What are the Rules of the Road?

We believe that kindness, compassion and knowledge of others can greatly empower anyone to overcome health and life challenges. You may seek out DailyStrength for help with a problem, but you also come with knowledge--first-hand knowledge of your condition, treatments you've tried, and experience with other challenges you've overcome in your life. Our hope is that our members will provide you with guidance, answers and help, and you'll return the favor. Together, we can make a difference.

Everyone is welcome to join and there is absolutely no cost for Membership. In return, all we ask that our Members follow our "Rules Of The Road" to ensure a positive and safe experience for everyone.

Some important things to understand before you get started:

1. Our communities are not moderated, so please notify us if anything happens that you feel should be addressed by our Member Care Team and we will do our best to address the problem.

2. DailyStrength is to be used for informational purposes only. What your read on DailyStrength is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen on DailyStrength!

3. DailyStrength tackles serious life-and-death issues. There are real people behind each of the computers connected to DS, and many of them are going through traumatic experiences and need help. Before responding, try to give folks the benefit of the doubt, and think about how you'd feel as the recipient of your contributions. Is it appropriate? Is it helpful? As our moms always said, "If it's not nice, don't say it."

With the input of many valuable, passionate members of DS, we've developed some basic guidelines over time to make sure that both new and old members understand what's OK and not OK within our site. The rules below explain what types of actions on DS may result in disciplinary action against your account.

The Rules And How We Enforce Them

When a member does something that is "not OK" on DS, we may a) warn the member, b) delete some or all of their content, and c) temporarily or permanently ban a member depending on the gravity and number of violations.

Typically, a member will be warned at least twice and the offending content removed. After being warned twice we usually temporarily ban a member. Continued abuse results in a permanent ban. In certain cases (extreme personal attack, threats of violence, commercial spammers), we will remove the member immediately without a warning.

We don't like banning members, and are careful only to do so after taking careful investigation and appropriate action. Members are rarely banned for anything other than consistent public or private member attacks, spam, or inappropriate contact with an underage member.

These rules will continue to evolve over time as we face new issues and re-think other ones.

It is important to note that DailyStrength does not actively moderate our communities. We have neither the resources, ability or desire to regulate what members post on the site. However, we DO respond to abuse reports and other feedback.

Let's talk about specific rules:

1. Threats of Suicide or Personal Harm:
We have a document detailing what to do when you learn of someone trying to harm themselves. Read it HERE.

2. Personal Information:
We ask that you not post your personal information (email address, phone number, home address, etc.) anywhere on the site. We will delete posted personal information when we see it. This is for your safety. If you have created a username that contains your real name or other personal info, please contact us to change it. Note that we may not alert you when we delete personal content.

We continue to work on ways for you to protect the information you post on DailyStrength. You can "hide" certain parts of your content so that only you or your friends can see it, and we'll continue to offer more privacy features in the future.

3. Personal Attacks and Harassment:
Healthy debate is always OK. Attacks or threats against an individual or group are not. This is our single biggest abuse problem on DailyStrength, and probably the most debated, so here are some examples to help clarify what an "attack" is:

a. A member posts a comment that directly insults another member ("you are an idiot", etc.). Disagreeing with another member is fine, but don't make it personal.

b. Threats of violence or harm to a member, a particular person or a group will result in the immediate banning of your account. ("I'm gonna kill you", etc).

c. Provocative comments with no scientific basis designed to aggravate others ("Cancer only strikes stupid people", "Autism comes from bad parenting").

d. Attacking someone because they attacked you. If you don't like what someone has to say, go to their profile and click "Ignore Member". You can also report abuse by clicking the link and letting us know.

