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.

Now, here are some Do’s:

1. Remember you are among peers

It’s tough out there for healthcare professionals, so let’s keep Sermo a place where all 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 your place of work. Just as in real-life, you will meet others 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.

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

Many Sermoans decide to stay anonymous in the community. That doesn’t mean you can’t fill out your profile with a little information about yourself. Share 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.”

3. 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.

4. 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 providers, addresses, or images that include a patient’s fully exposed face.

5. 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.

6. 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. 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.

7. 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 in the Sermo community that violates the Code of Conduct, please use the “Report” function (found on every comment and post) to alert the Sermo Team. These reports are monitored and individually reviewed, and the Sermo Team 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.

8. 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 their 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 Member Solutions or a member of the Sermo Team.

9. Don’t duplicate or plagiarize content

When publishing posts or patient cases on Sermo, do not under any circumstance, plagiarize content. This includes copying content from other Sermo members or from external sources without sourcing the site or the author. Additionally, for promotions and earning opportunities within the community, we prohibit members from duplicating content they’ve previously written. These posts will not be compensated and will result in suspension or permanent removal from the community.

10. Don’t share Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of patients

Upload only de-identified info about your clinical Patient Cases. Images, patient descriptions, and test results are very helpful when you are looking for input on your clinical patient case, but please make sure they are HIPAA/Data Privacy compliant and you have anonymized/redacted all identifying information before sharing them with the community. *Identifiable patient information can only be shared when you have the individual’s consent in writing.

11. Don’t publish or promote disinformation or misinformation

We do not tolerate the distribution of false or misleading content that may harm Sermo’s or the public’s well-being, safety or trust. This includes medically unsupported health claims that risk public health and safety such as the promotion of false cures, anti-vaccination advice, or misinformation about public health and safety emergencies. Additionally, we monitor for misleading/false content that could impede an election’s integrity or an individual’s or group’s civic participation, including registering to vote, voting and being counted in a census. Any user content that fits into these categories will immediately be deleted from the platform, and the user will be given a warning. If the behavior persists the user’s membership will be revoked.

12. Don’t disrespect others

A multitude of topics are discussed in the Sermo community every day, so disagreements will occur. A healthy debate is welcomed, however, please do so respectfully. Name calling and the use of profanity towards another member, either direct or indirect, will not be tolerated.

13. 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.

14. 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!

15. Don’t harass

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

16. 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 the Sermo Team first!

17. Don’t share your Sermo credentials

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

18. 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 Member Solutions or a Sermo Team member.

19. 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. The Sermo Team 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 for more information.