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How do I contact the Abuse team?

If you're having problems with another user, or believe that someone is violating the Terms of Service, you can make a report to the Blurty Abuse Team.

Before you make a report, though, there are some things that you should do first. The very first thing to do is to read through the rest of the frequently asked questions in this section of the FAQ. These FAQs will give you an idea of the kind of things that the Abuse team regularly deals with, and will help you to resolve situations on your own without involving the Abuse team.

After you've read through that, look through the Terms of Service [ http://www.blurty.com/legal/tos.bml ] and see whether or not the situation is actually a violation of the Terms of Service. If the ToS isn't being violated, the Abuse team won't get involved.

If after you do that, you would still like to file a request and have the Abuse team make an investigation, you will need to include the following:

* Your username
* The usernames of all other users involved
* URLs to SPECIFIC posts or comments where you feel that the ToS has been violated. The Abuse team WILL NOT investigate requests without this information.
* Any other proof that you would like to present.

Please note that the Abuse team will not consider comment notification emails, chat logs, system logs, or third party reports as evidence. Also note that the Abuse team doesn't accept requests on behalf of a third party. If your friend is being harassed, your friend will need to open a request under his or her own username.

Once you have gathered all the information and written a report, send it via the Support board (http://www.blurty.com/support/submit.bml) by opening up a request in the category Abuse while logged in under your username.

Your request will appear as a Support request. It will, however, only be visible to you and to members of the Abuse team.

You'll also get an email with a URL containing an authorization code that will allow you to view and comment on your Abuse request. It's very important that you don't share that URL with anyone. Don't post it anywhere, don't show it to your friends, and don't encourage people to use that URL to add their comments to your request. If you share that URL, your request is no longer secure and confidential. The Abuse team will close requests that are no longer secure, and you'll have to open another one.

Due to the high volume of requests and the fact that the Abuse team is composed of volunteers, it will take time for your request to be answered. Some requests are handled within days. Some others, especially the ones that require lots of investigation, may take several weeks. Please don't email the Abuse team again to ask about your request, as that will only add to the workload and delay your response further.

If you're interested in being considered for the Abuse team, please read the userinfo page of the Abuse community (http://www.blurty.com/userinfo.bml?user=abuse).

Last Updated:
asciident, 2002-12-18

Someone is harassing me! What steps should I take?

Harassment generally comes in two forms: harassing comments by another user posted in your own journal, and harassing posts about you in another user's journal. There are different steps to take for each type of harassment.

In either case, in order for the Abuse team to consider taking action, the harassment needs to be one-sided. The Abuse team will not mediate "flame wars" between two parties, and will not take action in cases where both users seem to be equally at fault.

The first thing to do is to review ToS ( http://www.blurty.com/legal/tos.bml ), which gives some guidelines about what Blurty doesn't allow.


HARASSING COMMENTS:
If someone is harassing you in comments to your own journal, the very first thing that you should do is ban them from commenting in your journal. See http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=34 for information on how to do this. If it's happening in a community, you'll need to contact the community maintainer to ban the user from commenting.

If the user then begins posting anonymously, you can either ban anonymous commenting from your journal [ http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=32 ], or set it so that anonymous users can only post "screened" comments, which means that you'll have to approve those comments first [ http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=29 ]. You should also enable Comment IP Logging for your journal [http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=31].

You can also make sensitive entries Friends-Only, which will block everyone from viewing them except the people on your Friends list.

Because there are tools to block users from commenting in your journal, the Abuse team generally won't take action in cases such as these. If you do feel the need to report them, however, be sure that you include links to all of the comments in question, and do not delete the comments until after the Abuse team has reviewed your case.

HARASSING JOURNAL ENTRIES:
If a user is posting journal entries that are intended solely to harass you, first ask yourself whether a casual viewer of that journal would have enough information available to identify you. Then, make sure that it's not just an one-time incident.

If the abuse is chronic and you think that the user is violating the Terms of Service, then make a report with the Abuse team. Be sure to include links to all pertinent entries in the user's journal. The Abuse team won't investigate these cases unless reports contain specific links to investigate.

To learn how to contact the Abuse team, see
http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=79

Last Updated:
bertho, 2003-06-25

I'm being attacked by an anonymous poster!

