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This isn’t the most exciting page on the site and you’d probably much rather spend your time playing video games or stroking cats than looking at policies. I can’t say I blame you, because they’re both awesome.

But it’s worth taking some time to check out the following sections to find out more about the guidelines followed here at Later Levels. Don’t worry though – there’s nothing scary or unexpected below. I’m a pretty nice person once you get to know me.

Code of conduct

The gaming world is made up of many different people and all of them are equal. Everybody’s views are worthwhile and deserve to be heard (unless you’re of the opinion that Fable 3 was a worthy entry in the series), so discussion on all aspects of our hobby from every member of the community is encouraged here.

Understanding and tolerance are therefore key, and readers are respectfully asked to bear in mind the following points before posting a comment on the Later Levels blog, social media channels or Twitch chat room. This isn’t an attempt to shut down debate – just a way of making it a friendly environment where everyone is welcome.

Respect and consideration:

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion and is welcome to comment if they don’t agree with the views expressed in an article. But please be respectful, and don’t post anything you wouldn’t your parents to see – they’ll ground you and take away your controller.

Negative comments won’t be deleted (although those displaying inappropriate material will be – see the last point in this section). Instead I’ll take a deep breath and have a cup of tea before responding in a constructive manner, if I feel it’s appropriate to do so.

Format and audience:

Clear comments are very much appreciated. I’m too old to be down-with-the-kids so shouting capitals and text speak really aren’t my thing.

Remember that the Later Levels blog and associated social media channels are public forums. If you wish to talk to me privately, please drop me an email or send me a DM on Twitter.

Community and collaboration:

Those two things opposite will do more for your own blog than a dodgy SEO company ever could. I extremely appreciate your support, but please don’t follow only in the hope of a follow-back: it’s not going to happen.

In addition, out-of-context comments left only for promotional purposes will be laughed at and then edited. Leave a link back to your site and it will be changed if it’s not appropriate – and you don’t want to find out where I’ll point it to.

Inappropriate behaviour:

Show aggression or intimidation towards anyone in the community and I’ll go all invisible-wall on you. I reserve the right to block anyone displaying such behaviour from access to the Later Levels blog and associated social media channels.

Comments containing racist, sexist or homophobic remarks, personal abuse, libel, copyrighted material, excessive swearing, references to illegal activities, requests for pirated software or slurs against The Secret of Monkey Island will be removed.

Full disclosure statement

Later Levels is a project of love, point-and-clicks, cats and ice-cream. I don’t get paid for what I do here and while I’d love to get rich from blogging and playing video games, I don’t accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship or paid topic insertions.

Sourcing video games:

Digital codes for video games are sent to me by developers and publishers so I can review or preview their projects. However, the manner in which I receive software will never influence my opinions or content, and I’ll disclose the source in the post if I haven’t bought the game myself.

Saying that though, I’ll only accept a free code for a title if it looks like it’s something I’ll enjoy playing. Life is too short to spend on video games which aren’t your cup of tea and blog posts you don’t enjoy writing.

Crowdfunding campaigns:

From time to time I may choose to back campaigns on crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, if the promotional video happens to feature pixel-art or mention inspiration taken from Myst, the works of Ron Gilbert or Twin Peaks.

This is always done using my own money and my decision to back any campaign is a personal one. If I decide to publish a review of a video game obtained via this method, I’ll always reveal this in the post.

Events, affiliations and independence:

To gather content and develop relationships in the gaming industry, I sometimes attend meetings and events. I’ll always fund the cost of travel, accommodation and tickets myself – although if someone wouldn’t mind upgrading me to a five-star hotel, that would be great.

I don’t receive any kind of revenue when hyperlinks within content are clicked so Later Levels can maintain its independence. I simply provide this information to be helpful, because that’s the kind of nice person I am.

Charity events and donations:

Donations made during charity events and marathon streams are taken online via platforms such as JustGiving. They go directly to the organisation I’m supporting so I don’t see any of the money – nor would I want to. Playing video games, meeting new friends and making a positive on the world is all the benefit I need.

Competitions and giveaways:

When I hold a giveaway, a winner is drawn at random based on the entry rules specified in the content. This is usually done by tallying the number of entries and using the random number generator at random.org.

