Online discussion rules


Our online discussion rules apply to all online channels. These include, but are not limited to:

  • social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc)
  • online discussion forums (such as Loomio groups)
  • any other digital engagement platforms

We reserve the right to remove or not publish any contributions that don't comply with the following discussion rules.

Our rules

We want our online channels to be a space where everyone, regardless of personal circumstances or political persuasion, feels comfortable and is able to participate. We want to foster a friendly, open and lively environment that encourages you to share your views, and to listen to those of others. We always welcome debate, but it is important to remain respectful to other users and focus on arguments, not personal attacks.

To help us achieve these aims, we ask you to read our guidelines and keep them in mind when joining in.

When engaging with the parliament and other members of the public online, please:

  • only use language that will not offend other participants; 
  • submit contributions from your own account; 
  • avoid repeating the same contributions over and over; multiple contributions from the same individual, or a small number of individuals, may discourage others from participating; 
  • use an appropriate user name, if not using your full name (nothing vulgar, offensive etc.); 
  • keep your contributions relevant to the discussion topic; 
  • get your parent/guardian’s permission if you are under the age of 12 before participating. Users under 12 without this permission are not allowed to participate or provide us with personal information.   

Please do not:

  • use official corporate channels (e.g. Facebook) as vehicles for campaigning or lobbying on party political issues;  
  • submit defamatory contributions (untrue and capable of damaging the reputation of a person or organisation);
  • condone illegal activity or incite people to commit any crime, including incitement of racial hatred; 
  • submit contributions that could prejudice ongoing or forthcoming court proceedings (contempt of court) or break a court injunction; 
  • submit contributions containing someone else’s copyright material;
  • submit aggressive contributions directed at other people or groups of people;
  • submit contributions that are unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually orientated or racially offensive. This includes contributions that are offensive to others with regards to religion, gender, nationality or other personal characteristic; 
  • submit contributions that contain personal information that would identify others without their permission. For example, last names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other online contact details either relating to yourself or other individuals;
  •  swear;
  • impersonate other people or falsely claim to represent a person or organisation;
  • spam the forum or resubmit the same, or similar, contributions;
  • advertise or promote products or services.

Moderation and management of contributions

We actively moderate channels and forums that we are active on and that contain content which we may be held responsible for. We reserve the right to take action where we consider contributions to be in breach of our rules. As a minimum we will hide or remove such comments, but we may also block or ban users from contributing on our pages/channels if we consider this appropriate. This would be applied to contributions that are considered unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually orientated, aggressive or otherwise offensive. This includes contributions that are offensive to others with regards to race, religion, gender, nationality or other personal characteristics.

Whilst we appreciate that the use of language, and how this is perceived by others, can be subjective, we take a hard line on offensive content that includes hate speech. This is to safeguard a friendly and open environment, and promote a culture of mutual respect.

We also reserve the right to report people if necessary, either to channel providers for breach of their own standards and guidelines, or to law enforcement bodies if we consider a contribution to be unlawful or to endanger a person or group of people. 

Using your comments for committee evidence

If you submit a contribution to us in response to a call for evidence it is likely to be published and available to the public online along with your name and possibly archived for permanent preservation.

To find out more about how we will treat your comments for committee evidence, please read our treatment of written evidence policy.

Read our Treatment of Written Evidence Policy.

Processing your data

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is a data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018, and the General Data Protection Regulation. The SPCB processes personal data according to the requirements of the 2018 Act and the GDPR.

Full details about the privacy and protection of your data can be found in our Data Protection policy, our Privacy Notice and our specific privacy notice on our use of social media.




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