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Group Guidelines and Standards

Groups within the Academy Online Community are a place for conversation and collaborative exchange around particular commonalities and/or topics (e.g., uveitis, advocacy, pediatric ophthalmology, Mid-Year Forum, electronic health records).

While we expect all members to aim for the highest level of accuracy, content in the community is not vetted by Academy staff. Use your own knowledge, common sense and research when evaluating content shared in the online community. If you see or suspect a problem, flag the content for review with the "Report Abuse" link that appears with all user-generated content. E-mail community@aao.org if you have questions or need help.

Group Basics

  • Features: All groups can include forums, blogs, photo and video sharing and much more. It just depends on which features the group wants to use.
  • Public groups: Any Academy member can view all of the content of such groups, can join without approval and can post his or her own content.
  • Private groups: Only approved members can view or post any content within those groups and membership is granted by administrator approval. However, these groups do show up in the list of all groups, so anyone can see the name and description of the group. You can ask to join a group through the “Request to Join” function, found on that group’s page.
  • Administrator/moderator: Each group has a designated person responsible for maintaining order and civility in the group, and who handles recurring technical tasks, such as approving new members or removing erroneous content. The administrator’s name is listed on the main page of each group, with a link to their contact information.
  • Inactive groups: Note that the Academy may remove a group if it becomes inactive and no new posts are made within a three-month period.

Content Guidelines and Standards

All online community members should also review the full Community Guidelines. Each member is responsible for the content he or she posts to the online community.

In brief, members must:

  • Maintain legal compliance. Sharing case information, industry news or ongoing research – among other activities – may have legal repercussions. You are legally responsible for your own content’s HIPAA compliance, as well as compliance with copyright and intellectual property laws and any other applicable laws or regulations. Further legal guidelines are available, and all members are encouraged to read them. Your use of the online community indicates your acceptance of all community guidelines.
  • Be respectful and civil. Healthy, factual disagreements are an opportunity to collaboratively improve patient care and outcomes. Do not post aggressive, hateful or inappropriate material or any material that attacks or slanders anyone. Academy staff and group administrators have the ability to remove offensive or inappropriate content, but it is our hope that all members will maintain professionalism and civility while interacting with colleagues through the online community.

You should:

  • Check the accuracy of all materials that you post. Your name will be associated with all content you post in the online community. The accuracy of all information, photos, videos and links to outside sites not only reflects on you and your reputation, incorrect information may be harmful to your colleagues and their patients.
  • Check the accuracy of all materials that you intend to use or act on. While it is the Academy’s expectation that all community members will adhere to the highest ethical and factual standards, materials in the online community could be accidentally or intentionally incorrect. You should independently verify any information that you intend to use.

Features
Groups have several features that may be familiar to some users from other interactive Web sites. For detailed how-to instructions for each feature, click the name of the feature, below.

Comments: Most of the features and content of groups in the online community, as well as content in many parts of the wider Academy Web site, allow member comments. Like all materials posted in the online community, your name and a link to your community persona is associated with all comments you post.

Blogs: Each group includes a blog. A blog is an interactive communication tool that often provides running commentary or reportage on specific topics and events. Blogs are sometimes characterized as a kind of diary, but the style depends on the author(s). Blogs may include text, photos and links to outside Web sites. For public groups, any Academy member can read and post entries. For private groups, only group members can read, post and comment on blog entries.

Discussion Forums: Group discussions may be familiar to users of e-mail listservs, discussions lists and other forum Web sites. In a discussion, one group member posts a question, poll or statement, and other members can add their own responses to the discussion. Discussion posts may include photos and links to outside Web sites. The discussion area is a very flexible space in which to interact with colleagues, about anything from broad areas of interest to specific cases. Related discussions are kept together in conversational "threads." Multiple discussion topics can be active simultaneously. Discussion threads cannot be commented on. Participating in the discussion through posting a response takes the place of commenting for this feature.

Photo and Video Galleries: Each group has a photo gallery and a video gallery. Photos may also be included in blog posts and discussion threads. There are file size limitations on photos and videos, to ensure Web site stability and improve upload times for members. As with all content you place in the Academy Online Community, you are responsible for the legality and appropriateness of photos and videos that you post. Your actions must be HIPAA compliant, and not violate copyrights held by anyone else. Linking from your post or content to copyrighted content outside the Academy site is permissible.

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