Writer's Community Code of Conduct

The Private Writer's Community Forum is a place for collaboration, support, and brainstorming. This is a place for connecting with other writers, sharing ideas, feedback, and finding support for your writing projects. In taking part in this Community, you agree to the Terms of Use of https://mjspires.com, as well as this Private, Community-specific Code of Conduct.

 

This Code of Conduct is to help you understand how to take part in the Writer's Community Forum. Here, you will learn what to expect from moderators, and what actions or content may result in the suspension of your membership. We will investigate all reports of abuse. We will moderate content within the Community that we determine to be in violation of either the site's Terms of Service or this Code of Conduct.

 

Each member of this community brings different perspectives, ideas, and experiences. It is our mission to make this Private Writer's Community a friendly environment for all members.

Our Pledge

As a patron of Author M.J. Spires, we aim to keep this community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless their level of writing experience (or lack thereof), as well as their age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of experience, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

Best Practices for Building a Strong Community

  • Be respectful and considerate.

    • Be welcoming and open-minded. Other Community members may not have the same experience level or background as you, but that doesn't mean they don't have good ideas to contribute. We encourage you to be welcoming to new members and those just starting on their writing journey.

    • Respect each other. Nothing sabotages healthy conversation like rudeness. Be civil and professional. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech. Don’t harass or grief anyone. Treat each other with dignity and consideration in all interactions.

      We are not saying "you are not allowed to disagree". Disagreeing is fine. Just remember to criticize ideas, not people. Avoid name-calling, ad hominem attacks, responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content, and knee-jerk contradiction. Instead, provide reasoned counterarguments that improve the conversation.

    • Disagreements and differences of opinion are inevitable in a community. Members come from different backgrounds and perspectives, many of them different from your own. As a member of the community, you should communicate with empathy. You should try to understand and share someone's feelings before you criticize them. This will ensure a respectful and welcoming atmosphere where people can ask questions, contribute ideas, and participate in discussions.

  • Contribute in a positive and constructive way.

    • We intend to make this a great place for writers to discuss their works and gain feedback, constructive criticism, and praise. Please help us to achieve this by always striving to improve the discussion. If you are not sure your post or comment adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

      The topics discussed here are important to us, and we expect you to act as if they are important to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is said.

    • Keep your communication focused and clear. Communicating with strangers on the Internet can be awkward. It's hard to convey tone, and sarcasm is easily misunderstood. It is also important to use clear language, think about how the other person will receive the message, and share links with the intent of providing relevant and useful information. Links should not be posted to simply drive traffic or attention to a site and should always be accompanied by a full explanation of the content and purpose of the link. Posting links, especially unsolicited ones, without relevant and valuable context can come across as advertising or serving even more malicious purposes.

    • Additionally, the Writer's Community Forum is intended for collaboration, sharing ideas, and helping one another on their writing journey. Off-topic comments, although sometimes welcome, can be a distraction from getting work done and being productive.

    • When requesting feedback or collaborating on a project, please keep in mind that if you are asking for constructive criticism, you may not like or agree with the responses you receive. Try to keep an open mind. We need a bit of tough skin in this industry, especially if you have any intention of working with an agent or publishing house.

      Additionally, don't share personally sensitive information. We don't allow the sharing of such information in this Writer's Community Forum, as it can create security and privacy risks for the poster, as well as other users. 

    • Keep it tidy. Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less time cleaning up. So:

      • Be sure to start your topic in the correct category.

      • Search the forum before posting to see if there is an open thread for your particular topic.

      • Don’t post no-content replies or "bump" a topic.

      • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.

      Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, begin a new topic.

  • Be trustworthy.

    • Don’t knowingly share incorrect information or intentionally mislead other Writer's Community members. If you don’t know the answer to someone’s question but still want to help, you can try helping them research or find resources instead. 

 

What is not Allowed

The list below is intended for real-life instances and not fictional or nonfictional writing. As writers, we understand that these subjects may be covered in someone's fiction or nonfiction works. 

  • Threats of violence. This site may not be used for acts of real-world violence or terrorism, such as threatening violence towards others or promoting violent acts. Think carefully about the words you use, the images you post, and even the software you write, and how they may be interpreted by others. Even if you mean something as a joke, it might not be received that way. If you think that someone else might interpret the content you post as a threat, or as promoting violence or terrorism, stop. Don't post it on mjspires.com. In extraordinary cases, we may report threats of violence to law enforcement if we think there may be a genuine risk of physical harm or a threat to public safety.

  • Hate speech and discrimination. Although it is not forbidden to discuss age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of work experience, nationality, appearance, race, religion, or sexual orientation, we do not tolerate speech that attacks an individual or group because of who they are. Keep in mind that when these (and other) sensitive topics are approached in an aggressive or offensive manner, others may feel unwelcome or possibly even unsafe. Although there's always the possibility of misunderstandings, we expect our members to remain respectful and civil when discussing sensitive subjects.

  • Bullying and harassment. We do not tolerate any sort of bullying or harassment. This means any habitual badgering or intimidation targeted at a specific person or group of people. In general, if your actions are unwanted and you continue to engage in them, there's a good chance you are headed into bullying or harassment territory.

    Developing a sense of community requires one to recognize the effects one's behavior has on others and to engage in meaningful and productive interactions with others and the platform they rely on.

