Discussion Group Guidelines
BPDFamily.com hosts a message-board which provides support, education, and a calm perspective to participating family members. Given the emotional distress that many family members find themselves in, we ask everyone to do their part in providing a safe, centered, and supportive environment for others by complying with the "Guidelines" and any additional terms set forth in a "Who Should Post on this Board" summaries located at the top of each message-board (see example).
- 1.0 Content guidelines
- 2.0 Discussion style
- 3.0 Member to member ethics
- 4.0 Account management
- 5.0 Suicide, domestic violence, or potential for bodily harm
- 6.0 Respecting staff oversight and moderation
Note: On-board arguments with members or public challenges of moderation are to be avoided. Please use the "report to moderator" button for any concerns regarding another member (located at the bottom right corner of all posts) and use this link for any questions about moderation: Clarification | Appeal | Reinstatement | Technical Problem (click here)
Members who struggle to comply with the guidelines or who are use the message-board in ways that are not constructive may be coached by the moderators.
1.0 CONTENT GUIDELINES
1.1 Board Cultures: The community has 17 different message-boards, each with unique culture and lesson platform. Members are asked to respect the culture of each board and not cross-post. Topics and comments appropriate for one board may not be appropriate for another and vice versa. Please respect each message-board's autonomy.
1.2 Self-focus: Threads should focus on topics directly related to your relationship with a person exhibiting traits of a personality disorder, your own emotional and spiritual recovery and healing, or be a fact based discussion about conventional mental health concepts and resources. Threads should not be initiated to discuss the matters of another member.
1.3 Broad Audience: All threads should be directed to the board membership in general. Threads should not solicit a response from another member, or be directed to a specific group of members.
1.4 Avoid Exclusive or Cliquish Content: Cliques can form within the boundaries of any large group - being rewarding to those that are included, and at the same time, intimidating or off-putting to those that are not. In a community where there is a constant flow of emotionally injured new members, many suffering from diminished self esteem, we encourage the established members to be ambassadors of good will and reach out to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible. Appearances of exclusivity should be avoided, such as name callouts, insider topics, insider jokes, threads targeted at friends, etc. Threads and questions should not be directed to specific members or groups.
1.5 Titling: Thread titles shall be descriptive of the host's question / topic and contain proper punctuation, spelling and capitalization. The moderators reserve the right to change any title, without notice, for the purposes of correcting defects and/or to improve the cataloging of the discussion for search by other members. Re-titled threads will be temporarily marked with an asterisk (*). Threads may be corrected if they have misspellings, or the first word is in lower case, they are judgemental generalizations, divisive, artistic, abstract, or contain symbols, extra punctuation, profanity, member names, or the word "God". Please do not title threads with only a psychology term (e.g., "Boundaries," "Jade," "Projection"). Please avoid competitive titles like "please read", "need help", or "must see".
1.6 Editing: Posts may be self-edited within 30 minutes of posting. The edit function is primarily for correcting spelling and grammar. Edits should not materially change the original content -- changing or removing content can confuse or annoy participants and make the archived threads confusing to future readers. Threads posted in duplicate will be removed without notice.
1.7 Images and Graphics Members are encouraged to use emoticons, tables, graphs, diagrams, and concept graphics to help explain written ideas. Please footnote any data posted. Emoticons are provided as additional punctuation to clarify the meaning of sentences. Please do not use them excessively or for other purposes. Graphic memes, animated gifs, advertisements, are prohibited. Graphics that mock or are sarcastic are prohibited. The only graphics that may appear in signature boxes are official staff badges. Avatars cannot be human faces.
1.8 Language and Terminology: Members are encouraged to express themselves and feel at ease in doing so. We ask that everyone write legibly and not purposely use misspelled words or incorrect grammar and punctuation. We also ask members to post in conventional paragraphs and only use free verse formatting for poems and songs. Chat room and texting abbreviations, jargon, and slang should be used minimally. Racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual slurs and vulgar language are prohibited. Emoticons are provided as additional punctuation to clarify the meaning of sentences. Please do not use them excessively or for other purposes. Inappropriate language and excessive punctuation are periodically corrected by the software.
1.9 Suggestive or Graphic Content: Members are encouraged to explore all aspects of their relationship including sex and sexuality. Lewd, suggestive or sexually explicit imagery or graphics, however, are prohibited. This is a family website. These posts may be removed from the board without notice.
