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SparkPeople Community Guidelines

Standards & Guidelines

-- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader
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Community Standards and Guidelines

SparkPeople prides itself on having one of the most positive online Communities in the world. We will continue doing all we can to make this a safe and motivational environment to help members get the support they need to reach their goals. In order to maintain this positive environment, there are some guidelines we observe when posting in the Community. (We define "Community" as any pages on the site that contain User Generated Content.) These are also part of our Terms and Conditions, which you agreed to when you joined the site.

When these Guidelines refer to User Generated Content (UGC), that includes posts on the Message Boards, in SparkTeams, SparkMails, on blogs or any other content members share within the Community. By making posts, you are agreeing to abide by the following standards:

  • Respect everyone’s opinions. Even though you might not agree with someone, that doesn’t mean they are wrong or deserve to be belittled. Remember that what works for you may not work for everyone else. Give everyone the same courtesy you would expect in return. This includes both members and SparkPeople staff.
  • The SparkPeople Community has millions of members. This means there are many different people with many different opinions about many different issues. If you see something posted that you do not personally agree with, please avoid the post as your first response instead of making a negative comment or reporting it – unless of course, it clearly a violates the Community Guidelines.
  • No UGC images that might be considered "inappropriate". For example, we do not allow pictures that are sexually explicit/suggestive, too revealing, pictures in undergarments, or anything else our staff determines is not appropriate for the site. In general, we consider our site to be "PG-rated". If you are trying to take pictures that clearly show your weight loss progress, we recommend tight-fitting clothing (such as spandex) so that you can still see changes easily.
  • No profanity or explicit content.  Again, please keep in mind that our site is "PG-rated". 
  • No UGC that could be interpreted as threatening or harassment.
  • No negative "attacks" on other members. This includes any UGC.
  • No advertising or product promotion is permitted.  Any UGC created with commercial intent will be removed.  There is an exception to this policy for in-person SparkRallies that have a nominal fee (such as an entry fee for a race).  As long as the SparkRally does not promote additional products or services and is not a regularly occurring event.
  • No links that solicit for donations (this includes charity events), contest votes, advertise a product, survey responses or promotion of a direct competitor's website are allowed in the Community. 
  • No posts on the Message Boards that are political or religious in nature.
    Those discussions should be reserved for SparkTeams related to these topics, since sensitive topics often cause controversy and negativity that we do our best to avoid in our positive and supportive Community.
  • No "posting for points"- meaning you cannot post messages multiple times (whether it is the same message or not) with the goal to get as many points as possible.
  • SparkPeople has the right to remove a post if it does not meet these standards.
  • You have the right to edit any of your posts.
  • If you have started a thread (such as a journal) that you want to close, please post a message indicating "THREAD CLOSED". We do not typically delete threads unless they violate the Community Guidelines in some way.
  • Understand that posts made by members do not necessarily reflect the views of SparkPeople and should not be taken as medical advice.
  • Any UGC on the site is not considered confidential. This content may be used by SparkPeople for any purpose without requiring permission from the originator. As a general policy, we do not share private information publicly (such as SparkMails between two members), unless it is requested by legal authorities.
  • We ask that private correspondence between members and staff not be shared publicly.
  • Message Boards, public SparkPages and public SparkTeams on the SparkPeople website will contain information that can be posted and viewed by anyone on the Internet.  Please keep this in mind when sharing personal information on the site. 
  • The Message Boards are a place to get advice and support from your fellow members.  Our experts are not qualified to deal with serious issues like depression, suicide or other harmful situations.  If you are involved in a situation like this, we recommend you contact a professional in your area , a trusted friend or family member, or call 911 (when the danger is immediate). 
  • All SparkPeople diet advice has been approved by a Registered Dietician because it is considered to be a serious health issue. Because of this, please be careful about what you recommend to others, as it could be dangerous if you go outside of medically-accepted boundaries. We encourage members to help each other using the SparkPeople recommendations. We do not allow members to promote diets that directly contradict our program recommendations.
  • When posting news reports or articles, including articles appearing on the SparkPeople.com site, please post only a few sentences for the reader’s information and reference, and include a link to the rest of the content on the original site.Do not post articles, news reports, copyrighted photographs, graphics, images, audio, or other copyrighted material in its entirety unless you have obtained written permission from the relevant copyright owner(s).
  • All of the guidelines above apply to all of our Community features, including (but not limited to) Message Board posts, blogs, SparkPages, SparkMail messages, article comments, and SparkTeams.
On the lighter side….SparkPeople’s vision is to make our community one of the strongest and most positive in the world! Here are some ways you can help us do that:
  • Be positive and encouraging at every opportunity.
  • Do everything you can to make others feel welcome.
  • Keep an open mind as others talk about their beliefs, goals and opinions- you might learn something!
  • Give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to help and have good intentions.
  • Tough love can be a helpful kick in the pants, but "tough" does not equal "mean".
  • Welcome all types of personalities and encourage people to be themselves.
SparkPeople reserves the right to terminate Community participation or membership for failure to comply, or for any other reason we see fit. If you see a post that violates these Standards and Guidelines or have any questions, please click the Report button at the bottom of any thread, SparkPage or SparkMail. Our staff will receive an email and can look into the issue from there.

