Editorial Policy, Forum Guidelines and Site Disclaimer.

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Editorial Policy, Forum Guidelines and Site Disclaimer.

Post18 Aug 2006

Editorial Policy and Forum Guidelines - work in progress.

Recent incidents have raised question about the Editorial Policy on these Forum. I would hope to make clear some of the guiding principles that we use. These are not meant to be hard and fast rules, merely guidelines which are likely to change and evolve as the need and encouragement demands.

In the first place, please always check the extensive FAQs when necessary before requesting human assistance.

1] "This forum is not a discussion, it is publishing".

This is the strangest and seemingly most controversial principle. We sincerely hope you enjoy yourself on this Forum and feel free. However, since the development of the internet, and specifically internet law, this Forum - or indeed any forum - is not a passing discussion between friends. It is archived publishing and in the public domain. As such it, its owners, developers and moderators and contributors are essentially bound by laws governing publishing, e.g. copyright, libel etc. Unlike a casual chat, a bulletin board forum documents and publishes the development of thoughts and communication between indivduals.

As much as we sincerely encourage support and friendship, keep in mind as you write that you are on the world wide stage and make it valuable. Use the built-in private messaging or chat system.

2] As a "publication" the BrahmaKumaris.Info forum is lightly copyedited.

One of the major pitfalls of most public forums is that they tend to decline into flame wars or an unreadable morass that makes it very hard for newcomers, or third parties, to follow threads or understand what is being said. With a subject matter that is not 'English native' and many members who are not 'native English' speakers, this problem is increased. To counter this we use a variety of different methods and policies, please understand that none of these are perfect and none personally targetted at any individual. These should be as invisible and as uninvasive as possible, not affecting the actual content or meaning of posts, but include;

    • built in spellchecker that standardises spelling and capitalization of BK Brahmin related words, e.g. "b"aba to Baba, "t"rimurti to Trimurti.
    • automatic abbreviation translation, e.g. D L K [with no spaces] will equate to Dada Lekhraj, V D D to Veerendra Dev Dixit, B D to BapDada, S B to Shiva Baba etc.
In general, our guidelines are to;

    • capitalize specific Brahmin related words so as to differentiate Alokik from lokik uses of a word.
    • credit original forum contributors when in quotation marks.
    • make clear references to the various souls and medium that contribute to the collective understanding of Knowledge especially where they use the same names or titles, e.g. Baba, ShivBaba, Mama etc.
    • add paragraph breaks to large tracts of prose to make posts easier for others to read.
    • reduce to single spaces to keep threads and short and regular as possible in order that readers can easily view them in their browser.
    • standard punctuation.
It is clear the first consideration should be given to the reader rather than the writer. Again, we are not aiming for perfect nor expecting it from contributors, merely to attempting to make the forum as user friendly as possible.

3] Human moderators.

We encourage genuine discussion but a reasonable standard of English is required for membership.

There have been as many 6 voluntary moderators active internationally, in a variety of timezones, who engage to varying degrees in maintaining the overall presentation of the forum. Largely this work is to the extent of correcting simple typographic errors and formatting. From time to time it entails splitting or moving threads that leave the original topic or forum. Very rarely, it is to remove personally offensive, obscene or posts that appear to be attempting to reveal the identity of others. [See, Privacy, below].

Again, there are no strict guidelines. We are not intending or expecting perfection from either our contributors or our moderators. This work is voluntary, experimental and at the discretion of the individual but has been shown to help others and third parties. Particularly interesting points may be highlghted. Particularly interesting posts will be archives in the "Classic Posts" section of the BrahmaKumaris.Info "News & Article" section of the site. Individuals are invited to submit or nominate classic posts.

If you are unhappy, complain. Moderators will also help you if you require help with layout or understanding the forum's formatting tools.

Moderators have no official rights of representation or responsibility over any individual, the forum or website as a whole. Moderatorship confers no position of status, merely a position of voluntary service.

5] Publishing your thoughts on this forum puts them into the public domain under the GNU Free Documentation License or Copyleft principle.

We are committed to making public all available information relating to the Brahma Kumaris. As such, when you post on the forum, your thoughts are entering into the public domain and will remain free for others to read, copy and develop. In a sense, although you will retain the right to be credited for your own original thoughts, you will loose proprietary copyrights, or private ownership, over them. If you are not happy with this, then do not post.

For more information, see ; http://www.brahmakumaris.info/w/index.php?title=Copyrights

6] Moving and removal of posts.

In essence, except for cases where there is a clear factual error, unfounded personal or institutional libel or other legal contraventions posts will not be removed after they have been made. The forum software will allow you to correct your post for up to 1 hour after you have made it, after that you will not be able to change it.

If you require a change, then please contact a moderator but, in principle, posts will not be removed;

    a) due to the damage that removing posts would make to topics,
    b) to avoid any criticism that posts are removed if they do not fall in line with the editorial policy,
    c) due to the forum being voluntarily supported, no one is paid to look after contributors.
From time to time we must reserve the right to "prune" time specific posts, (e.g. for events that have now past), Admin requests or inconsequential posts. These will not be deleted but may be moved to the "Lost Property" topic in order to reduce the length of topics. Or ultimately, the overall size of the Forum. If you wish to reply to a topic, consider first whether it would be best to reply personally to the original contributor via 'pm' [private message] or to make another public statement.

Post can and will be moved within the forums according to the moderators' guidelines but as a rule they are not removed. Such posts may be moved to the 'Lost Property' topic.

7] Privacy.

We appreciate that many ex-members of the BKWSU will feel insecure or unhappy with their experiences in the BKWSU and most contributing current members of the BKWSU would wish to their membership to remain confidential.