1.10 Unconventional Mental Health Content: While it is anticipated that most members have little or no formal training in mental health, members are expected to read and have some reasonable foundation before giving advice to others. Members shall post only personal experiences or the experience of a very close relative or friend and well grounded conventional mental health concepts. Please provide a reference or link for third party information. Collectively the membership is here to learn and grow as a group and it is important that we not recycle or reinforce incorrect or unhealthy ideas. With the advent of the Internet and self-publishing, just about anyone can make authoritative looking material. This puts an increased responsibility on members to check out resources carefully. Members may not use the message board to promote unconventional science/medicine. More information here: www.bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=161211
1.11 Respecting Religious Belief Systems: We are a multi-national and multi-cultural community and narrow faith based discussions are allowed. By narrow, we mean that when a thread host raises a question with religious implications they are entitled to a discussion that stays within the confines of the teachings of their specific religion or denomination (e.g., Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Scientology, etc. ) for their specific topic.
For example if a Jewish host is exploring "why does God allows mental defect", then participants need to stick to Jewish philosophies, practices, and interpretations. Discussions about Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology or agnostic beliefs are not intended to be part of this exploration. We ask members to add "[Discussion of Christian Beliefs]" or "[Discussion of Buddhist Beliefs]" to their threads subject line to help guide other participants.
If someone wants to have a specific cross faith discussion (e.g., Catholic vs Protestant beliefs), then they will need to specify the specific faiths.
We very much encourage members to explore how well they are living their faith and how their relationship with someone with BPD affects their faith. At the same time, we ask members not to use faith to judge, criticize or condemn others. There is increasing recognition by leading experts of the benefits of mental and emotional therapies which blend ancient faith based practices (Western and Eastern) with more contemporary clinical practices.
Proselytizing, secularizing, debating across or within belief systems, or diminishing the religious beliefs of others or judging others is neither constructive nor respectful and is a serious breach of the discussion format.
1.12 Advertising and Commerce: Links to publishers, book stores, and pharmaceutical companies are permitted. Links to face-to-face medical providers of which members have had first hand experience are permitted. Members may not advertise, recruit, solicit, sell or provide links for online therapists / life coaches who are providing online fee-for-service. Members may not advertise or link to websites selling products and services online.
1.13 Outside Services and Links: Members are encouraged to post links to outside services and educational websites. This is an important part of the education process. We appreciate your collaboration and assistance in presenting competent and ethical material to the members. Prior to posting, we ask that you screen your material to ensure that it is consistent with conventional clinical or legal precepts. Links to inspirational and self-awareness material from established and reputable sites are also permitted.
Links to rant / venting sites, romance and dating sites, advocacy, and miracle cure sites are not permitted. Members are also asked to respect the privacy and author's rights to respond by not to posting links (or copy/pasting) discussions posted on other message boards or in personal blogs/journals.
If you want approval or a second opinion on a link before posting or to inquire as to why a link was removed, inquire here: www.bpdfamily.com/resolve
1.14 Potentially Contentious Content: Discussions on contentious political, religious, moral issues (e.g., euthanasia, abortion), or social advocacy topics (feminism, anti-government, male dominance) are discouraged. There are other places to debate politics, religion, etc. and these debates are better suited for a venue where community camaraderie, trust and credibility are not highly held values. The nature of the discussions at BPDFamily.com are best held without the undertone of political or religious alignments.
1.15 Confidentiality: Members shall not post information that directly or indirectly discloses the identify ofthemselves, their family members, friends or relationship partners with BPD. This includes (but is not limited to) direct information such as real names, addresses, business/home/cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc., as well as, indirect information such as pet names, churches, etc.
Members having off-board information about another member shall not disclose it. Off-board is defined as anything not posted by the member, themselves, publicly, on the BPDFamily.com registering user names or avatars that they use elsewhere.
If such information is posted, the offending posts may be removed or edited without notice.