If someone is harassing you anonymously, there are a few steps that you can take. You can either ban anonymous commenting from your journal completely [http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=32 ], or set it so that anonymous users can only post "screened" comments, which means that you'll have to approve those comments in order for them to be visible to other users [http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=29 ].

You should also enable Comment IP Logging for your journal [ http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=31 ]. IP addresses aren't always helpful, but you'll need to have the user's IP address if you want to report the harassment to the user's Internet Service Provider.

Because there is no way to tie anonymous comments to Blurty usernames, the Abuse team will not act in cases of anonymous comment harassment. If you believe that you know who is harassing you, or would like to take action against whomever is harassing you, you will need to follow the steps given in http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=31 to track and report the anonymous user to his or her Internet provider. Be sure that when you do make a report, you let the Internet provider's abuse team know that the timestamps on all comments are in Pacific Standard Time (GMT -8).

Last Updated:
greentea, 2002-12-14

What kind of material is prohibited on Blurty?

We are firm believers in Free Speech. However, there is certain material that Blurty does not permit. Most prohibited content is either banned due to United States or international treaty law, or is not allowed in an effort to keep the service usable for all members.

This is not an exhaustive list. For a full listing of the Terms of Service, see http://www.Blurty.com/legal/tos.bml (particularly Section XVI: Member Conduct). The content of this FAQ is intended solely to illustrate some common examples of what are considered to be Terms of Service violations.

Comments, entries, journals and posts not permitted on Blurty include but are not limited to:

* Content created solely to harass another user
* Material that invades the privacy of another user by posting personal information
* Material that meets the United States legal definition of "obscene"
* Instructions on how to break the law
* Child pornography (explicit, nude, or erotic pictures taken of anyone under the age of 18)
* Material that infringes on the copyright or patent of an individual or company
* Unsolicited advertising of any service, goods, or forum (including Blurty communities)
* Content intended to interfere with another user's use of the site
* Content that is motivated by hatred towards an individual, race, ethnicity, or orientation
* Any other material that is a violation of applicable U.S. state or federal law

If you find certain content objectionable, but it is not a violation of the Terms of Service, the Abuse team will not take action. For instance, a comment posted in the middle of a debate that contains opinions you personally find distasteful, but which is not harassing, obscene, or libelous, would not be a violation of the Terms of Service. We believe strongly in the concept of Free Speech being the foundation of a Free society.

For more information on what to do if someone is harassing you, see the FAQ "Someone is harassing me. What steps should I take?" [ http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=80 ].

To learn how to contact the Abuse team to report violations of the Terms of Service, see http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=79 .

Last Updated:
greentea, 2002-12-14

I'm being stalked! What should I do?

You should immediately contact your local authorities if someone is stalking you. Blurty volunteers and administrators can't secure your real-world safety, and if you believe that you're in danger, your local authorities are the only ones who can help you.

Once you've reported the situation to your local authorities, Blurty will do whatever possible to cooperate with the investigation. We can't provide IP addresses for all users who use the service, but under some limited circumstances, we may be able to track future action. This information will only be gathered and released only upon court order.

If the stalking is taking the form of online harassment, see the FAQ "Someone is harassing me! What steps should I take?" [ http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=80 ]

To learn how to contact the Abuse team to report violations of the Terms of Service, see http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=79 .

Last Updated:
greentea, 2002-12-14

Someone on Blurty is infringing on my copyright. What should I do?

If someone on Blurty is infringing upon your copyright, you may make a report through the Abuse team, which is the designated recipient of copyright complaints under the provisions set forth in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. 512(c). Complaints should follow the normal Abuse team contact procedures, which can be found at the end of this document.

Reports of infringement must include, by United States law, the following:

* An electronic signature (your full legal name) of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder;

* Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, in the form of the original URL of the image or work being infringed upon;

* Identification of the material that is infringing upon your copyright, with reasonable information for Blurty to locate the image (you must include the username of the person who is infringing upon your copyright, and links to the allegedly infringing material)

* Information reasonably sufficient for Blurty to contact you (a valid email address);

* A statement that you in good faith believe that the material is not authorized for use in such a manner;

* And finally, a statement, made under penalty of perjury, that the information given is accurate and you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright holder.

