Rules and Etiquette

The ACR’s professional online communities exist as a forum for our members to share ideas, thoughts, and experiences pertaining to the field of rheumatology and related issues. As the host of these online member communities, the ACR is committed to creating a positive and beneficial experience for all. These communities do not exist to foster attacks against others or the College. Any attacks, personal criticisms, or threats are outside of the defined purpose for the ACR’s online community and will not be tolerated.

By joining and participating in these online member communities, you acknowledge that you have read, understand, and agree to follow the rules and etiquette guidelines that have been established. You also acknowledge that you have read and understand the disclaimer and general information below.


Stay on topic. Good contributions help the entire community by providing relevant, insightful information or asking important questions. Do not post inappropriate or unrelated content, including inappropriate jokes, humorous stories, or “pass-around” emails. Personal exchanges/conversations between individuals should take place outside of the online member community.

Be discreet. Do not discuss monetary amounts of reimbursement for procedures or medications and do not use any patient identifiable information.

Maintain professional behavior. Keep it clean, keep it friendly. Every post should make a positive contribution. The community is open to all points of view on the intended topics; mature, polite debate is encouraged. Attacks or cyber-bullying will not be tolerated. The communities are meant to stimulate conversation and trigger the exchange of best practices, not to create contention. Contradictory opinions are of course welcomed, but should always be thoughtful and respectful, rather than emotional, impulsive, or anger-driven.

Avoid any activity that could be construed as a violation of the antitrust laws. The ACR’s policy is to scrupulously comply with all antitrust laws and to prohibit any activity that facilitates price fixing, boycotts, or any other conduct intended to restrict free trade. Do not post any material that:

  • Discusses prices, discounts, terms or conditions of sale with regard to medical services, suppliers, or other vendors or terms and conditions of provider agreements relating to reimbursement levels, bonus payments, and other price or cost-related items
  • Addresses salaries or terms of employment
  • Attempts to allocate patient markets or encourage collective or coercive activity, including rejection or termination, with regard to third party payors, hospitals, other health care providers, or suppliers
  • Includes information that could otherwise be construed to impose a restraint on trade and inhibit free and fair competition

Do not post commercial messages or marketing information of any kind. ACR online communities may not be used by subscribers to distribute marketing, advertising, promotional, or any similar content. Any such messaging will be considered a violation of the online member community rules and will generate action described in the disclaimer and general information below. Individuals wishing to share commercial resources, services, contact information, or related information must do so outside of the online member community through one-on-one member contact.

Job postings are prohibited. Job postings are not permitted and should be channeled through ACR CareerConnection.

Submit only your own, original content. Help us maintain the community's integrity and observe the intellectual property rights of others by only submitting content you have personally written or else used with permission and properly attributed. The community should not be used to distribute unauthorized copies of any copyrighted material.


Make your subject line concise, accurate, and specific. This makes it easier for people to respond appropriately. Remember your readers and try to follow standard email etiquette. Also, when replying, make sure your response is listed at the top of the original email.

Send a personal message to the individual sender if the email will only relate to the original sender. This includes such messages as “thanks” and “send the information to me too.”

Use the right channels for questions and complaints. ACR online communities are not the appropriate platforms to resolve personal issues or start disputes against any member or organization. Questions regarding ACR resources, opportunities, and services for practices and ACR/ARP members should be directed to the appropriate contact as found in our online member directory. Send all messages that directly relate to the functioning of the online member community to the community administrator.

Spam and Phishing Alert

On occasion, you may receive an unwanted email from a disreputable source misrepresenting itself as the ACR. Please see our general guidelines below regarding this type of spam.

  • If you receive a suspicious email, be sure not to select any links or downloads in the message and do not reply to the email.
  • It is often very difficult to tell for sure since the scammers adjust their tactics. So, if you have the slightest doubt it is best to err on the side of caution.
  • Note that phishing emails can also lure you to open suspicious attachments or visit websites that can infect your computer with malware.

There are many telltale signs of a fraudulent email:

  • False Sense of Urgency – Many scam emails tell you that your account will be in jeopardy if something critical is not updated right away.
  • Fake Links – These may look real, but they can lead you astray. Check where a link is going before you click by hovering over the URL in an email and comparing it to the URL in the browser. If it looks suspicious, don't click.
  • Attachments – Attachments can contain malware, so you should never open an attachment unless you are 100% sure it's legitimate.


Disclaimer and General Information

The ACR reserves the right to take immediate action based on any post that we feel violates the rules of conduct outlined above. Such action includes, but is not limited to, issuing warnings, suspending accounts, and terminating accounts.

The ACR online member community is provided as a benefit to members of the ACR and ARP to communicate and exchange ideas regarding topics of importance to the field of rheumatology. The ACR and ARP are not responsible for the opinions and information posted on the online community groups. The ACR does not guarantee the accuracy or adequacy of any opinion expressed on the groups. Accordingly, the ACR does not assume any liability for damages due to reliance on any information contained in messages on the groups.

The ACR does not actively monitor the online community for inappropriate posts. If a member believes that a post is defamatory, abusive, threatening, profane, offensive, or illegal, the member should contact the ACR commmunity administrator immediately. The ACR will, in its sole discretion, take appropriate action to stop further inappropriate posts as the ACR is notified. ACR reserves the right to moderate, temporarily suspend, or terminate any user who does not abide by the guidelines and rules listed above at any time without providing prior warning to the user.

A member who does not abide by the online community rules will be contacted by ACR staff or the appropriate volunteer in writing and reminded of the rules and the action the ACR will take if he/she continues to not abide by the rules.

If the member continues to violate the rules, he/she will be moderated on all ACR groups for six months and notified of his/her moderation status by ACR staff or the appropriate volunteer in writing. Moderation means that his/her posts to the online community will be reviewed by ACR staff prior to posting.

If the member continues to violate the rules after his/her moderation status is over, he/she will be suspended from participating in ACR groups for one year and notified of this action in writing. If the member continues to break the rules after the one year suspension period is over, he/she will be terminated from participation in all ACR online community.

Google Groups
The ACR online member community is powered by Google Groups. Google Groups is a third party platform available to the public for online communications. The College is not affiliated with Google Groups nor does it have any control or influence over the platform itself, its design, function, or security. As such, the College is not liable for any technical issues that may occur nor are we able to provide technical support for these groups.

The ACR may modify this information at any time, and your continued use of the online community signifies your agreement to such modified terms. If you are victim of, or witness to inappropriate content in any of the ACR online community discussion threads, please notify ACR immediately by emailing us.

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