Members are part of a large group of people with different backgrounds, talents, lifestyles, values, ethics and opinions. These House Rules are our guidelines on acceptable content and behaviour. The rules are in place for the protection, safety and enhancement of the online environment for everyone. The vast majority of Scotster Members are positive and supportive of other Members.
Maintaining a positive environment
Our main House Rule is that you respect others, including both Members and the team who manage Scotster. Within the reasonable limits of personal dignity and your integrity, we ask that you follow basic rules of civility and respectfully ask that you should always aim to be polite and constructive in your interaction with other Members and with the team.
From time to time one of our team needs to make a judgement call on the behaviour of a Member. That person on the team always has the final say and Members are expected to abide by the decisions made. We appreciate that you may not always agree with how we handle conflicts or try to keep the peace. If people act in a way that we believe is contrary to our House Rules, we'll usually let them know how we feel and will give them the opportunity to put the situation right before we choose to end our relationship with them.
We believe in freedom of speech, but recognise that with that right comes the responsibility and the need to respect those who do not share the same views or ideals. We also have an obligation to respect the law, and the rights and privacy of other people, and we take our duty of care and Member safety seriously. These considerations are paramount. We respect and encourage vigorous and constructive criticism and feedback about Scotster but we don't see a reason to maintain the Memberships of those who continually seek to attack us or to harm good reputation.
Guidelines on content
Although our House Rules help to explain some of the points in the Terms of Membership to which you've agreed, no list can ever be exhaustive in covering everything that we may consider to be inappropriate conduct for someone using our services. In using Scotster, whether in person-to-person messages, in any public area such as Shouts or discussion forum postings, and at any social events created for Scotster Members, we ask that you are civil and act responsibly, maturely and with respect for others.
The following list shows some examples of inappropriate conduct:
- Disruptive, abusive or purposefully offensive behaviour: you should be constructive and polite, not mean-spirited.
- Personal attacks: disagreements with an opinion, even if you find it offensive, should not become personal attacks on the Member expressing that opinion.
- Insults and name-calling: whether you do this using very basic coarse language or you try to be more clever about it by using sophisticated sentence structures and language, the end result is the same.
- Humiliating people or baiting people into anger or into making a hostile response: you should never seek to cause trouble or harm to others.
- Starting fights or perpetuating personal feuds: take your disagreements and feuds away from Scotster.
- Persistently negative behaviour, facetious taunts and mockery: over time we can identify patterns of destructive, unnecessarily harsh or deflating responses that are not appropriate to the subject matter. Such continuing negativity, against either other Members or indeed Scotster or our team, has a long-term effect of sabotage and may damage the reputation and goodwill of Scotster and its Members.
- Contributing to a topic where you have nothing positive or constructive to add and nothing useful to say: this is inappropriate where the subject of a discussion or a posting is benign or neutral or where positive and constructive input is being actively sought.
- 'Trolling' and 'flaming': the acts of sending or posting messages that are deliberately hostile, insulting or posted simply as an attention-seeking mechanism. 'Trolls' often don't know how to interact socially very well and so use the technique of flaming to garner attention for their postings. The advice is simple: do not feed the trolls—ignore their 'flames' and their postings, removing the oxygen of publicity.
- Spamming and excessive 'bumping': you shouldn't send the same or very similar messages to many hundreds of Members, nor post the same or very similar contributions to the forums many times. Don't re-submit your posting to more than one forum discussion topic and don't keep resurrecting quiet topics every few hours.
- Illegal or highly objectionable postings: libel, slander, contempt of Court, harrassing, defamatory, threatening, incitement to hate, racially offensive or other such objectionable material is not acceptable.
- Linking to offensive or objectionable material posted out of context or without warning: if content on a linked site is not 'work safe' you should mention this before posting the link.
- Posting of private message exchanges, emails or other private and personal communications or information (such as full names, addresses and telephone numbers) without the written permission of all involved: this includes discussions between you and team.
- Using 'name and shame' tactics: do not make postings that seek to name and shame other Members of Scotster for any purpose that may be considered derogatory, including suggesting that profiles or photographs are fake. You should notify the team instead.
- Inappropriate postings on Support topics, including posting anonymously without a clear support-related reason: messages must be posted for a support-related reason or relate directly to the topic under discussion. We're very strict in ensuring the integrity of our Support areas.
- Threats of suicide or self-harm: we cannot allow such postings to be made through our services. We always recommend you contact professional support organisations or seek suitable help if you are considering suicide or you have suicidal thoughts. Contact info is available in our Support areas.
- Steering forum topics off-topic: keep to the original discussion in subject-specific areas and topics, do not force your own agenda within a particular topic to intentionally steer it off course.
- Posting spoilers without warning: do not post material which contains plot developments for films, theatre or TV series without clear notice. Remember that topic titles are broadcast even when a topic is in a forum specifically for spoilers.
- Commercial advertising: if you are the provider of services or products, do not post content that seeks to promote those services or products. We enable Members to choose the type of advertising they wish to see and so it's important that you don't bypass these mechanisms.
- Explicitly soliciting for sex or uploading photographs that are sexually explicit or which contain nudity.
- Using multiple profiles for any purpose whatsoever: the use of multiple profiles usually leads to the termination of all profiles and any Membership.
- Retaliating or responding to inappropriate conduct with your own: don't fuel fights as public retaliation only leads to further anti-social behaviour. In giving anti-social people an audience you do little but perpetuate the problem. You may also find that your own Membership is terminated along with the person that started the fight, so don't get drawn in.
- Refusing to follow the instructions or directions of the Scotster team when we feel you are acting inappropriately.
- Encouraging others to act in a way that's contrary to our House Rules.
The bottom line: setting the standards
Scotster is an independently owned organisation that provides services for which people may choose to pay to use. We understand that your use of Scotster is entirely voluntary and that you have the right to terminate your Membership if you feel that Scotster is not for you. However, we always strive to ensure that we maintain standards that will benefit you and all other Members of Scotster.
The team built the foundations of Scotster and have invested in its development, chosen how to fund it and chooses how to maintain and grow it on an ongoing basis. We respect that, without our Members, there would be no reason for Scotster to exist—but we ask our Members to respect that in choosing how to develop, fund, organise, manage, administer and grow Scotster, the team also chooses what is in the best interests of Scotster. Our guidelines are defined and maintained by the team that manages Scotster and that team ultimately decides whether or not people are abiding by them and acting in a way that's in keeping with our Terms of Membership.
Because the use of Scotster is entirely voluntary, we feel that if you believe our House Rules are too restrictive or you are not comfortable abiding by them, you should actively find an alternative organisation whose rules are more acceptable to you. Naturally we hope that you agree that a few House Rules are for the benefit of everyone within Scotster and that you will choose to respect them and enjoy a long and positive Membership.