You’re able to enter once unless the rules specify otherwise, and if you violate those rules, you’ll be disqualified (along with your 50 aliases). I’m not responsible if an item gets lost in the post or is delivered to a wrong address, and once in a while it may be necessary to substitute a prize with something of comparable value.

Review policy

I write about the video games I’ve played here at Later Levels, although I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘reviews’. There are plenty of professional gaming websites where you can find that kind of content if that’s what tickles your fancy. If I do choose to write a critique however, here’s what you can expect.

As mentioned in the full disclosure statement above, I’ll always mention how a video game was sourced. The majority are bought or received via crowdfunding campaigns funded with my own money, but occasionally I’ll accept review codes from developers and publishers.

There’s no set format for reviews. But whether I decide to assign a score out of ten, provide a list of positives and negatives, or give my final opinion in the form of interpretive dance, one thing you can be sure of is that I’ve been honest. I won’t be persuaded to take a particular line.

I’ll only review games which are available in full to the general public. Doing it any other way just wouldn’t be fair and there’s always the possibility a title could change significantly prior to release.

In addition, I won’t change a review after it has been published. But if I believe a release has changed considerably over time, I might choose to re-review it at a later date and will link to the previous post for transparency.

If I’ve really not enjoyed playing a game, I probably won’t write about it. This isn’t because I’m afraid to share a negative opinion: it’s because there are thousands of other reviews out there if that’s what you’re looking for. I’d rather use my time to write about the things I’ve appreciated.

Regardless of how I score (or don’t score) a review, this shouldn’t be the end of the discussion. Everyone is welcome to leave their thoughts after each post and to chat to me via my social media channels

Contributions and collaborations policy

While I love being a member of the blogging community, I don’t accept contributions or paid topic insertions, or take part in article swaps. But please don’t think that makes me as grumpy as Wario though because I love getting involved with other blogs!

Got an idea for a project we can work on together or a question you’d like me to answer in the form of a post? Get in touch and let’s see what creative things we can come up with.

Want to ask me to write a post for your site? Let me know the subject, timing and any other relevant information, and it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to participate in every event but I’ll definitely consider all submissions – and if it’s not something I’m able to take part in, I’ll help you spread the word among other bloggers.

And if you’re looking to meet those bloggers yourself, why not come along to a blog party? These events are held at Later Levels four times a year and are a great way to share your favourite posts.

Copyright policy

The sad fact is that there are some ‘creators’ out there who want to copy the great content produced by others and claim it as their own. They don’t care how awful the authors must feel when they see their work on another site without permission, and they certainly aren’t concerned that benefitting from somebody else’s effort is just plain wrong.

Let’s get one thing straight: this is theft. It’s the unsolicited taking of a bloggers’ hard work and creativity; awareness for their subject and potential readers; and the positivity they receive from blogging and being a member of their community.

You’re welcome to quote sections of my work providing appropriate and specific credit is clearly given, along with a link back to the original content. I don’t consent to full or extension sections of articles being copied and posted on your own site without my prior approval, whether you claim credit for the work or otherwise.

If I become aware of something I’ve not given permission for, I’ll contact you to request that the offending content is removed as quickly as possible. If you don’t comply, my next step will be to submit a takedown request under DCMA – and I may even send my stepson round to tell you everything he knows about Fallout. You’ll be stuck with him for days.

In return, I offer the same rights to others. If you become aware of something I’ve done to which you don’t consent, please get in touch directly in the first instance as I’m a nice girl: it’s highly likely I won’t have done it on purpose and I’ll agree to immediately removing the content in question.

Privacy policy

Later Levels is committed to providing readers with a blog that respects their privacy. I therefore don’t rent, lease or sell your personal information to third-parties and will only disclose details if I’m required to do so by law.

All data is managed in accordance with our obligations under the UK’s data protection regulations. It should be noted however that the Google overlords may transfer your information to third-parties if you’ve been naughty, of if those third-parties process the details on their behalf.

To make any comments, ask questions or raise concerns about our privacy policy, please get in touch. I may update this statement to reflect feedback received or any new legal obligations.

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