4. Feature Abuse, Chain Letters, Off Topic Posts, Cliques & Rumors:
There are a variety of ways for members to talk to each other on DS, but there are appropriate and reasonable limits we should all abide by. Repeatedly posting anything, either on a public forum or to an individual, aggravates others and interferes with their ability to use the site. Specifically:

a. Chain Letters:
Please don't. While your intentions may be admirable, our members can easily be overwhelmed with alerts and messages. Our system was designed for personal communication; please use it that way.

b. Reposting Topics:
Posts in DS forums should be original and unique. Reposting an discussion topic or article is generally a bad idea, and we'll remove it if it seems spammy or inappropriate.

c. Off Topic Posts:
When new members join one of our Support Groups, we hope that they will be able to easily find content that's relevant to them. We don't usually delete off-topic posts, we may close or move them if they are interfering or overwhelming the group. Off-topic posts are anything not in some shape or form about the subject of that message board.

d. Cliques:
While we hope that folks will create and maintain lasting friendships on DailyStrength, we also hope that they'll maintain an attitude of welcoming and hospitality towards our newer members. "Ganging up" on members is never appropriate.

e. Rumors:
DS aspires to stay out of member discussions. However, we will move, close or delete posts whose primary purpose seems to be to scare members. Examples include: "DailyStrength is shutting down!", unsubstantiated comments from people who have "stolen" others information, etc. If you have concerns about security on DS, contact us.

5. Advertising / Commercial Messages / Medical Research: Members cannot post any public or private content promoting products, services or anything else from which they materially benefit. Members that primarily post commercial content will be considered spammers and we will likely ban you immediately. If you wish to approach members about an opportunity to be part of a medical study or documentary, please contact us.

6. Religion:
DailyStrength has no religious affiliation. However, we believe that religion can play an important role in helping people overcome their challenges. Members must respect other members' differing religious beliefs, and do not assume that other members subscribe (or want to subscribe) to yours.

Here are 3 things we ask you not to do:

a. Impose your beliefs on others. Example: Telling members of our Gay & Lesbian communities that they are "sinners" is not appropriate.

b. Disrespect someone else's religion.

c. Spamming (aka "sending unsolicited messages") to members about religion. Repeatedly posting religious passages (or anything else, for that matter) around the site is not appropriate.

7. Avatars/Photos/Videos:
This isn't usually a problem, but here are some things to avoid. We're generally more relaxed about photos on your Photos page than photos posted to a group or other public place.

a. Blood & Wounds: No "cutting" photos. Exceptions for members that are documenting trauma, surgery, or genetic challenge.

b. Copyrighted images, text, video, music: If we receive a claim of ownership from a copyright holder, we will remove the infringing content.

c. Profanity: As avatars appear everywhere, we ask members to avoid profanity in their avatar.

d. Death: No images of humans who have passed. A skull and crossbones would probably be ok.

e. Drugs: Depends on context. Photos glorifying or encouraging drug use are generally not permitted, but a member illustrating a treatment regimen is fine.

f. Gangs: No gang tattoos or gang signs.

g. Nudity / sexual content: No exposed breasts or genitals, including transparent or scant clothing. No overt sexual gestures, such as grabbing of genitals or simulating sex.

i. Suicide: No images suggesting or promoting suicide.

j. Violence: Nothing overt--exceptions may be made for cartoon or comic violence.

k. Weapons (including razor blades): Context matters. A hunting rifle shown during a hunt, or a soldier with weapons may be fine, but guns pointed at people or a general intent to harm others is definitely not.

8. Asking For Money:
Any member who solicits other members for money will be warned and possibly banned. The possibility of fraud and the danger of exchanging personal information makes the risk too great. Please do not respond to solicitations for money on DailyStrength. Report them to us.

9. Impersonation of Others / DailyStrength Team Members:
Any member who attempts to impersonate another member (such as creating a similar username or using another member's personal photo) with the intent of causing harm to another member will be banned. All DailyStrength team members can be identified by a blue "star" logo next to their name in most areas of the site. Members who pretend to work for DailyStrength or falsely claim to have conversed with DailyStrength will be banned.

We have created this extensive document so that we can be as open and clear with our members as possible. Of course, we cannot anticipate every situation that may happen in the future, and there will always be some personal judgment involved in making disciplinary decisions. We do not have the resources to debate every action that our Member Care Team takes, but we hope that this document will shine some light on why we do the things we do.

As a last thought, remember that DailyStrength's only objective is to maintain a safe, supportive environment, and every decision we make is guided by the principle of helping as many people as possible. We strive to be completely unbiased and we hope that all of our members will have a positive experience when using DailyStrength.

Phew, we're done. Thanks for reading all of that!

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