Part I: General Policies
Our purpose is to provide a platform for our strategic plan and programming, and to provide a place of engagement for and sense of community among members.
Our communications model uses our website as its core communications tool and the MyForum site for online communities and groups. We also engage our members via:
- Social Networking Sites (LinkedIn, Facebook)
- Micro-blogging sites (Twitter)
- Video and Photo Sharing Websites (YouTube)
- Online Encyclopedias and Wikis
We will maintain official sites in social media networks and other online platforms to engage our members in the promotion and enhancement of the association management profession.
We will work to ensure that the Association Forum's messages consistently are represented across all online platforms.
We collectively will embrace and promote shared opinion, experiences and knowledge across all online platforms.
We will regularly update our sites and their content to remain relevant to our members.
We will engage in and encourage among our members' enthusiasm for civil discourse, experimentation and testing to make the best possible use of available online tools.
We will encourage our members and staff to actively participate and will provide appropriate policies, guidelines, tools and training..
We will be responsible for our online content. We will maintain the highest standards of transparency, honesty and adherence to all laws including those related to privacy and copyrights.
Part II - Online User Guidelines
We trust that everyone participating in the Association Forum's online community will follow these simple, but important, guidelines. These guidelines cover all Association Forum members, staff, advertisers, sponsors and suppliers, with respect to all social media platforms, including but not limited to:
- Social Networking Sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare)
- Micro-blogging sites (Twitter)
- Blogs (Association Forum blogs as well as blogs that your contributions link us to)
- Video and Photo Sharing Websites (Flickr, YouTube)
- Online communities and groups
- Online Encyclopedias and Wikis
Contributing is the highly appreciated act of sharing and giving. Linking to others, reading what others contribute, commenting to share perspectives, asking questions and engaging in conversation are the highest and best uses of our online communications. Please do them all, as often as you can!
Experience is a great teacher and association is all about shared experiences. As you experience and grow as an association professional, share your own unique and individual perspective — it's our most valuable resource.
Make your contributions part of a collegial conversation:
- Be yourself; write in the first person and share your personality.
- Encourage comments and response to broaden the conversation. Remember that open-ended remarks and questions invite response.
- The most valued content will be thought-provoking, encourage innovation and experimentation, improve knowledge, hone skills, solve problems or help people understand context.
Links add value. Association Forum's online community is all about sharing and connecting. If you see something interesting, valuable or relevant to association professionals and their partners, write about it, comment on it or link us to it. The more often you expose your Association Forum colleagues to relevant material, the more valuable your online contributions will be.
Supplier partners, please share your expertise and knowledge without engaging in sales-oriented contributions, publishing or linking to your firm's marketing materials. Our online presences are intended to be sources of shared information, knowledge and opinion. Online sales and promotion content is reserved exclusively for Association Forum programs and services and those of Association Forum-approved advertisers and sponsors.
Choose the right platform to post your contributions. MyForum is a closed community of only members. Its group content and postings are a great place to candidly share. Our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds are great places for discussions you want to share with larger populations.
Manage carefully what you share. If it gives you pause, pause. When in doubt, leave it out.
Work-related frustrations are valuable experiences, the sharing of which can be highly enlightening and useful for your Association Forum colleagues. Just remember to phrase your comments carefully and avoid personal attacks.
Avoid speaking in absolutes, keeping a global view in mind. When you offer thoughts or respond to others' queries, remember that what is true for one association or one individual, doesn't necessarily apply to all. And what is true in one part of the country or the world may be different in another.
Take extra care when an online discussion is about anything that could be considered an emergency or crisis situation. Input within those conditions may need legal counsel review to avoid liability.
Avoid heat-of-the-moment postings. Wait until you can compose a well thought-out contribution. The Internet and its search engines have a long memory.
Your contributions can have an edge, just be sure they aren't offensive. Disagreement and civil argument is good; it enlightens and expands perspectives. Take the high road and avoid bickering. Demonstrate your respect for others’ points of view, even when they’re not offering the same in return.
If you find yourself working too hard to defend your position, take a step back and let others speak for you. If you are right, it is likely they will.
Be sensitive to posting content that may raise antitrust concerns such as membership restrictions, codes of ethics, product standardization or certification. The same rules against illegal agreements in restraint of trade that apply at members' meetings apply to Association Forum online sites.
Postings and contributions to Association Forum online venues will be monitored and inappropriate content will be removed.
Association Forum is a community of its members and by extension its members' employers. If your contribution mentions your association or supplier partner company, disclose your role within the organization.
If you contribute as a representative of your association or supplier partner company, be sure you have the authority to do so and remain within your organization's stated policies. Avoid sharing information that your employer considers proprietary or confidential. Remember that despite disclaimers, your web interaction can result in others forming opinions about your employer.
