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The Web Team has asked the Communications Committee to develop and institute three policy/guidelines:

* The website needs Usage Guidelines, informal policies that can be as simple as "be nice!" and which can be based on the Wiki Guidelines created by the Existing Website Improvement Team. The Comms Committee should task one or more members with drafting these guidelines for committee approval.

* The website (and mailing list archives) should have a formal privacy policy officially informing users that content they publish is available for public consumption, including search engine indexing. In addition, it should dictate usage of any personally identifiable information collected. The Comms Committee should task one or more members with drafting this policy for committee and/or Governance Committee approval.

* The website (and mailing list archives) should have a formal intellectual property policy informing users that they are agreeing to license any content they post or publish under an open license, such as Creative Commons 0. The Comms Committee should task one or more members with drafting this policy for committee and/or Governance Committee approval.

This page contains samples and examples of similar policies collected from around the web for use by the Communications Committee.

A fantastic overview of the importance of communication in an open source software development project can be found in Karl Fogel's "Producing Open Source Software" chapter on communications strategy.

Usage Guidelines

The existing website team has already developed Wiki guidelines that can serve as the basis for formal usage guidelines.

* Formal warranty? To be safe, websites that provide technical information should formally disclaim any warranty or guarantee of that information. Although it may seem obvious that a free community website wouldn't be responsible for incorrect or misleading information posted by its members, a proper terms of use policy could help prevent any related problems before they occur.

* Examples:

Sample Website Terms and Conditions Policy (BusinessLink UK)

Sample Website Disclaimer (BusinessLink UK)

Sample Terms and Conditions Template (

MAKE: Online Community Commenting Guidelines (no-nonsense and straightforward)'s About Page: a great checklist of various big-picture non-tech issues (legal, intellectual property, participation overview, etc.)

Deb Richardson of's entire user guideline: "Deb's original directive was "Be polite. Be helpful. You're bright people. Extrapolate." In other words, we don't need a lengthy, detailed rule book because it's all covered by "Be polite, be helpful."

Privacy Policy

The website privacy policy dictates how personally identifiable information about users collected by the website is used by the owners of the website (in this case, the Evergreen community via the still-forming Evergreen Foundation). In the simplest case, this use may be just the optional display of some user information in a user directory or Evergreen organizational profile on the website. In the future, possible use of this data may include outreach and awareness activities, inviting community members to relevant events, or other marketing-related activities.

* Examples:

Information about's Platform for Privacy Preferences Initiative (Privacy standards)

EFF White Paper on Privacy for Online Service Providers

Sample Website Privacy Policy (BusinessLink UK)

Mozilla Foundation Privacy Policy

Ubuntu Legal Page

Simple Website Privacy Policy Example (Lex Publica)

Custom Privacy Policy Generator

Intellectual Property

As we try to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the online community, we need to be clear about how that content is licensed. Currently, any users submitting content via the Dokuwiki system are informed that any content they post is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license (CC-BY-SA-3.0). Since existing content on the site is therefore licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0, the easiest solution is to keep that policy in place and formalize it if necessary.

Keeping all website content under an open license encourages sharing of that content and the establishment of the website as a recognized source of relevant information. In addition to informing content contributors that their content must be posted under an open license as mentioned above, it will also be important to make sure site visitors are aware of the open license as well. This will help ensure they share the information in an appropriate manner in compliance with the license terms.

webteam/website_policy_samples.txt · Last modified: 2011/08/16 16:11 by jimcraner

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