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SPM Community Guidelines

Shared discussion is a vital part of any social movement, and volunteers at SPM contribute substantial time to managing discussions here. There are many approaches to managing such communities. Here is ours, which cover discussion on all of the Society’s listservs and forums.

We ask that members treat the Society’s diverse community with respect. We come from different backgrounds and experiences. Some of our richest learning experiences can come from lively debate on relevant topics. All opinions are welcome, but use constructive (not attacking) language when possible.

Remember that members mostly post here to seek or provide help, and that we are all united in the cause of participatory medicine.

Please, do not post:

  • Messages that abuse, denigrate or threaten others.
  • Messages that invade the privacy of another person, including revealing identifiable information such as their name or address.
  • Messages that promote illegal or immoral conduct including profanity, obscenity, inflammatory, libelous or spiteful comments. Some communities allow this; we do not.
  • Anything created by someone else without their permission, even with attribution, except for brief quotations directly relevant to the discussion.
  • Repeated messages that make the same point excessively.
  • Ad hominem / personal attacks (against anybody, in the group or not) or “flaming.”

Stay on topic. The mission of the SPM is to promote the cause of participatory medicine. Postings should be about, or on topics related to participatory medicine or healthcare in general. A bit of occasional off-topic chat is fine from time to time, but respect the time and inbox of all members.

Non-commercial. We are creating a new field, with new products, practices, workflows, etc; our community can be a good place to explore ideas, but we are not to be used for promotion. Talk about your product/service/event, but do so in a way that contributes to the discussion, and doesn’t just broadcast your existence.

Avoid inbox bloat. It is useful to keep posts trimmed. Suggestions:

  • Go off-list with things that don’t need to go in everyone’s inbox. Don’t broadcast courtesy “thanks” notes, requests for info, etc.
  • Trim: When replying to a post, quote only what’s absolutely necessary to help readers understand your response. Delete the rest, including automatically added footers.
  • If sharing an article, post a brief excerpt, then provide the URL where those interested may view the rest.

Participate in helping to enforce these guidelines. Remember that your moderators are volunteers. You are welcome to reference these guidelines to others; when in doubt you’re welcome to email the volunteers about questionable threads. (If you want to share the responsibility, write to volunteers at

The guidelines are organic, so suggestions are always welcome. Email: info at

January 2014 Edition