Example Rules for SA Meetup Groups

These rules have been replicated with the kind permission of https://www.meetup.com/leadinglightsocial

The London Shyness Social Group is a peer run community group, dedicated to bringing people from all walks of life together. It’s particularly for those who consider themselves shy, introverted, or both. Rules and guidelines are essential to make sure that everyone feels welcome and safe. Any member who violates our rules is subject to warning or/and removal from the group. The Organiser reserves the right to add, change or remove the rules below at any time, at their own discretion.

The activities outlined below are STRICTLY prohibited:

1. Contacting an Organiser or Event Host outside of an event on their private mobile number without their permission. Some Hosts supply their personal mobile number to members in the description of their events or in an e-mail prior to an event. This number is provided for the sole purpose of answering queries in relation to the event. Please do not contact an Event Host on their number for matters unrelated to an upcoming event without their explicit consent.

2. Sharing the contact details of Organisers, Event Hosts, members or guests with others without permission. Before sharing any contact information with anyone else, you must have the clear consent of the individual whose details you wish to share. We expect all members to respect the privacy and confidentiality of others.

3. Showing up to our events unannounced. Please RSVP to any events you plan to attend. Turning up if you are on the “Waitlist” for an event without the consent of the Host is also not permitted.

4. Bringing unapproved guests to events. For health and safety reasons, only members of our group can attend our events. If there is someone you wish to bring with you, please encourage them to create a Meetup profile and sign up to the event themselves. This is easy, free and they are under no obligation to stay in the group if they decide it’s not for them.
If you need to bring someone with you but there is a valid reason as to why they cannot join the group (for example, you would like to bring your carer or support worker to an event), please contact the designated Event Host to discuss this.

5. Coming to events late without notice. Members who arrive late to events can in some situations be refused admission or may be asked to wait if the delay is disruptive. In the case of dinner reservations, the rest of the group may order food prior to your arrival if you will be late.
Unless the event is specified as being casual with no specific start or end time, please be sure to communicate with the Host if you know you will arrive late for an event, and provide an estimate on when you expect to arrive. Sometimes being late can be inevitable and Hosts can absolutely empathise with this, but notification is hugely appreciated. Thank you.

6. Abusive language towards Organisers, Event Hosts, members, guests and the general public.

7. Any distribution or use of illegal drugs. Please do not bring or use these at any of our events.

8. Bringing dangerous or unauthorised materials such as explosives, firearms, weapons or other similar items to Meetups.

9. Rudeness to Organisers, Event Hosts, members, guests and the general public.

10. Verbal, physical, sexual, discriminatory, visual etc. harassment of Organisers, Event Hosts, members, guests and the general public. This includes online harassment via Meetup messages, Zoom, WhatsApp, SMS etc.

11. Actual or threatened violence toward any individual or group. This includes any conduct endangering the life, safety, health or well-being of others.

12. Failure to follow rules or procedures.

13. Bullying or taking unfair advantage of any Organisers, Event Hosts, members, guests and the general public.

14. Failing to cooperate with Organisers.

15. Engaging in sexist, transphobic, ableist, racist, homophobic and other oppressive or discriminatory behaviour.

16. Spamming and/or promoting activities, groups or services, whether professional or non-professional, yours or someone else’s. If you would like to promote something that is relevant to the group, contact the Organiser. Do NOT spam the “Discussions” section, comments section of our Meetups or members’ inboxes.

17. Blocking Organisers. Those who do so will be immediately removed from the group. If you have an issue with any Organisers, open up a dialogue and we can try to resolve the issue.

18. Complaining about the time, location, date or frequency of Meetup events. Polite suggestions are fine. Unnecessary rudeness is unacceptable.

19. Public, undiplomatic complaints about Organisers, Event Hosts, members, guests and/or the general public. We expect you to handle your feelings and concerns with discretion and tact. If you have a complaint that needs to be resolved, please refer to our Complaints Procedure.
This includes criticising Hosts and telling them how they should facilitate their own events. Each Host has their own style and way of managing events, and it’s entirely their choice how they choose to facilitate their events. Suggestions are fine, but unsolicited advice/criticism is not.

20. Bringing personal disputes to the group. Do NOT attempt to involve other members. This includes negative and/or unverified gossip. Such behaviour is unhelpful and influences other members’ enjoyment of events in the group.

