Forum Creation: Privacy Policy 101
By: Shawn J. Gossman (Owner,

Welcome to another one of my policy creation articles. I wanted to go ahead a write a full article on creating a Privacy Policy because it was requested and I didn’t add too much information to the last article about writing one for privacy. Please feel free to link this article on other sites as long as you keep every bit of text and working the same and provide a public link back to this original article. Please show your support by replying with a comment and sharing this article using various social bookmarking features.

Does Privacy Matter to You?
This is the first question you want to ask yourself. Don’t just create a privacy policy and never pay attention to it. You need to be sure that you will follow your own privacy policy and enforce it to the fullest. If not, you may wind up getting shut down as well as sued by others who privacy is violated on your community. You don’t need an attorney to have a good policy, just follow this article and make sure you stand true to your own policies.

1.Phase One – The first paragraph of your privacy policy should be a welcoming statement to your viewers from you. Be friendly but professional about it. Express how much you care about the privacy of other people and ask that in order for people to enjoy your features, they must agree to abide by your policy at all times.

2.Phase Two – Information you collect should be the topic of your next section. Include all information registration/profile/login/surveys/etc. collects and what the information is used for. Include that you will never buy, sell, trade or share information to unauthorized persons or parties. Include that if you are required by law, you will share information in cooperation with the legal system and its officers but express what would be required to do that.

3.Phase Three – Explain that your forum collects cookies and that they must be enabled in a member’s browser in order for the community to work for them. Express that you also collect statistical data such as browser information, referrals, OS information, etc. which is used for statistics, research and development. If you have advertising, you may want to throw in that some information is used to customize your advertising methods to an individual.

4.Phase Four – Please be sure to explain you stand on COPPA and children using your forum. Please research the Child Privacy Protection Act if you plan to allow those that are under the age of 13 on your forum. If you don’t and something related to this goes wrong you can be charged with endangering a child and that can bring you fines and even jail time.

5.Phase Five – Write a section about the deletion of usernames, posts and other content and your rules on this sort of thing. If you do not delete username but are willing to change the name, be sure to include this in your privacy statement. You should also include information about how members can control their privacy on your forum whether it be by hiding profile/DOB information to ignoring people in the forum and in their PM. Provide and email or contact method for further assistance in privacy matters.

6.Phase Six – Explain where information is stored (i.e. Country) and hoe secure you community is and how private, private information will stay.

7.Phase Seven – Explain what members need to do to contact you about this policy and/or report violations. Provide reasonable contact information, forums and/or email addresses.

Information Links
1.COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection - COPPA Compliance