Lately on the forum I've been seeing a few things going on that make me worry. I thought it'd be nice to have a refresher on the things that make Hopscotch what it is, and how we can keep this community safe and growing.
I went back and read through the community guidelines, just to give us Hopscotchers a little test and assess how well we've been following them. Let's start with the first one.
- "Be nice, always. Use respectful language, assume that everyone is just as smart as you are, and don't call people names. Pretend that you're speaking to a friend face-to-face "
We've been doing pretty well with this one. The reason I highlighted "Use respectful language" and "don't call people names" is because I've seen those topics asking if such-and-such-word is okay to use on the forum.
The simple answer for any of these questions is no. If you even have to think about it before you use it, it can probably be taken offensively in some way. Plus, each and every one of us is A role model here. Think about it as if you knew you were saying this in front of a whole first-grade class. Would you want to be the one to teach them these offensive words?
- "Keep your personal deets private. Don't share your last name, where you live, email, number, or school. It's okay to share your first name, age, and Hopscotch name. Don't ask anyone to share their personal info."
As more and more Hopscotchers begin to use social media of all sorts, the lost of "don'ts" expands to include your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Minecraft Username, or any virtual account information. This goes hand-in-hand with the rule banning communication outside of the forum; it's just not safe.
- "Be generous. It's awesome to know stuff. Share what you know with others whenever possible. How would you want someone to teach you? Be like that."
I honestly have no criticism here. All over the forum I see people teaching each other and spreading knowledge in code, art, friendship, and general person-ness. All I ask is that we keep this in our heads at all times, since helping people is exactly what the forum is here for!
- "Be humble. Even Mark Zuckerberg admits that he's got more to learn. So should we! Ask questions and learn from others. If you disagree with someone, disagree politely."
This one is really hard to follow, because pride is part of human nature and it's very difficult to control. Just remember that you are neither omniscient or the epitome of kindness, and listen to what others have to say.
- "Keep it clean! Don't post something You wouldn't want your grandma to see. If you see inappropriate content, please flag it. Don't reply, cause this just gives the author the attention they crave. Flag it and it will be removed."
I highlighted "Don't reply." This can be really difficult to do, especially since when you see something offensive your first instinct is to write an epic long paragraph putting that user in their place. But this is only fuel for a flame war, and it's more than likely just what the author wants. If you see something inappropriate, the best thing you can do is flag it. The leaders, mods, and The Hopscotch Team will take it from there.
- Keep it relevant! Add to the conversation by responding directly to the question posted in the topic, or reply as a linked topic to lead the conversation in a slightly different direction. Don't use the forum to ask for followers, likes, or other topics that aren't about using Hopscotch.
Off-topicness is fairly common on the forum, and I am an occasional victim of it myself. We're humans, and when we talk we can start with the weather and end up on Mars with Maltese's self confidence. Just make sure to remember what you were supposed to be talking about in the first place!
Also, I highlighted "Don't use the forum to ask for followers, likes, or other Topics that aren't about using Hopscotch." I've seen these topics about insecurity and being unnoticed, and I totally understand it! But feeling sorry for yourself and making others feel sorry for you is not how you're going to make yourself and your projects better. Come up with an original idea, Put in an honest effort, and you'll have a project that you and the community can be proud of!
I hope you've learned something from re-reading the guidelines, and I hope this is a friendly reminder that Hopscotch is a coding interface for kids and adults to have fun with code, and not a social media app.