Stitch is an inclusive community, one where everyone should always feel respected, safe and supported. To make sure that happens, every Stitch member has a role to play.
This page outlines the expectations that we hold for Stitch members. We take these guidelines very seriously and require that our members do too. Please make sure you understand them thoroughly.
The guidelines below apply to all behavior in the Stitch community, including: behavior at Stitch events and activities; the content on your Stitch profile; your comments on groups and activities; posts to our social media pages; your posts on community forums; and your messages to other members.
Breaches of the guidelines below will result in profiles and/or content being removed, and in extreme cases, can lead to a membership being cancelled.
These are not actions that we take lightly, but we reserve the right to make decisions which support creating and maintaining a community consistent with Stitch values.
Our Core Value: Respect
- Treat all other members with respect
In other words, follow the Golden Rule and always treat other members the same way as you’d like to be treated. The Stitch community is a supportive, inclusive environment, where all of our members deserve to feel welcome and safe. If any member exhibits behavior that does not comply with this rule, regardless of whether that behavior is explicitly prohibited in these guidelines or not, Stitch reserves the right to remove that person from the community.
Stitch does not tolerate the following:
- Offensive behaviour or hate speech
This includes anything that we find to include any form of racism, sexism, homophobia, any other form of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such.
- Sexual harassment
We do not tolerate content or behavior that can be interpreted as sexual harassment towards an individual or group of people. This includes derogatory statements, unwanted comments (positive or negative) of a sexual nature, or solicitation of other members. Note that conduct does not have to be sexual in nature to constitute harassment: it can also include demeaning a person because of that person’s gender or that person’s sexual activity. This rule also applies to in-person behavior at events and activities, or in one-on-one communication between members, and covers not just discussions about sex, but romance more broadly. If someone tells you they are not interested in romance, that choice must be respected. (If you know anyone who has trouble understanding the very simple concept of consent, please tell them to watch this video.)
- Demeaning behaviour
Any behaviour deemed to be demeaning, or includes profanity, abusive or discriminatory content.
- Copyright breaches
We will remove potentially libellous or defamatory postings or material posted in potential breach of copyright.
- Personal information
For safety reasons, Stitch does not allow the publication of personal contact details, including information like email addresses, individual names and phone numbers, to be posted on public areas of the website. If you are looking to contact another member, you can send them a secure, private, direct message using Stitch.
- Unapproved commercial activity
Any activity that is commercial or profit-making in nature, unless officially approved by Stitch. You can read more about the promotion of commercial activities in the community here.
- Spam & disruptive or repetitive posts
Any content that is excessively repetitive or disruptive to the community and any content deemed as spam. This includes cross-posting of the same or similar message across multiple Stitch Groups.
Guidelines for Events & Activities
Stitch members don’t generally need much guidance about how to behave in the real world (they’ve usually had plenty of practice!), and that includes behavior for both organizers and attendees at Stitch events and activities. As long as everyone sticks to the Golden Rule above, things tend to run pretty well.
Experience has taught us, however, that a community like Stitch – where members are always in the process of getting to know each other – is sometimes a little bit different from other communities our members may be familiar with, and a few issues seem to pop up over and again.
With that in mind, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when organizing or attending Stitch activities:
- Everyone is welcome at “Open” events
If you are the organizer of an “Open” (i.e. public) event, please remember that everyone is welcome. That includes Basic (non-paying) members, friends of members, and unverified members who have come along to get verified. Some members can take months or even years before they decide to start coming to events and activities, so we don’t place a time limit on when someone needs to get verified after registering for Stitch. We do, however, limit unverified members to three events before they need to be verified. So if an unverified member turns up at an Open event, please do your best to help them get verified.
- Every Stitch member has the right to choose who attends their events
While “Open” events must welcome everyone, Stitch also recognizes that every single Stitch member has the right to choose who they want at their events and activities. That’s why event organizers and group owners have the ability to block other members from attending their events if they so choose. All members also have the ability to block other members from communicating with them online. Members are not obliged to provide a reason for why they blocked someone. If you’ve been blocked, please respect that member’s right to do so. We know it can be upsetting if this happens, but please don’t take it personally, it usually just means the member in question has different goals for what they want from the community than you do.
