Defining Our Community of SupportHeidi Adams — By Heidi Adams on October 15, 2008 at 10:00 am
First of all, to clear up any confusion and calm the hysteria: We have NOT implemented a blanket ban on friends and family members of young adult cancer patients/survivors. As of now, My Planet is STILL OPEN TO ALL USERS OVER 18, including friends, family members and healthcare professionals.
We have, however, removed several individual members’ accounts—people who happen to be family members of cancer patients. Let me be very clear that our action was not arbitrary. It was prompted by specific, unacceptable and off-topic content that clearly ran counter to the mission of this community, which is to provide a safe haven for young adults with cancer in their 20s and 30s to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings.
While we appreciate that many besides the young adult patient may find My Planet helpful, our loyalty has always been and will always be, first and foremost, to maintaining the integrity of our community for the young adult with cancer. While contributions from friends and family members can certainly be helpful, a line is crossed when Planet Cancer becomes the place for the non-young-adult patient to air their anger, disappointment or grief, or in some way attempt to work out their own personal issues—cancer and non-cancer related—in our forums. There are other, more appropriate resources for this kind of assistance. As for My Planet, this dynamic is inappropriate and detrimental to the community and its purpose; which is, again, to allow young adults with cancer to support each other.
It is our ongoing and very difficult task to monitor and respond to our members’ concerns to make sure that lines are not crossed and content remains relevant and helpful to the community as a whole.
While the site currently remains open to all users, at the request of many of our members, we are examining that policy and it may change in the future. As we’ve said before, this is an evolving community and we adapt as we grow according to the needs of the population we were created to serve. What is fine in a community of 50 members may become unworkable in a community of several thousand.
For now, I would ask that everyone please take a moment to review the House Rules below. I have highlighted sections that are particularly relevant to this discussion. They have served us well since 2001, and I think that if we all use common sense and act in a spirit of support and mutual respect, we CAN keep this community operating in the spirit for which it was intended.
As always, thank you for your concern about our community, and for your understanding.
Welcome to Planet Cancer! We want your experience here to be enjoyable, meaningful, and safe. So that this forum remains a great place for all us young adults to share, please abide by the following rules, which are mostly a matter of common sense.
1. Respect everyone and be responsible.
We come from hundreds of different backgrounds with different experiences and feelings. People choose a variety of paths in life, and we hope that everyone can feel comfortable sharing aspects of their own paths. Respect your fellow forum-goers and what they have to say. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. You are responsible for the contents of your posts. Express yourself in whatever way you want, but if we deem your post exceptionally objectionable, we reserve the right to edit or delete it.
2. Respect the purpose of the forum.
Planet Cancer exists to provide a community of peer support for young adult cancer survivors over 18 years old. If you are not a survivor or immediately involved in the care of young adult survivors, please refrain from using the forum. While we value the perspective of friends and family members, we reserve the right to moderate the contribution of individuals who are not young adults with cancer, on the basis of whether their contributions are helpful and constructive for the community. Contact the site administrators at contactus @planetcancer.org if you are unsure about posting.
3. Do not give medical advice.
While everyone is welcome to share their personal experiences relating to their cancer, treatments, side effects, etc., do not offer medical advice on these forums. For example, feel free to share how well a treatment worked for you, but do NOT attempt to persuade someone else to follow the same treatment. Everyone responds differently and what worked (or didn’t) in one patient is not an indicator of how it will (or won’t) work for other patients. Asking someone to see their doctor is not medical advice.
4. Do not promote your product.
If you have a commercial product you think could be valuable to the community, contact the site administrators by email. Any posts suspected of promoting “miracle cures” will not be tolerated. There is a fine line with regards to complementary and alternative medicines, many of which are valuable for cancer patients, but we reserve the right to make those distinctions. Keep requests for donations to your personal page.
5. Do not flood the forums with similar posts.
One is usually enough, folks. If you want everyone to read it, post in one of the general forums instead of the sections for specific cancers.
6. Moderators’ decisions are final.
If you have concerns, please notify us in email rather than on the forums. While the moderators keep an eye on the forums, it is impossible to review the content of each message as it is posted, and inappropriate messages may not be immediately removed. We reserve the right to delete any message at any time for any reason or no reason at all.
Rules are subject to change at any time as needed. Views expressed in postings are those of the individual and are not necessarily those of Planet Cancer, its staff or volunteers. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of any message. These message boards are not meant as a substitute for the advice of a doctor, therapist, or other trained professional.
Defining Our Community of Support