I think you could have settlement-level options that could be set, either by vote or having an elected leader position in a given community who could set certain rules about the community, that apply to the location of the community as well as its members. A few items I had in mind are:
Whether the group allows adult spawns or not.
PVP or no-pvp status for the location, with selectable exceptions much like turning off Guard in FTO for when its necessary to deal with someone… (another obstacle to troll massacres)
Ability to hunt creatures in the settlement’s location (with selectable exceptions again, if the community is one that wants the right to hunt to need to be earned/formally granted)
Resource protection - what can visitors (not members of the settlement) pick up in that location (selectable y/n options such as bodies? crafted non-food items? raw non-food resources? prepared food items? raw food resources? If crafted-items taking is off, but prepared food is on, it should allow the taking of a crafted container that contains only prepared food items… unless container inventory will be interactive without taking the whole container.
(personally I think “mating with a person of different-race” should be on the list, and that such matings be possible… I’m sure a trait system could be worked out for it. But right now the mating rules prevent this.)
The above were the things of most concern to most colonies in FTO, and all these things could be set in a series of tic-boxes on a popup window. The simplest way would be for these to be set by the settlement’s leadership element (the nature of which would be the subject of a further discussion if this idea is approved of by people), while another option would be a voting system. (I think an ooc voting system is needed anyway to poll some questions among the active players - maybe a week-long timer on a given vote to give everyone a chance to respond, and some minimum time must elapse before the topic can be voted on again). Constant votes whenever someone wants to propose a change could be an annoyance though, so I think leaders are the better choice for the setting of settlement rules.
What do you think about the idea?