I would recommend a nice beginning sentence about what Groups.io is intended to do. What is its purpose?
It’s much easier to say that this group does not meet our standards for _______ than to think up a word for everything someone might think of that would be offensive or illegal.
Please ensure that your group adheres to our Terms of Service. We believe in freedom of expression and Groups.io, as a broad-based service, is designed to respect many different perspectives and enable them to co-exist seamlessly and effortlessly. With that said, we do not permit the following:
The first sentence doesn’t really say that. It’s more apologetic — we are wonderful but we don’t allow….. It sets a different tone than changing the wording to:
"The purpose of Groups.io is to support the communications and functioning of a broad-base of groups and enable them to co-exist seamlessly and effortlessly. Supporting freedom of expression also requires adhering to the legal and social expectations that allow all Groups.io to maintain the professional reputation of Groups.io.”
The wording could be smoother and in Mark’s language, but this makes the user think about the positive purposes of Groups.io instead of the specific prohibitions.
I would include the words “including but not limited to…” It’s standard legal terminology to avoid nit-picking objections or activities that you couldn’t predict.
For example, our Terms of Service do not permit groups that focus on:
- Pornography, adult content, or nudityTo "game the group directory" will not be understood by a “broad-base” of people.
Somewhere you might define the responsibilities of the owners and moderators to monitor the messages to the group to support the purpose of Groups.io.
A story to support the need for negative examples
I used to work in a residential mental health center for girls — ranging from delinquents to schizophrenics. The girls received tokens for appropriate behavior and all objectives were stated in positive terms. Tokens were awarded for cooperative classroom behavior, speaking to others with respect, etc. And tokens bought meals, TV time, etc.
One day we heard yelling from a therapist's office using many “negative” words—and it was the therapist yelling. But shortly afterwards a very happy resident came out and said, “Finally, I have a program I can do! I understand this!” Shortly the therapist followed and said, “I’ll probably get fired but I just lost it.” After weeks of trying to help the resident understand “use language appropriate to the environment,” the therapist had yelled, “It means you can't say f***, s***, c*** …." in school.
The resident finally understood. No everyone has the same definition of “appropriate.” Or legal. Or "social expectations.”
Sharon Villines, Washington DC
"Reality is something you rise above.” — Liza Minnelli