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Code of Conduct

Last updated: May 22nd 2022

This document is a part of the TeenHelp Terms of Service. For other information governing the usage of services provided by TeenHelp, please click here.

This document describes how users should behave on any part of TeenHelp including our website and associated services, and the disciplinary procedures that will be used to deal with violations. Content that violates these guidelines will be edited or removed by the TeenHelp Moderation team, and further disciplinary action may be taken if necessary, including account suspension.

In this section:
> Introduction
> Safety and Wellbeing
> Respect
> General Posting Policy
> Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
> Mature and Sensitive Content Policy
> Spam Policy
> Advertising Policy
> Research and data collection
> Identifying information
> Response to content violations
> Discipline and account suspension

Introduction

TeenHelp’s Mission Statement & Values show the principles and goals that underpin our community and we heavily utilise these in setting the rules for the site and what is permitted or not. Some of our key principles include being kind, compassionate, caring, enabling & promoting a safe and inclusive community.

Safety and Wellbeing

Creating an environment which protects the safety and wellbeing of all users is our primary concern. Generally most topics are ok to discuss but we will look at how they are said and who is affected by them. If TeenHelp feels that any user poses a threat to the welfare or safety of any other users, or to the security, stability, or reputation of TeenHelp itself, the appropriate level of disciplinary action will be taken against the user. This includes any situations that arise that are not accounted for by the Terms of Service.

Respect

Our ‘golden rule’ is to treat everyone with respect, consideration and kindness so that all users help to maintain the positive environment of TeenHelp. Rude, insulting or aggressive behaviour towards anyone will not be tolerated. Users should pay attention to how their behaviour affects others and minimise behaviour which makes others upset or uncomfortable.

General Posting Policy

  • TeenHelp should not be used as a substitute for seeking medical advice. Users may ask for ideas of what conditions they could face, but it is not possible for us to diagnose medical, mental or veterinary disorders. Users should be wary of advice on medical issues provided without a reputable external reference. Unsupported information may be removed at the discretion of the Moderation to protect TeenHelp’s users from the possibility of inaccurate health advice.
  • Users should not use TeenHelp to break the law in any way, or to assist or encourage other users to break the law, including sharing tips on hacking or piracy.
  • Users must not submit the content of others and claim this content as their own (plagiarism). All borrowed content should be fully referenced to the authors or copyright holders. If permission has not been granted by the copyright holder to reproduce their material, it should not be posted.
  • Posts should not be made which make malicious, false, or defamatory statements about any person or organisation.
  • False information should not be submitted to TeenHelp, including the user profiles and made up false stories in requests for help. If you do not wish to supply the information the fields should be left blank. We understand that it can be difficult for users to open up about what is happening in their lives. If users are just looking for someone to talk to, then we are happy to do just that, but it is not helpful for you or us if you create elaborate false stories about yourself. We encourage you to be as honest as you can when seeking help.
  • This website is not a dating service and should not be used to find romantic partners or to ask other users to 'rate' you, or speculate on how 'dateable' you are, based on personality or physical traits.
  • Individuals shouldn't use the site while noticeably intoxicated and may be asked to return after the alcohol or substance has worn off.
  • Users may not represent or act on behalf of TeenHelp in any context without the permission of a Project Coordinator. Any profiles, pages or groups that represent TeenHelp on other sites should be created and maintained by TeenHelp and are also subject to these Terms of Service.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

TeenHelp is a safe and inclusive space which promotes tolerance and understanding, and where all users can be themselves without judgement. We encourage everybody to ask questions and share their views with an open mind in order to foster learning and growth. All users will be treated equally regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, age, ethnicity, disability, culture, religion, political views, lifestyle or any other reason.

  • Hateful descriptions or images will not be tolerated anywhere on TeenHelp. TeenHelp stands firmly against any form of hate including (but not limited to) sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia or ableism.
  • Users should respect that others may choose to identify in a wide range of ways. Users should address people in the way they prefer to be addressed, including using their chosen names and pronouns.
  • Users should be sensitive to how and where they express views & their impact on others, for example some discussions are more suitable in the Current Events and Debates forum rather than a Support-orientated forum.

Mature and Sensitive Content Policy

Users should be aware that content they feel is suitable may not always be okay with other users and where possible consider this before submitting content to TeenHelp. We aim to protect individuals while enabling them to live well in the real world. This means we protect you from the most upsetting and harmful content while helping you learn to deal with your emotions rather than hide from them.

Non-PG13 content

  • Most content posted on TeenHelp should be suitable to be viewed by an audience as young as thirteen (PG-13). But we recognise that TeenHelp appeals to people of many ages. It is generally aimed at individuals aged 13-25. What is suitable for older users is not suitable for younger ones.
  • Excessive and repeated profanity is not allowed.

Triggering content

  • TeenHelp encourages positive, safe, recovery-focused choices and will not tolerate advice that encourages harmful behaviour.
  • Users should not post content anywhere on TeenHelp that may be upsetting beyond what other users may normally expect to encounter in their day-to-day lives.
  • Posting ‘triggering’ content should be avoided. This is defined as any content that might cause a user to want to perform unhealthy or dangerous behaviours.
  • Content that has the potential to be triggering should be marked as such by applying a thread prefix or in the title to warn other users. Content that is severely triggering or inappropriate should not be posted at all.

