YWW Community Guidelines

By creating an account on our site, you agree to follow these guidelines and uphold these standards at all times.

Philosophy:

The purpose of the Young Writers Workshop Community (YWWC) is to provide the students of the Young Writer’s Workshop with peer support. This peer support—in the form of casual friendships, encouraging interaction, and motivational writing groups—is essential to the success of any professional writer.

The goal of the YWWC is to:

What does it mean that the YWWC is a Christian community?

We behave in a manner befitting God’s people. 

“For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

We encourage students to discuss their faith openly and freely. 

“I will praise the Lord at all times;

His praise will always be on my lips.

I will boast in the Lord;

the humble will hear and be glad.

Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me;

let us exalt His name together.” (Psalm 34:1-3)

We refrain from judging one another based on the mercy with which God has judged us.

“Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?

God is the One who justifies.

Who is the one who condemns?

Christ Jesus is the One who died,

but even more, has been raised;

He also is at the right hand of God

and intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:33-34)

"Don’t criticize one another, brothers. He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12)

“One person believes he may eat anything, but one who is weak eats only vegetables. One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat, and one who does not eat must not criticize one who does, because God has accepted him. Who are you to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:2-4)

We respect each others’ convictions and Christian freedom.

“Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way. (I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean.) For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy that one Christ died for by what you eat. Therefore, do not let your good be slandered, for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men.

“So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause stumbling by what he eats. It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble.” (Romans 14:13-21)

Principles of Good Community Behavior:

These rules apply to the public spaces, private writing groups, private messages, and people’s profile pages.

1. Use Kind Words and Clean Language

In everything you say, aim to build up and encourage. If you are correcting someone, do so kindly. If you are giving critique, do so respectfully.

DO NOT put down, make fun of, bully, objectify, insult, or harass anyone, including people who are not members of our community. DO NOT make belittling, racist, or sexist remarks against anyone or any group of people, including people who are not members of our community. There is no excuse for such behavior in a Christian or in a professional setting.

If you find yourself getting frustrated, wait five minutes before replying. Always re-read your comments before posting, and avoid posting anything impulsively.

Rules about swear words

Every culture has different definitions of swear words, and as a community made up of people all over the world, we must all refrain from using certain words that others count as swearing. To respect everyone’s different boundaries and maintain an environment of professionalism:

2. Be Helpful to Others

The YWW Community succeeds based on people’s willingness to help each other. By supporting each other in our writing journeys, our community and our writing thrives.

So, if you see a question that you can answer, answer it! Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know the person asking for help, or if you think they’re a more advanced writer than you. People come to the YWWC to get help. If you can help them, do so! Answer any question that you can, or tag someone that you think might be able to. Similarly, don’t hesitate to give feedback on writing, especially in the Editing and Feedback space.

When students have trouble fitting in, helping others is the first thing we suggest. Being helpful to others makes them want to help you.

Students in distress

It’s not uncommon that students bring their struggles to the YWWC so that others can pray for and support them. Some students suffer from chronic illness, whether physical or mental. Some students have difficult home, school, or church situations. Some students get overwhelmed by their writing or their other commitments. Life can be hard, and on the YWWC, we strive to support each other through hard times.

Even if you yourself don’t often struggle with depressing, anxious, or low feelings, be aware that everyone reacts to stress differently, and some stressors may hit some students harder than others. Always act with kindness towards other students. Know that it’s often very hard for students in distress to share their true feelings, since they fear they’ll be told to “get over it” or “stop being a baby.” While we do have some control over our mood, there are also many things that affect our mood which are beyond our control. Therefore, avoid making judgments---you do not know what that other student is going through.

If you see a comment that makes you concerned about a student’s physical safety, please take a picture of the concerning comment and send it in a private message to either one of the Community Assistants, or the Community Manager (Marita Wilson).

3. Ask for Help

We can’t help each other if no one ever asks for help! Remember, we are here for each other. Everyone will need help at some point, including you.

