BPN Advice Newsletter Policies
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The Advice newsletter is intended as a way for parents to
problem-solve with other parents about
kids, families, parenting, health, relationships, careers, etc.
- All postings to Advice
Wanted must be a question posed to parents on the list, seeking
a range of problem-solving advice. Questions where a specific "correct" answer
is sought, are not accepted in Advice, per this policy.
General discussion topics and open-ended "why?" questions are also
- All postings to Advice Given must answer the original question. We can't
accept responses that challenge the original question, or comment on
others' replies to the question, or make general observations about
the topic, or follow up on the original question with
clarifications or new questions.
The Advice newsletter is the place to post about a problem or question
where you'd like to get a range of suggestions and opinions from other parents
in the community.
Advice is not restricted to
parenting advice only. Many subscribers post questions about
relationships with family, friends, and neighbors, work problems and career
questions, and more.
The format of the Advice newsletter is Question-and-Answer. Open-ended
discussions and debate are beyond the scope of this newsletter. For details,
please see the Rules for Question and Answer Format.
Postings for Advice Wanted must contain:
- A problem that you want other parents to help you with.
Posts that are mainly blowing off steam, or
posing rhetorical or abstract human-nature type questions, are not accepted.
- A question that the average parent might have experience with or an opinion about.
Questions that require special expertise to answer ( medical, legal, financial, etc.)
are not accepted (more info),
nor are questions looking for the "one right answer" (more info).
- Parent-to-parent advice only, please.
The Advice newsletter is intended as a way for parents to get advice from
other parents, so seeking or offering professional advice is beyond the scope
Also not accepted are questions about how to best market or promote your business,
and survey questions (more info).
Postings for Advice Given must contain: a response to the original question.
Here are some suggestions for posting a question to Advice Wanted:
- Do Your Homework: Frequently discussed topics
seldom get a good response. Read some of the archived advice
about your topic on the BPN website before you post, and explain
in your question why you need more info about the topic.
- Very Long Messages: Long questions tend to get fewer replies,
because most subscribers skip over questions that require a lot of
effort to read and understand. There is a limit of about 3 short paragraphs,
to keep messages easy to read and improve the chances
of getting good responses. It's best to be as concise as you can, and leave out
details that are not revelant for the question you're asking.
- TMI: Messages that go into too much detail about
sex, morbidity, obsessions, bodily functions, etc. tend to get fewer replies
because 1) they make many readers uncomfortable and 2) they can have the
appearance of being gratuitous. For the best response, use some
discretion about descriptions of very personal information.
- Will your friend or relative recognize themselves in your post?
Be careful about asking about relationships with people who may
also subscribe to BPN or who might receive a forwarded newsletter from
a subscriber. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It's best to
not include details in your question that would allow people to recognize
themselves or others, such as schools, kids' ages, neighborhood, family background, etc.
Questions posted to Advice Wanted:
The Advice newsletter is intended as a way to get personal advice from
other parents. If you are looking for advice about specific products,
professional services or practices, schools, places, and the like, please instead post to
one of the newsletters that accepts reviews (Recommendations, or Schools & Preschools).
Note that BPN's policy about Advertising and Promotion limits
the types of reviews and self-promotion that are accepted for all the newsletters.
BPN also doesn't accept questions where
professional advice is sought, per this policy.
Responses posted to Advice Given:
If you are
responding to an Advice question, please respond with personal advice
rather than professional advice, and please do not post a review
of a specific person, place or thing instead of posting personal advice.
It is OK to include
a short recommendation for a business in post that is mostly personal advice. However,
your response must meet these three criteria:
- Your post must contain personal (not professional)
advice that responds to the question that was asked
- Reviews must describe first-hand experience only (no self-promotions or colleague/friend referrals)
- Negative reviews are not accepted in the Advice newsletters
The Advice newsletter does not accept posts that promote one's own
business or services, or those of friends, relatives, or colleagues.
This means that you may not recommend yourself when replying to an advice
question, including offering a professional
consultation, making statements such as "If you'd like to talk further, please call me,"
or signing your post with a work "email
signature" or with your title, business address, phone number, or website.
policy about Advertising and Promotion
for more details.
This policy also applies to the advice sections of the Parents of Teens
The BPN Advice Wanted newsletter
often receives questions about relationships with friends, family, kids,
spouses, neighbors, and co-workers.
Many subscribers are interested in reading and replying to
these types of questions. Responses are often compassionate and thoughtful,
with a wide range of suggestions. Since postings can be anonymous,
BPN is a good way to get advice about
personal situations that may be hard to bring up with friends.
If you are posting a question about a relationship,
we recommend following the guidelines for posting above;
in particular, try to be concise and clear about what the problem is,
and take care
not to provide so many personal details that people are recognizable.
It is OK to express your opinion in the Advice newsletter,
even if it is an opinion that no one else agrees with.
BPN subscribers are a very diverse group with all sorts of backgrounds,
so advice from the group usually covers a broad range of opinions.
This is an especially useful feature of BPN -- you might get a
good solution to a problem that you wouldn't receive from
your own circle of family and friends.
Anonymous postings to the Advice newsletter also provide our community
with a safe way to express unpopular and minority opinions.
BPN does not accept responses that
don't answer the question
that was asked, or that disparage others'
opinions, or preach
about proper behavior and parenting styles. Politeness
is one of the core BPN Rules and the
BPN moderators do their best to enforce this policy.
your posting should stick to your own experience or opinion without
making a negative reference to others' opinions, and should be a
response to the question that was asked.
Also see the Negative Review policy for
information about critical reviews of businesses and business owners,
to comment on or criticize their posting.
BPN cannot accept postings that seek responses to broad survey-like questions
such as "I would like to hear from parents about the pros and cons of
preschool" or questions about how to market a product or service,
such as "Would you be interested in this new service I'm thinking of offering?"
Survey questions have the potential to generate too many
responses on a big list like BPN. But more importantly, they are often
a lead-in for a pitch about the poster's own product or service.
If you are a reporter or researcher seeking interview subjects
for child-related or parenting topics,
you can post to the Announcements newsletter with a link to your survey. See
Reporter and Research Queries
for details about what BPN accepts.
Posting about products and services you want to offer to parents
is beyond the scope of BPN's mission, which is to provide a forum for parent-to-parent
support. BPN does not accept posts that promote services and products, except for a few
very specific types of postings such as childcare and schools. See BPN's
Policy about Advertising and Promotion
for more information.
It is possible that when you ask for advice on the BPN, you may
receive responses that seem judgemental to you. Or, you might get advice
that you disagree with, or advice that you would never follow.
BPN does have the goal of being helpful and supportive
to the community of parents, but our community is very diverse,
and opinions can vary widely on any given issue. Advice is
always based on one's own personal opinions and judgements, so please be
aware that when you ask for advice, you may receive advice that
sounds judgemental, or that you don't approve of, or want.
BPN does not accept responses that disparage others,
including criticism about the question that was asked. But
as long as respondents stick to answering the
question that was asked in a polite way without questioning the
motives of the person who asked the question, BPN does publish their
advice, even though it may be at odds with the views of the person
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