2.0 DISCUSSION STYLE
2.1 Collegium, Not Debate: BPDFamily.com is set up as a collegium. We follow a Collegial Discussion format which is characterized as having "authority" vested equally among colleagues/peers. As such, members present their ideas in "collegial harmony" and the credibility of their positions are based solely on the quality of the points they advance in writing. Diversity is to be embraced - there is often much to be learned from others views and perspectives. Collegial Discussion is the exchange of ideas, not a debate or an argument to be won. Our common interests and goals are what brings us together - let it not be what comes between us. Please be mindful that one of the important roles we all have is to help “center” others, not pile on or inflame emotional unrest. Member should not "hijack" the threads of others by changing the subject. All posts should be targeted to the subject matter introduced by the host of the thread. Our individual thoughts and ideas are important to each of us. Members shall be patient and understanding of other members that are in different stages of the learning or healing process or have different opinions than their own.
Please note that collegial discussion is different than debate. Debate is an argument or a discussion generally ending with a vote or agreement on the best decision. In debate, unity is the objective. Members are discouraged from debating and arguing against others' positions, or questioning the wisdom of others, or restating of their position repeatedly.
2.2 Advising and Supporting Others: Members should offer advice as peer opinions targeted directly to the host of the thread. Members shall offer only compassionate, well founded and fact based advice. Members critiquing, or challenging the advise of others should offer their comments in a respectful, positive and constructive manner. Members should respect and embrace the opinions of others, not deride them, and recognize diversity is an important part of the learning process.
2.3 Hosting Discussions: Members are expected to "host" of any thread (topic) that they initiate. As a host, the member shall be responsible to guide the discussion to keep the participants on target, encourage the contribution of other members, summarize or comment on the overall information provided, and otherwise be a good host. The host should contact a Moderator or Advisor for assistance if any controversy arises that cannot be resolved collegially.
2.4 Divisive Exchanges: All members should feel safe in their expressions; we are all here to heal from abuse. Please keep in mind that the membership is comprised of diverse experiences and backgrounds; this is a great strength of our community. Forum is healthy when conducted in a respectful, and tolerant manner. Under no circumstances shall members be permitted to engage in divisive or abusive exchanges or be judgmental of other members.
If you have an offensive comment directed toward you, do not engage it. If a you find the subject matter or a response to be triggering, do not engage it. Step away from your computer. If, upon reflection, you feel that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, please contact a moderator. The staff will investigate with an impartial eye. There is a button for this purpose at the bottom right corner of every post titled "report to moderator."
2.5 Lying and Misrepresentations: This is an anonymous support group. Please use this anonymity to speak more freely and honesty than you can in your home environment. If you lie on an anonymous message board, you are not serious about improving your emotional well being or your lifestyle, and you're not qualified to be part of this community. Lying to us is lying to yourself and that is a poor way to begin change and healing.
2.6 Over generalizing: There are many similarities in the experiences of people involved in high conflict relationships. And, when we feel emotionally wounded, we often look for vindication and validation to sooth our pain. It's easy to buy too far into this "soothing" and lose sight of our role in the conflict and struggles -- and when we do, healing and growth come slowly.
Avoid excessive use of blanket statements like "they all lie?" or posing blanket questions like "why do they all cheat?" or "what were we thinking?". It's healthier to keep your explorations and comments in the first person by phrasing things as "why did my girlfriend lie?", "why did my boyfriend cheat?", And "what was I thinking?".
Personality disorders and traits have a broad spectrum of expression and every relationship dynamic is unique, just as each of us are unique.
2.7 Black and White and Otherwise Superficial Thinking: Everyone coming to this board comes from a very complex relationship and there are many factors for them to consider before making serious life decisions; emotional attachments, children/family members, finances, health issues, and other personal issues. Please read carefully what others say, feel free to inquire further, and offer thoughtful opinions consistent with their situation and their state of mind. For example, if a new member comes to the board, brokenhearted after learning their loved one has BPD, it would be inappropriate to state that this person was foolish to enter the relationship, or is foolish for staying, and that leaving is their only option. Staying in contact, or choosing no contact with a person with BPD is an intensely personal decision, and coming to such an important decision takes time and a great deal of introspection. Each individuals process of contact is both fluid and individual, and should be respected.
2.8 Excessive Anger, Excessive Blaming: It is recognized that most members have suffered emotional loses and abuse in their relationship with a “borderline”. Recognizing that the “borderline” is mentally ill, and understanding the role of this mental illness in the relationship is an important part of healing and recovery. Coming to terms with the abuse and/or understanding our roles is also part of healing and recovery.
