You are no doubt here because you have an interest in computer security. I can tell you with 100% confidence that the world of security is both an exciting and challenging one. Over the years, you will see, learn, and do things that you never would have thought possible. There are, however, certain things you should avoid on your path to becoming a hacker through this site. My hope is that, after reading this (somewhat) short guide, you will be more aware of the pitfalls and know how to avoid them.
That said, let's begin.
All too often I see a post similar to the following (Name has been changed to protect identity):
SomeNewUser wrote:OK let me get to the point..............i am totally new to this hacking so i really need help from you pros.
now.......what should i do to hack a web site and change some values and then save it back.........mmmm OK let me be brief.
i am a fan of world of warcraft and as you know that is a online game and it has lot of private servers.....and all these private servers have these vote panels.......now in my account there is a certain amount of vote points and i need to hack it and change it to say 100 or maybe 150.
i know you'll be thinking when your reading this.......and yes i know it is not fair and it doesn't do any justice.......but hey it is only for fun and not to do any collateral damage.......so i could use some help.
thank you for your time
I would like to point out something that is quoted a lot here:
"HackThisSite does not support illegal activities."
We mean that literally. If what you are asking is illegal, we will post the disclaimer and lock your thread, possibly resulting in a temp ban. The user who posted this was perma-banned. Don't be that guy.
Similarly, although we cannot keep your from doing illegal things, we still advise against it. Google "Protest Warrior hack" for a brief lesson on what can happen when you cross the line between the legal and illegal. If you get caught, you are most likely on your own.
In any online forum, there are undoubtedly going to be arguments. That is simply the nature of the Internet. Arguments are fine, as long as they do not get out of hand. You can disagree with someone on every single point they make, but don't go around making topics like "So-and-so is a big fat meanie-head" That is immature, and will only get you laughed at.
Instead, try to turn your argument into an intelligent debate. Don't just say "You're wrong so HA" and leave it at that. Tell them why you think they are wrong, provide evidence, and respect their opinion. This will get you a more positive reputation and help you a lot more than if you go around flaming everyone.
One other thing I'd like to point out is the use of Google. Many people post a question here without looking first. We will know if you searched. We're cool like that. Many times, the first result in Google is exactly what you are looking for. As the old saying goes, "Google first, ask questions later."
Here in the HTS forums, we can only judge you by what you say. We do not judge based on race, age, gender, social status, or any other arbitrary attribute. We base our opinions of you solely on what you say and think. Even if we do not agree with your views, we still respect them.
Because of this, your first post is what really counts. If you introduce yourself in an intelligent, meaningful way, we are going to read your intro, think "Hey, this person is alright" and be more than happy to help you out. However if your first post is like the one above, we are almost certainly going to slap you with the disclaimer, and be on our way. You are very unlikely to shake off a reputation as "teh l33t h4x0r" so make your first post count.
HTS is as much a forum as it is a community. In any real-world neighborhood, people help out with projects, attend block parties, and get to know each other beyond just their names. We are no different! We don't just want to know what programming languages you are fluent in. We want to know what your goals are, what music you like, if you have ever gone sky diving. If you are having trouble with something, computer-related or not, we will help you!
Part of what makes this site successful is the sense of belonging. If you feel like just another user, you are missing out! After a few weeks of active use, you will be familiar with the infamous joke-ban of godofcereal just before he hit 1,000 posts. You will know that when Monica says something, people listen. You feel relief knowing that you can message thedotmaster for anything, at any time.
On a final note, have fun! Don't stress out, because if you do, you will lose sight of what's really important. If you are stuck on a mission, take a break. Do something else, even if it is just for a few minutes. This will help clear your mind, and spare you headaches later on.
Well, I hope you learned something from this (not) short guide. So, go out, learn, and may the Source be with you!
ADD: I've written another guide entitled "5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do On HTS" which shows you some useful little tips you may not have known about.