Rules of Conduct
1. If you are in crisis, this is not the place to be! Call a doctor, therapist, caseworker, friend, hotline, et cetera. Suicide talk, including threats of suicide or of self-injury are not permitted anywhere on the forum.
2. Do not post full copies of copyrighted works, including news articles. Instead, post a brief quote and a link to the original article. The only exception is an article clearly labeled “press release” on the original.
2. Confidentiality: we don't discuss things we learn about individuals in this forum with non-members. We do not forward posts to people who are not members of the forum or to other forums or lists without permission from the author and a moderator. If the topic appears in a public area of the forum, you are free to post a link to that topic elsewhere. If the topic is about news or a product or something else that is not personal and if you do not quote anyone from the forum, you are free to take ideas and information and discuss them anywhere else you like.
3. Hot Topics: if your post contains a reference to a frightening or triggering topic, such as an assault, serious injury to a person or animal, or an act of terrorism, please use the “CAUTION” tag. Type one sentence on the first line of the post which describes very generally what the subject is (ie "This post is about an assault"). Then hit the fifteen times to create white space before beginning your message. Hot topics may be moved to the hot topics board at the discretion of the moderators.
4. No public or private flames (personal attacks). Please be courteous and polite in your communication with fellow forum members. Repeat offenders will be put on moderation and/or banned.
A personal attack would be something along the lines of "you are a faker," "you are stupid," "you are a liar," etc. Personal attacks nearly always start with the word "you" and speak about a person's character or innate qualities as opposed to what a person thinks or does. It is okay to disagree with someone's opinion or idea or something they've done. It is not okay to judge a person or attack them. Since there is no point in criticizing an innate part of a person (the color of their eyes, their weight, their disability) the only purpose of such criticisms is to be hurtful. However, disagreeing with an idea or behavior is debate and when done correctly is meant to change or expand the person's perspective and personal growth.
5. No public or private soliciting or advertisements anywhere on the forum, including in the chat room and in personal messages. No commercial advertisements may be posted. No listing of dogs available or dogs needing rescue will be permitted. It is, however, permissible to provide links to supplies you use and recommend, so long as you are not personally affiliated with with the supplier or manufacturer.
The ONLY exception to the posting of advertisements is on the trading post board, and ONLY for equipment that is used and being sold, traded, or given away by the owner. Handmade gear, made by a person with a disability, for service dogs may be listed only with moderator approval. Advertisements for ID cards, certification, programs, trainers, training, or dogs of any kind are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN anywhere on the forum, including in signature lines.
7. This forum is for the discussion of service dogs. In compliance with U.S. Department of Justice regulations, we advocate task-training for all service animals, including PSDs (psychiatric service dogs), and do not consider emotional support to be sufficient to qualify a dog as a service dog though we do approve whole-heartedly of emotional support animals used appropriately.
8. Anyone advocating illegal activity or suggesting loopholes or ways to get around laws will be banned. Anyone advocating passing off a pet as a service animal in order to get it into a hotel or on a plane or any place else where pets are not ordinarily permitted will be banned.
Handling upset on the forum
It's bound to happen that little disagreements will break out from time to time. Here are some suggestions for all of us to help us keep the forum running smoothly even in times of conflict.
1. If you see a post that you find offensive, notify a moderator through the “report to moderator” link that appears in the bottom right corner of every post on the forum. Please do not respond on the thread as it may simply fan the flames and start an all-out flame war.
If you see someone attacked on list, the best thing to do is to write to the person who was attacked PRIVATELY to show your support, then notify a moderator. Do not reply on the forum. Do not defend your friend, a moderator will handle that. Any response, even with the best intentions, is likely to fan the flames.
2. If something inappropriate happens any place other than a post (so the “report to moderator” link is not available), simply pick any moderator's post anywhere on the forum and report it instead. Then include in the reason an explanation of what is really wrong.
3. If you disagree with something someone has said or done, it is okay to say, "I disagree with...", or "I would have...". Discussion is fine, but it is not acceptable to judge the other person and tell them they were wrong (or stupid, etc.). We don't always have to agree, but we do have to treat each other with respect. Concentrate on the issue instead of the person when criticizing.
4. We need to remember that irritability and communication difficulties are common symptom of several disabilities. Additionally, good people may snap at each other, without meaning any harm. Miscommunication can happen unintentionally. Just let it go.