- There are no “reserved” days of the month or week for events & activities
One of the techniques we recommend Stitch members use to get a community going in their area is to have a regular event on the same day once per month. We’ve had “Thirsty Thursdays”, “Mix & Mingles”, “New Member Get-Togethers”, “Monthly Brunch” and more, all falling on a pre-determined day of the month, such as the fourth Thursday, second Tuesday, and so on.If you are the organizer or a regular attendee at one of these events, please remember that it won’t always be the only event held that day. As the community grows in your area, you can expect (in fact, you should hope) there will be more and more activities posted by other members. Sooner or later, someone is going to post an event on the same day as your regular monthly event, and that’s actually a good thing.
Sometimes this happens because the other member wants to attend an activity whose time or date cannot be changed, sometimes they simply don’t realize that your regular event has been happening on that night for months. No matter what the reason, you must remember that this is not a problem and in fact is something Stitch encourages. Stitch is a broad community full of a wide variety of members, and as the community grows there needs to be space in the community for multiple events on every single night, to cater to all those interests.
Once your local community calendar becomes so full that there are multiple events on each night, instead of being concerned that there is competition for attendees at your activities, you should be jumping for joy about having such a wonderfully diverse community in your area!
- There are no “reserved” titles for events & activities
Along the same lines as the above point, there are no “reserved” titles for events & activities in the Stitch community. The very first “Mix & Mingle” happened in Stitch’s New Community almost four years ago, and since then we’ve been recommending that title as a great one for monthly events in communities around the world, along with other events like “Thirsty Thursday”, “Happy Hour”, “New Member Get-Together” and more. Just because you have been calling your events a particular name should not prevent anyone else from doing so, and in fact is something we actively encourage as the community grows into more and more areas.The only exceptions to this are events posted to a Stitch Group that you own or organize. As owner of a Group, you have complete say over what events get posted to the Group, what the membership in the Group is, and event to some extent what its expected behaviors are (provided they don’t conflict with the Stitch Community Guidelines). So if your Group is called “Timbuktu Stitchers”, for example, and you host a regular “Monthly Timbuktu Happy Hour”, then you are entitled to prevent another member from posting an event of the same name to your Stitch Group. They are within their rights, however, to post an event called “West Timbuktu Happy Hour” to the general Stitch community.
- Do not publish multiple instances of recurring events or activities
Recurring events play a crucial role in helping a community grow and flourish, especially a community that’s just getting started. We have seen time and time again that members who attend recurring events such as monthly ‘Mix and Mingles’ begin to feel connected to everyone else and learn how safe and welcoming the Stitch community is. That’s why they are such an important aspect of Stitch.
When creating a recurring activity, please do not publish multiple instances of the activity at one time, even if they are over multiple weeks or months. For example, if you want to host a monthly Mix and Mingle, do not post it for August, September, October, November, etc. at the same time. If you do, members of your local community will receive an email for every month you post it for, which will clutter their email inbox and lead to complaints. It will also mean you get fewer attendees overall.
The way to publish a recurring event on Stitch is like this:
1. Only create an event for the nearest upcoming instance for your recurring activity
2. Once the event has occurred, visit its activity page and in the section titled “Want to do this activity again?”, select the button titled DO THIS AGAIN.
3. Stitch will then lead you through some prompts to help you create the next upcoming instance of your recurring activity.
You can learn more about this process here.
Online Discussion Guidelines
While Stitch is very much focused on getting our members together in the real world, it’s important to recognize it’s the online Stitch platform that helps facilitate this process. And while many Stitch members are very accustomed to communicating online, not everyone is familiar with the sort of online etiquette that helps keep an online community functioning well.
