Voice is a platform where content creators can share their work with the world at large and where community members can engage in civil discussions with real people. Because Voice doesn’t allow bots or spam accounts on the platform, fake news and illegitimate content is dramatically decreased 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 debate in the marketplace of ideas.
That said, our commitment to bolstering freedom of expression doesn’t mean 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.
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.
Voice’s Trust and Safety team will take relevant actions to ensure compliance with applicable laws and the safety of Voice’s community. For example, Voice may be legally required, or may be compelled to act in the interest of user safety, to remove content that violates the Ground Rules.
However, 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, while we work earnestly to build the tools needed to empower our communities to self-moderate much of this content.
Voice will always have a responsibility to remove illegal content or any content posing legal risk to the platform. As we roll out tools and mechanisms for community self-moderation on the platform, it will be increasingly possible for the Voice community to judge and take action on content that does not pose a legal risk.
We will not play politics with content moderation. We choose to empower our communities instead.
The first version of our Ground Rules was developed by the founding Voice community, and the community will continue to shape our Ground Rules in the future. The Voice community will have an ongoing forum to participate in developing our Ground Rules—the format of these forums also being shaped by community input as Voice grows. This is a living and breathing set of guidelines that will continue to evolve and change over time as the Voice community expands to new audiences, and as Voice rolls out new features and opportunities to empower the community to uphold content standards.
We plan to regularly review and update Voice’s Ground Rules to ensure that they are reflective of our evolving community values, and consistently contributing to the Voice community’s safety and satisfaction.
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.
The following are guidelines for acceptable content and conduct on Voice developed in partnership between the Voice team and community.
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.
Voice is a place to respectfully 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.
Wherever you’re located, be mindful of the laws that apply to you.
Most of the following types of content and conduct are illegal in many countries, and are strictly not permitted on Voice.
We respect the intellectual property rights of others and we expect you to do the same, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents.
Please avoid including any legally protected material in a post without a legal justification for doing so (such as a formal license, fair use justification, etc.).
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.
Exploitation of Minors
- Don’t post any material that exploits or harms a minor, including depictions, images, videos, or descriptions of nude minors, sexually suggestive images of a minor, or child sexual abuse.
- 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.
Promotion of Illegal Activity
Avoid posting 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
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.
- Promoting or inciting violence, terrorism, or real-world physical harm against any person or group of people.
- Referring 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.
- Using veiled or coded language to try to skirt this rule.
- Posting hateful symbols, racist images, or other material promoting hate or terrorism
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.
Threats and Harassment
Voice is a welcoming and courteous community, not a place for targeted attacks and bullying.
Don’t post anything that threatens or intimidates someone. Voice is about empowering people, not silencing them.
Don’t engage in the harassment of other Voice users, including making ad hominem personal attack posts about them, repeated insulting or demeaning comments in response to their posts. Do not harass or stalk other Voice users online or offline using personal information they have provided on Voice.
Don’t encourage others to shame, harass, insult or otherwise attack someone.
Invasions of Privacy or Defamation
Voice is a home for considerate conversation, not a place to doxx or smear your enemies.
Please avoid posting 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 defame anyone, or make false or misleading statements about 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.
The following types of content or activities may not be illegal depending on where in the world you live, but they aren’t allowed on Voice. They’re not in line with our values of respect and transparency, and our interest in truthful, genuine content and interactions.
Pornography or Overtly Sexual Content
Voice is a home for edifying and thoughtful compositions, not a place for sexytime fun.
Avoid sharing any images or videos that are pornographic or sexually explicit.
- Any displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.
- In general, images or videos featuring nudity should not be shared on Voice.
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.
Violence or Gore
Voice is a home for well-crafted commentary, not a repository of shocking or disgusting content.
Avoid posting any realistic portrayals of people or animals being killed, maimed, tortured, or abused.
- anything that realistically depicts, glorifies, or promotes acts that may result in death or serious physical injury.
- anything realistically depicting or promoting suicide, self-harm, or self-mutilation.
- 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 real people and 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 intentionally share facts or information you know to be false.
- Don’t make misleading statements about your relationship or affiliation with any person or organization.
Voice is a home for unique content of high quality, not a place to distribute spam.
Please avoid posting the following spammy content on Voice:
- low-quality posts that are designed primarily to drive traffic to a different website.
- creating inauthentic, low-quality posts designed to manipulate search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms and increase the search rank of a product, service, or website.
- creating duplicate or repetitive posts.
- reposting content scraped from third-party sources.
- anything that contains malware, phishing attempts, unwanted pop-ups, or any other harmful content or links to any website that does.
In general, please be thoughtful and respectful when contacting other users. Don’t use information you learn about other users to spam them.
Breach of 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.
Harm to 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.
Manipulation of 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 given 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 will generally look 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, terrorism, 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 protected]. 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.
Violations of Voice’s Ground Rules can be reported using this form.
You can also send an email directly to our Trust and Safety team at [email protected].
Please include a link to the post in question as well as an explanation as to why it breaks the Ground Rules.
Date of Last Update: July 2nd, 2020