Voice is a place where content creators can share their work with the world at large and engage in civil discussions with registered users. The fact that Voice users have verified real identities dramatically decreases the prevalence of fake accounts, fake news and illegitimate content through the ability to attribute everything to a specific person.
Voice has a deep and abiding respect for freedom of expression and the transformative power of robust and vigorous debate in the marketplace of ideas.
That said, our commitment to bolstering freedom of expression doesn’t mean that anything goes. There are still restrictions as to what you can say and do on the platform. Some of them come from our legal obligations not to host certain categories of content. Others are designed to uphold our common values of openness and respect in the earnest pursuit of truth.
We will empower the community to protect our common values through features and mechanisms to be elaborated on elsewhere. Voice, the platform, owns the responsibility of enforcing policies and laws governing certain forms of speech. These Ground Rules prioritize limiting only those forms of speech that are legally objectionable or that present a clear and present danger to the Voice community. Any restriction on speech must be justified by a thoughtful determination that the speech has the potential to cause measurable harm. These Ground Rules provide a baseline of the types of speech we believe would be likely to cause tangible harm to Voice or its users if left unregulated. They are intentionally minimalistic, and our aim is to apply them transparently and consistently.
The following Ground Rules apply equally to text posts, images, comments, avatars, profile names, and other contributions to the Voice platform. All users must abide by these Ground Rules and there are consequences for not doing so. Repeat or egregious offenders might ultimately be banned from using Voice altogether.
We generally evaluate text and images under the same standard, but due to the potential for harm from unwanted exposure there are some additional considerations for images and videos.
What You Can’t Say (Unacceptable Content)
Voice is a home for original thought and creative expression, not a file locker for your rips and bootlegs.
We respect the intellectual property rights of others and we expect you to do the same, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
Don’t include any legally protected material in a post without a legal justification for doing so (such as a formal license, fair use justification, etc.).
As a general rule, all content should be completely original. Limited quoting for purposes of commentary or criticism is acceptable, but we want to hear what you have to say.
Under our Copyright Policy, we will remove posts in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) when properly notified that the post infringes a third party’s copyright. We also take steps to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers.
No Hate, Abuse, or Discrimination
Voice is a home for civil and respectful discourse, not a place to spread hate.
Don’t promote or incite hatred against any person or group of people.
Don’t promote or incite violence or real-world physical harm against any person or group of people.
Don’t refer to any person or group of people using slurs, offensive stereotypes, or derogatory or insulting terms based on characteristics such as their race, ethnicity, faith, country of origin, disability, health status, age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Don’t use veiled or coded language to try to skirt this rule.
Don’t upload hateful symbols or racist images.
Exception! Context matters. Discussing difficult topics may sometimes mean including or referring to potentially troubling language or imagery. We will take the overall context of the post into account. If the intent of the post appears to be a genuine, thoughtful discussion or critical commentary and not to spread hate, it may be allowed.
No Harassment, Threats, or Intimidation
Voice is a welcoming and courteous community, not a place for targeted attacks and bullying.
Don’t engage in directed harassment of other Voice users, including making ad hominem personal attack posts about them or repeated insulting or demeaning comments in response to their posts.
Don’t post anything that threatens or intimidates someone. Voice is about empowering speech, not silencing it.
Don’t encourage others to shame, harass, insult or otherwise attack someone.
No Invasions of Privacy or Defamation
Voice is a home for considerate conversation, not a place to doxx or smear your enemies
Don’t post anything that reveals sensitive or private information about anyone else. Private information includes (but is not limited to):
- Phone number
- Physical Address
- Email Address
- Social Security, Passport, or Driver’s License numbers
- Confidential financial information such as bank account or credit card details
- Platform credentials such as passwords and logins
Don’t upload any images or videos that include the likeness of others without their consent.
Don’t make false or misleading statements about anyone. Don’t defame anyone.
Exception! Political officials and public figures have a different expectation of privacy and reputation than “civilians.” In general, their name and official or work-related contact details may be public information and their consent is usually not required for their likeness to appear in an image. Likewise, they are more open to public criticism. Posts analyzed under this rule will take into account the newsworthiness of the information and the degree to which it touches on a matter of public concern
No Pornography or Overtly Sexual Content
Voice is a home for edifying and thoughtful compositions, not a place for sexytime fun.
Don’t upload any images or videos that are pornographic or sexually explicit. This includes any displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.
Don’t upload images or videos featuring nudity.
Exception! With a clear journalistic, documentary, or critical context some non-sexual nudity is permitted. For example, a post discussing the history and cultural significance of Michaelangelo’s David could include an image of the statue.
No Exploitation of Minors
Voice is a responsible community, not a haven for child abusers.
Don’t post any material that exploits or harms a minor, including child pornography, depictions of child sexual abuse, or sexually suggestive images of a minor.
Don’t post any images or videos featuring nude minors.
Don’t link to any third-party websites containing any of the above or instructions on how to find them.
Don’t solicit minors or direct your content at minors.
No Violence or Gore
Voice is a home for well-crafted commentary, not a repository of shocking or disgusting content.
Don’t post any realistic portrayals of people or animals being killed, maimed, tortured, or abused.
Don’t post anything that realistically depicts, glorifies, or promotes acts that may result in death or serious physical injury.
Don’t post anything realistically depicting or promoting suicide, self-harm, or self-mutilation.
Don’t post extreme or shocking images or videos of gore, including (but not limited to) dead or injured bodies, medical procedures, wounds, and cannibalism.
Exception! Commentary on global events may sometimes necessarily contain some graphic or violent elements. Newsworthiness and journalistic or critical intent may justify the depiction of violence or the aftermath of violence.
Voice is a home for genuine interactions, not a place for frauds and charlatans.
