The DHBC Committee has produced and ratified a new set of guidelines relating to posting on this forum. They are reproduced below.
You are asked to abide by these guidelines at all times when using this club forum.
A guide to using the Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club forums
Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club prides itself on providing fellowship and support to members, regardless of their ability or cycling goals.
However, the club’s online forums have occasionally contained material that does not support the club’s aims and potentially exposes us to complex issues.
This document has therefore been prepared to help members understand the forums’ role in the club, and how to use them to meet the club’s goals.
Why do we have forums?
The club’s web forum is an important tool that helps us to do two things:
• Provide a communication medium between members to help build fellowship;
• It has also served us well to host official announcements. With the launch of the new website, this will be transitioned from the club forum to the club website
In plain language, the forums are a great way to make arrangements between club members, but are not the place to make decisions about the club or commitments that bind the club, other than official business the club executive may post of the forum.
What the forum is not
The forums generally do a great job, but occasionally have also hosted material that could be characterised as:
• Critical or disrespectful of members;
• Scornful or derisive of members;
• Critical of members of the executive in organising club events;
• Making decisions that impact club finances or policies without consultation;
• Potentially offensive to many members.
Posts of this nature are a problem for a few reasons, because they:
• Don’t advance our aim of providing fellowship and support
• Could easily stop us from developing juniors: what parents would want their kids to join a club with flame-filled forums?
• Make unpleasant work for the club committee, whose members give up their time to create more, safer, riding opportunities for the club’s members, but have no real interest in solving online disputes!
Why the forums aren’t the place to develop club policies
One of the great things about DHBC is that so many members are willing to give their time and energy to run events or organise rides. The forums are a great tool to help this process and the club’s executive committee hopes that this continues.
But we also need to be mindful that the club has an executive committee that oversees its activities, safeguards its finances and ensures that the official activities of the club are conducted in a safe and legal manner, and recorded in an appropriate manner.
The forums cannot therefore be considered a setting for policy-making, because it is not reasonable to expect that committee members will be able to read every post and understand its potential impact on the club. (Those who have sat on committees will understand it’s hard to write minutes based on a sprawling forum!)
Forums should not be used to criticise club decisions – these are made by volunteers in the best interests of the club, often sandwiched between day jobs, and family responsibilities at night. Sometimes decisions are made on the go, and yes, members on the executive committee are very human and will make the occasional mistake in judgement – if you feel that a mistake has been made, or a viewpoint has been left out, you are strongly encouraged to approach that person directly (via Private Message, or using a the official club contacts, or in person after a ride) to constructively discuss your thoughts. You may wish to discuss any residual concerns with other members of the executive if you still feel unsatisfied after your approach.
Members of the club have voting rights on choosing who members of the executive committee are, with nominations tabled prior to the annual general meeting.
Guidelines for posting on the forums
Whenever you post to the forums, assume that your post is your personal position: you don’t represent the club.
This applies for all posts, by all members, save for those made in the “Announcements” thread, or official announcements made by members of the executive committee.
When posting to the DHBC forums, you should also ask yourself if you would:
• Read your post out loud to the club at the Marrickville Rd Cafe? If you would not be comfortable saying it within earshot of your club mates at the cafe, don’t say it online!
• Speak your post directly, in real life, to the person you are addressing online? If you would not say something to another member’s face, don’t say it on the forums!
• Read your post out on CNN? The forums are indexed by Google, so everything you write is there for the world to see. Are you ready for the world to see it? And if not the world, what about your employer, kids, parents or partner?
• Speak your post in front of a 12 year old? Our juniors are aware of the forum. Would you want your 12 year old reading your post?
• Fully understand a similar post written by someone else? Online media are notorious for stripping away context from text. So before you rebut someone’s posts, ask if it is worth having an argument the whole club can see.
A few rules
In addition to the guidelines above, the club’s committee feels we need some rules about posts.
Those rules state that posts to the forums must never:
Distinguish individuals on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual preference or political affiliation;
Include abusive and/or derogatory remarks or language intended to harass, belittle, humiliate or cause embarrassment to any individual or organisations;
Represent collective action against another member irrespective of their behaviour (i.e no ganging up!);
Defame any business or individual;
Threaten anyone inside or outside our club;
Include promotions for commercial entities;
Knowingly include copyrighted material;
Seek to provoke members;
Dominate threads and over respond to ‘make a point’ or have the ‘last word’;
Promote illegal or unlawful activities;
Impersonate any other person or organisation;
Post material which could offend any member;
Post material which is ‘not suitable for work’ site viewing by many members who will access the forum at their workplace;
Use the forum with the expectation of using the site for ‘freedom of speech’ rather than using the site as a supplementary tool for members governed by Cycling Australia through its affiliated cycling clubs;
Openly encourage breaching of Cycling Australia rules which govern all club members;
Make posts complaining about, responding to, or retaliating to any post breaching the above;
Debate publicly on the forum the actions of any club executive member, or forum moderator who tones down, closes or deletes a post in contravention of the above.
The DHBC executive committee hopes that this document helps you to understand the role of the forums and how to use them productively.
Just in case someone does not, however, forum moderators appointed by the committee reserve the right to:
• Tone down, close or remove any comment or thread that breaches the rules above
• Warn members that their conduct in the forums is in contravention of club policy
If unacceptable posts continue to be made by a member, the committee reserves the right to:
• Counsel members over misuse of the forum,
• Depending on frequency of misuse or severity of posts, may consider disciplinary action including membership rights
The committee or its appointed moderators also reserve the right to suspend any thread on the forums that negatively impacts the club’s resources, reputation or obligations.
Where a posting by an executive member is deemed inappropriate by a moderator, or flagged by any other club member, the forum moderators will decide what the appropriate response should be in accordance with the above policy. Any recommendation for counselling or disciplinary action will be referred to other members of the executive for appropriate action, excluding the person the matter is about.
As at July 2011, the following individuals have been appointed as Forum Moderators. Use the Private Message (PM) function of the forum to contact them if you feel a particular post or topic breaches these guidelines or is of dubious merit or nature.
Stuart Hickson (Webmaster): Forum name = Stuart
James Fowler: Forum name = T-Bone
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