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Full Community Guidelines

Hi Community,

We know Side by Side is an important space for you to be able to share what’s going on for you, but it’s also important that it’s a safe place for everyone to be. 

We hope this more detailed insight into the guidelines will help you better understand how we moderate.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at sidebysideonline@mind.org.uk

Take care,

Mind Team


How we moderate

Moderators will read every wall post on Side by Side. Content is not pre-approved, so please flag anything that you think needs our urgent attention.

We do not as standard moderate direct messages (DMs) unless we have reason to be concerned about a member or their use of the site. If you see any direct messages or comments that we need our attention, you can also flag them to let us know, or send a DM to Mind_Team.

Abuse

It’s ok to mention abuse in general terms, as we know it’s important to be able to share difficult experiences that can impact our mental health as part of peer support.  

Our moderators will hide:

  • Graphic details describing the abuse or any violence  
  • Direct quotes of abusive statements
  • Detailed descriptions of sexual abuse and sexual violence
Bullying, Discrimination and Abusive Content

Side by Side needs to be a safe space for everyone. Abusing or bullying anyone is not allowed.

This includes: 

  • Name-calling 
  • Threats 
  • Insults 
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment

Any abuse towards specific groups such as religious groups, ages, disabled people, LBGTQIA people, specific sexes or races is strictly against our terms of service. This includes sharing negative opinions or statements about any group of people.

As well as the protected characteristics mentioned above, it’s also important to make sure nothing is posted that makes people with certain experiences feel unaccepted or judged by the community. For example, people who have struggled with addiction. Any stigmatising content will be hidden.

If moderators receive rude or abusive messages, they may not respond, and can ask the core team to get in touch instead.

If a member continues to be abusive or threatening, we may suspend the account. The core team will then get in touch to discuss the future of their account. Abusive behaviour within the community can result in losing access to the service

Commercial Content and Research Projects

Promoting products or paid for services is not allowed on Side by Side. We do not want any members to feel pressured into spending while using our service, and cannot verify any links shared to ensure they are not scams or against Mind’s ethical guidelines.

Research projects (university or otherwise) should not be shared as we can’t be sure they are appropriate for our community or in line with Mind’s values, so cannot allow them on our site as this could look like an endorsement.

It’s okay to post links to helpful resources, as long as they’re not advertising services that would require members to pay to access support or content.

Defamation

Defamation is when someone says or writes something that damages another person's reputation. For example, if someone posts a false or misleading statement about a named member of staff at a specific organisation, that could be considered defamation.

If moderators see defamatory statements they will hide them.

Disagreements and Arguments

We know that not everybody gets on all the time, and sometimes there will be disagreements or arguments between members. Disagreements are okay on Side by Side but they must remain respectful and within the community guidelines.

If disagreements develop into heated arguments that are upsetting and stopping effective peer support from being able to happen, moderators might give feedback to those involved or hide the post.

Moderators will never take sides in an argument, we are neutral and will only take actions based on community guidelines.

Drugs and Alcohol

It’s okay for members to seek support for their issues around addiction, dependency, or experiences with drugs or alcohol. Posts cannot condone the use of drug or alcohol or promote substance abuse as a coping method.

Posts can include mentions of alcohol, but not details such as amounts consumed. Content about drinking will be hidden if it is promoting misuse or dangerous acts.

Being part of a clinical trial that involves drugs that are otherwise illegal is ok to speak about as it is being done legally and is medically supported. Medical marijuana is ok to mention if it is made clear in the context of the post that it is legally prescribed and it is not being used recreationally.

Members can talk about prescription medication in the context of their personal experience and can include details such as measurements or amounts that have been prescribed.

Selling drugs on Side by Side is strictly not allowed, and will result in having access withdrawn.

We do not allow negative or stigmatising comments to or about people who have drug or alcohol problems – it’s important that Side by Side is a non-judgemental space.

Expert or Medical Advice

Members shouldn’t give expert opinions or medical advice, even if they’re qualified to do so.

It’s okay to share personal experiences of medication or diagnoses, or to suggest others go and speak to a doctor, but not to suggest treatments or a possible diagnosis to others.

Food, Weight, and Exercise

It’s ok to share photos of food so long as the post does not contain specifics around quantities of food consumed, or nutritional details such as amounts of calories. Food posts should not be discouraging of certain types of food or suggest negative associations.

