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House Rules for the DNA Hub

Last updated 17 May, 2004

Welcome to the House Rules. The House Rules exist so that everyone can get the best out of contributing to the DNA Hub and related DNA Communities. They aim to protect anyone who reads or contributes to one of our sites, and to help everyone to have a fun and safe time. Think of them as our own brand of netiquette1 - common courtesy, in other words.

The BBC reserves the right to change these House Rules at any time by posting changes online. You are responsible for regularly reviewing information posted online to obtain notice of such changes. Your continued use of this site after changes are posted constitutes your acceptance of these House Rules as modified by the posted changes.

If any content breaks the rules below, it may be removed or edited by the Moderators. For more information on moderation, read the article on Moderation on DNA.

Rules for Contributing to the DNA Hub

Please keep your contributions civil, tasteful and relevant. The aim of the DNA Hub is to provide a place in which Conversations are constructive and mature, and articles are interesting and entertaining. To this aim, here are the House Rules for contributing to the DNA Hub.

  • Please, no flaming or trolling. Flaming means posting something that's angry and mean-spirited - the online equivalent of flying off the handle. It's not a pretty sight, and we recommend constructive discussion as a far more satisfying pastime. Trolls say deliberately provocative things just to stir up trouble - it's not polite, so please don't do it. the DNA Hub is an incredibly friendly place, so please help to keep it that way.

  • Unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, or otherwise objectionable material is not acceptable. You'll notice 'profane' in the list here. This means that hardcore swearing is not allowed on DNA community sites. Some swearing - such as quotes from poems or plays in reviews, for example - may be editorially acceptable, but in everyday communication, it is not. All the types of content above break these House Rules. Please don't post it, or you may find we close down your account if you keep breaking the rules.

    You can find more information about defamation in the article on DNA and Defamation.

  • Please be patient. People of all ages and abilities hang out on the DNA Hub, so please remember this when posting. Remember when you were a newbie, and try to be kind.

  • No spamming or flooding. Spamming is the posting of the same (or very similar) messages to lots of forums. Flooding is when the same (or very similar) message is posted over and over again to the same conversation. It's especially antisocial if it's off-topic for those forums. So please don't deliberately send the same message, or very similar messages, to loads of different Conversation Forums, or post the same message to one Conversation multiple times. We'll simply remove your Postings, and possibly your account.

  • No advertising. Advertising is not allowed anywhere on BBCi. Members are not allowed to advertise on any of our community sites. Writing articles that review or criticise commercial products are obviously fine, as long as they're balanced, but adverts aren't.

  • Postings or articles containing languages other than English may be removed. Because we have to ensure we understand a Posting or article before we can pass it, languages other than English may have to be removed. It's also polite when posting to a Conversation to stick to the same language as the other Postings in that Conversation; posting something in a different language halfway through is not very constructive.

  • Please don't impersonate others. Everyone has a unique User ID number, so you can't get away with impersonating other Members anyway, but it's rude and unacceptable to even try. Adopting an inappropriate Nickname (one that is vulgar, likely to cause offence, etc.) is also not allowed, and if you do pick a Nickname that isn't acceptable, we will simply change it back to the default. Please note that we do not allow URLs to be included in Nicknames.

  • Be careful with including email addresses, instant messaging numbers and the like in contributions, and please do not include anyone else's personal details. You may include your own personal email address or instant messaging number in Postings (providing it is acceptable, ie not vulgar or offensive), but please be aware that you are potentially opening yourself up to a lot of email, and possibly spam email too, and you should be absolutely sure that you want people to be able to contact you like this. We recommend you set up a new email account specifically for people to contact you on, if you wish to publicise a contact point. It is not acceptable to publicise anyone else's contact details other than your own, and we will remove any postal addresses or telephone numbers from Postings. However, it is acceptable to include general contact details for companies, for example, but you must only include publicly available details, such as the address of a restaurant, or the email address for customer support for a company.

  • Only include suitable URLs in your contributions. Links to websites we consider unsuitable will be removed, so if you are considering contributing something that contains a URL, please make sure that it adds value and interest to the subject of your article, and isn't, for example, purely commercial. Unsuitable sites would include those with racist material, pornographic or sexually explicit material, potentially defamatory material, anything which encourages illegal activities, material which infringes copyright, sites which purely plug or promote commercial products or services without containing material which enhances the subject matter, sites that start automatic downloads or sites which may offend our users. We may also have to fail links to sites which are in languages other than English, for the reasons described above. Please note that we do not allow URLs to be included in Nicknames.

  • Please don't abuse the complaints system. The complaints button2 exists to enable visitors to let us know about content which breaks these rules. We take complaints very seriously, and we've set a system in place which will enable us to deal with them as a priority. Please do not use the complaints system to alert us to multiple Postings, spelling mistakes and so on: anyone who abuses the complaints system repeatedly may have their account suspended.

