may include significant violence, detailed sexual content, extensive profanity, and references to potentially sensitive material (including eating disorders, self-harm, and abuse) with some restrictions and appropriate reader advisories.
All stories posted on HPFT must first be submitted for approval by a staff member, who will ensure that the chapter contains appropriate advisories and does not contain disallowed material. The validation system is in place to ensure that the HPFT archives remain a safe space for people of all ages, genders, races, and sexual orientations. Please see the guidelines below for further details.
Submitted stories must adhere to the following content guidelines:
- Story Length: Poetry must be a minimum of 40 words long, and all other submitted stories must be a minimum of 100 words long, not including author's notes and summaries.
- Narrative Formats: Submitted stories may be told from first, second, and third person point of views. Allowed narrative formats for submitted stories include traditional narratives; letters; diary entries; newspaper articles; poetry; drabbles; or any combination thereof. If you would like to use a different format to write your story, please check with the staff first.
- Language and Swearing: While we do not require a specific advisory for swear words, which swear words are allowed in a story is dependent on the rating; please see the first chapter of our [Language (Profanity/Slurs Tutorial] for a full list.
- General Content
- Romantic Relationships - All sexual orientations and gender identities may be depicted at any rating without any advisories. You may use tags to specify sexual orientation and gender identity, but they are purely optional. Adult-minor (i.e., 17 or younger) relationship are allowed only if the minor is at least 16 and the adult is neither older than 22 nor in a position of authority over the minor (e.g., their teacher or their employer). Decisions on whether the adult is in a position of authority over the minor lies with the staff. Consensual relationships that meet this criteria may be depicted at any rating without any advisory. Please see below for details on sensitive content like arranged marriage, incest, and slavery, which are subject to different restrictions.
- Sexual Content - The level of sexual content allowed in a story is dependent on its rating. Broadly speaking, A-rated stories may include non-detailed accounts of kissing; T-rated stories may include detailed description of above-the-waist activities and non-descriptive mention of sexual acts; and M-rated stories may include detailed description of sex between people aged 16 and older. However, detailed sexual content (i.e., explicit description of below-the-waist activities) should not be the main point of the story, and as such, explicit material can make up no more than 25% of a story's contents. Please note that while a sexual content advisory should not be added to an A-rated story, it is required for T-rated and M-rated stories which include the relevant content. For more clarification regarding sexual content in stories, see our [Staff Tutorial on Sexual Content]. Please see below for details on sexual assault and other consent issues, which are treated differently.
- Violence - The level of violence allowed in a story is dependent on its rating. Broadly speaking, A-rated stories should include minimal mention of violence, and the violence should not be described in detail; T-rated stories may mention fatal violence and torture, as well as detailed description of other violence; and M-rated stories may include detailed description of fatal violence and torture. For more clarification regarding violence in stories, see our [Staff Tutorial on Violence]. Please see below for details on sensitive content like domestic abuse, family violence, sexual assault, and slavery, which are treated differently.
- Sensitive Content: Due to the sensitive nature of some content, the following themes can only be included in T-rated and M-rated stories. They cannot be depicted to or alluded to in A-rated stories. They must also be labeled with the relevant reader advisory; failure to rate and label them appropriately will lead to your story being rejected.
- Arranged Marriage and Forced Marriage - Any reference to or depiction of arranged marriage or forced marriage may only occur in M-rated stories. Arranged marriage does not require a reader advisory, and may refer to minors. However, any reference to or depiction of forced marriage may only occur between characters who are at least 18, and must include the 'Domestic Abuse' advisory.
- Bestiality - Bestiality is not permitted on the archive under any circumstances.
- Consent Issues and Sexual Assault - We separate consent issues (i.e., dubious consent/dubcon, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and noninvasive unwanted contact like kissing) into two different tiers: mild/moderate and severe.
The 'Mild/Moderate' advisory can appear in T-rated and M-rated stories and includes the following forms of contact when significant and explicit pressure/threats are not involved: 1) nonconsensual kissing, 2) non-detailed reference to sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred when the victim was 16 or older, 3) brief nonconsensual sexual contact or sexual harassment not involving nudity, penetration, or genitalia, and 4) reference, depiction, or detailed description of sexual contact where consent is dubious but not explicitly withheld.
