General rules regarding the #ImStaying Group

1. Posts to uplift, encourage, and promote positivity and good

#ImStaying aims to be a platform for sharing stories and experiences that will uplift (make someone feel good) or encourage the reader to think and act more positively towards their fellow South African.  This applies our comments about a post as well.  In all of our interactions with each other, as members and South Africans, we should always strive to be respectful, even when we encounter viewpoints with which we may not necessarily agree.

Each member of #ImStaying comes from different backgrounds and we have all lived lives that have shaped the way we think, feel, experience, and express ourselves.  With this amazing resource we are able to both teach and learn something new, to look at things in a different way, and to have the opportunity to better understand the people around us.  We should encourage each other to grow together and be objective in all interactions.  In doing so we want people to feel inspired to think more positively, speak more positively, and act in a positive way that reaches out to those around them.

UTHINK is an important *post approval tool* that we use, along with our rules: *Is it Uplifting? True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?*

U – Is it uplifting?  Is it going to make whoever reads it feel good about themselves or what’s happening around them?

T – Is it true?  Is it genuine fact or is it just hearsay or complete fiction?

H – Is it helpful?  Is this going to be informative or beneficial to the person reading it?

I – Is it inspiring?  Will this change how someone sees themselves or the people around them and what they can achieve for the better?

N – Is it necessary?  Does it really need to be said?  Will someone identify with it in a meaningful and positive way?  Or should you maybe rather just not say it at all?

K – Is it kind?  Will this make someone reading it feel happy, at peace or good about themselves?

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to these questions, then your post or comment is definitely what we like to see on #ImStaying.

2. No politics

Any negative references to politics, political parties, unions, parastatals, or State-Owned Enterprises are not allowed.

This rule is specifically in place to ensure that regardless of what political affiliation a member of this group might have, there’s always a safe space for them to speak, listen, hear, and engage positively with other members of the group from a point of common ground.  I think we can all agree that very rarely do you come across something as divisive in conversation as politics.  Division has a tendency to breed fear, frustration, contempt, hatred, misunderstanding, and miscommunication.  None of these are acceptable within the #imstaying group.

The aim of this group is to allow all South Africans, regardless of any differentiating qualities, to engage and talk with each other in a neutral and supportive environment, sharing positive experiences which will hopefully allow us all to realise there is actually much more that brings us together as South Africans, than drives us apart.

Everyone has their own opinion about politics, parties, the state of various government departments and enterprises, and how things should and should not be done or run.  There are a lot of groups out there where people can shout about politics to their hearts content.  Unfortunately nothing ever gets resolved and all it results in is arguments and frustration.  By asking members to refrain from mentioning anything surrounding politics (as above) within their posts or comments, we are trying our best to create a neutral and supportive communicative environment that was mentioned earlier.  This ensures the message and spirit of a post is not lost, diluted, or damaged simply because politics, the government, Eskom, Telkom, etc . have been brought into it either via the post itself or the resulting comments.  This simply causes people to disengage from the message and spirit of the post and engage within a sub-conversation of the state of SA politics.

We want all of you to laugh, learn, cry, and be happy together.  To do this we need to please keep in mind the page rules.  They really are there for a reason.

3. Facebook community standards apply, in addition to no hate speech, bullying, foul language, graphic images, or derogatory terms

 

Refer to Facebook Community Standards.  Take note that defamatory terms will not be tolerated.  No labelling.  No foul language or inappropriate images allowed.  No posts containing the above will be approved, and any poster found to be transgressing this rule may potentially be blocked.

