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  • 1.  Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Feb 24, 2021 05:52 PM
    Hi everyone
    We are just configuring HL communities for the first time, and are wondering if others have considered liability issues for communities based in Australia. A legal colleague has pointed out that the Australian legal environment (particularly with our more limited protection for defamation) is quite different from US laws - and I presume the default HL T&Cs are built from within the USA Context. What is your moderation policy in light of Australian law?
    If you have any samples, or legal opinions to share, I'd be most grateful,
    Thanks in advance,

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    Gary Williams
    CMA
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  • 2.  RE: Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Feb 24, 2021 06:40 PM
    @Gary Williams - great question. There is a couple of things here and I am happy to lend my thoughts. I am sure other customers or some of our Community Managers will lend their experiences to the discussion. @Lisa Agic @Bree Stewart

    When implementing a new community the T&Cs users are asked to agree to when they first login are owned by CMA. While we will share a template to build from, it is just a guide to what has been used before by all our community customers. The final version however is those T&Cs your organisation wants users to abide by and it is very much guided by the use case for the community.

    For example, a small medical college where their members (specialist doctors) may be talking about cases they are handling will have signed up to  T&Cs from that organisation which specifically reminds them they are not to ever identify a patient in a conversation. However, one of our customers supporting users of a software product will have perhaps more T&Cs guiding behaviour and conduct within the community. A trade association will have terms to mitigate anti-trust risks.

    This in turn helps inform your preferred moderation guidelines and how they will be implemented by your Community Manager. ​There are default moderation guidelines based on best practices and experience and there is the flexibility for your community manager to impose moderation in accordance with CMA policy. As you learn more about the engagement and behaviour of users, then you can adapt moderation rules and processes accordingly.

    This means your own legal advice can inform your organisation's decisions about the T&Cs and the moderation rules making it specific to CMA. 

    In the broader Community Management community here in HUG I am sure you will find further examples to assist. ​​

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    Robert Barnes CAE
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  • 3.  RE: Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Feb 24, 2021 06:52 PM
    Thanks Robert. (And @Ina Sanders I'll loop you in on this). That's helpful. I understand what you're saying, and accept that the onus is indeed on us to get the T&Cs appropriate for our users / our community. I'm just looking to see if others have any Australia-specific expertise /  legal opinion / experiences that will help us as we shape that document. Just as one example, does the consensus of legal opinion suggest that the safest route is to permanently moderate every community?
    I appreciate your comments, and look forward to any other thoughts that may trickle through.
    Thanks!


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    Gary Williams
    CMA
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  • 4.  RE: Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Feb 24, 2021 09:10 PM

    Hi @Gary Williams what a great question and no doubt an important consideration for every organisation. As with Rob, the buck stops with each organisation's legal team in the context of the parameters of service (as well the broader notion of the Organisational values). The primary T&C focus in an online community setting is of course ensuring the OC serves as a safe space for all members (ie. the conversation's do more good than harm to your membership base).

    Where I have seen communities struggle in the past, actually falls more around the issue of not aligning the community T&Cs with the wider parameters of their service offering. What kind of behaviour would you expect between members at an event or workshop within your service environment? The same codes of conduct can be applied to your community T&C's. Another good highlight from Rob, sometimes it takes time to adapt and adjust the T+Cs that role model the culture you wish to exist in your community.

    For example, a health community over time may realise that too many members are soliciting professional medical advice within the OC. Their leadership team has advised the community manager this posting breaches duty of care & strays from the intent of the platform. The community then may add the additional guideline to support moderation:

    • All statements outside your personal experience - for example, about statistics, data, studies or medicine - should have trustworthy sources. Please include a link or reference to the source of the data within your post.

    I have worked across several online communities in Australia and in my experience, the T&Cs across all share the same concept of "member to member safety" - which is supported within the Higher Logic Best Practice T&C's. This resource here via Australian Community Managers can also ​provide a framework for early considerations in shaping your Community Terms and Conditions.

    I hope this insight is useful!

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    Bree Stewart
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  • 5.  RE: Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Feb 24, 2021 11:29 PM
    Thanks Bree - that too is helpful, and that's a good link to Australian Community Manager.
    Much appreciated!

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    Gary Williams
    CMA
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  • 6.  RE: Liability for Australian Communities

    Posted Mar 02, 2021 09:52 PM

    No problem at all Gary!

     

    Bree Stewart

    Community Manager| Higher Logic, LLC

    www.higherlogic.com | bstewart@higherlogic.com 

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