About this document

Discuss is an online community space exclusively for LGBT+1 civil servants and allies. It’s a forum provided by the Civil Service LGBT+ Network.

This document explains the Community Guidelines that apply to use of the forum.

General behaviours

We want Discuss to be a welcoming, inclusive environment for everyone.

We consider the forum to be an extension of your workplace. We expect that everyone using the forum holds themselves to the same standards of conduct and behaviour as they would in their ordinary place of work.

If your conduct is not suitable for your workplace, we also consider it to be unsuitable on our forum.

Civil Service Code

All civil servants – regardless of their role or grade – are bound by the Civil Service Code. We expect everyone using Discuss to uphold the core Civil Service values of ‘integrity’, ‘honesty’, ‘objectivity’ and ‘impartiality’.

In particular, we expect that users of the forum will always act in a way that:

  • is professional
  • is fair, just and equitable
  • reflects the Civil Service commitment to equality and diversity
  • maintains political impartiality, no matter what their own political beliefs are

Our rules

1. Improve the discussion

Help us to make this a great place for discussion. You should:

  • always add something positive or constructive to the conversation
  • look for existing conversation threads (“topics”) to reply to before starting your own
  • always be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said

2. Be agreeable, even when you disagree

You may wish to respond by disagreeing. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people.

You should avoid:

  • name-calling
  • personal attacks
  • responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • knee-jerk contradiction

You should:

  • provide thoughtful insights that improve the conversation

3. Leave things better than you found them

Every topic and post on Discuss sets the tone for new joiners to the community. Help us to make the forum an interesting place to be, and to avoid those that do not.

The forum provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: bookmarks, likes, flags, replies, edits, watching, muting and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too.

4. If You See a Problem, Flag It

It’s everyone’s job to keep this forum a safe and inclusive community that everyone feels a part of.

If you see someone acting poorly, you should:

  • not reply to the post
  • use the ‘flag’ feature

If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

We reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time.

We do not pre-screen new posts; we take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

5. Always be civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness. You should always:

  • be civil – don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech
  • respect each other – don’t harass anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information
  • respect the forum – don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. If you’re unsure, ask yourself how you would feel if your post was featured on the front page of a major news site.

Whilst only civil servants are permitted to register for this site, this is a public forum. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want others to see.

6. Keep It Tidy

Make the effort to put things in the right place, so that we can spend more time discussing and less cleaning up. You should not:

  • start a topic in the wrong category; please read the category definitions
  • cross-post the same thing in multiple topics
  • post no-content replies
  • divert a topic by changing it midstream
  • sign your posts – every post has your profile information attached to it

You should:

  • use the “Like” button rather than posting “+1” or “Agreed”
  • use the “Reply as a Linked Topic” feature rather than taking an existing topic in a radically different direction

7. Only post your own stuff

You should not:

  • post anything that belongs to someone else without permission
  • post any documents or information that has not been already put into the public domain
  • disclose information that you do not have the right to disclose

Moderators and administrators

This site is operated by a volunteer team and you, the community.

If you have any further questions about how things should work here, open a new topic in the site feedback category and let’s discuss!

If there’s a critical or urgent issue that can’t be handled by a meta topic or flag, contact us via the staff page.


These community guidelines were last updated on 29 August 2021. The Civil Service LGBT+ Network may change these Community Guidelines at any time.

The Civil Service LGBT+ Network will post all updates to the forum.

  1. When we use the term “LGBT+”, we mean anyone who has a minority sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or variation in sex characteristics.