All our members know that as a group #ImStaying has certain rules that we require adherence to.  What you might not know is that Facebook also has rules called Community Standards (some of which are listed above) that it requires groups/pages to follow, or face being shut down if those rules are broken too many times.  We therefore have to be strict with requiring members to respect these Standards.  These rules are there to ensure we all respect each other in spite of our unique and different viewpoints.  No form of discrimination will be tolerated in any form, however.  The Community Standard that gets broken the most falls under Hate Speech where race is used by someone to either describe themselves or someone else in a post or comment.  We are no longer able to publish posts with these terms (black child, white man, Indian woman, Coloured man etc.) because Facebook’s algorithms identify it (amongst other terminology) as Hate Speech.  This often occurs without looking at the adjective and therefore it violates their Community Standards.  We know that this rule in particular will take some getting used to because this language is highly ingrained in South African terminology, however we must all do our bit to ensure that we are complying with the Community Standards as set out by Facebook.  Anything that is directed towards someone else in a hateful, insulting, or offensive way will not be tolerated on our platform.  We cannot interact with each other positively if any members are subjected to bullying or hurtful language.  Nothing is stopping all of us from being kind and respectful to each other.  Everyone has access to Facebook’s Community Standards via their own Facebook profiles.  Please familiarise yourself with them.

No foul language, graphic (inappropriate/offensive) images, or offensive/derogatory terms will be allowed in posts or comments on #ImStaying.  The use of these terms is unnecessary on this platform and therefore won’t be tolerated.  The use of these will result in the poster being muted, removed, or blocked entirely from #ImStaying.

The use of this kind of language or imagery is purposefully hurtful, unkind and/or offensive to another human being and that is not what #ImStaying is all about.  We will not be able to create the supportive and positive atmosphere online and offline if this sort of behaviour is allowed.  Take a minute before you type something and ask yourself if you are about to say something that would hurt someone you loved if it was directed at them.  If it is not something that you would feel happy saying on purpose, face-to-face to someone you loved, and mean it, then you shouldn’t be typing it to someone else.

We are a family and we stand for Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.

We do not offend or insult each other because of race, sexual orientation, culture, religion, etc.  Nor do we post photos showing anything of a violent, hateful, sexual, or otherwise offensive nature.  We are all about celebrating South Africa and our connection to our country and each other.  Let’s do it in a good way.

4. No personal information or unauthorised content

Being part of this group requires mutual trust.  No sharing of private  information.  No phone numbers, emails, and no photographs of children without parental/legal guardian consent.

#ImStaying has become a platform for over 1 million South Africans from all over the country and the world to interact with each other as never before.  It is a platform where we can learn and teach new things and share positive experiences and ideas.  All this is made possible through the power of technology.  With the amazing stories and posts we read, it enables us to experience togetherness in a whole new way.  It also presents possible dangers.  We have a duty to our members to ensure they are able to participate in a safe environment, both online and offline.  We therefore do not  allow sharing/posting of information that is personal to you or a third party which could be used to identify you in any way.  This includes ID, phone, and bank account numbers, home, work, and email addresses etc.  The sharing of this information on a public platform could be used by criminals to commit acts of fraud/other crimes, so please help us to help you by not sharing this information with anybody.

Additionally, in compliance with Child Protection guidelines we are unable to publish photos of minors (children under the age of 18) unless this has been specifically consented to by the parents or legal guardians of the children concerned.  This is for the safety of the children online and offline.

5. No reshares, advertising, or brand promotion

 

Please refrain from posting any advertising in this group.  No external links, pages, or groups are permitted.  No jobs, no dating. No polls.  No Banners for get-togethers.

On the #ImStaying platform we do not publish any advertising at all, or any photo or post that promotes a particular brand.  We are a member-focussed, not brand-focussed space.  We want our members to share their positive South African experiences with each other, not sift through adverts and brand placements for washing powder, cell-phone providers, or petrol stations etc.

For example, a photo of you under a company banner or shop sign, or wearing something covered in a brand’s logo, would not be accepted.

In addition, a common reason for a post being declined is external links eg. posts shared from another Facebook account or page will not be published. Doing so has the potential to create a click bait environment where posts are geared towards taking members on to specific pages where we cannot ensure their online safety where scammers or viruses could be waiting.  They also distract members from engaging fully with a post and, at the end of the day, that is why all members of the #ImStaying family are here – to engage with each other directly.  Our hope is that everyone has their own story of what makes them happy and proud to be a South African, and that makes them unique.

