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Community Guidelines

Welcome to the LoveShack.org Community Forums! LoveShack.org sponsors a global peer-to-peer support resource bridging people from many different cultures and over 200 countries to interact, share, and discuss interpersonal relationships with partners, children, parents, co-workers, friends, and neighbors.

As an open, friendly, and diverse community, it is important that each participant conduct themselves in accordance with the guidelines and standards we have developed to maintain an environment where all are comfortable contributing to the discussion. These guidelines are based on standards we have refined over the past twenty four years as our community has grown and evolved. We have published them here to help you better understand what is considered appropriate and what we expect from all our community participants.

This is a moderated forum, and submissions which violate these guidelines will be edited or deleted, as deemed appropriate by the site administration. Forum moderators make educated judgments based on these guidelines and enforce them judiciously and justly. Participants who neglect to adhere to these guidelines risk losing access to the site on a temporary or permanent basis. Our intention is to provide coherent threads of discussion and as such we will also modify or remove any submissions which refer to submissions which have been modified or removed.

For your convenience, you may use the outline below to go directly to a specific section:

Terms of use and privacy practices

By using this web site, you are bound by the conditions stated in our Terms of Use. This list of guidelines has been published with the intention of clarifying the criteria we use to determine whether or not a submission is appropriate and does not supercede or override the terms and conditions which you are bound to by using LoveShack.org. We reserve the right to modify these guidelines at any time without prior notification and we intend to revise these guidelines as needed to ensure they accurately reflect our operational policies.

LoveShack.org has a firm commitment to protecting your personal privacy. Please be sure to review our privacy statement to see how we use your personal information and to read the section below regarding anonymity and disclosure.

Primary directive

The LoveShack.org Community Forums provide an online resource to confront personal conflicts, promote participation in self-discovery and responsibility, and encourage collaboration between community participants on romantic and platonic interpersonal relationship issues. Submissions to the forum which fall under this directive are considered "on-topic" while all others are considered "off-topic."

We recognize that regular community participants may want to engage in conversations that are considered off-topic and unrelated to the primary directive of the service. In order to ensure that off-topic threads do not take attention away from on-topic threads, we have created a special area for these threads and expect that all off-topic conversations take place within that area. Precedence is given to on-topic discussions and responses to on-topic threads should at all times stay on-topic. Off-topic threads may occasionally be subject to time-limits before being closed to further posting, and in some cases may be deleted at the moderators' discretion. Such decisions are never arbitrary, and reflect the moderators' sense that an off-topic thread is dominating the forum discussions, and/or is a source of divisiveness between participants.

It is important that all participants recognize that tangents started within threads of discussion should be avoided at all times. All replies to any thread should relate directly to the first post in that thread.

Character and conduct

Civility and respect

We expect that all community participants interact in a manner conducive to free-flowing, collaborative participation from all visitors, fostering an environment free of harassment, character attacks, and other forms of individual and group berating. We realize that all members may not share the same definitions on issues surrounding personal morality, appropriate behavior, and other sensitive topics of discussion that often appear on the site; we encourage all to voice their own opinions while refraining from criticizing other participants for the perspective they hold. Each person that posts on the forum is to be treated with the utmost respect and civility regardless of how absurd or ridiculous the opinion expressed might seem to you from your perspective.

Personal attacks against other participants will not be tolerated under any circumstances. We define personal attacks as posted comments which are intended to provoke, demean, or ridicule another participant. It is inevitable that members will sometimes disagree in their responses to any given problem, and LoveShack.org encourages healthy debate comprised of constructive questions and criticisms, so long as they pertain to the post and thread at hand. Personal dislike of another member has no place in any post, on any thread.

We expect that all participants will respond to posts in their specific context, not to the person who has posted. While opinions may be formed of various members based on what they have posted in the past, any response to any particular submission should be grounded in what has been posted in that thread. Past disagreements should not be resurrected in new threads. It is important that criticism be directed at what is stated in a post ("I don't like your idea") rather than at the individual making the statement ("I don't like you").

Submissions containing threats to leave the community or other forms of "emotional extortion" intended to incite a reaction from fellow participants are viewed as inconsiderate and disrespectful to the community as a whole.

Language and decency

As a global community, it is important to recognize that not all participants are native speakers of English, nor are they all acquainted with colloquialisms popular in your particular area of the world. We expect that our community participants use language that not only reflects proper terminology, but that is in no way vulgar, profane, obscene, pornographic, demeaning, or pejorative to the subject being described or those contributing to the discussion. This is especially important to remember when dealing with sexual health issues.