Members can talk about feelings and experiences of eating or exercise disorders, but not to describe behaviours or details:

  • Avoid specifics that prompt comparison (calories, exercising as compensatory behaviour i.e., to balance out amounts eaten)  
  • sizes/clothing sizes, weight, BMI, amounts eaten
  • Posts or Images which promote eating disorders or disordered body image
  • Posts or Images of people or members which are posted with the intention to invite comment on weight
  • Methods or descriptions of purging

The use of diet pills cannot be condoned. It is ok to share personal experience or struggles with diet pills. Although some over the counter pills are legal, it’s not ok to describe or promote these pills.

It’s okay for members to discuss fasting for religious reasons so long as it does not include details such as tips on how to go without food for longer or benefits of not eating that could encourage others to fast for non-religious reasons.

While it is ok to post about personal experience with weight generally, such as struggling with how a medication you are on is making you gain weight, content cannot discuss specific sizes or body types in a positive or negative way. Any content that could make someone feel bad about their size, weight, or body in general will be hidden.

Graphic and Detailed Content

Graphic and detailed content is anything that can lead someone to form a mental image that could worsen their mental health.

For example, while “self-harm” is non-specific and doesn’t describe an action, naming specific methods of hurting yourself can form a mental image of that act. This is the kind of content that isn’t safe for members, as it means they can form a mental image.  

When moderators see graphic or detailed content, they will hide the post, comment, or direct message and get in touch to give feedback.

Text and images shared on Side by Side should not contain descriptions, depictions, or details of explicit violence, sadism, cruelty or abuse.

Illegal Activity

Side by Side can’t host illegal content. This includes activity such as illegal images, illegal use of software, theft, or illegal drug use. 

For example, posts approving of, encouraging or explaining how to perform an illegal activity such as shoplifting will be hidden and a moderator will be in touch.

If Mind staff or moderators become aware of any illegal activity that could cause or has caused serious harm, we will need to break confidentiality and pass information relating to the crime to the police.

Images

Photos can be a great way to share more about your life, but they also need to be within the guidelines.

The sentiment of the written content guidelines all apply, but the following specific guidelines also apply to photos:

  • Nude or semi-nude profile photos
  • Photos that are provocative
  • Photos which depict violence, suicide methods, or self harm 
  • Photos of self-harm 
  • Photos of abuse
  • Horror themed photos that could be scary or upsetting for members
  • Images of children which are identifiable- for example, in a school uniform
  • Images of children who are not your own/who you do not have consent to share from the parent or guardian. This is in line with the NSPCC guidance > https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/briefings/photography-sharing-images-guidance
  • Images of weapons unless contextually they are clearly recreational, for instance a bow and arrows for archery, or a photo of people fencing

Moving images: Moving graphics or GIFs are not allowed as they can be dangerous for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

For this reason, we will ask members not to share moving images on the site or as profile photos. We will need to ask the member to change their profile photo, and we will hide any posts containing these.

Impersonation

Members must not impersonate a member of the Side by Side team (e.g. saying they are a moderator or work for Side by Side or Mind), other community members, celebrities or public figures.

Moderator Decisions

We hide posts that talk about moderators individually or as a team, decisions moderators have made, how we enforce the guidelines, or conversations we’ve had with members. This is because members can sometimes misrepresent what we do, and it can cause speculation, confusion, and mistrust in the community.

Misinformation, Conspiracy, and Opinions as Facts

If moderators see what they believe to be misinformation or conspiracy, they will hide this content as a precaution. We have a large community to look after, and only one moderator on at a time, so they will not have time to research and confirm if a post is factually correct. If you believe that a post or comment has been hidden in error, please contact the core team at sidebysideonline@mind.org.uk. If we agree that it’s not misinformation or conspiracy, we can set the post or comment live again.

It's ok to share your opinions on Side by Side, but they should not be phrased as if they are facts. If a moderator sees an opinion stated as a fact, they will edit to make it clear that it’s your personal thoughts on the subject, and will send a message to let you know privately.

Other Languages

We can only allow posts, comments, and direct messages to be written in English. This is for safety reasons because we are not able to moderate content written in languages that we do not understand. However, we allow very commonly used phrases that most people are familiar with, such as “C’est la vie”.

