Community Guidelines

Applicable to one-on-one and group communications

We are a community of wide ranging voices, opinions, and experiences. We hope to share in a respectful, tolerant, and collaborative environment. These Community Guidelines seek to enhance member engagement by establishing minimum standards of conduct. While Group Leaders are not employees or agents of ForLikeMinds, your Group Leader may choose to provide his or her own additional guidance, provided it does not conflict with our Community Guidelines.

When you signed up for ForLikeMinds, you agreed to these Community Guidelines. If at any time you feel that you are unable to act in accordance with these Community Guidelines, you should leave our platform. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Be aware of suicide risk. Any statements about self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts and threats should be taken very seriously. If you have suicidal thoughts immediately seek help. If someone shows signs of suicidal thoughts, tell them to seek help immediately. Refer them to the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 and see our Emergency Resources.

Suicide warning signs include: thinking/talking about wanting to die or to kill yourself/themselves, looking for a way to kill yourself/themselves, thinking/talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live, thinking/talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain, thinking/talking about being a burden to others, increasing the use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing or isolating themselves, showing rage or thinking/talking about seeking revenge, and extreme mood swings, especially when the behavior is new or increasing.

Trigger warnings. Trigger warnings are advance warnings to members about the potentially distressing material discussed in a topic, post, or other message. If your message includes any mention of sexual assault, violence, suicide, or other subjects that may be triggering to other members, in the subject line of your topic, post, or message, please indicate “Trigger Warning.”

Be kind, compassionate, supportive, and respectful. Maintain an environment that is optimistic, hopeful, and empowering. Just the very fact that someone is sharing their feelings and engaging with others in the community is a sign of their internal strength and resilience. Accept members just as they are and avoid making judgments. Respect differing points of view, and experiences. Accept cultural, linguistic, social, racial, and gender identities and differences and promote their acceptance. Ask people how they prefer to be addressed, being respectful of their identity, for example, in reference to their gender identity. Many of us feel vulnerable to prejudices and stigma and need a place to communicate and interact with others.

Inappropriate behavior. Do not harass, bully, criticize, attack, mimic, or troll members, other individuals, or organizations. Do not threaten harm to public or personal safety, do not promote or encourage suicide or any other type of self-injury, including self-mutilation and eating disorders. Do not post anything which could be considered offensive, violent, abusive, harmful to others, or hate speech or remarks that disrespect any individual or group based on race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Obscene or sexually explicit content is not permitted. Do not post any content, including links to other sites, which is potentially libelous or violates the privacy or legal rights of any individual or entity. You are responsible for your actions and there may be consequences including potential legal liability for you. See Terms of Use.

Act on concerns. Always use the tools available on our platform to address objectionable behavior. If someone sends you a concerning one-on-one communication, stop reading it and block the member immediately. If a topic in a group message board concerns you, stop reading it, mute it, and mute the person who posted it. If the author of that post or thread tries to contact you by one-on-one communication, do not read the message and block them immediately. Always print or take a screen shot of the concerning one-on-one communications, topics, or posts in case you need to share them with someone later. Do not retaliate, do not engage with the person whose behavior concerns you.

If you take all of the action above, but continue to experience concerns, please exit the group and platform. Consult our Emergency Resources immediately if you have suicidal thoughts. At your discretion, consult with your support network, including your health care provider, for advice about using our platform in addition to your treatments. If you are concerned about your participation on our platform, we encourage you to make an informed decision with your treatment provider.

Always consult with your health provider. ForLikeMinds may benefit health, but it is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

Features to discourage and stop inappropriate behavior. We have incorporated features to discourage and stop inappropriate communications. ForLikeMinds has the right to remove any groups, members, topics, or posts at its sole discretion without prior notice. Similarly, Group Leaders have the power to remove a topic, post, or member from their group at their sole discretion. Members also have the ability to block or mute, as the case may be, other members, or topics in one-on-one communications and from their own group message feeds. We have incorporated these features to enhance your experience in group and one-on-one communications.

Do not recreate, repost, or resend: topics, posts, or messages that have been removed through the features discussed above.

Do not attempt to rejoin: groups or ForLikeMinds if your membership has been revoked through the features discussed above.

Do not create multiple accounts: to evade restrictions on your activities or facilitate inappropriate activities on our platform.

Private information. We allow people to use our platform with non-identifying usernames, so they feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and perspectives with others. Never share any personally identifying details on this platform. Do not share your real name or e-mail address in one-on-one or group communications. Do not use your real name or e-mail address as your screen name.

Confidentiality. What is said in a group, stays in the group. Respect the confidentiality and privacy of members and non-members at all times.

Focus on shared experience. Members should direct comments from their own perspective and experience, as opposed to expressing judgments or criticism of comments made by other members. They should not try to persuade or advise other members. Talk about how you relate to a comment or how you have dealt with an issue raised by another member.

