The Golden Rules for Contributing to The Chocolate Life
Updated August 8, 2012
TheChocolateLife.com community ("TCL") consists of more than 6000 members in over 140 countries on six continents. Members have all kinds of interests in chocolate from the most general to very highly technical.
This diversity is one of the key benefits of being a member of the community - the chances are very high that there is at least one other TCL member who shares your specific interest with whom you can connect, share, and learn.
TCL is an open community. Members do not need to pass a test to join. However, people who want to join do have to fill out a minimal profile and be approved (or not) based on this profile. This is done to erect some barriers to potential spammers, as the process of joining requires several steps, one of which is review by a person.
COMMUNITY / POSTING GUIDELINES
1) Pretty much anything can be posted, brought up, and discussed - as long as it's about chocolate.
2) If you own a chocolate business you may (within the limits set forth on this page) promote it on your Member Profile Page.
Members may not create Forum threads, Blog posts, upload photos or videos, or send message to groups on behalf of a business that sells products and services to confectioners and chocolate makers as this constitutes advertising. If you wish to promote your business to members, you may take out advertising in the Member Marketplace and/or post in Classifieds. Both of these options require the payment of a fee.
Members may not create Forum threads, Blog posts, upload photos or videos, post replies/comments, or send message to groups that promote or link to non-chocolate businesses, recruit members into any MLM/network marketing program, promote products sold by MLM/network marketing programs, or engage in any commercial activity (including invitations to participate in contests and polls) outside of the context of the Classifieds Group without seeking the permission of the moderator first.
3) If you SPAM, your posts may be deleted and your membership in TheChocolateLife.com is subject to being summarily revoked and you may be reported to NING admins if your SPAMming behavior is particularly egregious. Spam includes sending personal messages to members and comments, not just forum discussions and blogs.
4) Burying links is not cool. When you link to an external site the text that the link surrounds must be relevant (to TheChocolateLife community and to the external site) AND obvious. Members should know why the link is there and where it goes without having to guess or to read the status bar of their browser.
5) Discussions, blog posts, comments or other content must provide value to the community and not just contain a link off to another site. Discussions are supposed to promote discussion. In general, include at least one paragraph explaining why you think the content on the page being linked to is interesting; if it makes sense, cut and paste no more than one paragraph of content from the site. See #1 and #2.
6) This is NOT MySpace. TheChocolateLife was not created for members to promote their bands or music or modeling careers or whatever - on your profile or anywhere. TheChocolateLife is not a dating site.
7) ALSO, do not feel free to post/upload off-topic photos, videos, or animations anywhere on TheChocolateLife. You may think they're cute. They're not.
8) Sharing is the key part of what an online community like The Chocolate Life is all about. To see your blog and forum posts appear on the Main Page, and in the "Latest Activity" list (also on the main page), update your privacy settings on your personal profile page. If you want your member profile to be featured make sure to post a photo to your profile instead of using the default graphic or some other photo or artwork.
9) FLAMING of any sort is not appropriate and may be grounds for immediate suspension of a member's account.
10) If you find yourself engaged in extended (private) discussions with other members consider using private messages or regular e-mail instead of comments.
11) If you believe you have been contacted by another member in a way that is inappropriate, please contact the moderator.
ACTIONS / REMEDIES
The creator and moderator(s) of this site exercise sole discretion to decide when something crosses the fine line between appropriate and inappropriate content and behavior. The general approach is to engage a person who posts potentially unwanted content or behaves poorly (e.g., flames) privately to make a determination. In cases where it is truly obvious, unilateral action may be taken to revoke the person's membership which, at our discretion, may also delete all the content they have contributed.
IF YOU WANT TO AVOID EVEN THE THOUGHT OF BEING CONSIDERED A SPAMMER
a) Take the time to read these guidelines.
b) Wait at least an hour between being approved and creating your first post(s) and DO NOT embed outbound links to non-chocolate sites in your first post(s).
c) Reply or comment to existing posts before creating your own blog or forum post.
d) Search first to see if something has already been posted on the topic.
e) Join a group.
f) If you are unsure, ask the moderator BEFORE posting.
g) Use a legitimate-reading personal e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org is a giveaway that you are likely to be a spammer).
h) DON'T post more than 1 (one) link and 1 (one) photo and 1 (one) video about your non-chocolate life on your profile page. Filling a profile page with non-chocolate related content is officially a no-no.
i) DON'T mention any product sold via network marketing or MLM anywhere but your profile page.
j) DO NOT post the same message over and over in the comments field of member profile pages.
HOW TO BECOME A FEATURED MEMBER (!!!)
Post a photo of yourself instead of a photo of a pet, some animated character, your company's logo, or some other graphic or photo. If you do, or choose to use the default graphic (or avatar), you will not be featured.
When you fill out your profile, enter something interesting that other TCL members might want to to know about you. Terse one-word answers are not likely to get you featured.
DO NOT post a user profile photo that promotes a product manufactured or sold via MLM. You will be asked to remove it.