Community Guidelines

Community Guidelines: Updated 12/21/2021

Our Guidelines govern your relationship with and use of American Civil Debate, as well as your access to our services and products. By accessing American Civil Debate, you agree to these terms. These Guidelines are designed to foster productive, civil discourse among people with differing interests, experiences, and viewpoints.

Our goal is to provide all users with a welcoming, nonpartisan Public Square. While the First Amendment has not until very recently been thought to apply to private companies such as American Civil Debate (and then only when the private company engages in “state action”), our mission has always been to offer a social platform in the spirit of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, one which empowers the individual to think and share freely.

We prefer that removing users or user-provided content be kept to the absolute minimum. We prefer to leave decisions about what is seen and who is heard to everyone. In no case will American Civil Debate decide what will content be removed or filtered, or whose account will be removed, based on the opinion expressed within the content at issue. American Civil Debate’s policies are, to use a well-known concept in First Amendment law, viewpoint neutral.

We do not curate your feed; we do not pretend to be qualified to do so. We believe only you are qualified to curate your feed, and so we give you the tools you need to do it yourself. To that end, American Civil Debate offers several features—including the ability to mute or block other users, or to mute or block all comments containing terms of your choice—and we encourage you to use these tools whenever the content you would rather not encounter here, is not otherwise addressed by what follows.

At American Civil Debate, we’re committed to continuous improvement toward fulfilling our mission. Accordingly, these Guidelines are subject to modification, unilaterally by American Civil Debate, at any time.

Principle #1:

American Civil Debate will not knowingly allow itself to be used as a tool for crime, civil torts, or other unlawful acts. We will remove reported user content that a reasonable and objective observer would believe constitutes or evidences such activity. We may also remove the accounts of users who use our platform in this way.

Sometimes the law properly requires us to exclude content from our platform once it is reported to us or to our Community Jury—content we would make it a priority to exclude anyway. Obvious examples include: child sexual abuse material, content posted by or on behalf of terrorist organizations, intellectual property theft.

However, even when the law may not require us to flag or remove reported content, or to ban a user, we will nonetheless do so when we deem it necessary to prevent our services from being used by someone in the commission of a crime or civil tort—particularly when these are likely to interfere with our mission of providing a welcoming, nonpartisan Public Square. Examples include criminal solicitation, fraud, and nuisance.

Finally, while American Civil Debate allows the posting of “Not Safe For Work” and “trolling” content, we provide a double-filter system to help ensure this content is not viewed by those who choose not to see it.

Principle #2:

Posting spam and using bots are nuisances and are not conducive to productive and polite discourse. In addition, it is unjust to our Influencers and creators, who have put time and effort into building their following and goodwill, and who deserve unfettered enjoyment of the effects of their hard work. The use of our mute and block features, by individual users, is often adequate to address problems with spam. But whenever it is not, and particularly when the behavior negatively affects the ability of those participating in our Influencer Network to monetize themselves, American Civil Debate will remove accounts of those who engage in this behavior.