The 'Severe' advisory is restricted to M-rated stories and includes 1) any reference to sexual harassment of or forced sexual contact with characters who were 15 or younger at the time of the incident, 2) depiction or detailed description of sexual harassment of characters who were at least 16 at the time of the harassment, or 3) depiction or detailed description of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault of characters who were at least 16 at the time of the assault. Please note that depiction or detailed description of any forced sexual contact with children (i.e., 15 or younger) is never allowed. Please see our [Consent Issues Tutorial] for further details.
- Derogatory Language and Hate Speech - All slurs must be accompanied with either a a 'Hate Speech' advisory (which can only be used in M-rated stories and is reserved for the most egregious and socially unacceptable uses of slurs) and a 'Derogatory Language' advisory (which can be used in T-rated and M-rated stories and should be used for all other uses of slurs). Please review chapter 2 of our [Language (Profanity/Slurs Tutorial] for further details.
- Domestic Abuse - Domestic abuse (i.e., abuse within a family, including but not limited to intimate partner abuse, child abuse, and elder abuse) of characters who were at least 16 at the time of the abuse may be mentioned in T-rated stories and directly described in M-rated stories. Any reference to or depiction of child abuse may only occur in M-rated stories, and explicit depiction of pedophilia is not permitted under any circumstances. Abuse and violence cannot be glorified, and stories which explore these themes in a tantalizing way will be rejected. Decisions about whether the theme is glorified or presented in a gratuitous way lie with the staff. Please see our [Staff Tutorial on Domestic Abuse] for further details.
- Eating Disorders, Self-Harm, and Suicide - These themes may be mentioned in T-rated stories and directly described in M-rated stories. However, these themes cannot be glorified, and stories which include extensive description or promotion of the physical acts and effects of self-harm, eating disorders, or the act of suicide may be rejected. Decisions on whether the theme is glorified lie with the staff. Please see our [Staff Tutorial on Eating Disorders], our [Staff Tutorial on Self-Harm], and our [Staff Tutorial on Suicide] for further details.
Incest - Incest (defined here as a romantic or sexual relationship between an individual and their parent, child, sibling, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, great-grandparent, or great-grandchild by blood, adoption, or marriage) is only permitted in a story if the relationship in question explicitly happened in canon. No depiction of pedophilia is permitted under any circumstances, and non-consensual incest cannot be directly depicted, only mentioned. Stories featuring non-consensual incest must also carry a sexual assault advisory.
- Slavery - Slavery may be depicted in T-rated stories and M-rated stories. However, no romantic or sexual relationships between an 'owner' and an enslaved person or formerly enslaved person is permitted on the HPFT archive under any circumstances, and slavery cannot be glorified. Decisions on whether the theme is glorified lie with the staff. Please see our [Staff Tutorial on Slavery] for further details.
- Stalking - Stalking of characters who are at least 16 may be depicted in T-rated stories provided that they are not accompanied by either overt threats or the perpetration of physical and/or sexual violence. If the stalking includes any depiction of overt threats or the perpetration of physical violence against characters who are at least 16, the story must be rated M and include other relevant advisories. Stories which depict the stalking of characters who are younger than 16 must be rating M and may not include any overt threats or the perpetration of physical and/or sexual violence. Please note that this advisory is only required when you are depicting an ongoing pattern of intimidating behavior - vague mentions of stalking or jokes about stalking do not require this advisory, nor does following someone once or twice.
- Substance Abuse - Repeated use of common (i.e., alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, or similar fictional drugs) substances that alter judgment/substantially impact behavior or any use of such substances by minors in a T-rated story requires this advisory. Dependence on those common substances or detailed/repeated use of any other substances (including non-medical use of prescription drugs) in an M-rated story requires this advisory. Depictions cannot be glorified, and stories which include extensive direct depiction of addiction may be rejected. Please see our [Staff Tutorial on Substance Use/Abuse] for further details.
- Endnotes: You may use your endnotes to communicate with your readers, including (but not limited to) providing further information, thanking them for their support, and asking for feedback. However, you cannot use your endnotes to share personal information (including legal name, phone number, or fine location data), to be abusive to either readers or staff members, or to threaten not to update until you receive a certain number of reviews.
- Coauthors and Multiple Accounts: Authors are welcome to write stories together; should they choose to do so, all contributing authors must be included as co-authors. Authors are also permitted to have multiple accounts, but they must inform a staff member by emailing [email@example.com] upon creating each additional account. Regardless of the circumstances, only short excerpts (i.e., less than 1/5 of the overall story) of existing material may be reused in other stories.