Please send us your original stories or experiences to post!  We love to hear your stories!

6. Religious views

South Africa is a multi-religious society, each one very personal and dear.  It is for this reason that we ask everyone to respect each others views and refrain from promoting one religion over another.

With our country being so diverse in all sorts of ways, it is no different when it comes to religious beliefs.  Faith and religion is a very personal and generally sensitive matter, so it is vital to respect each other as individuals.  Though the post might be of the most beautiful intent, certain key words might induce unwanted commenting due to the vast array of beliefs/opinions/experiences/circumstances among our members.  As the moderation team we are 100% neutral and unbiased, focusing only on the positivity and unity of #ImStaying.

Additionally, posts are declined without any direct mention of Religion.  For example, mention of prayer requests, quotes, or religious terminology etc. Religious posts also generate a certain thread of commenting which can be divisive and leaves no room for true interaction between members.

Religious freedom is as necessary as the air we breathe, so is freedom of speech, but due to sensitivities in society and respect among individuals, particularly on a platform such as #ImStaying, certain measures have to be in place to ensure its integrity and longevity.  Let us never forget that in our essence we are all human.  Let us accept all individuals and beliefs and celebrate our glorious South Africa

7. No unauthorised reference to gathering, NPOs, and donations

 

NGOs/NPOs/PBOs can refer their initiative to media@imstaying.co.za and individuals seeking donations can contact BackaBuddy.co.za to set up a crowdfunding initiative.  We want to keep our platform safe.

It has been incredible to see how helpful and supportive our members are when they see someone in need.  However, any requests for money, clothing, food, electricity etc., or to promote a particular organisation can’t be published in the group.  For example, if you run an NGO and you would like to post about it, that can be read as a request for help/donations just as much as a direct request for a new car/clothes can be.  As already covered in Rule 4, there are many ways that well-meaning people can be taken advantage of by those who could be misrepresenting their situation to prey on the innocent.  To prevent this there need to be proper checks and balances in place to ensure no-one falls victim to a scam, and that anyone asking for help genuinely needs it, so the support available can go to the right people.

As a platform, we completely recognise the great need for help and assistance of various kinds, however this must be provided responsibly and we are unfortunately not physically, or structurally, set up to operate in such a way.  This is why we have partnered with www.backabuddy.co.za, a platform that is specifically set up and structured to facilitate crowdfunding for those who seek support for themselves or a particular cause or initiative. Vetting is done to ensure needs are genuine and that any donations raised are used properly.  Anyone can set up their own page where they can tell their story and members of the public can support as they are able.  If you have an initiative you would like to let us know about please email media@imstaying.co.za.

In addition to this we cannot authorise requests for get-togethers in different areas that aren’t facilitated by us because we have no control over the safety and security of anyone who would attend in the name of #ImStaying. We always have our members safety and security in mind and as such can only confidently post about events that we have been involved in organising, because then we know every aspect of what will be happening and can ensure that the environment is safe and enjoyable for everyone wishing to participate. The first big #ImStaying get-together is happening in March 2020, please watch out for announcements on others in due course. Should you have an idea for an #ImStaying gathering or event please email media@imstaying.co.za

8. 

8. Duplicates, irrelevant posts, or posts with no context

Posts must be relevant to South Africa and must have context.  Videos/photographs require an introduction for the reader to understand your purpose.  Duplications will be removed, whether intentional or not.

We now have over 1 million members.  Please try to imagine how many duplicates of posts are submitted with that many members in our group.  It really is staggering!  Duplications are therefore a very common reason for a post being declined.  We don’t want our page, or yours, becoming clogged with repeated posts that say the same thing.  It will only lead to members becoming disengaged and bored, and we don’t want that.  Posts that are not related to South Africa and its people in any way will not be published because we are focussed on South Africa here at #ImStaying.

Please also remember to provide context to a photo or post you submit that might not necessarily make sense to someone else without it.  Something might make perfect sense to you, but that does not mean someone else would understand your intention.   We are all about South Africa here, so please make it relevant and original where possible.