Failure to include any of the above information, or failure to provide enough information for Blurty volunteers to identify the violation, will seriously delay if not prevent your request being handled.

If you cannot make the above claims, your complaint is most likely not valid, and the Abuse team will not handle it. In particular, you do not hold the copyright to icons or photographs of celebrities or any icon made out of other copyrighted artwork, unless you are the copyright holder of the source image. Even if you have altered the image, the copyright still belongs to the original copyright holder, and you cannot file a notification.

Once you have filed this notification with Blurty, the person who is allegedly infringing upon your copyright has an opportunity to file a counter-notification disputing your right to claim copyright on the material.

To learn how to contact the Abuse team to file a report of infringement, see http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=79 .

Last Updated:
greentea, 2002-12-14

Someone broke into my Blurty account!

If someone broke into your account and changed your password, you can still usually reclaim control of your journal. You need access to an email account that you had previously validated for your Blurty account.

If your email address has also been broken into, you will have to solve that problem before dealing with getting your stolen Blurty account back. Security of users' own email accounts is beyond Blurty's responsibility and ability, and you may wish to talk to whoever is hosting your email account.

Your Blurty account's security is based upon your email account's security. If you believe that your email account is secure, but are not positive, you should always change your email account password before changing your Blurty password.

If someone broke into your account, first go to

http://www.blurty.com/tools/emailmanage.bml

and check whether there are any unfamiliar email addresses there. If your email address hasn't been changed, immediately change first your email account password, and then your Blurty password. Your account is now as secure as you can make it.

If someone broke into your account and changed your email address, change your email account password and then change the email on your Blurty account to the one you had previously used to validate with . Re-validate your email address, and then visit

http://www.blurty.com/tools/emailmanage.bml

to remove the intruder's address from your account's status history. NOTE: You will need to re-validate an older email address before you can delete a more recent address, so in order to get rid of the intruder's email address, you'll need to re-validate your own old email address -- not a new one.

Assuming you have access to your email account and it is secure, follow these steps to reclaim your journal:

            1. Go to http://www.blurty.com/lostinfo.bml .

            2. Insert your username and email account and ask it to send you the current password.

            3. Use that password to log into the account and check your Personal Information at http://www.blurty.com/editinfo.bml .

            4. Follow the steps above to see what you need to do if your email address has been changed.

            5. Change the password for the account, at http://www.blurty.com/changepassword.bml .

If proper precautions are taken, your account security will never be compromised in the first place. Users are responsible for the security of their own accounts. Preventing any journal break-ins is by far the BEST way to ensure your Blurty remains secure.

For more information on password security, please see

http://www.blurty.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=8

Last Updated:
greentea, 2002-12-14

My account has been suspended! How can I get it back?

In most cases, account suspensions are used by the Abuse team as a last resort. However, accounts suspended for violating Blurty's age policy (see http://www.blurty.com/legal/tos.bml), especially those that violate COPPA (http://www.blurty.com/legal/coppa.bml) will be suspended with minimal notification and cannot be reinstated.

In most cases, the Abuse team only suspends journals when we cannot work with the user to resolve a violation of the Terms of Service. (Immediate suspensions are done for certain reasons, including but not limited to Denial of Service attacks, account break-ins, and journals created solely to abuse.)

If your journal has been suspended, you should check your email to see if you've received a warning or an explanation, or view this entry (http://www.blurty.com/talkread.bml?journal=abuse&itemid=198819) from the abuse community to see if you can figure out why you were suspended. If you haven't, or if you have questions, open a request by going to the support area (http://www.blurty.com/support/submit.bml) and selecting the "Abuse" category. Be sure to include your username. The Abuse team will respond as quickly as possible, though in some cases it may be several days. Please do not open up multiple requests, as this will only serve to delay the process.

In some cases, suspended journals will not be reinstated. These cases include but are not limited to journals created solely for abuse, journals belonging to users with an extensive history of abuse, journals created to circumvent directives of the Abuse team, and journals belonging to users under the age of 18.

Last Updated:
bertho, 2003-11-14

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