Anger toward the abuser is part of the healing process. Frustration, irritation, annoyance, dismay, unhappiness are healthy expressions of anger. Hostility, vindictiveness, spitefulness, bitterness , and vengefulness is unhealthy.
Indiscriminate anger and/or blaming directed at someone other than the abuser is not healthy. Defaming “borderlines” as a group, is unhealthy and may be hurtful to other members, some of which suffer with borderline traits and some of which have children, grandchildren, or family members with borderline traits. Members shall not exhibit unhealthy anger or blame, or defame "borderlines" in general.
2.9 Advocating for Others: Members shall not "petition for" or "offer to become" personally involved in any other members personal matters. This includes site activities such as advocating for other members or triangulating This includes offline activities such as involvement in smear campaigns, social network spying, filing complaints with employers, regulatory agencies, or police authorities, legal research or private investigation, or harassment.
3.0 MEMBER TO MEMBER ETHICS
Members are asked to disseminate only information that is true and correct in light of their knowledge. Members are asked to use only reputable sources technical information re-posted on the site and to post reference information about the author and the source. Members are prohibited from recommending specific medical procedures or the use of specific prescription pharmaceuticals to others.
3.1 Dating and Socializing: Because we receive kindness and compassion here that our families and friends can't afford us, it is natural to feel that your fellow members are special. We strongly encourage everyone, however, not to use BPDFamily.com as a dating or social site.
Posturing for dating is very different than the openness needed for learning and healing - if you are doing one, you are not doing the other and likely discouraging or distracting others.
Providing too much information to a potential partner, too soon in a relationship, is a classic example of bad boundaries. Given the format here, this is unavoidable.
Using a relationship to solve problems is how a lot of us ended up here. Many of us are deeply wounded and would be better served to take the time to heal and learn about ourselves.
It is also important to be sensitive to the facts that many members would feel awkward and violated if approached (no matter how carefully), that many here are still in relationships/marriages or emotionally distraught or unavailable, that 72% of the membership suffer from depression, that many have not fully grieved their last relationship, and on an anonymous message board - you can't be sure what is true or false about anyone who posts here.
3.2 Personal Messages: This message board has a personal message (PM) capability so that members may contact one another privately. Members are encouraged to use this function with discretion. It is suggested that members not provide extensive offline consultations - instead encourage others to post their questions and ideas publicly. PMs should not be used for solicitations of any kind. [Note: The PM database is swept periodically, removing messages more than 60 days old.]
3.3 Off-board E-mail, Phone, or Other Contact: Members are encouraged to limit off board communications. In any case, members shall cease all off board communications upon request of the member they are contacting.
4.0 ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
Members are expected to keep their membership file consistent with the site objectives and look.
4.1 User Names: Members shall select and retain one "user name" and one member file at BPDFamily.com for the duration of their membership. Names should be of good taste - suggestive or vulgar names will be removed. Proper names are not allowed (e.g., your name, your partners names, any third party name). Changing user names and opening multiple memberships causes confusion for readers. Names are not to be changed to reflect different moods or outlooks or circumstances. It is recognized that there are times when it is prudent to change user names (e.g., to preserve real life confidentiality). When a user name change is necessary, the staff must be notified prior to the change for the account to be in good standing.
4.2 Avatars and Signature Boxes: You may select any of the 600 pre-approved avatars accessible from your profile page. Custom avatars may also be used but are subject to approval. Photos of human faces are not permitted. Given the difficult nature of the subject matter, members are encouraged to use light, upbeat avatars.
Signature boxes are limited to text only (200 characters, 8 pt font in black). The content is subject to approval. Given the difficult nature of the subject matter, members are encouraged to use inspirational and motivational signatures. The only graphics that may appear in signature boxes are official staff badges (for ambassadors only).
Be advised that for security reasons only avatars and links with "https://" can be used. Avatars or links in signature boxes using "http://" will be removed by the software in monthly sweeps.
4.3 Single Account Only: Each member may register one (1) account and user id. If you cannot access your membership, and the "Forgot your Password" function does not resolve the access, please contact us here and we will resolve this for you. Please do not open up a second account.
4.4 Conflicting Memberships: Please notify us if it is discovered that an ex-relationship partner or a family member/friend/employer with whom you have had conflict is posting here. Only one of the memberships is allowed in these cases.
4.5 Co-operative Memberships: Please notify us if joining and working here together with a spouse, friend, or relative. Co-operative members are welcomed, but co-operative members are asked to not post in each others threads.