  • Disrupting the experience of other members. Behaviors such as repeatedly posting off-topic comments, opening empty or meaningless topics or using any other platform feature in a way that continually disrupts the experience of other users are not allowed.

  • Impersonation. Copying another person's avatar, posting content under their email address, using a similar username, or otherwise impersonating them is prohibited. Impersonation is considered a form of harassment.

  • Doxing and invasion of privacy. Do not post the personal information of others, such as private email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, credit card numbers, Social Security/National Identity numbers, or passwords. Depending on the context, such as in the case of intimidation or harassment, we may consider other information, such as photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent, to be an invasion of privacy, especially when such material presents a safety risk to the subject.

  • Sexually obscene content. Don’t post content that is pornographic. This does not mean that all nudity, or all code and content related to sexuality, is prohibited. We recognize that sexuality is a part of life and non-pornographic sexual content may be a part of your writing. We do not allow obscene sexual content or content that may involve the exploitation or sexualization of minors. If you have any questions or concerns about something you want to post, feel free to reach out and ask beforehand.

  • Spam. Respect the Writer's Community Forum. Don’t post advertisements, link to spammy websites, ping or mention long lists of usernames inappropriately or otherwise vandalize the Community. This Community is meant for members to discuss projects, learn, and share ideas with one another - not for advertising or other spam-like content. Content that we deem to be labeled as spam will be removed. 

  • Copyrighted or illegal content. Only post your own stuff. You are responsible for what you post. If you post something you didn’t create yourself, you must have the right to post it. You may not post illegal content, including content illegal under copyright and trademark laws, links to illegal content, or methods for circumventing the law.

  • Gratuitously violent content. Don’t post violent images, text, or other content without reasonable context. This is not relating to fictional or non-fictional works, but relating to violent content that is posted indiscriminately, or that is posted in a way that makes it difficult for other users to avoid (such as a profile avatar, profile description, topic or reply). A clear warning or disclaimer in other contexts helps others make an educated decision as to whether or not they want to engage with such content.

  • Active malware or viruses. Being part of a community includes not taking advantage of other members of the community. We do not allow anyone to use our platform in direct support of unlawful attacks that cause technical harms, such as using the Writer's Community as a means to deliver malicious executables or as attack infrastructure. Uploading any attachment to the forum that knowingly contains active malware or virus will be cause for the immediate termination and blocking of your account.

  • Anyone under the age of 13. If you're a child under the age of 13, you may not have an account on the Writer's Community Forum (or mjspires.com itself). M.J. Spires/Spires House Press does not knowingly collect information from or direct any of our content specifically to children under 13. If we learn or have reason to suspect that you are a user who is under the age of 13, we will unfortunately have to close your account. As much as we don't want to discourage your passion for writing and learning, those are the rules. Please see our Terms of Use for information about account termination.

  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting. The Writer's Community Forum is a professional space and should be treated as such.

  • Violation of Terms of Service. If your membership account is identified in violation of Terms of Use, we will have to terminate your account.

 

Enforcement

What Writer's Community Members Can Do

  • If you see a problem, report it. Moderators have special authority and are responsible for this Community. Just as you are. With your help, moderators can be Community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

    When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just report it via "Report Post" in the Option Menu. If enough reports accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

 

Our Responsibilities

There are a variety of actions that we may take in response to inappropriate behavior or content. It usually depends on the exact circumstances of a particular case. We recognize that sometimes people may say or do inappropriate things for any number of reasons. Perhaps they did not realize how their words would be perceived. Or maybe they just let their emotions get the best of them. Of course, sometimes, there are folks who just want to spam or cause trouble.

Each case requires a different approach, and we try to tailor our response to meet the needs of the situation. We'll review each situation on a case-by-case basis. In each case, we will have a diverse team investigate the content and surrounding facts and respond as appropriate, using this Code of Conduct to guide our decision.

Actions we may take in response to a flag or abuse report include, but are not limited to:

  • Content Removal

  • Content Blocking

  • Community Forum Account Suspension

  • Community Forum Account Termination

Community Forum moderators who do not follow or enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by other members of the Writer Community’s leadership.

 

Contacting M.J. Spires Staff

If, for any reason, you want to contact the Staff, the Community Managers, Administrators, or Moderators of the Writer's Community privately, you can use our contact form. Let's work together to keep this Writer's Community a place where people feel safe to participate by being respectful of them and their time.

 

Legal Notices

We know that legalese is boring, however we must protect ourselves, as well as you and your data. We have several policies, including our Terms of Use, our Acceptable Use Policies, and a Privacy Policy describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our Terms of Use, the Acceptable Use Policy and the Privacy Policy.

This Code of Conduct does not modify our Terms of Use or Acceptable Use Policy and is not intended to be a complete list. mjspires.com retains full discretion under the Terms of Use to remove or restrict any content or accounts for activity that violates those policies, including because it is unlawful, offensive, threatening, libelous, defamatory, pornographic, obscene or otherwise objectionable, or violates any party's intellectual property or our Terms of Use. This Code of Conduct describes when we will exercise that discretion.

Data Retention and Deletion of Data

You may contact mjspires.com to request the deletion of your community forum profile. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements, but barring legal requirements, will delete your full profile (within reason) within 90 days of your request. For more information, please see the Privacy Policy.