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Code of Conduct

Thank you for being a member of the SERMO community. Please review this Code of Conduct to understand the behavioral expectations of the Community. Your use of SERMO reflects your agreement to adhere to the Code, our Terms of Service, and Privacy Policy.

You may not agree with everything that you see posted on SERMO. If you are concerned that something on the social network violates this Code of Conduct, our Terms of Use, or our Privacy Policy, you may use the “report” tool to flag the content. SERMO staff reviews each and every report in order to determine if something is in violation of our Community’s rules. Content found in violation may be edited or removed, and disciplinary action may be taken against the violating member, including account suspension or deactivation, at SERMO’s discretion. Please note however, that we do not moderate political/religious discussions, and members who misuse our report tool will be disciplined up to and including deactivation.

In summary:


Don’t:


Do:



In more detail:


Now, here are some Do’s:


Remember you are among peers

It’s tough out there for doctors, so let’s keep SERMO a place where physicians can feel supported. Treat your peers as you would in “real life.” Use your anonymity as if you were talking to them face to face in the doctor’s lounge. Just as in real-life, you will meet physicians here on SERMO who may not think what you think, believe what you believe or treat patients as you would. Remain as civil on SERMO as you would in the real world.

Fill out your profile with a “safe for work” photo and info

Many SERMOans decide to stay anonymous on the site. That doesn’t mean you can’t fill out your profile with a little information about yourself. Tell a little about yourself, share a few favorite quotes, or maybe medical stories that have inspired you. Bonus points if you upload a profile picture – just make sure it’s “safe for work.”

Give back to your peers – share clinical content you find on other websites

Come across an article that you loved (or hated) elsewhere? Share it in SERMO and start a conversation! Be sure to link your sources to give credit.

Upload compliant files to your clinical Patient Cases

Photos are very helpful when you’re looking for input on your clinical patient cases. Make sure they are HIPAA compliant and you’ve redacted any identifying information before uploading. Not doing so is a serious offense. Note that “identifying information” may include names of patients or doctors, addresses, or images that include a patient’s fully exposed face.

Moderate yourself and your discussions (think before you post)

Before you post or comment, ask “Could this harm a colleague?” or “Would I want my peer, friend or family member spoken to this way?” If you wouldn’t say it to them, Don’t say it here. If your judgment proves to be poor, we’ll moderate your account for you. Repeated moderation may result in your account’s suspension or deactivation, at the discretion of SERMO.

Be aware of sensitive conversation topics

Debates about politics or religion can become quite heated, as they tend to involve a deeper level of core beliefs held by members. SERMO will not hand-hold members through sensitive political or religious conversations that they choose to become involved in. Everyone has opinions, and you should not expect that everyone will agree with yours. If you Don’t like where a conversation is heading, unfollow it.

Report violations of the Code of Conduct

There are thousands of member interactions taking place on SERMO every day, and we rely on community members to help us keep SERMO a place where you can freely discuss, learn, and vent with one another respectfully. If you come across content on SERMO that violates the Code of Conduct, please use the “Report” function (found on every comment and post) to alert your SERMOTeam. These reports are monitored and individually reviewed, and SERMOTeam may edit or delete any material deemed to be in violation of our Code of Conduct, Privacy Policy, or Terms of Use.

We’re here to keep conversations supportive and safe, emotionally and physically. Verbal abuse and threatening behavior – on SERMO and off – will not be tolerated.

Enjoy SERMO!

We want you to enjoy your time here! Please let us know if there’s anything that can add to your experience, from fun new features to new ways to improve online consulting.

And now some Don’ts:

We understand everyone has a bad day from time to time, but the below actions will be viewed as significant infractions against the Code of Conduct, and may result in edited or deleted content, account suspension, or account deactivation.

Don’t “out” another member

Exposing identifying information about other SERMO members may be cause for immediate termination without warning. Unless a member has entered information in his/her profile and/or discussed it in the current thread, you must never reveal any member’s personally identifiable information to another SERMOan. This extends beyond SERMO’s boundaries to any other public outlets. If there is a safety concern, contact SERMO Admins.

Don’t promote hate or violence against members or groups based on their background

Attacks on members or groups of people based on their social, racial, religious (or lack thereof), gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality will not be tolerated. Posts or comments in violation of this will be edited or removed by SERMOTeam. If the point of your post is to spread or incite hate, it will be removed.

Don’t be ugly

Use your anonymity as if you were talking to peers face to face in the doctor’s lounge. Profanity, name-calling, ad hominem attacks, personal insults, physical threats and posts targeting specific members or groups – directly or indirectly – are inappropriate. We can disagree respectfully and fervently without getting personal.

Don’t post/comment/PM anything that would have to be reported to law enforcement

If we come across anything that should be reported, such as credible threats (including to public officials) we will do so.

Don’t hijack a thread

Changing the subject in a thread and continuing to hijack the conversation is annoying and disruptive, and does not support meaningful dialogue. If you’ve been asked to leave, just start a new a new post of your own. It’s free!

Don’t harass

This includes harassing or stalking (including unwanted private messages) SERMO members and employees on and off-site.

Don’t engage in commercial promotion on SERMO

We encourage you to tell the community about a book you wrote or your related business. However, you should disclose possible conflicts of interest when posting, and do not spam the community with your commercial or fundraising interests. See the Terms of Service for more information. If you’re not sure if it’s spam, check with SERMOTeam first!

Don’t pretend to be someone else

Impersonating other members or SERMO staff, or sharing your login information with anyone else (current, past, or non-SERMO member) is grounds for immediate deactivation without notice.

Don’t share your private messages with others

The messages exchanged via the Private Messaging system on SERMO are expected to remain private. Publishing private message exchanges, whether in part or in full, is not permitted. If you feel that you are being harassed via Private Message, please use the Help Center to report it to your SERMO Admins.

Don’t abuse the “report” tool

We rely on the help of the SERMO community to identify violations of our Code of Conduct, but repeated misuse of the tool to report content that does not violate this Code (i.e. “crying wolf”) is largely unhelpful. There is a difference between reading something you Don’t agree with and someone actually violating the rules of the community. Please use the “report” function responsibly, as repeated misuse of the tool may result in a deactivation of your account.

We like to give second chances and the opportunity for members to settle their own differences. We keep a record of conduct situations and judge consequences based on that context, not just the most recent infraction. Possible responses to Code of Conduct violations include warnings, suspensions, or permanent deactivation of the offending member. Allowing a banned member access back to the site is grounds for immediate deactivation of the compromised account. SERMOTeam reserves the right to modify or retract member privileges (including access to SERMO services) at any time at its sole discretion.

Check out our FAQ, TOS and Privacy Policy for more information. If you have any questions about the Code of Conduct, please use our Support page or email conduct@sermo.com for more information.