If you express an individual opinion, you may want to indicate that your contribution represents your own views and not necessarily those of your employer.
Honor the privacy rights of individuals and organizations about which you write.
Obtain the express permission of the owner before using logos, trademarks or copyrighted materials.
Your contributions may not include any promotion of products or services that would compete with Association Forum’s products and services.
You are legally liable for anything you write or present online. Avoid commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing or libelous.
Association Forum's website, MyForum and other Association Forum social media sites may not be used for or to encourage others in anything to do with illegal drugs, gambling, pornography, prostitution, child pornography, robbery, spreading computer viruses, cracking into private computer forums, software license infringement, trafficking in credit card codes, or other crimes.
Be Accurate and Truthful
Check your facts. If you represent your content as factual information, tell the whole truth. (When in doubt, leave it out.)
Give credit where credit is due. If you are quoting someone else, say so. Claim authorship only if it is truly yours. Make sure you have permission to use any copyrighted or confidential information and images in your contribution.
Nobody's perfect. If you goof, just say so and fix it. Make corrections as soon as you become aware of them.
Take care in posting links to avoid items that may contain or link to viruses.
Part III: Privacy and Security Statement
If we change any of the following policies, we will notify our users by email or an announcement on the Association Forum website.
Data We Collect
Association Forum collects only the data that will help us serve our members, and we store only what you knowingly provide to us.
We don't collect personal or personally identifying information from users browsing our website. We do collect basic information about how visitors use our site including pages visited, website traffic patterns and server-usage statistics. These data are used to improve content, site performance, and service for our visitors.
Registration enables the site to better determine members' interest areas, provide the most relevant information and control “members only” content. To access our “members only” features and content, we require that members register and provide some limited information, including name, organization name, business phone, e-mail and an access password.
We may ask for additional information from our members and customers to fulfill a specific voluntarily submitted transaction such as a membership application, event registration, publication order or subscription.
For some emails sent in HTML format, we will collect specific information regarding what the recipient does with that email. In those cases we monitor the user's email address, whether the user clicks through to links provided in the message, the date and time of the user's click through, the name of the link or source from which the message was sent, the tracking URL number and the destination page.
Protecting Data From Loss
Association Forum maintains back-up files as protection against natural disasters or equipment failures. Backup files protect users and the Association Forum as they lower the risk of losing valuable data, and are subject to the same security precautions as transaction data.
How We Use Collected Data
Association Forum and its direct subsidiaries use our collected data to improve our website content, to respond to visitors' interests, needs and preferences and to develop new products and services.
Disclosures to Third Parties
Association Forum makes your member contact information available to other Association Forum members via our online and printed member directories and software services.
The Association Forum will license to you the contents of the online directory only if you accept all the terms and conditions contained in this non-exclusive, nontransferable, limited license agreement. Please read this license agreement carefully before using or searching the directory. By visiting the online directory, you thereby accept and agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions:
This directory shall be used for individual, personal and confidential reference purposes only and may be used only pursuant to the terms of this license. This directory and the contents hereof are proprietary products of the Association Forum. The contents of this directory may not, in whole or in part, be reproduced, copied or disseminated, entered into a computer database, used as part of or in conjunction with a mailing list, or otherwise utilized, in any form or manner or by any means except for the user's individual, personal and confidential reference without the prior written consent of the Association Forum. The directory contains names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses and contact persons of Association Forum members as of the preparation of the directory as provided to the Association Forum by such members. Their presence in this directory represents only that these companies, organizations, institutions or individuals are members in good standing of the Association Forum. The Association Forum does not endorse these members and makes no representations, warranties or guarantees as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the products or services provided by these members. The Association Forum expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of the use or performance of the products and/or services provided by these members and with respect to any errors contained in the directory.
Occasionally the Association Forum makes limited member contact information and data available to approved third parties that offer products and services to our members.
Association Forum engages third-party vendors to help us manage our web presence and allow us to better serve our web visitors. Personal information shared with these third-party organizations is shared only as necessary for completing authorized Association Forum transactions.
You may opt out of information disclosure to third parties by using the opt-out check box that appears on transaction forms requesting you to provide information, or you may opt out by contacting the Association Forum at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (312) 924-7000.
Credit Card Account Information
Association Forum does not disclose credit card account information provided by its members and customers. For credit card transactions, we submit to the appropriate clearinghouse, using encrypted industry standard 128-bit encryption (SSL), only the information necessary to collect payment.
Links to Other Sites
Our websites contain links to websites of outside organizations. While these links may indicate special relationships between the Association Forum and these organizations, we are not responsible for privacy, security or content when you link from ours to their sites.