Our guidelines, like all writing, are inspired by words that came before. As they and others all state - name your sources. So here are ours at the outset.
Above all, of course, what follows is based on PUBLIQ’s adherence to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereafter referred to as ‘Declaration’). But, after all, PUBLIQ is a group of humans with a common aim. So, more importantly, we trust our community of users - as a larger group of humans aware of their universal rights - to follow the guidelines of this seminal document.
Considering what PUBLIQ was established to do, Article 19 of the Declaration needs to be seen in its entirety:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Since PUBLIQ’s community takes responsibility for taking action against offensive or inappropriate content, we also highlight the first part of Article 29 of the Declaration:
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
So a healthy PUBLIQ platform has global communities of content creators and consumers who recognise their responsibility to help to govern what is considered acceptable by society. In doing so, we could also uphold and promote positive values around the world, educating many in the process.
At PUBLIQ, we like the core values and guidelines from Member Content Guidelines at Medium, which has much about how to write well. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics has a nice succinct summary of their beliefs for all media, while MOR10’s version is focussed solely on internet use. In particular, we like the version by the Poynter Institute and their stringent adherence to their nonprofit mission of journalistic excellence.
PUBLIQ’s own user guidelines below are based broadly on Poynter’s pointers, with some phrases and ideas from the other three, all mixed together with our own unique spin.
Thank you to these resources for the effort that went into clearly communicating their rules and guidelines, and the diligence with which they uphold them. In the current internet climate of Fake News, this is not an easy job.
Like all guidelines, they will evolve. But the difference with ours is that the PUBLIQ community decides what this evolution looks like. Think of this as a first draft, to be constantly revised and edited by you.
Finally, you may notice that PUBLIQ only has guidelines and no set rules. This is where we are most unique. The thing is - we do not enforce changes or removal of offensive or distasteful material ourselves. Instead, our community does it. Flagged articles are brought to the attention of community members with good reputations, who then respond accordingly. Unlike all the centralised platforms out there, the PUBLIQ team are not even able to make changes unilaterally.
(Want to know how we integrated this into the platform? Check out PUBLIQ’s white paper).
However, in certain extreme circumstances, individual publishers on the PUBLIQ platform may be contacted by governments or other agencies requesting the removal or editing of material. Since PUBLIQ is a platform, that is between them. In such circumstances, our page creators may be subject to national and international law and so would be obliged to comply.
What follows is for your benefit, to help you write good articles that can get your reputation up and earn you PBQ., This is PUBLIQ’s own utility token that can either be converted into other cryptocurrencies and cash.
That means stick to the facts. Factual spelling is easy to check, but other facts are subtle and harder to check. What happens at a political march, for example. If there is ambiguity, then say so. It is a good idea to reflect this by representing contrasting views.
Accuracy should not fall victim to whims of creativity. Want to be creative? Write fiction. The PUBLIQ platform is for all types of content creation.
People are often unfair. These prejudices are part of being human. From inherited views we have held since childhood to just sharing opinions with people we admire. So - to be more precise - be as fair as possible without becoming a robot.
One easy thing you can do is respect others. If you are criticising a person or organisation, try to clearly and concisely write exactly what they did or said that you disagree with and why. There is a difference between writing that a person is dishonest and that they said something dishonest. For all we know, this dishonesty might be an exception. Imagine you make a factual mistake in one of your articles, and suddenly people are accusing you of being a liar.
An easy rule here is: minimise harm.
The best way to check you are being fair is an extension of being accurate - if there is disagreement, write both sides. This can sometimes be difficult if you are writing to persuade on an issue that is very close to your heart. But best to acknowledge the opposite side.
One-sided arguments can look suspicious, which might impact your reputation. So try to test your words with the opposite arguments as a way of checking if you are being fair. At the very least, you are being fair to your readers. At the very most, you might even persuade yourself to change your opinion.
Write what you want to write. That means finding your voice and writing about your passions. It does not mean rewriting what other people have written or what you think people want to read for the sake of PBQ.
Remember, this is just advice, so you can ignore it if you want. But we really think that readers will be able to tell if you are not being yourself and your reputation might suffer as a result.
Authenticity is powerful.
Which leads us straight to our next tip...
Be wary of relationships that might influence what you write. We encourage you to be open about anything that may make you not so much yourself.
One aspect is your personal relationships with other content creators, either in the real world or online. If you recommend or criticise something because of these underlying relationships, then say so. You could promote something a family member is doing, for example, but best to reveal the link.
Similarly, you can reference another person or product because you genuinely like what they do. If so, say so. This is unconditional promotion, just because you want other people to find out about something you like. If you say nothing, people often fear the worst - that your content is sponsored and you are trying to hide it. So better not to mislead by saying nothing.
The final and most difficult to navigate are business relationships. This is where any value is exchanged between you and other people or organisations to promote content or products. Value is not just cash, but also cryptocurrencies and services of any kind. There is nothing bad about this as long as - again - you say so.
If it obvious, for example, that you are doing product placement without acknowledging it, do not be surprised if your reputation suffers. Even if you are open about it, people may still disapprove about product placement in general. PUBLIQ reflects the real world, so you will have to deal with real world issues on the ethics of how you create value.
Above all, it really helps to like what you are promoting. This takes us back to the above point on being yourself. If people suspect you have some mutual promotion deal with another creator just based on increasing value, your reputation may suffer.
If in doubt, always share information that might affect how readers interpret your words. The nearer that their interpretation aligns with your intention, the better you have done.
But that is just our honest opinion.
Let the community judge.