Community participation and inclusion

We remind all participants of the value of collaborative exchange. Discussions occurring on the public forum are to be inclusive of all participants and should not be of a private nature between a small, select group of people. Questions, comments or other exchanges directed to any particular individual outside of the context of on-topic threads should be made privately and do not belong on the public community forums.

LoveShack.org features a private messaging function which is available to all established members. Private two-way conversations are possible using private messaging and we expect that all personal exchanges be conducted over private messaging.

Anonymity and disclosure

Community participants may from time to time share private conversations and information with each other via private messaging. We expect that all community participants will observe the privacy rights of others and refrain from posting any information about another participant, including repeating the content of any private message in a public forum without the consent of both parties.

Participants are reminded to use extreme caution when posting personally identifiable information on the site or when sending private messages. We recommend that you not disclose information that can be later used by others to identify you.

For your own protection and the privacy and security of all of our guests, personal or personally identifiable information such as the following may not be included within submissions to the forum:

  • E-mail addresses
  • Instant message contact information (screen names, usernames, etc.)
  • Telephone numbers
  • Mailing addresses
  • Bank account numbers
  • Passwords, usernames, or access codes

Please post judiciously about your personal matters. In most cases, once a post has received replies, we will not be able to comply with later requests for the thread's removal, as it would be unfair to those participants who took the time to respond thoughtfully to the topic at hand. Your post should be considered a permanent addition to the LoveShack.org forum, accessible by anyone on the Internet. For this reason we discourage members from providing details that would make them easily identifiable to friends, family members, etc. LoveShack.org is committed to protecting your privacy, and it is something that you should take care to protect as well. We also recommend that carefully weigh these considerations before using a picture which can personally identify you as an avatar.

Format and protocol

Cross-posting and duplicate submissions

Community members are able to see all new posts in all of the forums. Therefore, we expect that you post an item only once, in the most appropriate forum. New posts or threads with the same content or general message are considered identical.

Thread titles

It is important that threads are easily identifiable and as such we expect that posters will use descriptive thread titles which refrain from making general comments requesting assistance. We assume that all threads posted on the forum are seeking assistance and consider any requests for assistance within the thread title to be redundant.

Paragraphs and formatting code

We ask that community participants separate long posts into paragraphs, leaving a blank line between each block of text similar to the style used in this document. We have found that posters who follow this suggestion not only improve the readability of the post, but also tend to receive a greater number of responses.

Our forum allows special codes to be inserted into messages that allow basic formatting of text. We expect that participants will use these codes sparingly and refrain from using excessive amounts of color, bolding, size, or font definitions that will make reading the text difficult for the visually impaired. These codes are reserved for highlighting text and are not intended as decorative embellishments to the majority or entirety of a submission.

External links and fair use

During the course of discussion, participants may wish to share relevant external sites to support an argument. External links must be non-commercial, provide empirical data relevant to the thread of discussion, be sponsored by an accredited educational institution, or link to a peer-reviewed publication. Commercial sites are those which stand to benefit financially either directly or indirectly from traffic directed to them from our site, including those designed to acquire user connection-specific data. All external links must point to text-based (HTML, ASCII) or graphical material (JPEG, GIF, PDF) viewable within the context of a standard web browser. Direct links to file archives, executable programs, screen savers, and other binary files are generally prohibited.

Should it be necessary to quote directly from any source, electronic or otherwise, a proper, full citation must be included. If the resource is located on the web, a direct link should appear with the content. Quotes may not be longer than 250 words.

Your personal profile, including your signature, may not link to or contain a commercial web site as defined above, regardless of whether or not you are the owner.

All links must be formatted as a hyperlink (i.e. clickable), and must not be obfuscated or pasted as plain text.

Contacting LoveShack.org

LoveShack.org has provided a number of methods to contact us should an issue arise that you feel needs to be brought to our attention. We expect that community participants will use the "Contact Us" form or the "Flag this content for moderator review" form to get in touch with us with any questions pertaining to the site, its operation, or materials posted on the community forums.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to flag posts which may violate these Community Guidelines by using the "Flag this content for moderator review" function on the top right side of the post. Posts or threads that challenge moderators' decisions will be deleted. Such challenges shall be made via the "Contact Us" link located at the bottom of each page.

Participants who have had their access to the community forums revoked are expected to contact the site administration via the Contact Us form. With very few exceptions, to ensure your privacy, we do not contact participants before revoking access to the site. It is the responsibility of the individual affected to get in touch with us for further information and to have the access restored if possible.

Participants which have had their access to the site revoked are expected to cease use of the site until access is restored. Persons who attempt to circumvent revocation shall be permanently banned from the site.

Should you have any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding these guidelines or any other aspect of our community, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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