Don’t pretend to be anyone else.
Don’t try to sell anything fake.
Don’t make misleading statements about your relationship or affiliation with any person or organization.
No Illegal Activity
Voice is a place to speak your mind, not a place to break the law.
Don’t post anything that violates any law.
Don’t post anything that facilitates, incites or encourages the violation of any law.
Don’t post anything that advertises or promotes illegal or legally restricted goods or services, including (but not limited to):
- Drugs and controlled substances, including cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco
- Sexual services
- Weapons, including firearms, ammunition, and explosives, and instructions on making any of the above
- Fraudulent financial ventures or activities of any kind
Wherever you’re located, be mindful of the laws that apply to you.
Voice is a home for unique content of high quality, not a place to distribute spam.
Don’t create low-quality posts that are designed primarily to drive traffic to a different website.
Don’t create inauthentic, low-quality posts designed to manipulate search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms and increase the search rank of a product, service, or website.
Don’t create duplicate or repetitive posts.
Don’t repost content scraped from third-party sources.
Don’t post anything that contains malware, phishing attempts, unwanted pop-ups, or any other harmful content or links to any website that does.
Be thoughtful and respectful when contacting other users. Don’t use information you get about other users to spam them.
What You Can’t Do (Unacceptable Conduct)
Don’t Breach our Terms
You must make sure that nothing you do on or with the platform violates any law.
You are the only person who is allowed to use your Voice account and your Voice account is the only one you are allowed to use. Don’t access or attempt to access Voice with anyone else’s credentials or allow anyone else to use yours. You are accountable for all actions taken by your account.
Don’t Harm Voice
You aren’t allowed to use Voice in any way that degrades the quality of Voice for other users, including (but not limited to) targeted harassment of individuals, content scraping, denial of service attacks, automated queries, or any other action that negatively impacts site integrity.
You aren’t allowed to post malicious code or link to websites with malicious code. Malicious code includes (but is not limited to) viruses, worms, malware, trojan horses.
You aren’t allowed to scrape and copy Voice content.
Don’t Manipulate Voice
You aren’t allowed to circumvent any aspect of Voice, including security features and geographic locating functionality.
You aren’t allowed to engage in shenanigans with Voice Tokens or any other reward mechanism. Shenanigans includes (but is not limited to) artificially increasing the rankings of posts, altering or attempting to alter any blockchain transaction, or otherwise manipulating Voice or any of the infrastructure supporting Voice.
You aren’t allowed to obtain or attempt to obtain access to any Voice server, database, or other infrastructure component.
Consequences: What Happens When I Break the Ground Rules?
If you publish a post or do something else that breaks one or more of these Ground Rules, we will delete the offending post from the platform and you will be assessed a “strike” for the violation. Your first strike will result in a warning. Successive strikes will result in escalating penalties, from a temporary freeze (referred to as a “Mute”) on your ability to interact with the Voice community up to and including the termination of your Voice account.
Mute Mode means that your ability to engage in the Voice community will be severely limited. Essentially, your account is placed into a read-only state. You are not able to post, comment, Voice, like, follow or unfollow, and collect or earn. No previously collected tokens will be removed from your account, but you will be unable to collect new ones until the Mute has ended.
The penalty progression looks like this:
- Strike 1: Warning
- Strike 2: 24 Hour Mute
- Strike 3: 7 Day Mute
- Strike 4: 30 Day Mute
- Strike 5: 1 Year Mute
- Strike 6: Permanent termination of your Voice account
You will be notified of the moderation action via email. The notice you receive will include a reference to the specific rule you broke, a reminder of your current strike count, and an explanation of how you can appeal the decision.
Note that the Consequences apply to most violations of our Ground Rules, but there are certain categories of violation that fall under a Zero Tolerance policy and will result in immediate termination. We reserve this approach for the most egregious offenses, including:
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Direct threats of or calls for violence or real-world harm
- Maliciously sharing intimate or personally identifiable information (doxxing or revenge porn)
- Attempts to attack, gain access to, or otherwise harm the Voice platform or infrastructure
Also note that some legal frameworks may require Voice to take punitive action outside the general Consequences listed above. Notably, our Copyright Policy requires us to implement a repeat infringer protocol that relies on a seperate strike criteria for repeated copyright violations
Appeals: How Do I Challenge a Strike?
Our moderators strive to be thorough and consistent, but mistakes do happen. We are always willing to reconsider a moderation decision and you are more than welcome to appeal.
An appeal is a way for you to tell us that you feel that we interpreted the Ground Rules wrongly when we examined your post. Maybe there was some extra context we failed to consider. Maybe we simply clicked the wrong button. By submitting an appeal you can present us with new information, clarifications, or explain your reasoning for why you think we made the wrong call. We don’t promise to agree, but we will consider your appeal.
An appeal is not a way for you to tell us that you disagree with the existence of a rule, or that you are really very sorry/it will never happen again/you would really like to come out of Mute/etc.
If successful, the strike associated with your account is instantly removed and your account is removed from Mute.
If unsuccessful, there are no additional penalties but the associated strike remains in place and the account stays in Mute.
You can submit an appeal here, or via email to email@example.com. Please include a link to where the deleted post used to be and an explanation as to why you think we made the wrong decision deleting it. You can only appeal once in relation to any moderation decision.
If you find a post on Voice that violates one or more of these Ground Rules, please submit a report here.
You can also send an email directly to our Trust and Safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include a link to the post in question as well as an explanation as to why it breaks the Ground Rules.
Changes to These Ground Rules
We may, from time to time, adjust these Ground Rules. Both new and pre-existing content and behavior on Voice will always be tested against the current version. The version accessible at this URL will always be the current one.