Stitch's was created to improve the health and wellbeing of all our members, so it goes without saying that we don’t want Stitch to cause any negative outcomes for members as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
That's why we are publishing new guidelines for members who have organized Stitch activities during the crisis.
We strongly advise all organizers to do one of the following:
- Ensure your event meets physical distancing guidelines
- Make your activity a virtual event
- Postpone your event to a future date
As a last resort, if none of the above options apply, your final option is to cancel your event.
The sections below provide explicit guidance on each one of these options. In particular, if you do plan to cancel your event, make sure you read the guidelines below to make sure you do so in a way that meets the community rules.
Option 1: Comply with physical distancing guidelines
If you have already posted an activity on Stitch, or wish to do so, you need to make sure it complies with the physical distancing guidelines that are provided by the relevant health authorities in your area.
These guidelines vary from country to country, state to state, and in some cases neighborhood to neighborhood, and are changing on a constant basis, so Stitch isn't able to review your activity to make sure it complies with the guidelines that apply to your area. It's up to you to make sure you meet the guidelines (and please be aware that if you don't, your event isn't likely to be well-received by members of your community!)
Stitch can't forcibly apply a single set of rules across our entire community because the situation right now varies so much across the world. In general, however, activities that comply with physical distancing guidelines will:
- Only take place in areas that are permitting activities
- Have a limit on the number of attendees (in many locations this limit is 10, 5, or even 2)
- Take place outdoors, not in enclosed spaces
- Take place at a time and location which avoids crowds or other gatherings
- Not involve anything that would require members to come in close proximity or use shared equipment
In addition, at your activity you will need to encourage all attendees adhere to the physical distancing guidelines for your area. Most of these are common sense, but include:
- Maintaining physical distance (typically 6 feet / 2 metres) between attendees
- Avoiding handshaking and other physical greetings
- Avoidance of shared food, with attendees preparing and consuming their own food
- Promotion of standard hygiene practice such as washing hands, user of sanitiser, etc
This option is obviously not available to members who are in complete lockdown, but for many Stitch members, a walk in the park with a couple of other Stitch members is a great way to stay sane during the crisis -- provided you comply with physical distancing guidelines.
Please be aware that if we judge that an activity is being organized with disregard to the safety of Stitch members and is clearly flouting local guidelines, it will be removed from Stitch.
Option 2: Make your activity a virtual event
While it’s imperative we practice physical distancing, it’s equally important that we stay socially connected to our friends and companions during these uncertain times, especially for the sake of our mental wellbeing.
We are working on a bunch of new features to promote remote connections, which we'll announce soon. In the meantime, however, Stitch members are already pressing ahead by creating virtual get-togethers with other Stitch members, using video-conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype.
These get-togethers include online presentations, virtual happy hours, and even watching movies together remotely. Check out some recent examples:
If you'd like to create a virtual event of your own, check out our new article on how to create a virtual event on Stitch.
This doesn't only apply to new events, either.
If you had already scheduled a real-world activity that has now been cancelled because of the coronavirus restrictions, you don't have to cancel it: you can change it to a related virtual event instead.
After all, if a bunch of Stitch members have already told you they'd like to come to your event, you might as well get together!
For example, you might have scheduled a Stitch event to attend the "Sydney Writer's Festival" with some like-minded bookworms. Even if the festival is cancelled, you don't need to cancel your activity. Just change it to a virtual activity, such as "Online social get-together for bookworms", and you'll still get to meet like-minded Stitch members!
It won't be the same as going to the festival, but it's a heck of a lot better than sitting at home alone.
Learn how you can post a virtual Stitch Event here.
Option 3: Postpone your event
If neither of the above options work for you, we recommend you postpone your event (instead of cancelling it).
The current crisis will eventually pass and life will return to normal. While the crisis plays itself out, however, we're all going to need things to look forward to.
Postponing your activity helps send a message there is light at the end of the tunnel and gives the members of your local community something to look forward to. Don't underestimate how important this is.
To postpone your event, there are a few things you need to do do:
- Update the event title to include “Date TBD” or similar
- Update the date to something 2-3 months from now (or later)
- Update the event description to note the event listing is now a placeholder, and the actual date will be advised
Here are a few examples from Stitch (although some of these may change to virtual events in the coming days):
Please note: If you no longer wish to host your postponed event, do not simply remove yourself as the organizer. Make sure to assign a new organizer before removing yourself. Learn how to assign a new organizer here.
Last resort: Canceling your Stitch Event (the right way)
If your activity is related to a public event, such as a concert or sporting event, and you don't think it will eventually be rescheduled, and you don't want to set up a virtual get-together for the members who were interested, then your final option is to cancel the event.
It's important you do this correctly, however, and make sure you cancel your activity in a way that meets the Stitch community rules.
To successfully cancel your event, you MUST delete it. Do not add “CANCELLED” to your event title, remove yourself as the organizer or leave a message in the comments section for your attendees.
There are a number of reasons why you must remove the activity from Stitch, including:
- Leaving events listed on Stitch is confusing for new members
- Those events still mark attendance -- which means some people have been inadvertently marked as no-shows at events that never even took place (this understandably makes people very upset!)
- Membership points get rewarded for those events, which means someone from the Stitch team is constantly spending time deducting points from event organizers (side note: this is not much fun)
So to reiterate: you MUST delete your event on Stitch if you are cancelling it. The event won't actually be "deleted", as you and any other attendees can still click on the link to the event. It will just be removed from the event listing so that other members don't see it.
To delete your activity, select the Settings tab from within your event page, then select Delete. Your attendees will receive an email notification that the event has been cancelled.
Please note: Stitch will delete any events that show as "cancelled" on the Stitch web site within 48 hours of the scheduled event without notice. Members who consistently leave cancelled events listed on Stitch will be penalized for doing so (either by having membership points deducted from their accounts or having their accounts suspended completely).