Be results-oriented and constructive. Of course, members will share issues and experiences causing them frustration. In those circumstances, it may be helpful to ask the member what they want to achieve or how the group can help to guide the conversation in a constructive direction. Acknowledge a person’s comments or feelings. Express understanding their situation or issue.

Keep it brief. When possible, keep it brief. The longer your post is, the less likely some people may be to read it. If your post addresses multiple topics it may be best to start a new topic. Create new topics to discuss new subjects or issues. We suggest that posts be no longer than 50-75 words.

Listening and Interacting. Take the time to read posts through as you would when listening to someone and then respond constructively when you have something relevant to share. Sometimes it’s hard to express oneself online, so be patient and attentive. Don’t assume things. Ask for clarifications. Try to understand how others feel about the experience or situation they are sharing. Make it a dialogue. See below Communication Tips and Pitfalls.

Start your own Group. If you feel you can facilitate a better experience and dialogue than existing groups, we encourage you to start your own group as a Group Leader.

Do not use for commercial purposes, promotion, or solicitation. You many not use ForLikeMinds for any commercial, marketing, promotion, or solicitation purposes.

Do not use to purchase/sell or exchange medication. It is against the law to use ForLikeMinds to purchase, sell, or exchange medication. If you are interested in donating medication, consult with your physician or pharmacist for any programs that may be available in your state.

Never send money to anyone. Never send money to anyone you meet online. Be careful.

Violations. Violation of any of these Community Guidelines or Terms of Use may result in the termination of an account and/or groups.

Offline behavior. If you choose to meet someone offline that you met through ForLikeMinds, you do so at your own risk.

Communication Tips and Pitfalls*

Tips for Active Listening

Active listening is all about building rapport, understanding, and trust. Below are best practices for effective active listening:

Restating. To show you are listening, repeat every so often what you think the person said — not by parroting, but by paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. For example, “Let’s see if I’m clear about this. . .”

Reflecting. Can help people understand more about what they said — for example, someone tells you, “I’m worried I won’t remember. . . ” You might respond: “It sounds like you would like some help remembering?”

Summarizing. Bring together the facts and pieces of the problem to check your understanding — for example, “So it sounds to me as if . . .” Or, “Is that it?”

Keeping flow. Use brief, positive prompts to keep the conversation going and show you are listening — for example, “umm-hmmm,” “Oh?” “I understand,” “Then?” “And?” The following are simple conversation courtesies to help keep discussion flowing: “Excuse me...”, “Pardon me….”, “One moment please...”, “Let’s talk about solutions.”, “May I suggest something?”

Probing/Leading. Ask questions to draw the person out and get deeper and more meaningful information — for example, “What do you think would happen if you. . .?” Use leading questions to draw out details and feelings - for example, “Would you like to talk about it?” “What happened then?” Could you tell me more?”

Emotion labeling. Putting feelings into words will often help a person to see things more objectively. Reflect the speaker’s word in terms of feelings— for example, “This seems really important to you. . .” To help the person begin, use “door openers” — for example, “I’m sensing that you’re feeling frustrated. . . worried. . . anxious. . .”

Giving feedback. Let the person know what your initial thoughts are on the situation. Share pertinent information, observations, insights, and experiences. Then listen carefully to confirm.

Validation. Acknowledge the individual’s problems, issues, and feelings. Listen openly and with empathy, and respond in an interested way — for example, “I appreciate your willingness to talk about such a difficult issue. . .”

Effective pauses. Deliberately pause at key points for emphasis. This will tell the person you are saying something that is very important to them.

Silence. Allow for comfortable silences to slow down the exchange. Give a person time to think as well as talk. Silence can also be very helpful in defusing an unproductive interaction.

“I” messages. By using “I” in your statements, you focus on the problem not the person. An I-message lets the person know what you feel and why — for example, “I know you have a lot to say, but I need to...”

Redirecting. If someone is showing signs of being overly aggressive, agitated, or angry, this is the time to shift the discussion to another topic.

Consequences. Part of the feedback may involve talking about the possible consequences of inaction — for example, “What happened the last time you stopped taking the medicine your doctor prescribed?” Take your cues from what the person is saying.

Communication Blockers

Many behaviors can interrupt or prevent effective communication. Below are examples of communication blockers that should be avoided:

“Why” questions. They tend to make people defensive.

Quick reassurance. Saying things like, “Don’t worry about that.”

Advising. For example, “I think the best thing for you is to move to assisted living.”

Digging. Digging for information and forcing someone to talk about something they would rather not talk about.

Patronizing. “You poor thing, I know just how you feel.”

Preaching. “You should. . .” Or, “You shouldn’t. . .”

Interrupting. Shows you aren’t interested in what someone is saying.

* Source: National Aging Information & Referral Support Center

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