3

I co-own a free website that recently underwent a spam attack. I have considered a terms of service to keep people from abusing the website. However, upon reading sites that inform me how to create one, I noticed a lot of them have to do with money.

Since the website is free, and has no current plans to make money, I do not want the site or any legal things to deal with money. The website also has no relation to any company.

Is there a way to tell people that they are not allowed to use the site if they do not follow the rules, and what can I do if they do not follow these?

4
  • 11
    You can, but don't expect that the existence of a TOS document on your website will deter any spammers.
    – Philipp
    Jan 29 at 14:42
  • @Philipp i didn't think so, I was just wondering how much action we could take against them Jan 29 at 18:57
  • 2
    You don't need a TOS in order to kick people off your website.
    – Philipp
    Jan 29 at 19:49
  • 2
    @HaveProblemsEveryday: if you mean legal action, as in, will having a TOS allow you to sue them, or set the police on them, then probably not. Ask your lawyer, and if you can't afford a lawyer then you're not going to be taking legal action against spammers, because you definitely need a lawyer for that! If you mean action like blocking their IP addresses then what Philipp says, you don't need a TOS. Although you might feel that it's more open and transparent with your legit users if you do. Jan 29 at 21:24
10

Yes, you can.

An excellent example is this very website - at the bottom of this page you will find a series of links in the footer, one of which is "Terms of Service".

I think you will agree that most people using the Law SE are making no money from it or paying no money to use it and yet the terms of service sets out in black and white what a user of this site can do, and what the repercussions can be if they breach the ToS, so it serves a purpose as an excellent example for your question.

5

YES

There are many services that are offered for free but bound to specific terms. For example Twitter tells you to obey the acceptable use guidelines and the stack has rules on what conduct is allowed. The ToS are the main thing how they ensure that the user has been informed of what they can do, and what you can do. They are a simple contract of adherence: they are allowed to use your site, you are allowed to profit from their presence in some way or another (ads?).

The terms of service also usually allow explicitly to deplatform someone. Which they wouldn't need to put in, as the First Amendment doesn't protect against private parties. If you want more, let Ken "Popehat" White explain it to you.

0

Yes. I own a developing website. You can even create your own terms of service/terms of use. Now what I would do personally is to recommend to the site owner to script moderator or administrator roles and assign trusted people to those roles, sort of stack exchange does but not with the community. I would also say set up a punishment code of conduct and say, You break a rule, you get a verbal warning. Oh you want to break the rule again or another rule, you get an account warning, then a suspension and so on. I would try and do that and see where it gets you. Hope this helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.