Don’t be afraid to ask a question that seems silly or insignificant. Every writer started at the beginning, and every writer is sympathetic to what it feels like to struggle with what might seem like the “basics.”

To get the most help, word your question as specifically as possible, and give any necessary background information about your situation or your story.

Do your best to ask for help in the appropriate space. For a list of spaces, go to the Directory (click on the link in the top menu) and choose Spaces. If you pick the wrong space to ask a question, don’t worry---we’ll simply move the question to the appropriate spot, or ask you to do so yourself.

4. Do Not Judge

The YWWC is a Christian program in that it supports students in their expression and profession of their Christian faith. However, the YWWC has members from lots of different cultural and religious backgrounds---mainly within Christianity, but also outside of it. It is likely that you will find students in this group that defy your idea of what it means to be Christian, or what a healthy expression of Christianity looks like.

When you encounter these students, remember that as Christians, we stand before Christ, not the law. If we stood before the law, we would all fall, because we are all breaking the law. (Romans 3:9-20) But because of Christ’s actions, we are forgiven. (Romans 5:6-11)

Since God does not judge us based on our sin, but rather continually extends forgiveness and love to us despite our sin, we must also extend forgiveness and love to each other, lest we dishonor the forgiveness that we have been granted. (Matthew 7:1-2, 18:21-25)

This, however, does NOT mean that you should set aside your own convictions, or feel pressured to support a message that you’re not comfortable supporting.

Rather:

Politics on the YWWC

Politics has more power to divide than almost any other topic. Multiple social media sites have become plagued with conflict due to people’s differences in political beliefs.

Therefore, we do not allow students to post political statements or calls to political action, including politically-themed debates, calls to vote for a certain individual or party, requests to sign a petition, requests to contact a representative on an issue, or prayers asking for a certain political outcome.

This is not to say that you must actively hide your political opinions on the YWWC. Politics may come up from time to time, and that’s okay. In order to promote a culture of respect rather than judgement, we ask that students keep in mind the above biblical principles (everything in this “Do Not Judge” section) when it comes to politics.

The following are the only exceptions to our rule about political statements:

5. Act with Humility

As a community dedicated to helping each other, we all suffer when people put on pretenses to appear more important or knowledgeable than they are.

Some tips for staying humble:

Sharing your work

This is a place for young writers to support one another, not irresponsibly push and promote themselves. Make an effort to “give” as much as you “take.”

What’s the difference between sharing appropriately and a lack of humility? It’s largely a question of intent and of scale. Here are some things to avoid:

6. Respect Everyone

Everyone here has different beliefs, philosophies, and backgrounds. Use Romans 14 as your guide and maintain respect for everyone. Everyone is made in the image of God and precious to Him, and therefore worthy of respect.

Use Romans 14:2 and Romans 14:13 as your guide when seeking to respect your fellow students. Romans 14:2 states, “One who eats must not look down on one who does not eat, and one who does not eat must not criticize one who does, because God has accepted him.” And, Romans 14:13 states, “Therefore, let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.”

For example:

In the YWWC, those that feel free to do something should not flaunt their freedom in front of those who believe it is wrong. And, those who believe something is wrong should not criticize those who feel free.

Do not attempt to push your beliefs on anyone through nagging, repeated posting, pointed questions, bringing up the topic over and over, insulting the person, or insinuating judgment if they don’t agree with you. Pushy behavior of any kind is not allowed. If someone asks you to stop doing something, stop.

Here are some guidelines that we have put in place to avoid placing stumbling blocks in front of each other:

Images to avoid posting:

The instructors reserve the right to remove any image that they deem inappropriate for the community, even if it does not fall into one of the above categories.

Content and Discussions:

Our students have many different ideas about what’s appropriate to write about, and we do not aim to dictate what our students include in their writing. However, for the safety and comfort of all our students, certain topics require special precautions.

