OMS Online Community Guidelines 

Overcoming MS is the world’s leading multiple sclerosis healthy lifestyle charity. We are unique in our whole person approach and practical evidence-based focus upon self-management of MS, formulated as a holistic program.

The OMS program addresses those lifestyle factors that are shown to influence MS progression the most, such as diet, sedentary living, stress and a lack of vitamin D. We provide extensive tailored information and support for people living with multiple sclerosis to help them make practical changes in their day-to-day lives. 

We commit to a supportive, accessible environment, responsive to the needs of people with MS and we are a welcoming, worldwide community of thousands of people who are living with MS.

We want everyone who uses our website to get the most from it, so we request that all users follow our guidelines containing agreed behaviours. This ensures we maintain a safe, positive and open space for our community to thrive and provide realistic hope for people with MS. We also ask that you agree to our terms of use. These groups are moderated by both the OMS team and volunteers. 

Thank you for joining OMS; a global community of supportive and positive people. 

Language  

Our choice of words can influence how others feel. Communicating online presents additional challenges; you don’t get to hear the tone of someone's voice or see the facial expressions and body language  of the person speaking. You may also be communicating with someone who you don’t know well, or someone who is not speaking in their native language. This means it is essential to think about what you are typing and how it may come across to others.  

Here are some key points to consider when speaking to others online:  

  • Use clear language to make it as accessible as possible for everyone - and avoid using jargon and acronyms.  
  • Use capitals sparingly, as it is considered shouting online, and makes posts harder to read.  
  • Aim to be solution-focused and offer suggestions rather than being critical.  
  • Speak in plain English (or your Circle’s native language) within your Circle.  
  • Please avoid using bad language or profanities as it may cause others to feel uncomfortable.  
  • We encourage the use of positive language.  
  • Please be respectful of equality and diversity.
  • Please remember not to use ableist language - this includes derogatory statements about wheelchairs and wheelchair users. These sorts of statements exclude others and are offensive. 

Privacy expectations 

Each individual will share their experiences at their own pace, so try to create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe to say as much or as little as they feel comfortable. We strongly encourage members to show respect to others.  

Anything of a personal nature that’s discussed within your Circle is to be kept strictly confidential. Revealing private information to others and sharing screenshots of comments will not be tolerated. Please try and avoid topics which are irrelevant and could cause controversy such as party-politics or religion.  

Respect individuals’ choice to keep an MS diagnosis private and make sure to get everyone’s consent before tagging them in social media posts, sharing photos or otherwise publicly revealing their association with OMS. 

OMS community values  

We share the desire to make positive lifestyle choices by adopting the OMS Program and living a better and healthier life with MS as a result.  

To join our online OMS Circle we expect you to have a genuine interest in adopting the OMS Program or be supporting someone else to do so.  

Agreed behaviours are the foundation of our online community, at OMS we are committed to:   

  • Be respectful and polite 
  • Agree to disagree 
  • Be transparent and honest 
  • Respect everyone’s right to choose for themselves 
  • Share opinions but don’t present them as facts 
  • Upholding OMS values

Health information  

Information from the OMS website may help inform your discussions and explore treatment options with your healthcare professionals. The information shared on the OMS website can support but should never replace the relationship between you and your doctor or other healthcare professionals. You should always consult your healthcare professional if considering changing your medication or treatment.  

Information found on the website pages about studies, medication and the like has been reviewed by OMS, however posts in the Forum and Circles have not, and is the responsibility of the post’s author.  

Promotions   

Overcoming MS is supportive of initiatives which benefit the OMS community, particularly those created by followers of the OMS program. We also have a duty of care to protect the community from promotional material, particularly when expense is involved. This is not a commercial marketplace so please don’t sell anything using this platform.  

We are not responsible for the quality of information contained within websites of other organisations therefore we discourage members to refer, promote or direct others to external websites. The exception is Government sites; official health sites such as NHS Choices (UK) or other trusted registered charity sites that meet information standards and are accredited.

 It is fine (and in fact encouraged) to share any personal blogs about your MS experiences. Please contact OMS (contact@overcomingms.org) if you want to promote a relevant academic study to the OMS community.  

Moderation  

The community is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Moderation occurs after posting and we therefore rely on your help to ensure posts comply with these guidelines.  Please contact your ambassador about any posts that you feel need to be reported.

Circles are moderated by OMS Ambassadors. Ambassadors approve requests to join the Circle and administer posts that do not fit with our terms of use if necessary. 

What should I do if someone isn’t following guidelines? 

If possible, start by politely pointing this out to the individual so they can edit or remove their post themselves. It could be that they aren’t aware of the community rules. The next step would be to speak to your Ambassador and after that, if it is a serious concern to click ‘report post’.  

Staying safe online 

Please keep communication transparent, by using the Overcoming MS platform, we can make sure that you are kept safe. If you choose to connect with others on Facebook or via email or other messaging platforms it is more difficult for OMS to safeguard your information.  

Follow basic online safety advice:

  • Don’t reveal personal information about you or your family to strangers including your address and bank details. 
  • Never reveal your passwords to others. Use a unique, secure password.
  • Make sure your devices and software are up to date. Log out if using a shared computer.  

To ensure our community continues to be a safe environment for all users any content that discusses or could potentially provoke harmful behaviour to self or others may be removed without notifying the poster. If moderators feel someone is at risk of immediate harm, or of harming others, then Overcoming MS will report concerns to the relevant outside agency. All information passed on will only be on a need to know basis. If you feel someone is in any immediate danger to themselves or others, then please alert your local emergency services. Once this has been done, please let us know.  

Safeguarding policy

Complaints policy

Thank you for joining