Forum Rules


Red Heron Forum Rules

As with all online communities, Red Heron has implemented a number of rules its members must follow for the protection of the group as a whole. As Red Heron is a movement focused on developing effective treatment for trauma survivors, however, we have a number of rules and acknowledgements you won't find elsewhere. There are still more rules in place for licensed mental health professionals who participate in the movement.

You are responsible for following these rules whether you have read them or not. We strongly encourage you to make sure you have read and agree with all the rules of conduct outlined below.

General Disclosures

1. Even if the person you're interacting with on the Red Heron website is a licensed mental health professional, there is no professional relationship established, ever.

Diagnosing or treating mental health conditions outside of a professional therapeutic relationship is not possible. Even if a member of our community is educated and licensed in the mental health field, they cannot and will not diagnose or treat you via the Red Heron website. As with all suggestions made to you online, you should consider suggestions made to you here with your personal mental health practitioner.

2. Because there is no professional relationship established, there is also no expectation of confidentiality.

Red Heron staff will never disclose private information about our members to anyone outside the conditions outlined in our privacy policy. However, you should keep in mind that the Red Heron forums are publicly viewable and other forum members are not legally obligated to keep your posts confidential. For these reasons, we strongly suggest taking steps to mask your identity as relates to your Red Heron account.

3. The Red Heron website is hosted on servers physically located in the United States.

As content on our servers is stored within the United States, US law prevails in consideration of any legalities. By your use of the site, you consent to the jurisdiction of the United States - more specifically, Ada County in the State of Idaho.

Universal Rules

1. You must choose an appropriate username. In most cases, we recommend against disclosing your real name on the site, however doing so is not a violation of this rule. Inappropriate usernames include the following:

  • Any sexual references, however vague.
  • Any direct reference to traumatic events.
  • Any political references, however vague.
  • Any implication that you hold a position of authority in the Red Heron organization, however vague.
  • Any personal contact information such as an email address or phone number.
  • Random, unintelligible strings of letters, numbers, or symbols.
Please use your best judgment in deciding on a username. Inappropriate usernames are subject to be changed without advance notice. Members who create extremely inappropriate usernames will be immediately banned from future participation in the forums.

2. You must be supportive of all other members.

This does not mean giving people what you feel they need as opposed to what they're asking for. The "tough love" approach is forbidden here. Many Red Heron members are here, looking for a new approach, because traditional therapeutic methods have failed them. Telling someone to toughen up, implying they haven't tried hard enough, or implying in any other way that they have failed in their own recovery is absolutely forbidden. We're here to offer helpful alternatives and encouragement on the road to recovery.

3. You must be honest with what you share with the community.

While you are by no means expected to share every detail of your life, what you do choose to discuss must be true.

4. The following behavior is strictly forbidden in all areas of the site:

  • Flame wars.
  • Trolling
  • Deliberately provoking arguments.
  • Intentionally insulting others.
  • Name-calling.
  • Speech that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or in any other way discriminatory.
It is possible to disagree respectfully, and members are expected to share their opinions without being hurtful to those who view things a different way. Mutual respect is the watchword of the Red Heron community.

5. All content posted or shared through Red Heron services must be appropriate for minors.

We welcome members aged 13 to 18. As such, adult or pornographic content, nudity, underwear images, depictions of violence or gore, and other content not suitable for minors may not be posted anywhere to this service. Using the Red Heron site to transmit such content will result in an immediate and permanent ban from participating in the community.

6. Be mindful of your language.

Because we believe that self-expression is key to recovery, we have chosen not to implement the profanity filter in our forums. If you are inclined to use profanity, please do so as moderately as you are able. Red Heron staff may, at their discretion, edit excessive profanity out of material posted to our servers. If this happens, the member whose post was edited will be advised to tone it down in the future.

7. You may not advertise goods or services, ask for money, or otherwise solicit our members in any way.

Red Heron does not accept paid advertising. Members who post advertisements, solicitations, or spam will be subject to an immediate ban from the site.

8. You may not argue with staff or ignore their requests.

If a moderator takes action in the moment that you disagree with, you are free to contact a forum administrator to discuss the situation. Similarly, if a moderator intervenes in a discussion that has gotten out of hand and instructs those participating to drop the subject, it is expected that no further comments will be made on that topic. Arguing or refusing to comply at the time the decision is made is grounds for disciplinary action to be taken.

Speaking abusively to any Red Heron volunteer under any circumstances is grounds for an immediate ban from participating in the forums.

9. You may not encourage others to engage in illegal activity.

We all have pasts. If you choose to share that you've broken the law before, you won't be judged here for having done so. Encouraging others to commit even a minor offense, however, is strictly forbidden.

10. You may not share the dose of any medication you are taking.

What works for one person could be disastrous or even fatal for another. While it's fine to talk about what works for you and what doesn't, please leave dosing to the medical professionals.

11. You may not recommend dangerous or harmful treatments or actions.

Suggesting that anyone take steps in the name of "healing" that will be harmful in the short or long term is absolutely forbidden.

12. The content of private messages must remain private.

You may not share the content of your private discussions with anyone without the express permission of the person to whom you are speaking privately. If someone messages you inappropriately, however, you are encouraged to share those messages with a member of staff. Please note that top-level forum staff has the ability to view private messages, however we will not do so without a pressing reason such as a report of inappropriate conduct.

13. You may not publicly discuss disciplinary action taken against you.

As has been previously stated, if you disagree with a staff decision, you are welcome to contact an administrator to request a review.

14. You may not publicly post personally identifying information. Members over the age of 18 are welcome, but discouraged, to use their full names on the site. Members under 18 may not share their last names at any time. Other personally identifying information such as email addresses, instant messenger handles, phone numbers, or addresses may not be posted anywhere that is publicly viewable.

For your safety, we strongly discourage you from sharing your contact information with anyone you meet on the internet.

15. You may not solicit contact or identifying information from minors.

Anyone who asks a minor to share information they are not allowed to share on this site will be immediately and permanently banned.

16. Members must respect the rights of individual copyright holders at all times.

Images from other sites (with the exception of public sites whose intention is for images to be shared), links to illegally distributed content, or encouragement of or guadiance on how to infringe on others' copyrights is not allowed.

17. Moderators have discretion over all situations.

It is likely that, from time to time, a situation will arise that isn't explicitly covered in these rules. Red Heron volunteers are empowered to make decisions in the moment when faced with such situations. It is expected that their decisions will be respected.

Additional Rules for Mental Health Professionals

1. You may not use the Red Heron site to solicit new business.

No matter how sure you are of your ability to help another member, you may not use this service to suggest that another member establish a professional relationship with you.

2. You must not violate the ethics of your profession.

Though this goes without saying, you are expected to uphold the values and traditions of your chosen profession during all interactions on the Red Heron site.

3. As with other members, your role here is one of support.

As you are not professionally engaged to treat any of our members, you are limited to making helpful suggestions and offering encouragement, just as any other member would be. Please report any actively harmful suggestions to forum staff and, if you must contradict advice offered, do so respectfully.