- Graphics: Authors are permitted to include up to one graphic in their story summaries (no larger than 700px x 150px) and up to four award graphics (300px x 300px or smaller) in their story notes. Authors are also permitted to include either one large chapter image (500px x 750px or smaller) OR up to two additional graphics (each 500px x 375px or smaller) in a chapter. Authors may only use graphics that they have made themselves or graphics that they have express permission from the artist to use, and must credit each graphic, even those which they make themselves. Use of an artist's work without their permission or failure to credit an artist's work may lead to consequences including suspension from the site and/or removal of Certified Author status (if applicable).
- Plagiarism and Copyright Violations: Authors are only permitted to publish stories that they have personally contributed to. Submitting a story you have not contributed to or failing to obtain permission from and credit all other authors (if a collaboration) will lead to the story being removed from our archive and may lead to your account being banned.
While authors are allowed to quote and paraphrase non-original material, that material must be clearly cited in your author's note, and at least 90% of the content in any given chapter must be original material. Characters, quotes, and plots owned by Disney are not permitted under any circumstances. In addition, while historical figures can be used as characters in stories, living people (e.g., J. K. Rowling, Kit Harington, or Barack Obama) cannot. However, they can be mentioned.
The validation process works as follows:
- Submitting chapters: As of January 1, 2018, you may submit an unlimited number of new chapters and/or edits to the queue.
- Wait time: Each new chapter must be approved by a staff member before it appears on the archive for public viewing. While the staff will try to keep your wait time short, be aware that staff are volunteers and are sometimes either busy or dealing with a high volume of submissions. In those situations, approval may take up to a week.
In addition, if you choose to take advantage of our open queue and submit 75 chapters at once, it may take us longer than a week to get through them all. We will also validate submissions by other authors as well so they're not left waiting.
- Rejection: Occasionally, you may find that a chapter you submitted has been rejected. This usually occurs for one of the following reasons:
- The submission violated our content guidelines, as listed above.
- The submission did not include the appropriate rating and/or reader advisories.
- The submission contained significant formatting errors - e.g., text was too small to read.
- The submission included a graphic that was larger than the specified size and/or was not credited.
Chapters will not be rejected on the basis of grammar or subjective assessment of the quality of the story or the author's writing ability. The staff will always tell you why your submission was rejected and what you have to do to fix it. If you need further clarification, please check the [Staff Tutorials]. If the relevant tutorials don't answer your question, we encourage you to reach out to the staff for help. You are also entitled to appeal your rejection; for more information on that process, please go to the [Rejections and Appeals] page. If you have the same chapter rejected more than three times for the same reason without making the required changes, your account will be suspended for one week.
Authors who have consistently shown that they can follow the archive guidelines may be granted Certified Author
status, which allows them to bypass the queue. Not being granted CA status should in no way be taken as a punishment; bumping an author to CA status is a decision based on a wide variety of factors, and it is not one that the staff takes lightly. To learn more about CA status and how we decide who to give it to, please check out this blog entry
on the forums.
Please see the following guidelines around our rules for reviews:
- Rating: All reviews must be rated no higher than T.
- Respect: All reviewers must remain respectful of the author. Constructive criticism is welcome, but flaming and name-calling is not. If you see an abusive review on your own or someone else's story, please report it to the staff.
- Reviewing your own story: Authors are not permitted to review their own stories, either from their own accounts or anonymously. Any author found to be doing so may face a suspension from the site and/or have their reviewing privileges suspended.
- Multiple reviews per chapter: Reviewers are typically limited to one review per chapter. However, if an author substantially edits or revamps a story such that at least a third of the chapter is new material, reviewers are permitted to leave a new review. Multiple reviews on a chapter that do not meet this requirement will be deleted, and the reviewer will be contacted. Repeated failure to follow this rule may lead to suspension of the member's review privileges. Should a reviewer and an author choose to have a more extended conversation than the initial review and the author's response, they are encouraged to do so on our forums.
- Spamming: Members are permitted to leave either a review, a like, or both on a chapter. There is no minimum word count for reviews. However, all reviews must be related to the chapter they are attached to; any reviewer found to be leaving reviews that are unrelated to the story they're reviewing (including, but not limited to, requests for reviews, invitations to join unrelated sites, or product advertising) will be contacted and have the offended reviews deleted. They may also face suspension from the site and/or suspension of reviewing privileges.
Contacting the Staff
If you are ever confused about a rule or have any other questions about HPFT, please feel free to contact a staff member in the relevant topic on the forums or at firstname.lastname@example.org - we will be happy to help.