To help our members get the best out of our online community here’s some helpful tips to keep in mind when communicating on the Stitch forums, or commenting on Stitch Groups or Activities. Always imagine when you are engaged in the online Stitch community that you are in a real conversation, in a real room, with real people. The guidelines below follow similar principles as if you were in any other real environment.
- Don’t take offence where none is intended
Online communication is missing all the non-verbal cues we use to interpret meaning when talking to someone in real life. As a result, it can be far too easy to misinterpret another comment as deliberately offensive, when that was not the author’s intent. Before taking offence at a comment, pause to think whether there could have been any other intention behind it. If so, let it go. And even if not, don’t air your grievances publicly — that’s how conflicts escalate. Send the member a private message, and sort out your grievances in private, like adults. You are far more likely to have a successful resolution if you approach someone privately than if you escalate a conflict in public.
- Don’t air dirty laundry
Stitch contains many channels for communication with other members: one-on-one conversations, events and activities, the online forums, and more. Human nature being as diverse as it is, you won’t always get along with every single other member of the community. That’s generally fine; we’re all mature enough to know that not everyone is destined to be our friend. What’s not fine, however, is raising past disputes and arguments with another member in a public discussion. If a member said something you didn’t like to your privately, or in a separate discussion topic, it is not OK to then raise that in a totally separate public discussion. If you’re upset with something that somebody else has done, you need to report their behavior when it happens, or else let it go; bringing it up in forums across the community only makes things less pleasant for everyone, including you.
- Be pleasant
Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess. Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this a comfortable place for discussion and it will be.
- Remain clear and concise
Things like sarcasm and humour have a tendency to get misunderstood when in written form. To avoid confusion, write clearly and expect that people may interpret your contribution differently to what was intended. One of the best ways to test your messages for clarity is to read them out loud before you send them.
- Read what’s been written first
Be mindful of the other users in the conversation and take a minute to read through the whole page and other comments to make sure that you’re not reposting a recent comment, which might have already been discussed. Just as you wouldn’t interrupt a conversation in real life without checking what the discussion is about, the same rule applies here. This also applies to posts or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments and will be removed.
- Don’t broadcast to the whole group when a direct reply will do
If you receive an invite to an event and can’t come, there is no need to broadcast to all attendees that you cannot attend. If you want to send the organizer a personal message, please send them a private direct message, rather than posting a comment on the event as this will sent a notification to all attendees.On a similar topic, if you want to reply to an individual comment in a conversation, click the “Reply” button on that comment. Your response will be sent to that person, rather than broadcasting a notification to the whole group.
- Be understanding
Stitch members come from all across the world with varied levels of English. We ask that posts are read for their meaning and not nit picked, it is always the overall meaning in the post that’s most important.
- Stay on topic
We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed – or moved to a new conversation. Community moderators do this to help the conversation stay on track. Before starting a new discussion, take a look to see if another member has already created one covering the same topic or subject to avoid repeating the same conversations in multiple forums.
- Do not broadcast your member invite code inside Stitch
Giving your member invite code to new members in order to convince them to join Stitch (and earn a discounted membership in the process) is something we actively encourage, and is the whole reason the invitation code was introduced in the first place. You must, however, refrain from broadcasting your invite code in the public areas of the community, such as on event comments, or the Stitch forums. The reason is simple: if everyone did so, it would make the community unworkable for everyone else; the public areas would be overwhelmed by posts with invitation codes. If you want to send someone your code to invite them to join the community, just send them a private message on Stitch or hand it to them in person at an Open event.On the other hand, you are actively encouraged to broadcast your invitation code as publicly as you can outside Stitch. Post it on fliers, on your blog, in your email signature, on your web site … whatever works for you! We all want as many members as we can to join the community, so please invite as many people as you can, however you see fit.
A final thought…
This is your community. It’s a place where you can share your knowledge, thoughts and ideas with members from across the world. To make it work, it needs members like you. Getting involved is part of the experience and, when done with respect, can be a great way to make friends, share stories and make your experience on Stitch richer.