All efforts to sustain the anonymity of contributors will be made. You are not obliged to reveal any personal details other than a live email address. Your contact details and IP address will not be sold, given over or revealled to any other parties. Moderators do not have access to personal details of any individuals. Efforts to reveal the private identity of individual contributors will be removed as soon as they are reported or discovered. However, please realise that the internet is an inherently insecure method of communication and the forum team cannot be held responsible for any disclosures.

Posting a 'personal message', or email, from another member onto the forum without permission is a breach of the forum guidelines.

8] Membership.

Membership and forum access is open to anyone interested or experienced in the BKWSU and its teachings. To gain membership all one requires is an active email address and to answer a simple question determining which Usergroup one wishes to join. Membership is basis on trust and respect.

Because of the wish to protect contributor's anonymity, and the insecure nature of the internet, it is impossible for us to police individual's memberships. Although not encouraged, it is possible for individuals to have more than one membership and there is nothing the forum moderators can do about this. According to the limitation of the software, it is not possible to track where post are made from.

Following precedents set on other notable website, i.e. the Wikipedia, in some case this might be entirely valid and legitimate, e.g.

    a moderator making a simple user account to explore user account permissions and limitation,
    a normal user who wishes to make a clean start,
    an individual who wishes to post crucial material of public concern but who does not wish to prejudice their normal interaction or be identified.
The forum administrators recognize that in the current environment within the BKWSU, users are advised to hide their identity. Site passwords are held in an encrypted form that does not allow any access even to administrators.

Users should note that it is also not possible for us in any way to confirm personal claims or details of any other individual and so caution is advised in any personal interaction with others on or off the Forum. If you are in any way unsure, do not reveal any personal details about yourself.

Most members are experienced Brahma Kumari followers or highly experienced ex-members. Most have a very good understanding of the basic BKWSU credo. Members are here by choice to discuss serious issued raised by their experience. BK Evangelising at a basic level is out of place.

8] Conflicts.

Where a problem arises, contact the Admin [bulletin board system operator] directly and allow a reasonable time for response, , e.g. three working days, before raising the issue on the forum as there is no guarantee your message will be found. Usually matters will be resolved within 24 hours or sooner.

9] Smilies and punctuation marks.

Limit the use of smilies and punctuation marks to where they are ultimately only necessary to avoid verbal misinterpretations. There are technical reasons to why contributors need to limit the use of punctuation marks as mood indicators as they affect the way that text is rendered elsewhere on the site. Please use no more than three stop marks and use a break between the uses of fullstops and new words, e.g. "word ... new word".

10] Spamming.

Members are requested not to flood the personal messaging, email system or forum with duplicate messages and not to flood the forum with weblinks or headings to promote other websites. Such action with be considered spamming [unsolicited emails] and treated as abuse. Any members continuing to abuse other members in this way after a warning will have their membership suspended or be banned.

11] Don't beat up individual BKs.

It takes a lot of courage for individual BKs to enter this forum. They are invited to do so and might be at a transition point in their own lives.

12] Sexual references and humor.

The issue of what are acceptable sexual references arises due to the focus and target audience of this forum. We encourage open discussion about relationships, any sexual problems arising during or after life as a BK, one's general opinions about the subject as a BK or ex-BK and any sexual hypocrisy within the BKWSU in a reasonable fashion.

However, contributors need to consider that;

    a) we have individuals as young as 13 subscribed to this forum and perhaps even younger reading it
    b) what is culturally acceptable to the West, e.g. harsh language and open discussion is not acceptable elsewhere
    c) any elements of the abuse of women and children within male sexual practises and
    the focus of the BKWSU in this area.
Most importantly, individuals have to realise that we have people coming to this site that are;

    confused and in a genuine state of need
    whose families and lives are falling apart
    who are at a point of spiritual crisis
Our duty to care for, and educate the general public as to the realities of the BKWSU, come before our wish to indulge. If we refer back to the first guideline, this forum is not general discussion, it is a published record of BKWSU related thought.

13] Special Disclaimer.

The information within Brahma Kumaris.info archives has been collected to offer the public a resource concerning groups the BKWSU/BKWSO, PBK and other BK splinter organizations. However, mention and/or inclusion of a group or leader within this archive does not define that group and/or an individual mentioned as either destructive and/or harmful. Instead, such inclusion simply reflects that archived articles and/or research is available about a group or person that has generated some interest and/or controversy.

14] Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Any member who thinks that they are the current or next appointed Chariot of Shiva, the reincarnation of Lekhraj Kirpalani, Shankar or any other Hindu deity will be supported by this forum as far as to see medical (e.g. psychological) and spiritual healing. Any member persisting to believe such extraordinary claims will be required to provide extraordinary proof to satisfy all members of the forum. Any individual failing to do will have their membership suspended.

15] Messages from Admin or moderators.

If an Admin or moderator contacts you by private message or email regarding issues relating to the forum, your post on the forum or any other non-personal, please reply to them. The good health of the forum is dependent on individuals cooperating with the overal aims.

Ignoring administration correspondence will lead to your account being de-activated, suspended or banned.

If you feel that any moderative correspondence is abusive, it is best to raise the issue with the Admin in private first.

16] If in doubt, ask first

If in doubt, ask the Admin first before posting on the forum.


All information archived must be evaluated critically, through a process of independent and individual judgment. Please note that there are links often prominently posted to a group or movement's own official website, which reflect their views. It is important to see what they have to say.

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Your input and skills are welcome!

see also ; Editorial Policy, Forum Guidelines and Special Disclaimer

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