Thank you for your help and cooperation and have fun reaching your goals!
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • TRAYMORE
    I am a beginner to the SparkPeople's family and I have really been enjoying myself. Just one week in and I have lost 3.5 lbs. I can wait until my weight in next week - 4/21/2014 6:13:28 PM
  • All spark people. Let us kick it in the rest of the month of April and drop 10 lbs. We can do it stay motivated. Never say Never. Never Quit. Keep your eyes on the end results. You will be feeling great. ######1....I am leaving you with this. A big Marine Corps OOH RAH! - 4/16/2014 4:29:10 PM
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    This is my first day here. I have terrible heart burn and I take meds for it, but it does not help all the way. In Dec my throat was on fire , I went to the hosp only to find out I was having a heart attack. Long story short ..I am taking a new med for angina, which is not helping this heart burn. What kinds of foods does one eat that has this heart burn? I sleep in a recliner or sit on the sofa, this puky pain is driving me crazy....Thanks for any help ~B~ - 4/3/2014 10:43:59 AM
  • LITTLEOREO
    I have been working out at a gym. And have not been able to lose any weight. What am I doing wrong? I need some help please........ - 3/27/2014 9:32:55 PM
  • I usually join groups and then chicken out and drop out! This time will be different! I'm doing this thing!!!! - 3/21/2014 1:54:38 PM
  • PRINCELADY
    I'll never tried a support community when dieting. I gain too much weight over the last 3 year and it doesn't agree with my health. Glad to be hear. Oh, yes, I'm Barbara - 2/15/2014 6:44:20 PM
  • AJIMENO
    Hi, my name is Cookie and I am anew to SparkPeople. I've had my tracker for five days now and hoping this works for me. Losing the last 10 to 15 pounds is the hardest and I have been struggling with it for months. - 1/30/2014 2:06:19 PM
  • hi my name is determanation, i have being with spark peeps for 5 yrs,but i have not put my 100% in losing my gaol weight ,I am going to start again on 2014 to meet my gaol.wish me luck i have lots of health issuse and it's very hard for me to walk daily, but i am not giving up. thanks to Spark page.. - 1/27/2014 6:55:59 PM
  • VWRIGHT50
    If you want to rejoin winning points and I weight 187 lbs now does anybody know how many points the person would get starting out? - 1/27/2014 6:18:32 PM
  • CAPPY1248
    Hi I'm cappy1248. Feeling good tonight I did two walks today! - 1/14/2014 6:31:54 PM
  • GERIART3331
    Returned to Sparkpeople. Love the new format and tons of educational and informational help we have.

    Thank you Sparkpeople.
    - 1/14/2014 4:30:05 PM
  • INGODITRUST2
    i cant seem to get my food intake together ... I have been on the tread mill consistently for a month.
    I know what I'm supposed to do . why cant I just do it/ . feeling frustrated today.
    someone please help. I have been on this for almost a year lost 9 at the beginning and now back to the same weight . How does everyone else do it??? - 1/6/2014 5:09:40 AM
  • I just rejoin this program I already lost 30 pounds on my own since August 2013,but now I need some support because this time it is a must that I loose weight because my knee problem ,I will like to reach my goal by next summer 2014.
    Last time in 2011 I last only 3 months on SP because of all the information's given to the site, this time I'm going to take time to digest the concept.
    So please I need support.
    - 12/13/2013 10:29:36 PM
  • SALKOYA
    Hi i am 47 years male My cholesterol level 235, Triglycerides 275, HDL 45, LDL 135 VLDL 55 Total ratio 5.2 And Glucose (FBS) level is 158 please advise me proper Exercise program My weight is 89 kg height is 1.75 Meter. - 11/4/2013 12:01:35 AM
  • LAUREN088
    Hi my name is Lauren i have Been participating in a spinning class for almost 3 months but i have not lost any weight. Actually i am gaining more weight it's not muscle that i am gaining it's more fat that i am gaining. I have Been very depress lately because i see my friends at the gym that they have Been loosing a lot of weight but not. Can some one tell me why i am not loosing weight??! - 10/31/2013 7:28:53 PM