Posting Guidelines

Guidance notes for participating in the CAS discussion forums

1. Purpose

The main purpose of the CAS forums is to provide a safe place where new teachers can ask questions, receive help, tips and guidance, and discuss with their peers. Acceptable topics are everything that has the potential to improve any computing teacher’s situation or practice.

Unacceptable content is anything else. Note that some discussions – even though interesting – do not belong here. Specifically, this is not a place serving as a soap box or an expert discussion group. We value broad engagement and low hurdles of participation over in-depth discussion by few individuals.

2. Content and tone

Please adhere to the following principles when posting in the discussion forums or commenting on resources or events.

  1. We welcome comment and discussion from all who wish to support our community of teachers and where a teacher has posted a question or comment about their practice, may be let a teacher answer!
  2. We treat everyone with courtesy, aware that their diverse backgrounds, experiences, goals, and perspectives may be very different to ours.
  3. In our communication, we consistently honour and affirm the passion, professional expertise, and good intentions of others. Even if we occasionally doubt these qualities in someone else, we will not make public accusations of incompetence, malice or ulterior motives.
  4. We only criticise actions, never individuals, whether they be CAS members, awarding organisations, DfE, officials, whoever. Expressing concern about the possibly-unintended consequences of actions is fair enough; criticising individuals as people is not.
  5. We strive to be scrupulously polite at all times. There should be no rudeness, name-calling, or harassment in our communication.
  6. We do not tolerate any form of discriminatory language or behaviour towards anyone (for example gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion).
  7. Where we disagree with someone, we avoid forms of expression that might make our dialogue partner feel attacked, humiliated, demeaned, or marginalised.
  8. Disagreement itself is fine: we are enriched by robust technical debate. But we seek to make the tone of that debate to be a conversation among people who respect, or even admire, each other.
  9. Where we disagree, we try to be curious about the perspective, goals, motivation, and priorities of the other person.
  10. We avoid persistent negativity, even if it falls well short of insults or abuse. Education is complicated. Everyone is trying hard, but we will often fail. Offer positive suggestions rather than negative criticism. Persistent negativity is deeply discouraging to everyone who reads it, and can become self-fulfilling.

3. Declaring an interest

Some members of CAS work for companies whose business intersects education. We warmly welcome such members, who have much to offer the CAS community. You are likely to be particularly expert in areas relating to your company’s work. Making that expertise available to other CAS members is great.

  1. Always declare your interest explicitly. For example, include a signature block that says who you work for, or add some other words explaining your connection to the subject of the message.

4. Advertising products, services and vacancies

In general, please do not advertise your products, services, courses, events, or vacancies on the CAS forums. There are two exceptions:

  1. The forums for Commercial Products and Services, and for Vacancies, are specifically designed to inform CAS members about commercial offerings that may be of use to them.
  2. Events and courses run by CAS itself.

There’s a grey area between “making expertise available” and “advertising”. Example: someone asks for help with X and you know a solution to X that happens to involve your own project/product. Use your judgement, declare your interest, don’t keep pushing the same idea, and contact us if you are in doubt.

5. Quotation and citation

CAS discussions are private to the CAS community, as part of the safe space for conversation that the CAS Community Site provides for CAS members.

Specifically:

  1. We ask you not to quote, forward, or cite the content of CAS discussions (e.g. in news articles, blogs or academic papers).
  2. Even summarising or paraphrasing CAS discussions elsewhere is not appropriate: we aspire to a higher standard than the Chatham House Rule.
  3. If you wish to quote from a CAS discussion, contact the comment author and ask them to repeat the remark elsewhere or in a “private communication”, then quote from that without mentioning CAS. If the author prefers not to do so, please accept this and do not use the quote.
  4. The CAS Community Site is not, and does not aspire to become, a place of record for academic discourse. It is therefore not appropriate to vest it with academic authority and it is not a citable source. Note also that, since the CAS Community Site is a Wiki, citations of CAS Community Site content, including public resources, would be meaningless since they are editable and not archived.

Use of personal data

The preferred method of contacting other CAS members is via the private messaging mechanism on the CAS community website. You can use the email addresses of CAS members as a way to get in touch with them personally. You cannot gather email addresses in bulk to sell, or to use in your own mailing lists for marketing, advertising or other purposes. Using the forum to gather email addresses by way of responding to a discussion is discouraged.

Moderation policy

The CAS Community forum is for everybody with a passion to transform computing education. We want a culture that celebrates rather than admonishes, supportive rather than destructive. The role of the moderators is to resolve conccerns where the posting guidelines are not being adhered to. Repeated reports of concern against an individual may result in the suspension or outright ban of that user from the CAS Community forum.

How is the CAS Community site moderated?

The moderators are a small team of volunteers. The Moderation Team is made up of volunteers, invited by the CAS Board due to their keen interest in the community forum and have shown themselves to be positive contributors with some experience of forum moderation. It is their role to address concerns when the posting guidelines are not upheld and to help the community as required.

The moderation team rely heavily on our members to flag content that could be deemed inappropriate or which contravenes the posting guidelines - bringing it to the attention of the Moderators in double quick time. You can bring a post to the attention of the moderators by clicking on the “Report concern” link in every post.

Are the moderators scanning all posts?

No. They will respond when a fellow CAS community member reports a concern about a particular post. Their involvement is light-touch.

Who oversees the moderators?

CAS is part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and thus BCS are responsible for the site as a whole, and amongst other things this includes the management of the moderation team and ensuring we abide by the BCS Code of Conduct.

If you are concerned ...

If you wish to complain about the way a thread has been moderated then please contact us: moderation@computingatschool.org.uk.

Do not post your complaint on the forum as this is not an appropriate way to address a disagreement with the moderation team. Such posts will be hidden. Try to remember that you may not know what a user has been up to behind the scenes with additional accounts or messages.

If you have any suggestions for how the guidelines could be improved, email support@computingatschool.org.uk