Reminder About Community Policies

Dec 28
AFib News Blog
Reminder About Community Policies

Posted by Mellanie at on December 28,  2016  11:43am EST


This is a reminder of our Community Policies and our Terms of Service. I’d like to emphasize two very important points.


Avoid Copyright Issues:


It is not OK to cut-and-paste or post material for which you do not own the copyright, and we reserve the right to remove anything posted that violates the copyright of another party. If you wish to share information from a journal article or web site (other than American Heart Association or, you must have specific permission from the copyright holder in order to copy-and-paste all or a significant portion of that information directly here. Thus, it is best to summarize it in your own words and post a link to it so that forum members can read it.


Refrain from Giving Medical Advice:


Our policy specifically states that users should refrain from suggesting treatment options for others because participants should only receive treatment options or medical advice from their personal physicians. 


Therefore, we ask that you provide support and encouragement to others, and encourage you to share resources and your own experiences. We ask that you state things in such a way that they are not mistaken for medical advice. Most afib patients are not doctors, and doctors who have afib tend not to be afib experts, so saying things with the certainty of a medical provider without providing a source for it can easily be misinterpreted by forum members as receiving medical advice. (And stating “I am not a doctor” doesn’t get you off the hook!)


How it is said may make more difference than what is said, so we ask that you frame your comments with care. Here is an example of how to reframe comments so that they are not construed as medical advice:


Instead of: My doctor says that is not a good medication, so you should tell your doctor to change you to ____ medication.” (Avoid “should”, “I suggest/recommend”, or any kind of directive language.)

You might try: “You might mention to your doctor that your medication makes you feel badly (or doesn’t seem to be working) and ask if there are other options to consider.”

Additionally, going hand-in-hand with giving medical advice is this guideline: Please don’t be a know-it-all — show off your insights, not your attitude.

Thank you for keeping these things in mind as you participate in the forum so that this is a valuable space for all to get support. Thank you for your contributions to helping each other.

  • evaf50
    Well stated, Mellanie.
  • cookieis
    seriously? such stringent rules and boundaries for an open forum of discussion? im so surprised at this post from you, it is only my opinion, but shouldnt we ' grown adults' be able to freely state our experiences here and being 'grown adults' , we should be capable of integrity as to what to post. this really bothers me, in that , it is as if you are trying to control what methods or ideas are being stated for the relief of heart issues. i understand plagerism, but this is not what is happening here, it is adult individuals speaking of their 'true' experiences with their issues and i personnally feel that it is important that we are allowed to receive that information and then decipher for ourselves what we wish to 'investigate' or research on our own. mind you, this is only my opinion. if i have mistakenly perceived your statements incorrectly, please correct me.
  • Mellanie at
    Mellanie at,
    Cookieis,Perhaps you misunderstood. We are absolutely not controlling what methods are used to treat afib. The point above was that it is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it, that makes the difference as to whether it is perceived by others as receiving medical advice. For example, when people speak with authority (you should take this drug, or you should never take that drug), they are giving what is in essence medical advice and thus questioning your doctor's recommendation for you personally. But, when they say "here was my good/bad experience with that treatment/med" or "you might want to ask about ____ treatment if your doctor hasn't mentioned it", they are sharing their experiences and not telling you what to do or dispensing medical advice. There is a huge difference in how these are said, but not what was said. When you go to some patient-run forums, you may see a free-for-all where information is not necessarily trustworthy and people are trying to sell you on their particular solution, regardless of whether it is a fit for you. But, if you go to most forums run by non-profit organizations, you will see similar guidelines to ours. It is not a case of not treating you as an adult; it is a case of avoiding undue influence from non-medical professionals about solutions they are pushing or things they believe are best for you without knowing your specific medical history. Perhaps you are not influenced by such things, but many people are. Every day, we hear of people who have stopped taking blood thinners WITHOUT consulting their doctors because of lawyer ads on TV. This kind of undue influence by non-doctors is absolutely unconscionable because it often leads to death from needless strokes. Mellanie
dark overlay when lightbox active