WHO has officially declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, and many countries and localities are mandating or recommending public health measures such as social distancing, washing hands, and closing schools.
This post is about COVID-19-related posts and the policies we need to implement in order to make this site useful to the community while not creating or exacerbating problems. Our general guideline in making these policies has been our desire to encourage FOCA readers to support one another without interfering with local, national, and international efforts to deal with the pandemic.
Accordingly, we are immediately implementing these policies regarding posts involving COVID-19.
1. We will not host requests for or offers of medical advice, epidemiological advice, or specific advice about whether someone should follow their local public health guidelines. Any posts that violate this guideline will be moderated to remove such content. A second offense by the same poster will result in a warning or a temporary ban, and we reserve the right to use permanent bans in egregious cases.
2. You may post about your experiences, feelings, and need for support in your own ballad or in the existing COVID-19 support thread ( http://friendsofcaptainawkward.com/foru ... 37&t=15243 ). Do not use Jedi Hugs to ask for support about COVID-19 in general. The one exception to this is that you may use Jedi Hugs for support around the death of a loved one (and we all hope this exception never gets used).
3. When responding to people's ballad posts, please make sure you are offering the kind of response they want. Some people want support and hugs while others may welcome practical advice. Do not offer advice unless you are 100% sure someone wants that. Also, any advice offered in ballads must avoid medical and epidemiological advice, and may not engage with questions of whether to follow public health guidelines.
4. You may use I Need Help to ask for specific advice about how to implement public health guidelines that exist where you live. You may not use I Need Help to ask for advice about whether to implement public health guidelines. As an example, you may ask for advice about how to notify the public about an event you are canceling, but you may not ask for advice about whether to cancel it. In addition, no one here can tell you what your local public health recommendations are: please make sure you keep up to date on what your local authorities are doing and recommending. If you want advice about how to comply with a specific local mandate, please tell us what that mandate is before asking for advice.
5. All I Need Help threads that concern this virus must include "CV-19" in the thread title.
6. Before posting in I Need Help, please check existing I Need Help CV-19 threads to see if your question is already being discussed. We ask that people not proliferate advice threads (how to entertain children suddenly home from school and unable to play with their friends is pretty similar whether you live in Seattle or Lombardy).
7. We have started a thread in General Chat for people to share ideas they have found useful in dealing with social distancing. Posts in this thread can describe your circumstances, explain what you did, and why/how it worked for you. This is explicitly not an emotional support thread, but instead is for practical advice based on your own experience. Responses in this thread should also include specific experiences you have had. Since different locales have different situations and public health mandates, it's especially important that posts in this thread focus on what has worked for you without being judgmental or prescriptive towards other people in other locales. (( http://friendsofcaptainawkward.com/foru ... 29&t=15254 ))
8. We have started a second thread in General Chat for people to share links about the virus or the public health situation that you have found useful. The thread is for links, not for discussion of offered links. Posts must follow our usual rules for links (explain what the link points to and provide any needed content warnings). In addition, we will not host links to posts that advise people not to follow local public health directives. Do not use this thread to link to general news reports; the intended purpose is for tools to help people understand or cope with the current situation. Also, do not post external links in I Need Help or ballad threads. If you have a link that directly answers someone's question in another thread, post the link here and direct readers to the link post. You may post links in the thread described in #7, but they must follow these guidelines. Finally, please make the effort to make sure that your links are to reputable and reliable sources. If this thread becomes a swamp of misinformation, we will close it. (( http://friendsofcaptainawkward.com/foru ... 29&t=15252 ))
In summary, we want to host threads where people can support one another. We do not want to host epidemiological or medical advice. We do not want to put our users in the position of advising other people about whether to follow guidelines, when both choices (follow or not) may result in illness or death. We also want to avoid turning the site into an all-virus-all-the-time site, which is why we are limiting the places you may post about the pandemic. These guidelines do prevent certain kinds of posts and limit certain kinds of information exchange. There are other places online to get medical advice or to discuss the way a particular government is handling the situation, for example, and we want to focus on what FOCA does best, which is to support one another when things are tough.
We may have to change and adjust this post with time and changing circumstances. Any policy changes will be noted on this post as the occur. Thank you all for your understanding and support for us and each other in this difficult time.
If you have a technical problem or a question about the site, ask here. The admin team will also post announcements here - so check in occasionally!
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