If you host a financial forum, it’s important to remember that user-generated content can be especially prone to complications. So it’s best to explicitly and intelligently spell out your terms upfront, in a mandatory “terms and conditions” agreement with each new forum member.
You’ll sleep more soundly knowing you have terms and boundaries in place, and your online community will be more cohesive if they all play by the same rules.
Read on for some concrete terms and guidelines you must have in place for your forum members, both to enhance their experience of your brand and website and to keep yourself free of possible liabilities.
Make it clear that any and all statements made by forum members do not represent your company’s stance or financial advice
Your forum’s terms and conditions must make this point explicitly clear. In fact, it must be one of the most prominent aspects of the entire document. Taking the time upfront to spell this out will save your bank or financial firm from spurious lawsuits, PR issues and other preventable headaches.
All it takes is a bit of forethought and a clause in your terms and guidelines that clearly divorces your institution from the opinions expressed by your forum members.
A “divorcement of views and opinions” clause is among the most important to include. If there’s a possibility of people bandying financial and investment advice around your forum (and there is…), you need to proactively protect yourself and your assets.
Prohibit Offensive Language (and Possibly Emojis)
Explicitly prohibiting offensive language on your forum is highly recommended, especially in a business-oriented sector like banking. There’s simply no need for offensive language in this context and prohibiting its use in no way inhibits the expression of ideas and views. Doing so also gives moderators an instant explanation when they delete a post with offensive language. (And preemptively covers them in the event of an argument with said offender.)
Another point to consider is the prohibition of emojis. While not overtly carrying the same degree of offensiveness as crass language, emojis can certainly interfere with the overall tone of your site. This is especially true in the realm of banking or finance.
Beyond that, emojis are far more vague and interpretive than written text. Prohibiting their use could offer protection from the myriad of complications stemming from this.
Insert a Relevance Clause
One of the biggest “forum killers” your mods are likely to encounter is irrelevant posts and threads. They are a distraction to forum members, a waste of time for serious participants and make your site appear unprofessional.
Inserting a clause mandating the relevance of all posted material also makes your life (or the lives of your mods) less complicated. Occasional arguments over the relevance of a particular post are sure to ensue after a forced deletion. If the moderator has a clear relevance clause they can refer to, however, the argument ends on the spot.
Just make sure that your clause explicitly lays out what “relevant” means for your unique forum. Finance is a massive and widely overlapping sector so your relevance clause should carefully consider your forum’s aims, members and your exact industry.
Remember to think empathically when drafting this section of your terms and guidelines. Ask yourself: What do your members find most relevant? What are their day-to-day concerns relative to your industry, and what sorts of discussions will best hold their interest?
Hosting a forum on your banking or finance site has massive benefits, some of which we’ve covered in previous posts. Forums are incubators for innovation, they provide free content marketing through UGC and much more.
It’s vital that you give careful thought to your forum’s terms and guidelines especially in fast-moving industries like banking and finance . You must make proactive use of this document and use it to ensure the right environment for your readers, to eliminate liability risks, and to deliver an outstanding overall experience.For more issues you might run into and measures you should take, check out this blog post.