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Code of Conduct

Last updated: May 28th 2016.

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 and the disciplinary procedures that will be used to deal with violations of this Code. 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:
> Equal Opportunities Statement
> General Posting Guidelines
> Mature and Sensitive Content Policy
> Advertisement Policy
> Research and data collection
> Identifying information
> Chat Room rules
> Miscellaneous rules
> Response to content violations
> Discipline and account suspension

Equal Opportunities Statement

TeenHelp provides an equal opportunity service. All users will be treated equally regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnic background, culture, disability, religion, political views, lifestyle or any other reason.

General Posting Guidelines

  • All users should be treated with respect at all times, regardless of any negative feelings you hold towards them or whether or not provocation occurred. Hateful descriptions or images will not be tolerated anywhere on TeenHelp, and neither will insulting or aggressive behaviour towards anyone. All users should help to maintain the positive environment of TeenHelp.
  • TeenHelp should not be used as a substitute for seeking medical advice in emergency situations. 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. Any claims of this kind should be supported by 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 anyway, or to assist or encourage other users to break the law, including sharing tips on hacking or using peer-to-peer/torrenting for piracy.
  • Posts should not be made which make malicious, false, or defamatory statements about any person or organisation.
  • 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.
  • False information should not be submitted to TeenHelp, including the user profiles; if you do not wish to supply the information the fields should be left blank. Under no circumstance should users make up entirely false stories about themselves in requests for help. 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.
  • Users shouldn't participate in spam-like behaviour:
    • Users should not post material that seemingly doesn't have a purpose, such as excessive use of smileys as 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. This includes other areas within TeenHelp itself, such as asking users to visit a specific thread or blog.
    • The first post in a thread should clearly state the issue a user would like to receive advice for, and/or the topic a user would like to discuss. In cases where the issue or topic is unclear, the Moderating Team may close or remove the thread.
    • 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 and should not be posted.
    • 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.
  • This website does not serve the purpose of 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.

Mature and Sensitive Content Policy

Users should be aware that content they feel is suitable may not always be okay with other users. Where possible, consideration to this should be given before submitting content to TeenHelp.

  • All content posted on TeenHelp should be suitable to be viewed by an audience as young as thirteen (PG-13).
  • Excessive profanity is not allowed.
  • 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. In particular, 'triggering' content, which is defined as any content that might cause a user to want to perform unhealthy or dangerous behaviours, should not be posted on TeenHelp.
  • Such inappropriate content might include, but is not limited to, explicit descriptions (beyond what is needed to receive advice) or images of:
    • Sex,
    • Suicide plans or attempts,
    • Goodbye letters (suicide notes), which will be rewritten at the discretion of the Moderation into constructive, advice-seeking posts to allow you to receive support and the encouragement to seek further help; we're not going to give up on you,
    • Self-mutilation or violence,
    • 'Food diaries', or any indications of human body weight (including actual weights, BMIs, clothing sizes or 'tickers' that measure weight loss). Weight numbers in birth notices are allowed, however such notices may only be posted in the Pregnancy and Childcare forum,
    • Substance use (including recipes, locations to obtain drugs or alcohol, or unsafe methods to take drugs).

Content that is only minimally triggering or unsuitable should be marked as such by applying an appropriate thread prefix or in the title to warn other users. Content that is severely triggering or inappropriate should not be posted at all.

Advertisement Policy

Any links posted anywhere on TeenHelp should follow the guidelines posted below:

  • No sites that could be considered to be competitors of TeenHelp. Most websites that contain bulletin board software are considered competitors of TeenHelp.
    • Sites listed on the Resources page are excluded from this. These sites have been carefully selected because we believe they are of particularly high quality and reliability.
  • No sites that violate any part of these Terms of Service.
  • No sites that promote or endorse illegal or dangerous behaviour.
  • Sites that are large and well-known are not considered to contravene the Advertisement Policy. Which sites are well-known is decided by the Project Coordinators.
  • Users may post a single link to a personal website (e.g. a blog) within their user profile or within their signature; this should not be posted repeatedly over TeenHelp, however.

Any sites not covered by the Advertisement Policy should be checked with a Project Coordinator prior to being posted on TeenHelp.

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, and where possible should not be published, at least not in their full, original form.
  • 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 subscribe to?

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.

Chat Room rules

The following rules apply specifically to the Chat Room:

  • Only use the rooms for their intended purposes. Where possible, try and ask for advice through the Support and Advice rooms or private messaging rather than the Chat Lobbies, as these are the best places to seek advice in the Chat Room. You are free to ask for advice in the Chat Lobby, but many users will not be receptive there. Conversely, users should not chit-chat or idle extensively in the Support and Advice rooms, as these are intended solely for giving and receiving support or advice. Please bear in mind that other users may be in the midst of receiving advice themselves in the Support and Advice rooms. If this is the case, please try to either wait your turn or send a Private Message to someone willing to help.
  • Use private messages when appropriate. If your conversation with another person seems to be bothering the rest of the people in the Chat Room, move it to a private message, even if you do not think your conversation is inappropriate.

Miscellaneous rules

  • 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 a current Project Coordinator. These pages may also be subject to the rest of these Terms of Service.
  • Any attempt to exploit a site bug for any purpose whatsoever will be considered a malicious attack on TeenHelp and such users will be immediately blacklisted from the TeenHelp server.

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), or a warning icon (in the Blogs). Where such a link cannot be found, violations should 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").

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 most likely occur when the user violates these Terms of Service. Bans will usually only be issued after milder disciplinary actions have proven ineffective at stopping inappropriate behaviour; this might include requests from Staff members for the user to stop (verbal warnings), use of the infraction system (described below), or the removal of posts from the Support Forums, among other actions. However, if TeenHelp feels that any TeenHelp user poses a threat to the security, stability, or reputation of TeenHelp, or to the welfare of any TeenHelp user, TeenHelp will take direct and harsh action against such users.

Two types of bans may be issued, those based on infractions and those given directly:

  • TeenHelp uses an infraction system that consists of a series of possible violations and points given to users based on the severity of each. Infractions expire after a certain period of time, which also depends on the severity of the violation. Any infractions you receive will be shown within your User CP, and an automated private message will be sent to you. Account suspension will occur when the user acquires thirty points at any given time. These bans do not expire; once the account has been banned, it will stay banned permanently.
  • Bans given directly will likely be temporary, and their length will vary at the discretion of the Moderation team. The most common reason for a direct ban is from the Chat Room, which will generally be a minimum of one month long, though temporary site bans are also issued.

Registering a new account in order to evade your ban will result in another ban, which may be extended if you are evading a temporary ban.

If you feel a ban was given unfairly, click here to submit a dispute, who will be able to review the circumstances of a ban and decide whether to remove it. In other circumstances, a ban may be reduced or other conditions may be negotiated in order to arrive at a fair agreement.

Permanent site bans lapse after six months. This means that after this time most banned users are able to return to TeenHelp 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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