Terms & Conditions - inspiration and best practices

  • 20 August 2018
  • 6 replies
  • 1247 views

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Disclaimer: We are not running a lawyers office, so this is also no legal advise in any shape or form. 🙂 We just want you to know what other communities are using for their own terms & conditions page. You should always consult your legal department to make sure that you are on the safe side!

While building a new community, you will also have to create a terms & conditions page. This might be a new challenge for you, as you never had to deal with these things before...

In this topic we have collected some tips which hopefully will help you to define and optimize your terms & conditions page, so that you're not just waterproof for the future, but also that users can easily understand what they are allowed to do and what not.

How to change the Terms & Conditions

  1. Go to Control → customization → phrases.
  2. Look up the phrase 'terms' (Module: Forum, key: Terms)
  3. Make your changes to the T&C (HTML & CSS styling is allowed)
  4. Press save changes
  5. View your Terms & Conditions by adding /site/terms to the end of your homepage url

 

General things things to include


Here you can find a list of items which we usually see included in the terms & conditions page of an inSided community:

1. General Guidelines / Code of conduct
You want your users to understand clearly which behaviour is allowed on the community, and which not. Things that surely need to be included are:

  • No abusive behaviour against other users (e.g. insults / threats / racism / harrasment)
  • No off-topic discussion / intentional derailing of discussions
  • No multiple registrations
  • No commercial advertisement
  • No sharing of illegal content
  • No Spam / solliciting
  • No public discussion of community staff action / communication

You will find these points written out in many of the examples shown in the list at the end of this topic.

2. Liability for shared information
Make sure that users understand that information taken from your community does not necessarily have to be correct, and that they have to use this information carefully. No damages resulting from information taken from your community can be held against your company.

3. Removing content / banning users
The community team has the right to remove content from the community, should it feel that this is necessary. Same goes for restricting access to the community (banning users). Include the email address of your community team here, so that users can email you if they are disagreeing with an action of the community team.

Tip: You can mention here that you usually will only do these things to protect the positive experience of other users on the community.

4. Links to third party websites:
This item has developed into a standard thing you have to do nowadays, to make clear that you are not responsible for any material on other websites to which you or other users on your community are linking to.

5. A Cookie Policy:
If you are using the default setup for cookies used by inSided, then you can use the default text which we place on your terms & conditions page. You can find a copy of this in the spoiler below:

What are cookies
A cookie is a small piece of information that is stored on your computer as a file. Cookies enable us to recognize your computer on a subsequent visit. Cookies do not store personal information. We need your permission to use cookies.

How we use cookies
Information we obtain from cookies are used to analyze our community. We use this data to adjust the community to your personal preferences. Finally, when sending information about our products and services, we can take your previous interest for certain pages into account.

Cookie setting
You choose which cookies you want to allow. If you have an account you can adjust your choice in your profile settings. If you do not have an account, you can change your cookie settings by deleting them via the internet options of your browser and visiting the community again. You will then be asked to choose your settings again. There are 3 settings: Basic, Normal and Complete.

  • Basic: Functional
  • Normal: Functional + analytics
  • Complete: Functional + analytics + social media + embedded videos

Refuse cookies
Don't you want to use cookies at all? Visit the help pages of your browser to turn off or reject cookies. Be aware, it is possible that not everything works or is displayed correctly when refusing cookies.


6. Availability of the community
A smaller number of communities decide to include this item to explain that they cannot guarantee availability, but it can also be used to forbid people attempts to break the community and it's functionality, or simply to inform that they cannot be held responsible for costs using the platform (e.g. from your internet provider).

 

Tone of voice


Of course you should be as clear as possible in your choice of words, but also try to speak the language of your users. A long, confusing terms & conditions page will not just confuse your users (causing them to break the rules unintentionally), it will also make it harder for you in explaining users which rule they have broken. Check some of the examples to see how to structure your terms & conditions more clearly.

 

Some examples


Below you can find a number of good examples for a terms & conditions page, hopefully you will find them inspiring!

Sonos Terms & Conditions
iD Mobile Terms & Conditions
OVO energy Terms & Conditions
Deezer Terms & Conditions

Do you have some questions, or are you missing something? Share it with us in the comments!


6 replies

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Hi team,

Where are these terms actually surfaced in the community? Are there any elements that link to this page?

Hi, I want to echo @Onomatopoeia’s question above.  We have the same question.  Where/how can we surface the Terms more persistently in the community so members can view them later or our community moderators can refer to them?

Also, when we make updates to the text of the Terms & Conditions, are all members auto-prompted to view them again and acknowledge/accept?  

cc @mstruening @dandre @Dorothyt 

Userlevel 4
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Hi @Onomatopoeia & @JKelley ,

These terms are displayed upon user registration. The link is present here and all users must agree via the checkbox in order to submit the form and create their account. You can also add a persistent link to your header or footer using Customize mode in the front end or Customization in the control environment - let me know if you need any help with this.

To your second question @JKelley, users are not currently auto prompted to view and accept terms again when the Terms & Conditions are updated. I will raise this with our Product team now.

 

This is great, thanks for the quick reply @olimarrio!  And yes, it would be great if in future there was a way to either auto-prompt members to acknowledge revised terms upon login, or perhaps a way to schedule that on an annual basis or something. 

Hi! If our members want to view the T&C upon registration, they are rerouted to the login page. This is because they are not logged in yet to view the T&C, because they don’t have an account yet. Is there a way to link to the T&C without having to be logged in?

 

Userlevel 1
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@annemijn.hintzen What you can do is link to a PDF of your terms, you can style it as you want so the experience is still good.

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