Code Of Conduct

1.  Introduction

1.1.  Every organisation – especially one with as many members as Write Out Loud – needs a code of conduct, and you’ll find ours here. It’s all fairly obvious stuff, but worth five minutes of your time to take a read through just so you can be sure you knew it already. The ‘netiquette’ section summarises how we hope all our members will behave towards each other when commenting on blogs, or posting in discussions.

2.  House rules

2.1.  Community standards

2.1.1.  These are the standards by which we expect all participants in Write Out Loud's community areas to abide.

2.2.  Scope

2.2.1.  This document covers all aspects of community and other user interaction and moderation on the Write Out Loud website, including comments on blogs, articles, event information upload, review or any other aspect.

2.3.  Moderator role

2.3.1.  The Write Out Loud website encourages readers to contribute to, and discuss content, or comment on and debate issues. Our moderators’ role is to make this site inclusive and safe, a place where you will find lively, entertaining and intelligent discussions. We expect all users of Write Out Loud website to adhere to the following standards, which reflect our approach to moderation (detailed below), informed by the context in which comments are made.

2.4.  Community standards

2.4.1.  We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks, trolling and abuse will not be tolerated. Maintaining the website as an inviting space means focusing on intelligent discussion.

2.4.2.  We acknowledge appropriate criticism of the material we publish, but will not allow persistent misrepresentation of Write Out Loud and/or our contributors to be published on our website. We will distinguish between constructive focused argument, and smear tactics.

2.4.3.  We understand that people may feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening. Please respect other people's views and beliefs and consider your impact on others when making your contribution.

2.4.4.  We reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. We don't want to stop enthusiastic discussion but ask users to express their views in ways that are not divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

2.4.5.  We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. There is a difference between criticising a particular government, organisation, community or belief, and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. Don’t do it.

2.4.6.  We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libelous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright. We also expect you to acknowledge sources or references, so as ensure that you do not plagiarise others’ work.

2.4.7.  We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like, except in sections dedicated to that purpose. We aim to provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other, and we actively discourage commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals, in order to post advertising material or links. This may also apply to people or organisations who post propaganda or external links without adding substantively to the quality of the discussion on the Write Out Loud website.

2.4.8.  Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic ("off-topic") then it may be removed to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

2.4.9.  Be aware that you may be misunderstood, so try to be clear about what you are saying, and expect that people may understand your contribution differently from how you intended. Text isn't always a great medium for conversation: tone of voice (sarcasm, humour and so on) doesn't always come across using words on a screen, so please use a reasonable tone, even in unreasonable circumstances.

2.4.10.  If there’s a problem, tell us. We want this to be a welcoming space for intelligent, constructive discussion. We are all responsible for ensuring that, by keeping conversations inviting and appropriate; and reporting when they are not.

2.5.  Moderation approach

2.5.1.  Participants seriously or persistently ignoring community standards or terms of use will have posting privileges withdrawn.

2.5.2.  This is not an action we take lightly or arbitrarily. However, in line with our Write Out Loud values, we reserve the right to make decisions to support our approach. Moderators may contact you by email in relation to your participation. Any advice or requests they make should be adhered to, as their role is to enforce these standards to create a constructive environment for everyone who contributes to our site.

2.5.3.  If a contribution to the Write Out Loud website is perceived as breaching the community guidelines set out above, it will be removed by the moderator team, so that we can keep the site appropriate for the vast majority of the people who visit. This might also lead to removal of related postings or comments without further reference to the user. We reserve the right to take steps which we believe will benefit all Write Out Loud community participants. Because we are ultimately responsible for everything which appears on this site, all actions and decisions taken by our moderators are final. Unfortunately, the huge (and growing) quantity of user content on Write Out Loud website means that we can't enter into correspondence regarding specific moderation activity, although all correspondence will be read.

2.5.4.  The website editor-in-chief’s decisions are final.

2.5.5.  If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of community participation on Write Out Loud website, you can write to

2.6.  Note about community content

2.6.1.  The views expressed in community areas of this site do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Write Out Loud.

2.7.  Terms of use

2.7.1.  Please remember that by registering for Write Out Loud website you have also agreed to our terms of use. You’ll find them here:

3.  Guidelines

3.1.  Posts

3.1.1.  Using a topic header when starting a new post helps other users to decide whether or not to read it. Using a topic header that gives other users an idea as to what your post is about is even better.

3.1.2.  Please don't post your messages in capital letters, unless you want people to think YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THEM.

3.1.3.  You may notice that users often use abbreviations in their posts (DP, DS, TMI), we've compiled a short list of the most commonly used, but it is by no means exhaustive! If someone is using an abbreviation that isn't on our list, and you don't know what it means, ask them!

3.1.4.  Please do not use sexually explicit language, or swear words in discussion posts or comments on blogs. Some people can take offence if you use very vulgar language.

3.2.  Staying safe online

3.2.1.  We know you have probably heard lots of warnings about staying safe online, and may be tempted to skip this bit. Don't. It is important! The advice is given out for a reason.

3.2.2.  Sometimes people online pretend to be someone they're not. In particular, adults may use the internet to groom young people for unsavoury activities, including sexual encounters.

3.2.3.  Because of the nature of the online community, we are unable to vet people who register on this site, so BE CAREFUL!

3.2.4.  We want you to use the chat board to talk to people like you, about the issues that matter to you. We want you to have fun and enjoy yourself, but it's important to us that you stay safe. So please read the following safety guidelines before posting.

3.2.5.  Never give out your telephone number, school or college details, or information about where you live. There is now no need to put your email address in your profile, as we have a direct messaging service which sends an email to any other profile owner on this site, without revealing your personal email address.

3.2.6.  Under no circumstances should you post any financial information about yourself, particularly your bank account, or credit card number.

3.2.7.  If you want to arrange to meet up with another user, make sure you:
- arrange to do so in a public place
- tell someone where you are going, and who you are meeting
- call that person when you arrive and let them know you are safe
- arrange to meet in a group, rather than just two of you

3.2.8.  If someone seems reluctant to go along with these suggestions, it could be an indication that they are not who they say they are. In this case we would strongly recommend that you do not go ahead with the meeting.

3.2.9.  If you are suspicious about another user, particularly if they are pushy about arranging to meet or obtaining your personal details, please let our moderators know immediately. Remember: better to be safe than sorry!

3.2.10.  If you receive any emails that seem to be from which asks you for personal information such as your address, phone number or bank details, DO NOT REPLY. We will never send you emails asking information like that. Forward the email to our moderators.

3.3.  Netiquette

3.3.1.  Netiquette, simply means how to be polite online.

3.3.2.  It's important to remember when posting messages to the chat board, or sending an email, that your tone of voice won't come across easily. You may intend a joke but the person reading it may not realise that, and may take offence. Using a smiley, or adding LOL (laugh out loud) to a post may help.

3.3.3.  Always read your post to yourself before posting it.

3.3.4.  If a post upsets or angers you, don't reply immediately. You may write something you'll later regret.

3.3.5.  We have to be careful that messages don't defame or slander someone (this means that if you post something unkind, or untrue about their character, they could take legal action).

3.3.6.  Don't:

  • personally attack another user

  • use offensive language

  • issue threats against a user

  • call another user names

  • continually harass another user

  • attack the views of another user, including their religion or sexual orientation

3.3.7.  If you are subjected to any of the above, please report the post immediately to our moderators at

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