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BPN Advice Newsletter Policies

Berkeley Parents Network > Help & Frequently Asked Questions > Advice Newsletter

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Policies for the Advice newsletter

The Advice newsletter is intended as a way for parents to problem-solve with other parents about kids, families, parenting, health, relationships, careers, etc.
  1. 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 not accepted.

  2. All postings to Advice Given must answer the original question. We can't accept responses that challenge the original question, or disparage others' replies, or make general observations about the topic, or follow up on the original question with clarifications or new questions.

Guidelines for posting a question

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:

  1. 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. (more info)

  2. 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).

  3. 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 of BPN. 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.

Hints for Posting a Question

Here are some suggestions for posting a question to Advice Wanted:

Reviewing or Promoting Services & Products in the Advice newsletter

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:

  1. Your post must contain personal (not professional) advice that responds to the question that was asked
  2. Reviews must describe first-hand experience only (no self-promotions or colleague/friend referrals)
  3. Negative reviews are not accepted in the Advice newsletters

Self Promotion:

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. See BPN's policy about Advertising and Promotion for more details.

This policy also applies to the advice sections of the Parents of Teens newsletter.

Questions about relationships

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.

Expressing your opinion in the Advice newsletter

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.

However, 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.

Therefore, 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, and the Privacy Policy about emailing posters to comment on or criticize their posting.

Survey and Marketing Questions

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.

Judgemental advice & unwelcome advice

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 who posted.

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this page was last updated: Sep 16, 2015

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