  • Please don't post for suspended Members. Anyone who posts communications from Members whose accounts have been suspended may also have their own account suspended. If the BBC suspects for any reason that an account has been opened and/or is being primarily operated by or on behalf of a banned Member, the holder of the suspect account may be asked to prove their identity to the BBC's satisfaction.

  • No spitting. The lawyers wanted to know what rules we needed, and we said 'The usual ones, plus "No spitting" please.' So there you go: no spitting. Many thanks. winkeye

The BBC welcomes feedback, both positive and negative, about our programmes and services but please make sure your comments are in line with the above House Rules. Repeatedly posting personal or offensive comments about individual members of the public or people who work for the BBC may be considered harassment. We reserve the right to remove such messages and take action against those responsible.

Copyright on the DNA Hub

It's important to note that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to the DNA Hub. This means you are perfectly free to take what you have written and re-publish it somewhere else.

All you do in contributing to one of the DNA community sites is to grant us the right to publish. In other words, anything you create here is done under the condition that you grant us a non-exclusive licence to distribute and edit the material in any way that we want, and in any media. (See the Terms of Use for the full terms of our rights.) As we may wish to distribute the content in various formats over time, we need to be sure that we have the right to publish everything posted to any DNA Community.

About the Law

Here are a couple of points which relate to the law. If anything you post is illegal (defamatory, for example), condones illegal activities (such as recommending drug taking) or infringes the copyright of a third party (content that you haven't written, in other words), then it has to be removed.

  • You may not post any defamatory or illegal material of any nature anywhere on the site. This includes text, graphics, video, programs or audio. Posting a message with the intention of committing an illegal act is strictly prohibited. You can find more information about defamation in the article on DNA and Defamation.

  • You agree to only post materials to which you have the copyright or other permission to distribute electronically. You may not violate, plagiarise, or infringe on the rights of third parties including copyright, trademark, trade secret, privacy, personal, publicity, or proprietary rights. You can find more information about what this means in the article on DNA and Intellectual Property Law.

About your Privacy
  • BBCi will not publish or provide your email address to anyone, unless it is in the interests of public safety to do so. Our registration process requires you to supply us with your email details, but we will only use this information to validate your access to the DNA Community sites or other BBC Discussion Message Boards. Some BBC websites may wish to send you information via your email address, but they will ask your permission first. The BBC complies with the 1998 Data Protection Act.

If you're Under Age 16
  • Please get your parents' or guardians' permission before taking part in the DNA Hub or any other BBC Community Message Board.

  • Never reveal any personal information about yourself (for example, your telephone number, location, home address or email address) without getting your parents' or guardians' permission first.


If you fail to abide by these House Rules and/or the Terms of Use, then the following procedure will be followed in most cases. Please note that the BBC reserves the right to terminate accounts immediately at its discretion (in the event of such things as criminal behaviour or personal abuse or harrassment of BBC staff, for example), or to vary the following process as it sees fit (typically by being more lenient). The BBC may also implement a period of individual pre-moderation3 instead of or in addition to the following, at our discretion.

  • For the first offence you will receive an official warning from the Editors.

  • A second offence will mean that your account is suspended for seven days.

  • A third offence will mean a suspension period of one month.

  • A fourth offence will result in your account being closed permanently.

In each case the warning or suspension notice will be sent to the email address in your preferences, explaining the nature of the transgression and the process for transgressions. If this email address bounces, then the warning or suspension notice will be posted to your Personal Space from 'The DNA Editors'. If you don't have a Personal Space Introduction, then a blank one will be created and the warning or suspension notice will be posted there.

While suspended, returning to the DNA Hub by creating another account will constitute a further offence and will extend the suspension to the next period, or will result in your account being closed permanently. Similarly, asking other community members to post on your behalf while suspended will constitute a further offence on your behalf, and may constitute an offence on behalf of those Members.

Action taken against your account on one DNA site or messageboard, may result in similar action being taken against your account on some, or all, BBC community services, without further notice.

Don't forget to read the Terms of Use.

1 'Internet etiquette' - or how to be polite when online.
2 Often referred to as the 'Yikes' button.
3 If a Member is set to individual pre-moderation, then anything they contribute appears only after it has been approved by a Moderator.

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Article Data
Article ID: A785216 (Help Page)
Written and Researched by:

Edited by:
The DNA Editors

Date: 12   July   2002

Referenced Articles
Swear-word Policy

Related BBC Pages
Terms of Use
Terms of Use

Most of the content on this site is created by our Members, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here to alert our Moderation Team. For any other comments, please start a Conversation below.