This article forms part of the Stitch Community Guidelines. If you haven’t read the overview of the Community Guidelines yet, please do so before reading this article. In particular, please make sure you are familiar with the community definitions of what constitutes encouraged, discouraged, and prohibited behavior in the community, as well as how Stitch’s member feedback system works to promote constructive behavior across the community.

An overview of the guidelines can be found here.

Overview of moderation in online discussions

As outlined in the help article About Stitch Discussions, all members are able to provide feedback on comments in Stitch’s discussions forums to indicate whether they believe the comment:

  • Deserves to be highlighted as an example of the sort of behavior the community encourages

  • Is something they disagree with, or dislike the sentiment expressed — without needing to actively argue

  • Needs to be flagged as an example of the sort of behavior the community discourages

  • Needs to be reported as an example of the sort of behavior the community prohibits

The sections below outline how flagged and reported comments are handled under the Stitch Community rules.

How prohibited behavior gets handled

Certain behavior is completely prohibited on Stitch, such as racism, sexism, and abuse (and a full list of prohibited behavior can be found here). Online comments which breach the community guidelines by exhibiting one of these behaviors may be reported to Stitch by any Stitch member.

Unlike on other websites, when a comment is reported to Stitch, it is immediately hidden from view. That’s because the Stitch community is one in which all members are trusted to play a role in helping keep the community safe.

Reported comments are sent to Stitch’s content moderation team, who will assess it on its own merits, regardless of context, to ensure that all comments are reviewed impartially and without bias.

If the moderation team determines that the comment has breached the guidelines, the comment will be permanently removed from Stitch, and the comment author will be notified.

The comment author will also be subject to temporary and/or permanent suspension from the Stitch community forums, based on the number of times they have breached the guidelines, as follows:

  • First breach: warning only

  • 2nd breach: suspended for 2 days

  • 3rd breach: suspended for 7 days

  • 4th breach: suspended for 30 days

  • 5th breach: suspended for 3 months

  • 6th breach: permanently suspended

Stitch also reserves the right to immediately terminate a member for a severe breach of the guidelines. Milder breaches of the guidelines (for example, inadvertent posts of health misinformation, or unapproved commercial activity) are generally handled with increasing suspensions, but serious breaches (for example, for racism or abuse) will usually result in immediate termination.

How discouraged behavior gets handled

The rules above cover clear violations of the community rules, such as when a member posts racist or inflammatory comments in the community. While that sort of thing does happen from time to time, it's actually pretty rare.

A more common issue is with genuine members who consistently post mildly negative comments. Often they are doing this without being aware of how they are coming across, but other members find their comments rude, insulting, demeaning, or disrespectful.

That's what the flagging system is for. A single disrespectful comment isn't enough to breach the guidelines, but someone who makes enough of those comments over time can make the discussion unenjoyable for other members.

The Stitch Discussion forums use flags to give members feedback when their comments are upsetting or causing distress to other members. If this happens often enough, they will be locked out of individual forums or even locked out of the forums altogether.

The rules work like this:

  • Once a member has received flags from 3 different members in a discussion forum, they will receive a warning notice

  • Once a member receives flags from 6 different members, across 3 separate comments, they will be locked out of that topic for one week

  • Once a member receives flags from 9 different members across 4 separate comments, they will be locked out of that topic permanently

  • Once a member is locked out of 3 topics, they will be locked out of the Discussion forums permanently

General guidelines for online discussions on Stitch

In addition to the above guidelines, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating on the Stitch forums, or commenting on Stitch Groups or Activities.

  • Be pleasant
    Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom, and humor we know you possess. Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this a comfortable place for discussion and it will be.

  • Remain clear and concise
    Things like sarcasm and humor have a tendency to get misunderstood when in written form. To avoid confusion, write clearly and expect that people may interpret your contribution differently from what was intended. One of the best ways to test your messages for clarity is to read them out loud before you send them.

  • Read what’s been written first
    Be mindful of the other users in the conversation and take a minute to read through the whole page and other comments to make sure that you’re not reposting a recent comment, which might have already been discussed. Just as you wouldn’t interrupt a conversation in real life without checking what the discussion is about, the same rule applies here. This also applies to posts or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments and will be removed.

  • Don’t broadcast to the whole group when a direct reply will do
    If you receive an invite to an event and can’t come, there is no need to broadcast to all attendees that you cannot attend. If you want to send the organizer a personal message, please send them a private direct message, rather than posting a comment on the event as this will send a notification to all attendees. On a similar topic, if you want to reply to an individual comment in a conversation, click the “Reply” button on that comment. Your response will be sent to that person, rather than broadcasting a notification to the whole group.

  • Be understanding
    Stitch members come from all across the world with varying levels of English. We ask that posts are read for their meaning and not nit-picked, it is always the overall meaning in the post that’s most important.

  • Do not broadcast your member invite code inside Stitch
    Giving your member invite code to new members in order to convince them to join Stitch (and earn a discounted membership in the process) is something we actively encourage, and is the whole reason the invitation code was introduced in the first place. You must, however, refrain from broadcasting your invite code in the public areas of the community, such as on event comments, or the Stitch forums.

    The reason is simple: if everyone did so, it would make the community unworkable for everyone else; the public areas would be overwhelmed by posts with invitation codes. If you want to send someone your code to invite them to join the community, just send them a private message on Stitch or hand it to them in person at a Public event.

    On the other hand, you are actively encouraged to broadcast your invitation code as publicly as you can outside Stitch. Post it on fliers, on your blog, in your email signature, on your website … whatever works for you! We all want as many members as we can to join the community, so please invite as many people as you can, however you see fit.

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