Community Standards for the Online Education Program

Community Standards

Creative Nonfiction is committed to creating a welcoming and comfortable experience for all staff and participants regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodiversity, physical appearance, ethnicity, nationality, race, age, or religion.

We expect that staff and participants will treat each other with respect in all interactions. We will not tolerate discrimination or harrassment in conjunction with any of our programs. Harassment could include but is not limited to:

  • Repeated disruption of classes, lectures or discussion
  • Deliberate intimidation
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Comments or displayed images that harmfully reinforce structures of oppression

Community posts violating any of these guidelines can and will be removed from the page at any time. Anyone asked to stop harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately.

Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or critique in good faith. Reading and writing, by their nature, include exposure to controversial, challenging, and sometimes offensive language. We encourage all participants to follow the peer review guidelines provided by their instructor.

When you join a course you agree to…

  • respect others and respect their writing;
  • maintain the privacy of all submitted work;
  • treat others with respect;
  • not infringe on anyone’s copyright;
  • not harass, abuse, threaten or impersonate another user; and
  • not use libelous, obscene, or abusive work.


Online Communication Guide

Online communication happens without the benefit of body language and tone. Therefore, it can be easy to misinterpret. The following tips may help participants engage in civil, intelligent, vigorous discourse without impugning the personal dignity of others:

  1. Start from a position of generosity (i.e. assume that people mean well)
  2. Address your post to someone or to the group. Instead of “Hey” or just jumping in to your post, try “Hi All” or “Hi [Name].”
  3.  Don’t be afraid to use emoticons and/or exclamation points! :)
  4. Please avoid ALL CAPS whenever possible, as they tend to come off as RUDE or YELLING.
  5. Avoid harsh or offensive language of any kind. If you’re in doubt, try rewording or reconsidering your post.
  6. Sarcasm is very difficult to convey in writing -- best to avoid it.
  7. When interacting with your peers, please consider that some may have limited experience with English, online education, and/or creative writing. It’s a good rule of thumb not to write anything you wouldn’t say if that person were standing in front of you.
  8. Often writers from underrepresented groups are asked to explain everything for an assumed monolithic audience (often cis/white/hetero/masculine/able-bodied, etc. etc.). As you respond to peers’ work, keep in mind that you may not be the writer’s intended audience, and leave room for the possibility that the writer is writing for a group of which you are not a member. (For more on this, listen to this episode of Code Switch for an in depth conversation.)

See your course for additional feedback guidelines provided by your instructor.


Please follow the links below for more information: