This is a civilised place for public discussion

Please treat this consumer discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgment of our community. Use these guidelines to keep this a clean, well-lighted place for civilised public discourse.

Staying on topic

The forum has been created to focus on consumer issues and as an adjunct to CHOICE. Areas where CHOICE is (or has been) active along with general consumer based issues, such as consumer rights, recalls scams and other ways people are affected from a consumer point of view are generally considered ‘on topic’. Areas outside this scope, such as political discussions, other legal or criminal issues, news or events may be considered ‘off topic’.

Improve the discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

We encourage people to take an evidence-based approach to all discussion, which means you must present your source or your reasoning when posting to the Community.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

One way to improve the discussion is by discovering ones that are already happening. Please spend some time browsing the topics here before replying or starting your own, and you’ll have a better chance of meeting others who share your interests.

Be agreeable, even when you disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But, remember to criticise ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Attacks of a personal nature, such as name calling.
  • Broad attacks on groups or collectives of people, including on the basis of politics, religion, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation and lifestyle choices.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
  • Knee-jerk contradiction.
  • Using the forum to spread misinformation or disinformation and failing to provide valid evidence from reputable sources to substantiate the claim(s) being made. This includes spreading information from sources that have been scientifically discredited or invalidated.

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Be honest and up front

If you have a link to or an interest in a company you’re discussing, you should say so in that post. An interest can include a short-term affiliation or involvement, employment or business relationship or close family connection. We all have connections, relationships and preferences. Our conversation is at its best when we acknowledge these. If you have a link or interest that’s relevant to all your posts, you should make that clear in your profile (e.g. that you are a representative of a company responding to concerns about that company).

Your participation counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

Discourse provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: favorites, bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

Let’s try to leave our park better than we found it.

If you see a problem, flag it

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts in any way; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Always be civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
  • Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
  • Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalise the forum.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of the New York Times.

This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links, and images safe for family and friends (including in titles, tags and usernames).

Keep it tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. So:

  • Don’t start a topic in the wrong category.
  • Don’t cross-post the same thing in multiple topics.
  • Don’t post no-content replies.
  • Don’t divert a topic by changing it midstream.
  • Don’t sign your posts — every post has your profile information attached to it.
  • When replying to multiple posts, use the quote function or the @ symbol in a single post.
  • Don’t just post a link or image, include some commentary and context to your posts to add to the discussion
  • Don’t repeatedly post the same information or discuss things ad nauseum, otherwise known as talking in circles. Take the time to listen, acknowledge others and explain your point or position rather than posting repetitively
  • Don’t begin or engage in a Gish Gallop

Rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”, use the Like button. Rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction, use Reply as a Linked Topic.

Post only your own stuff

You may not post anything digital that belongs to someone else without permission. You may not post descriptions of, links to, or methods for stealing someone’s intellectual property (software, video, audio, images), or for breaking any other law.

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This site is operated by your friendly local staff and you, the community. If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss! If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact us via the staff page.

Terms of service

Yes, legalese is boring, but we must protect ourselves – and by extension, you and your data – against unfriendly folks. We have a Terms of Service describing your (and our) behavior and rights related to content, privacy, and laws. To use this service, you must agree to abide by our TOS.