In the spirit of showing kindness and respect to those in our communities, and to ensure conversations on Neighbourly are civil and productive, Neighbourly members should avoid posting messages intending to 'name and shame'.
Naming and shaming is the act of posting about individuals online to cause shame or embarrassment, or harm a person's reputation. These types of posts or comments tend to arise when a person (or group of people) has done something ‘bad’ or illegal, and someone involved in the incident wants to make it public.
It is important for Neighbourly members to be aware that there are serious implications for online activity that could be classified as harmful to an individual, under the Harmful Digital Communications Act. Harmful digital communications include cyber bullying and harassment, such as publishing threatening or offensive material, spreading damaging rumours, or sharing sensitive personal information (eg embarrassing photos and videos).
We understand that when members post about an incident in their community they are often coming from a place of hurt, anger or frustration, and sharing the details with your neighbours can help you feel supported.
That said, if the focus of your post is on shaming those involved, rather than warning the community or seeking help or advice, your post may be removed.
We recommend Neighbourly members follow the below guidelines when posting about an incident. (NOTE - if a crime has taken place, it is best to avoid posting on Neighbourly and report the incident to the Police. They will be able to advise you as to whether you should post about the incident online.)
- Stick to the facts when detailing what has happened. Avoid making assumptions about any person you are describing.
- Make it clear to your neighbours why you are sharing this message. For example, you might ask your neighbours to come forward with further information or recommendations of organisations to approach for help, or your post might serve as a warning to your community.
- If one of your neighbours has posted about a situation and has chosen not to disclose names of individuals, please respect their decision and do not ask them to name and shame. If you wish to know more about the incident please send them a private message.
In the best interests of all Neighbourly members, we may remove your post if:
- It is focused on shaming a person/people involved in the incident
- It contains emotive language, swearing, capital letters or excessive punctuation (i.e. your post looks like you're shouting at somebody)
- It breaches the privacy of someone by sharing their name, address, contact details, workplace, licence plate number, or photographs of the person
- An individual mentioned in your post contacts us and requests the post's removal
- Your post is a personal grievance and does not involve the rest of the community
- The incident is before the courts or is a legal matter
- The information shared is sensitive or not appropriate for a community audience
- The overall discussion is causing disharmony, getting off track or is unproductive (not moving towards a positive outcome)
Remember that whatever you say online cannot be easily retracted, so members should consider their intentions before posting anything on Neighbourly. If you're sharing something to simply get it off your chest, Neighbourly may not be the best place to do so.
We recommend contacting a person directly wherever possible to resolve the issue privately, but depending on the situation you may like to consider approaching:
- A trusted neighbour or community member
- Your local Citizens Advice Bureau
- Your local Council
- A community worker or organisation
- Police / Community Constable (if you feel unsafe)
- Your Neighbourly Leads
Finally, if you ever have concerns about the way someone is using Neighbourly, please don't hesitate to report them to us.