Personal details

We ask members not to share or ask others for personal details on the wall or in direct messages, for their own safety, and the safety of other members. This includes: 

  • email addresses
  • phone numbers
  • usernames on other sites
  • Profile name being real name (or full name in bio) 
  • Home address, work address.  

It is ok to post: 

  • Links to creative/art/photography/blog sites
  • General meet up spots/locations in communal places.  
Politics

Discussion of politics can cause arguments and division in the community, which is unhelpful for a mental health peer support environment. For this reason, all political opinions or statements will be hidden. By political opinions and statements we mean anything sharing views on particular political parties or politicians or sovereigns.

It is OK to talk about general policies that are relevant to mental health and can impact those of us with mental health problems, such as the mental health act.

Religion

It’s ok to talk about our personal faith or belief on Side by Side. However, please do not use the site to try to convert others to your religion.

We do not allow faith-based discrimination or disrespectful comments on other’s faiths. 

Self-harm

We know it’s important to talk about self-harm as it’s something much of our community have experience of.

It’s ok to talk generally about experiences and feelings of self-harm, but not to describe actions or give details or methods.  

We will hide: 

  • Content which details methods of self-harm 
  • Content which includes graphic details of self-harm 
  • Any image that depicts self-harm 
Sexual Behaviour and Relationships

Sexual Behaviour

Side by Side members can talk generally about sexual issues if they are seeking support for a specific problem.  However, these conversations should be in general terms and not contain graphic detail. This applies to both activity on the wall and direct messages.

We do not allow: 

  • Innuendo 
  • Flirtation 
  • Detailed descriptions of sexual acts or masturbation
  • Predatory or pressurised sexual advancements
  • Sexually explicit chat 
  • Sexual emoticons/emojis 
  • Fetish Mining
  • Sharing sexual images 

Romantic Relationships

Members are allowed to talk generally about romantic partners that they have off of the site. If your partner also uses the site, please do not bring the romantic elements of your relationship into your use of the site.

We do not allow:

  • Using Side by Side as a dating site
  • Flirtation
  • Romantic posts or messages to other members
  • Naming other members that you’re in a relationship with on the site
  • Special occasion posts like Valentines Day or anniversary messages to members you’re in a relationship with.
Swearing

Side by Side is an 18+ community, so we have relaxed the guidelines around swearing.  

Swearing in context as a means of expressing frustration at a situation is allowed, but there are some situations where we might edit or hide content such as:

  • Being aimed at another member of the community
  • Clearly obscene and likely to offence  
  • Having a negative impact on the community  
  • Excessive or repetitive swearing
Suicidal Content

As Side by Side is a mental health community, we know suicidal thoughts and feelings will be an experience many of our community share. For this reason it’s an important topic to be able to talk about, but this needs to be done safely.

We ask that you focus your posts, comments or direct messages on feeling, emotions, thoughts, and general experiences.  

We will hide any unsafe content including:

  • Any mention of a specific method of suicide 
  • Graphic content includes pictures or posts depicting suicide methods
  • Graphic or descriptive words
  • Goodbye messages/suicide letters, countdowns/timelines for suicide, or any posts which place undue pressure on the community to keep the member safe
  • Excessive/ frequent suicidal posting 
  • Posts which blame other members for suicidal thoughts or feelings 
  • Posts which glorify or sensationalise suicide
  • Emojis that depict suicide methods
  • Any pro-suicide attitudes, tips, or websites 
Supportive Statements

It can be really valuable for members to share support for causes they care about, or that impact their community, family, or humanity. We ask members not to share political or inflammatory opinions, but if they are sharing a general statement of support in a peaceful way, it’s ok to leave.

Supportive statements:

“Free Palestine”

“I Stand with Ukraine”

“Sending love to my family in Israel.”

Not ok:

“I believe the bombing of [x] is right.”

“I hope [x] wins the war”.

“I do not want [x] to win the conflict”.

If you feel that something is inflammatory, or likely to spark debate please raise with the core team to review.

Talking about others on the wall

We hide posts where Side by Side members talk about others within the community in a negative way. This is to prevent people from speculating and to avoid arguments. We also hide posts that share details about others to protect the privacy of other members.

When we say talking about other members, this can mean any post that sounds like it could be about the community, even if no usernames are mentioned. If you are talking about a situation that happened away from Side by Side please make this very clear in your post to avoid confusion.

Get In Touch

If you have questions about any of these guidelines, please get in touch with us at sidebysideonline@mind.org.uk