Mencap’s online community guidelines: We also have... - Mencap


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Mencap’s online community guidelines

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We also have some Easy Read guidelines -

If you want to report content see

If you want to post about a survey or research project message Sarah_Mencap or email: before you post.

Mencap’s online community is a safe and supportive place to ask questions about learning disability, share experiences and offer support. You could be:

> a parent,

> a sibling,

> a friend,

> or a person with a learning disability.

The community is part of HealthUnlocked and is moderated by both Mencap’s community staff (administrators) and HealthUnlocked.

These guidelines are here to help you to know what you can post on the community, how we moderate posts, and how to get in touch if you have any trouble. You should also read the HealthUnlocked’s general site guidelines.

If you are worried about the safety and wellbeing of a member of the community, or someone they care for, please report it straight away using the report option. You can also get in touch with Samaritans at anytime by calling 116 123.

House rules

Each time you use Mencap’s online community you agree to these house rules:

1. Be supportive - whether you're a regular poster, or prefer to sit back and read - however you choose to get involved please be supportive of other users. Be aware that people might be going through challenging times and might feel sensitive and vulnerable. Please think how your posts could come across, especially if you're feeling frustrated or upset yourself.

2. Be kind - please don't post anything that could cause upset or that treats anyone unfairly because of their race, gender, beliefs or any other factor. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't say it online.

3. Keep it clean - Please don't use swear words in your posts, and avoid using shouty capital letters; some people can find them upsetting.

4. Stay calm - If you see a post that is offensive, or breaks these rules in any way, don't rise to it and don't reply. People who post abusive or offensive messages are looking for attention. Instead, use click the "Report" button under the drop down menu near posts, comments and private messages.

5. Keep it relevant – Mencap’s online community is for anyone with an interest in learning disabilities but it's not meant for professionals. If you'd like to share details of an event, fundraising, research or petition, please get in touch first by emailing

6. Don't play doctor - We know it can be tempting to offer advice when you want to help someone, but dishing out medical information can be dangerous, especially if you don't know someone's medical history. It's better to suggest that they talk to their GP.

7. Double check - remember that not all of the information and advice you find online is accurate. If someone gives you some advice, especially about healthcare, make sure you double check with a professional. Speak to your pharmacist or GP if you have a question, or call the NHS 111 service if you have an urgent medical concern.

8. Don’t name and shame people or organisations.

9. Only post your images - Feel free to post images but please make sure you don't post photos without the person's permission or of children under 18 without parental consent.

Remember other community members could be from anywhere in the world so their experiences might be very different to yours.

Inappropriate posts

Don’t post anything on the online community that :

> asks people to donate - even if it is only to your personal fundraising page. Instead, share it on social media.

> is harassing, defamatory, abusive, intimidating, discriminatory, pornographic, obscene or threatening

> is against the law - including the Data Protection Act

> contains personal information or details which would enable someone to identify a person without their permission

> is deemed that the user is pretending to be someone other than themselves

> infringes copyright

> is a medical endorsement or advice

> misrepresents or damages the reputation of Mencap or HealthUnlocked

> is a complaint that should be directed elsewhere and through different channels

> is a message posted for financial gain – this includes adverts and spam

> is off topic and not relevant to the discussion or subject matter

This list is not exhaustive. Also see HealthUnlocked’s article on What content should I report? -

Reporting inappropriate posts

If you spot any inappropriate posts, please don't reply. People who post abusive or offensive messages are often looking for attention.

Instead report the post using the "Report" button under the drop down menu near posts, comments and private messages. See how to report content

Reporting posts does not guarantee the post will be removed or that anything will happen immediately. All reports are reviewed by Mencap’s community administrators and by HealthUnlocked who will decide if any action needs to be taken.


Mencap’s community staff and HealthUnlocked staff moderate all content posted on this community to ensure the community remains a safe and welcoming place. We can remove, edit, move or close any post at any time, though we will send you a direct message to know why this has been done.

All moderation takes place after a post is live on the community.

To help promote Mencap’s online community to as many people as possible, we will sometimes use what's written on our community to help us market our work and promote what we do. We'll always do this anonymously, removing any names or identifiable details from what we use.

Mencap's online community team

Mencap’s online community is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but Mencap’s community administrators only moderate the community during the working week, Monday to Friday. Out of hours support is not available.

You can also call Mencap’s Learning Disability helpline on 0808 808 1111 or email

For urgent or out-of-hours help please contact Samaritans: 116 123.

In addition to the community administrators some of Mencap’s other staff are part of our online community, such as our policy experts and advisors. They will offer advice where appropriate.

Our community administrators will also post from time to time, usually to get some conversations started or to welcome new members to the community.

Mencap is not responsible for the content posted by members of the online community and any views expressed are purely the views of the members and as such don't constitute professional recommendations or advice or the opinions of Mencap or HealthUnlocked.

Community friends

A few members of this community are community friends. You can see a badge next to their names saying this. Being a community friend is all about welcoming members and encouraging new conversations.

These members were asked to become community friends as they were very active and posted many replies to other people’s posts already.

Please note, community friends aren’t administrators - - and they don’t moderate posts. They also aren’t on the community every day, but we ask that they check in a couple of times a week if they can.

Medical advice

Mencap’s online community team is not able to offer medical advice.

We know it can be tempting to offer advice when you want to help someone, but offering medical information or advice can be dangerous, especially if you don't know someone's medical history. Please don't offer medical advice on the online community; if someone needs help it's better to suggest that they talk to their GP.

Your data

When you join HealthUnlocked you agree to their terms and conditions and their privacy policy. You cannot post on any HealthUnlocked communities unless you register with them.

HealthUnlocked manages all the login details for Mencap’s online community. Mencap does not have access to your email address, but can send you a direct message via the online community. If you have any questions about your account please contact HealthUnlocked.

Email preferences

Initially you will be set up to receive regular update emails about new posts from the online communities you have joined. You can change the emails you get in the 'settings' area of your account.

Who can see your post?

When you write a post you will be given the option for 'Anyone' to see the post or 'Only community members'. If you choose 'Only community members' then it will not be visible to anyone outside that community. Google will still pick it up but only part of the post will be visible.

Bear in mind that many people who visit the online community are not members and will only read posts. They may benefit greatly from reading your posts so think carefully about restricting access to your post.

Links to surveys and research projects

We get a lot of requests to link to surveys and research projects. We usually only allow posts about surveys/projects that Mencap knows about or is part of.

If you want to post about a survey or research project message Sarah_Mencap or email: before you post. You will need to be given a researcher or survey badge to show that your post has been approved.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the content on Mencap’s Online Community contact Mencap and we’ll do all we can to help. Email us on

For more information about staying online, visit Stay Safe Online -

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