VCOG's Slack channel guidelines

VCOG's FOIA Slack channel

Want to learn the ins and outs of Virginia FOIA? Looking to share victories, defeats or strategies? How about just reading an article about public records or meetings? Then come on and join the VCOG FOIA Slack channel!

The VCOG Slack channel is a free, collaborative discussion forum to discuss both Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act.

We do ask that members follow the community guidelines listed below and understand that while we encourage courtesy and respect the privacy of the forum, just as with any public mailing list, we cannot guarantee discussions had in the forum will stay in the forum. In other words, don't say anything on the public channels that you wouldn't want made public.


VCOG's FOIA Slack channel community guidelines

The goal of VCOG’s Slack channel is to help foster knowledge, understanding and use of Virginia’s FOIA and public records law among journalists, citizens, advocates and academics, even government folks and political figures. To this end, our goal is to offer a welcoming environment, focusing on constructive dialogue around records requesting and government transparency.

To keep this a focused forum, we will not tolerate arguments among group members or any type of hostility or insulting behavior. And we are serious about moderating the group. If you violate the guidelines, you may be immediately removed. In most cases you may be allowed to join again, but with the expectation that you will abide by these guidelines. Repeat offenders, however, could be banned from the group.

We may delete contributions or block contributors when they:

  • Make allegations against individuals or organizations that go beyond what is necessary to help fram a public records question/request
  • Use offensive language
  • Launch personal attacks
  • SHOUT (in all caps) or act hostilely
  • Screen-capture conversations or quote members outside the Slack channel without the members’ permission
  • Post content that's not relevant to the topic of public records, except in designated, “off topic” channels.
  • Engage in marketing or spam

Due to the potential size of Slack channels, deleting comments and removing members who violate these guidelines are important to ensuring the group stays constructive.

You are the other element crucial to the success of this group. Online conversations thrive when there is mutual respect and cooperation. And working as a team to help moderate yourself and others will help conversation remain constructive and respectful. If you would like to flag anything for review, please email direct message Megan Rhyne on Slack.


Just a few other things to remember

  • This forum is not completely private. While we ask members to follow basic courtesy and ask for permission before quoting members, do not state anything that you would be uncomfortable with have escape to the public.

  • This community includes a wide range of people, including journalists, scholars, lawyers, activists, and many other permutations of requester. We want to support the general community with the goal of a more transparent government.

  • Online conversations are different from face-to-face conversations. Tone of voice and facial expressions don’t translate. Sarcasm, jokes and emoticons, like the smiley face sticking its tongue out, don’t always translate.

  • Dominating the discussion can end it. Look for ways to consolidate several comments into one – you’ll often prompt more thoughtful responses.

  • All capital letters = yelling. Please use them sparingly.

VCOG also reserves the right to add or delete channels depending on their use and need.

Now that we have that out of the way . . . send me an email so I can send you the JOIN link!

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Special thanks to MuckRock and Michael Morisy for generously granting permission to heavily base the above community guidelines, which were in turn based on ProPublica’s guidelines, on their own.
Additional thanks to J. Albert Bowden, who initially suggested a Slack channel, for his input and technical guidance.