4.6 Deactivate a Membership: Members may deactivate their membership access. To avoid impulsive deactivation/reactivation of memberships there is 14 day wait period. Members start the process with an initial request to the moderators and compete the process with a followup request after 14 days of inactivity (i.e., no posting). Membership deactivations are subject to copyright and site editing provisions.
5.0 SUICIDE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, BODILY HARM
All suicidal ideation, reports of domestic violence, or potential for bodily harm need to be taken seriously. Please don't "wing it", there are established and proven mental health protocols for these situations. Please review them (here). If you encounter one of these situations, you can also get to this information via the red "EMERGENCY" link located at the bottom of all discussion threads.
6.0 RESPECTING STAFF OVERSIGHT AND MODERATION
This is a moderated community. The moderators (“staff”) are in place to encourage an open, safe and grounded environment which includes managing the educational and healing platforms, facilitating and helping keep discussions flowing smoothly, mediating unproductive distractions, and cleaning and organizing the board to help members find things. The moderators are trained, there is oversight, and all decisions are held to the standard of "best interest of the members" or "best interests of the community". At the same time, moderators are human, they make mistakes, and they don't always get it right. For this reason we have an open channel for all members to respectfully question or appeal any moderator's action and to receive a sincere and respectful review of the matter by the moderation team as a whole. It's how we all learn and grow. If you have a question about a policy or a moderation action, please address it offline (not on-board) here: www.bpdfamily.com/resolve
Members who do not comply with these terms and members who are using the messageboard in a way that is unhealthy may be asked to take a therapeutic break from the community. Any interruption to membership privileges will require a request for reinstatement before membership is restored. If you sign up with another user name and post before the end of a “time out” or suspension or use others to communicate on your behalf, you will be permanently banned from the community.
On-board arguments or challenges of moderation or the staff are not appropriate at any time. All actions of the moderators are appealable to a five-man review committee.
6.1 Manual Post Editing: Moderators will retitle, relocate, split, lock, or assign "Workshop", "Feature" or other designations to notable threads as part of an overall effort to keep manage the educational platform and keep discussions active, centered and moving forward.
Retitling a thread is typically done to clarify the content of the thread for current and future members. Retitling increases member participation between 50% and 500%. Relocating a thread is done to consolidate similar topics in an area where they will get the most qualified responses. Splitting a thread is generally to protect a host's topic from being redirected to another topic or refocused on another member (hijacking), to highlight or draw attention to a significant member issue or topic that might otherwise be lost in the run of a thread, or to welcome a newbie. Threads are locked at 2 pages to limit the size to one that is fully readable/digestible.
6.2 Automated Post Editing: The site employs software to remove profanity, sexual and racial slurs, excessive punctuation, and excessive use of emoticons.
6.3 Member Therapeutic Breaks and Time-outs: From time to time, the staff will impose a time-out on a member. This requires a great deal of judgment and several staff members will be involved in these decisions-- not everyone will agree, every time. Corrective actions include editing, relocating, or removing a post, coaching letters, warning letters, temporary suspensions, and permanent bans. If you disagree with the moderation or the conduct of the moderator, such discussions must take place via the off-board clarification and appeal process. Warning: If any interruption to membership privileges will require a request for reinstatement before membership is reinstated. If any member signs up as another user name and post before the end of a “time out” or suspension period or use others to communicate on your behalf, you will be permanently banned from the community.
6.4 Appeals, Clarifications of Moderation: Moderation is a difficult position that requires a great deal of judgment and the staff do their best to uphold the greater interest of the community. Even though mistakes may be made, on-board arguments or challenges to a moderators or staff members decision are not acceptable.
Members have recourse about a moderators decision and all members have the opportunity to ask questions and/or appeal a corrective action. Properly submitted appeals will be reviewed and reevaluated. We suggest that you let any emotion subside before contacting us. If your intent your commitment to the process genuine, you are welcomed here. We are sympathetic to the difficulties you face - we all faced them too. We are open and welcome broad, diverse points of view, but not destructive behavior.
Any interruption to membership privileges will require a request for reinstatement before membership is restored. If you sign up with another user name and post before the end of a “time out” or suspension or use others to communicate on your behalf, you will be permanently banned from the community. www.bpdfamily.com/guidelines#appeals