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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!
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.
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