Explicit content

Content might be inappropriate if it includes explicit images or descriptions (beyond what is needed to receive advice) of:

  • Sex or pornography,
  • Suicide plans, attempts or goodbye letters (suicide notes),
  • Self-mutilation or violence,
  • Specific quantities/doses of medication.
  • Substance use (including recipes or locations to obtain drugs or alcohol).
  • Any indication of human body weight in the Eating Disorders forum or areas where they wouldn't reasonably be expected (including blogs and profiles). This includes actual weights, BMIs, clothing sizes, 'food diaries' which record harmful behaviours or 'tickers' that measure weight loss. The following weight numbers are permitted:
    • Weight numbers in the General Health forum relating to healthy dieting or exercise as long as they are marked with the 'weight figures' prefix.
    • Weight numbers in birth notices are allowed in the Pregnancy and Childcare forum.
    • Recipe weights, calories and nutritional information in the Food and Recipes forum.
    • Pet weights in the Pets forum.
    • Height, bra size, penis size, object weights and any other reasonable numbers are permitted as long as they are in the appropriate area and marked correctly.

If you want to ask for advice about a subject prevented by the Code of Conduct, you may find it helpful to ask it in areas such as HelpLINK or Live Help which have fewer restrictions than public areas.

Spam Policy

Users shouldn't participate in spam-like behaviour:

  • Posts should not be made that don’t have a purpose or are off-topic, such as repeated posts or excessive emojis in the body of a message.
  • Posts should not be made solely in order to convince other users to visit another website or to buy a product.
  • All posts within a thread should be related to either the original or a previous post in that thread. Any posts not directly associated with the intended topic of discussion are considered off-topic.
  • A thread should only be posted once, in the most appropriate forum for the subject. If a thread fits into several sections it should not be reposted in all of them.

Advertising Policy

TeenHelp has a responsibility to ensure that links posted on TeenHelp are safe, so they should follow these guidelines:

  • All sites posted must be for a clear purpose, e.g. as part of a discussion or to assist a user seeking help. Posts should not be made solely in order to promote another site.
  • No sites that perform the same function as TeenHelp without added value. These includes most websites with bulletin board software. Sites listed on the Resources page are excluded from this rule; these sites have been carefully selected because we believe they are high quality reliable.
  • No sites that violate any part of these Terms of Service.
  • No sites that promote or endorse illegal or dangerous behaviour.
  • Users may post a single link to a personal website (e.g. a blog) within their user profile or within their signature; however this should not be posted repeatedly over TeenHelp.
  • Sites that are large and well-known are usually permitted and this will be decided by the Project Coordinators.

Any sites not covered by the Advertising Policy should be checked with a Project Coordinator prior to being posted on TeenHelp. Email contact@teenhelp.org

Research and data collection

Users should not use TeenHelp to conduct research intended for any form of publication whatsoever without explicit approval of a Project Coordinator. Users wishing to conduct research will be expected to explain their consideration of the following before approval to conduct research will be granted:

  • Confidentiality - What level of anonymity is being afforded to participants? Names, contact details, and other information that could be used to identify a person should not be published. Some detailed personal stories may also provide enough information to potentially identify a person too.
  • Purpose - What type of publication is the information intended for and how will the information be used? Is the publication being used to forward a particular political or religious ideology? Could the nature of the publication inadvertently harm participants? TeenHelp may wish to independently verify this information by contacting a publishing company or academic department to ensure that the data is being used legitimately.
  • Other ethical considerations - Which code of ethics, if any, does the research follow?

Research for school projects is usually permitted as long as the above principles are also followed.

Email contact@teenhelp.org to discuss.

Identifying information

When posting about yourself or friends and family members, be careful to avoid posting information that could allow them or yourself to be identified.

  • Do not post the full names of people other than yourself without their consent.
  • When posting pictures or videos containing people other than yourself, please first obtain permission from each person shown. If they are under the age of 13, please obtain permission from a parent or legal guardian.

For further information please visit our Privacy Policy and Safety Zone.

Response to content violations

If the user sees content that violates TeenHelp's Terms of Service, the user has the responsibility to report this to us, which in most areas can be done through a text link, a red box icon (in the Support Forums), a warning icon (in the Blogs) or the !report command (in the Chat Room). If you cannot find this, violations can be reported directly to an appropriate member of Staff via private messaging (PM). Under no circumstances should users reply to, provoke or antagonise misbehavers on TeenHelp (known as "feeding the trolls"). For further information please see our Complaints Procedure.

Discipline and account suspension

TeenHelp reserves the right to remove the user’s account, account privileges or content at any time, for any reason, at the full discretion of the Project Coordinators. This will usually occur when the user violates this Code of Conduct or other parts of the Terms of Service.

We follow an escalation process to stop inappropriate behaviour:

  • Milder actions & verbal warnings – Requests from Staff members for behaviour to stop, removing posts from the Support Forums or kicking users from the Chat Room.
  • Infractions – Formal warnings that give users points for each violation. Infractions expire after a period of time. This works on a ‘three strikes’ principle, so generally if a user has three active infractions at one time they will be banned. Any infractions you receive will be shown within your User CP, and an automated private message will be sent to you.
  • Ban – Bans will be issued when other methods have proven ineffective, these will be given if: 1) A user has acquired enough points in the infraction system, 2) A temporary ban is given to address a specific issue at the discretion of the Moderators, 3) A serious violation requires a permanent ban to be given immediately.

TeenHelp’s Complaints Procedure describes how we handle concerns, who is responsible for which type of issues and how we make decisions. If you feel a ban or infraction was given unfairly, you can dispute it and we will review the circumstances in order to make a decision, which may include removing or reducing action taken.

Most banned users are able to return to TeenHelp after six months if they are able to demonstrate that they have changed their behaviour and are willing to contribute positively to our community. Some users may have their bans extended, though, and this decision rests solely with TeenHelp. Users banned for serious offences can usually assume that their ban will not lapse.


 
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