Posted by randfish

In just a few weeks, the SEOmoz blog will be celebrating its 4th birthday (the tools and some of the content has been around since 2003, but we think of October 2004 as the formal inception date). In that time, we’ve come a long way and attracted many of the best and brightest from the search community to participate and communicate through the Blog & YOUmoz. Up until now, though, we’ve never had any formal rules governing that participation.

To be honest, it’s something we wouldn’t do if we didn’t have to. We love the small, close-knit community feeling of the site and the freedom from formal policies and legalese. In fact, even with the introduction of the blog etiquette policy, we’re still striving towards guidelines that provide as much liberty as possible while still serving the best interests of everyone who participates and reads. The goal with these is really to provide some clarity and create the right sorts of expectations. Drama and controversy are, thankfully, rare, but if and when they do arise, we want everyone in the community to have insight into exactly how we’ll respond.

Most of the rules are self-explanatory and obvious, but I thought it would be interesting and valuable to run over them briefly in a blog post, just to make sure we’re all on the same page ๐Ÿ™‚

NOTE: The below are not the formal guidelines (those are in the actual document), they’re just my thoughts on each section.

  • Offensive content, etc.
    This one’s pretty darn obvious – don’t be a turd. If you are, we’ll remove your content and if you keep it up, we’ll ban your account – pretty simple.
  • Content ownership
    If you write something on the site, we can re-publish it elsewhere (the same policy all the other UGC sites have). Generally speaking, though, we’ll try to check with you before associating your name or profile with anything big and public, of course.
  • Off-Topic Comments
    We love them – they create a sense of community and foster the personal sharing environment we all love. That said, we know that a lot of our members get peeved when comments go way off into left field for multiple sets of replies, so we’re asking that you limit to three, and if you go over egregiously, we might edit these out. In the future, we’re looking into setting up an area for more off-topic types of banter.
  • Thumbs
    Don’t abuse them; ’nuff said.
  • Account Responsibility
    If it’s posted under your account, you’re responsible for it. Of course, if your account gets hijacked, we’ll be happy to help you recover it and remove any offending material.
  • Misrepresentation
    If you’re not Usain Bolt, please don’t create an account with his name pretending to be the world’s fastest man. We don’t appreciate that and neither do the Jamaican fans (BTW – check out this awesome graphical slideshow from the NYTimes on just how fast he was).
  • Promotional Content
    It’s OK to promote relevant, valuable stuff, but what defines "relevant" and "valuable" is at our discretion. Use good judgment and you’ll be fine.
  • YOUmoz Look-Back
    If you write something for YOUmoz and we publish and you change your mind, you’ve got 24 hours to request removal, after which it’s at our discretion as to whether to remove it. Obviously, we’re hoping this is in very rare use, but there’s certainly scenarios (such as when sensitive material is accidentally leaked), when it makes sense to have this as policy.

You’ll also find our unchanged Blog Disclaimer regarding the SEOmoz post content on the Etiquette page. If you’ve ever got any questions or concerns about any of these, feel free to leave a comment in this post and we’ll get back to you (or just email us).

SEOmoz is growing; it’s true. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still try our hardest to maintain that fun, small company vibe (and at only 16 people, we really are still quite small). Hopefully we’ll never get that teenage stereotype applied to us – "Hey man! You used to be cool… What happened?" – fingers crossed ๐Ÿ™‚

BTW – Coming next week we’ll have something on a related topic – our Guiding Principles (you can read more about these from Jim Collins, if you’re curious).

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