21. Drinking alcohol irresponsibly/excessively. Please remain within your limits. This is for your safety during and after events. Intoxication can also cause discomfort for members, and we want this group to feel safe and enjoyable.

22. Using a fake profile. It’s okay to not want to use your real full name or picture (as long as you do not impersonate anyone else). However, false accounts will be removed. Only real people are permitted to join this group, and Meetup.com itself.

23. Using this as a place to “pick-up.” This is not a singles’ group. Members who get along can of course decide to date, but please do not use this group to seduce others. Members found to be attending events or sending unsolicited messages to others with the goal of “chatting them up” will be immediately banned without warning. This is intended to be a safe, relaxed and respectful environment for everyone.

The following additional rules particularly apply to all conversations during our meetups, both online and in-person:

1. What is said in the group, stays in the group. These sessions are intended to be safe spaces. Privacy, anonymity and confidentiality need to be respected and upheld for this to be possible. Personal information shared may not be discussed with others, within or outside of the group.

2. Please remember that these are intended to be safe and non-judgemental spaces. Everyone is expected to be respectful towards those with different views and experiences. Please be mindful of using judgemental language. For example, instead of saying “That’s wrong”, consider saying “My experiences have been _______.”

3. Sensitive topics are expected to be handled delicately and respectfully. Graphic details of abuse, for example, can potentially trigger other members who have had similarly traumatic experiences.

4. Please do not ask for personal information about others or pry for further details of what is shared. Support groups and workshops are environments in which people can share as much or as little as they wish. No-one should feel obligated to disclose details that they wish to keep private.

5. Please be mindful of presenting your opinions as facts: One size does not fit all, and your way isn’t the only way.

6. Unless advice is requested, we ask that participants simply listen, empathise and show support rather than providing unsolicited advice. As above, please be mindful of being prescriptive: If you share what worked for you, be aware of the fact that it may not apply to everyone. Different things help different people. You can share what you found helpful, but please do not tell others what they should or shouldn’t do.

7. Please refrain from disrupting others or dominating the conversation. Speaking during our meetups is optional, but all who partake deserve the option to share if they wish. Hosts reserve the right to interject in order to move sessions along, if needed.

8. We welcome people of all backgrounds and views. We are not affiliated with any religious, spiritual or political beliefs and ask that participants refrain from promoting any of these.

Note on Private Messaging:

When initiating private correspondence, please bear in mind that many of our members are shy, socially anxious or have a mental health condition. As such, the recipient always reserves the right to decline requests to speak privately – they are under no obligation to reply or to engage in a dialogue with you. Please respect the boundaries of others: Don’t persist if the recipient is uncomfortable, chooses not to respond or asks you to stop. As per our above rules, harassment is strictly prohibited, so please use private messaging respectfully and safely. Breaching these guidelines on private messaging will result in immediate ban without warning.

Note about Our Hosts:

Most of the Organisers and Hosts of this group are peers. We contribute our time because we care. Many of us have lived experience of shyness, social anxiety, low self-esteem, mental health conditions, disabilities or a combination of these things, currently or historically. We all do our best, but we are only human and none of us are perfect. Please treat us with the same understanding you would want to receive.

Banning Procedure

All cases of substantial breach of our rules above will result in immediate ban without warning. Those who have been banned will be notified via Meetup. Organisers will not engage in further discussion or debate on the banning, and no information will be shared that could potentially lead to identification of any specific person involved in the case.

In some circumstances, Organisers might choose to issue a warning before banning a member on the next offence, however this is subject to the discretion of Organisers and strictly on a case by case basis.

If a crime is being/has been committed, the police will be informed.

If you have violated our rules and feel this has been unfairly handled, you can make a complaint to the Meetup team via this link: https://help.meetup.com/hc/en-us/sections/360000203752-Report-an-organizer-group-or-event and the Organisers team will liaise with the Meetup community team to follow up with your complaint.

Conclusion

We appreciate that the above rules are extensive. However, these were all written over time and considered thoughtfully, with the best interests of members in mind. A secure environment, a strong foundation and solid principles empower this group to thrive, so that it can continue to be a valuable addition to the Meetup community.

Thank you for your cooperation, membership and support.