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Rules for Community Discussion

 

While we at petMD encourage freedom of thought and sharing of opinions, even those that are generally viewed as unpopular or controversial, we reserve the right to screen, remove, or edit comments at any time and for any reason at our discretion without prior notice. We welcome different points of view, and believe that for the most part, our users are capable of checking and balancing each other. However, there are some users who will behave contrarily if given the opportunity, and we believe that our forums should be a place in which our users feel that they can safely share the same space.

 

The following serves as the official discussion policy for users of petMD. All participants in petMD’s story/blog commenting and other forums are required to follow these rules, in addition to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for petMD.com.

 

First and foremost: Don’t be mean. Of course, some topics require blunt talk, and we're not always going to be in agreement with one another. However, there are ways to disagree without being disagreeable. Keep your comments and responses focused on positions, not personalities. We will not allow personal attacks, which include name calling, defamation, hate speech, libel, and comments about whether someone was born without a father or had a member of the canine species for a mother. In addition, we will not, under any circumstance, allow comments that can be taken as bullying, harassment, obscenity, pornography, racism, sexism, or threatening in nature.

 

Anything you post should be of your own making: While linking to relevant content is part of the process of shared information and ideas, make sure that when you are quoting other people you give attribution as it is due and that all use of others’ work is consistent with "fair use" principles of copyright law and intellectual property.

 

In addition, you may want to make sure that the information you are posting is truthful and correct. While we appreciate learning about the products, services, people or businesses that are harmful to animals, we also do not want to be a forum for the dissemination of false information or allegations, rumors, or conspiracy theories. If we have questions about your comments, we have the right to contact you for further information.

 

Stay on topic: For example, if the article you are commenting on is about holiday gifts for your pet, please do not start a conversation about unfair euthanasia practices in animal shelters or certain reality TV dog trainers. Be constructive in your choice of comments, and stay within the boundaries of the topic under discussion.

 

Respect other users’ privacy: While it can be frustrating at times to not know exactly who we are “talking” to because of the use of online usernames, we strictly discourage the “outing” of users through the use of names, phone numbers, or e-mail or home addresses. Do not share another's contact information through petMD’s discussion threads. If they want to be contacted, they will publish their information at their own discretion.

 

Do not pose as another user: We each have our own carefully chosen online username, which we use to communicate and socialize, and which is an important part of our self-identification. Do not try to comment under a similar username in order to purposely deceive others. Remember that we have access to your e-mail address. We will know if you are posting under a similar username and we will block you from further commenting on our site. Create and use your own personally chosen username.

 

Do not "feed" the trolls: We encourage community members to report abuse by trolls by clicking the “Report Abuse” button, located beneath each comment. However, we cannot always react to an inflammatory post before many other members have had a chance to read the inflammatory comment, and in all truth, there is a fine line between what is considered blunt speech and what is considered inflammatory speech, especially when it comes to topics that evoke an emotional response in people. If you feel that a member of the petMD discussion community is being intentionally provocative, you have the right to ignore that person entirely, in addition to sending an abuse report to petMD’s customer service. We highly advise NOT engaging in discussion with trolls in the comment threads, since a reaction to their provocations is exactly what they are looking for. Trolls thrive on negative feedback and engender resentment while hiding in the Internet shadows under assumed aliases, ultimately resulting in discomfort for members of the community who would otherwise be engaging in a civil discussion.

 

If we find that a user is being a troll, we will edit or delete their comments as a warning. If the behavior becomes chronic, we will block the user from further commenting on petMD.com. Additionally, if we see you feeding a troll, we will remove both the troll's comments and your responses.

 

No Spam: We want everyone to feel free to share their ideas and experiences regarding animal rights, politics and relevant products or services they have discovered, but this is not the place for advertising or soliciting. We understand that there can be a fine line between discussing a product’s merits and advertising for the product. Please use your best judgment, and we will use ours.

 

Also, please note that obvious spammers – those who embed links to products that are entirely unrelated to the discussion at hand or to the site in general – will be permanently blocked from commenting on any content on petMD.com.

 

In conclusion: Every website has its own rules, and these are our rules for participating in petMD’s social features, including comments and discussions. If you break the rules, don't be surprised if you find that your comments have been deleted or blocked.

 

Remember that in the end, you are solely responsible for the content you post. We do not and cannot review all user content posted on petMD.com, and we cannot always remove inappropriate content before it has been seen by many users.

 

For issues regarding petMD editorial content or policies, please do not pose your question in one of our comment threads unless the article is explicitly referring to this topic. If you wish to have a question answered, you may write to our Customer Support.

 

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