Discussions, depictions, and descriptions of the following topics MUST be posted in the Sensitive Topics space:

  1. Demons, devils, or demonic forces
  2. Swearing or racial slurs
  3. Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual
  4. Self-harm, eating disorders, or suicide. Writing that includes depictions of the act of suicide (attempted or successful) should never be shared.
  5. Sexual encounters or sexual temptation. Writing that includes explicit sex scenes should never be shared.
  6. LGBT+ topics
  7. Extreme violence or horrific medical gore
  8. Recreational drug use or alcohol abuse

Discussions, depictions, and descriptions of this content should ONLY occur in our Sensitive Topics spaces, neither in spaces, nor on your profile, nor in private messages. (See the FAQ for more details.)

You are allowed to mention these topics directly on the community as long as they are truly just a mention. True mentions do not discuss or elaborate on the topic past a single sentence.

Discussions, depictions, and descriptions containing the following topics STILL require a content “label” but may be posted directly on the community:

  1. Alcohol use
  2. Wizardry, witchcraft, or sorcery (i.e. regular humans using magic)
  3. Potentially gross descriptions of injuries or medical issues
  4. Hate crimes towards real-life groups and cultures
  5. Romantic touch or sexual tension

You are allowed to mention these topics on the community without a content label as long as they are truly just a mention. True mentions do not discuss or elaborate on the topic past a single sentence.

In addition to the above list, the Community Manager and Instructors reserve the right to limit any post or topic to the Sensitive Topics space if they feel the post/topic potentially disturbing or disruptive to the community.

Click here to read our frequently asked questions about content warnings and labels.

Debates on the YWWC

The YWWC is not a debate club: we are here to support each other in our writing, and not to argue over debatable matters. However, some people may be writing about things you disagree with, so you are likely at some point to find yourself either in a debate, or tempted to start one.

Asking a person questions is always allowed, as long as they are honest questions and not pointed or condescending. Stating that you disagree with someone is also allowed, although if you are not already involved in the discussion, you are not obligated to state your opinion.

However, debating the morality or correctness of someone’s beliefs is only allowed if you mutually agree to debate about the topic. Debates that are unwelcome are really attacks. If a debate is not being invited, you should assume the person doesn’t want one.

If something is turning into a debate, stop and say, “This is turning into a debate. Do you want to keep debating this?” A mutually agreed-upon debate can be healthy and enlightening, but a one-sided debate can drive someone away from you, your ideas, and the community as a whole.

Frequently asked questions:

What if I’m not comfortable with what someone is doing or posting?

Copy a link or take a picture of the questionable post, and then pick the option that you’re most comfortable with:

Is it disrespectful to ask someone not to edit my work, be a beta reader, or be in my role-play?

It is perfectly fine to ask someone to refrain from interacting with your writing—as long as you have a reason. Perhaps they are just not part of your target audience and their feedback wouldn’t be helpful, or perhaps they were disrespectful to you or made you uncomfortable in the past. Feel free to seek a CA or the CM for support or advice if you’re unsure of what to do or how to approach the situation.

The YWWC’s Plagiarism Policy

Students frequently share their writing and ideas on the YWWC. Without this openness, our Community would be far less helpful for everyone. However, this open sharing makes many students nervous that their writing may be copied, or their ideas stolen.

In order to dissuade students from unfairly using the work and ideas of others, the YWWC reserves the right to remove a student from the community if he or she is found to have plagiarized or infringed on the copyright of any other writer, including another student.

So, if you are using someone else’s words, even if you’re quoting from a web sharing site like Pinterest, be safe and acknowledge where those words came from.

Keep in mind that being inspired by someone else’s idea is perfectly fine and very normal for writers. Just be sure that if you decide to write something based on someone else’s idea, you are also adding your own unique spin to the piece.

Finally: if someone is helping you brainstorm ideas for your writing, it’s implicitly understood that you are allowed to use the ideas that the other person thought of. That’s why they’re helping you brainstorm, after all! However, it’s still your responsibility to credit them if you use any of their exact words.

In order to understand the nuances of copyright and plagiarism, see The Young Writer’s Guide to Plagiarism and Copyright. We highly recommend that every YWW student watch, read, or listen to this lesson!

Thank you for reading our guidelines and doing your best to follow them!