Outlines of a man and woman speaking with word bubbles, one of which has the OTW logo and the other which says 'OTW Announcement

Proposed change to the terms of service: change how abuse reports are submitted

Our hard-working, all-volunteer Abuse team has asked for a change in how abuse reports are submitted. Based on the past seven years’ experience, it has determined that anonymous complaints are unhelpful and highly burdensome. First, the majority of anonymous reports are duplicates. Second, a large number of anonymous reports have, in the past, been rejected, but we have no way to contact the reporters to explain what is and is not a violation of the Terms of Service. Finally, many anonymous reports do not include the necessary information, which means Abuse closes them without investigating since there is nothing else it can do—the team can’t follow up to get more information. We realize some people may not feel comfortable reporting things under their own name. However, reports may still be made using a throwaway or dedicated email account, as long as there is a way to contact the person making the complaint.

Current text:

1. Submitting a complaint

Complaints may be submitted to our abuse team. Except in the case of copyright complaints, a complainant may submit a complaint via the web form, which does not require identifying information. Depending on the nature of the complaint, however, anonymity may hinder our ability to verify the complaint or affect the credibility of the complaint. In order for the abuse team to follow up on any allegation, the exact location (URL) and nature of the alleged violation must be supplied in the original complaint. Repeated unverified abuse complaints from the same source may be subject to summary rejection.

2. Treatment and investigation of complaints

Only people who need to know about a complaint will be informed about it. The details of any individual complaint are confidential and must be used only in resolving that complaint.
The subject of a complaint may also be among those who need to know about it. Only information provided in the complaint will be passed on. The complainant has complete control over what information is submitted to Abuse, and can submit the complaint anonymously. (Legal names and other information sufficient to identify a person in the physical world will never be disclosed as part of a standard abuse complaint. For further clarification, please refer to our privacy policy.)

Proposed text:

1. Submitting a complaint

Complaints may be submitted to our abuse team. Except in the case of copyright complaints, a complainant may submit a complaint via the web form, which does not require identifying information. Depending on the nature of the complaint, however, anonymity may hinder our ability to verify the complaint or affect the credibility of the complaint. In order for the abuse team to follow up on any allegation, the exact location (URL) and nature of the alleged violation must be supplied in the original complaint. Repeated unverified abuse complaints from the same source may be subject to summary rejection.

2. Treatment and investigation of complaints

Only people who need to know about a complaint will be informed about it. The details of any individual complaint are confidential and must be used only in resolving that complaint.
The subject of a complaint may also be among those who need to know about it. Only information provided in the complaint will be passed on. The complainant has complete control over what information is submitted to Abuse, and can submit the complaint anonymously. (Legal names and other information sufficient to identify a person in the physical world will never be disclosed as part of a standard abuse non-copyright complaint. For further clarification, please refer to our privacy policy.) Except in the case of copyright complaints, the name and contact information provided by the complainant will not be disclosed to the user.