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Code of Conduct

Last updated: May 27th 2018

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
> Spam Policy
> Mature and Sensitive Content Policy
> Advertising Policy
> Research and data collection
> Identifying information
> Chat Room rules
> Miscellaneous rules
> User safety
> 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. Users should be wary of advice on medical issues provided without evidence. 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Individuals shouldn't use the site while noticeably intoxicated and may be asked return after the alcohol or substance has worn off.

Spam Policy

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. We aim to protect individuals while enabling them to live well in the real world. This means we protect you from the worst content while helping you learn to deal with your emotions rather than hide from them.

  • 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 13-24. What is suitable for older users is not suitable for younger ones.
  • 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, attempts or goodbye letters (suicide notes),
    • Self-mutilation or violence,
    • Any indication of human body weight in the Eating Disorders forum or any other 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.
    • Substance use (including recipes or locations to obtain drugs or alcohol).
    • Recommending users take specific quantities/doses of medication.

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.

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 HelpLINK or Live Help. As these are run by our Staff members they tend to be less restrictive.

Advertising Policy

TeenHelp has a responsibility to ensure that every link posted on TeenHelp is safe. Any links posted anywhere on TeenHelp should follow the guidelines posted below:

  • 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 but 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 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 Advertising 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 Advertising Policy should be checked with a Project Coordinator prior to being posted on TeenHelp. Email contact@teenhelp.org for further information.

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?

Research for school projects is usually excluded from this rule 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.

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.

User safety

User safety is our primary concern. 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. This includes in any situations that arise that are not accounted for the Terms of Service.

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"). 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 most likely occur when the user violates these Terms of Service.

This Terms of Service will be enforced in accordance with our Complaints Procedures, which describes how to report issues to us, who is responsible for which type of issues and how we make decisions in relation to this 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.

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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