The Club - Policies

Social Network

These are the official guidelines for social media at BIRFC Ltd. If you're an Ironsides Coach, Manager, representative or Player contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media both on and off—these guidelines are for you.

We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of BIRFC Ltd to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put the Club, its volunteers and especially vulnerable members at risk. These guidelines will continually evolve as new technologies and social networking tools emerge—so check back once in awhile to make sure you're up to date.

The Club embraces social media; it is a useful tool and if leveraged correctly can create positive side affects such as:
  • Improving communication amongst playing groups and the Club at large
  • Sharing the club experience with other members near and far
  • Increasing participation in the Club
  • Promoting awareness and aiding recruitment

This policy relates to use of the Ironsides Rugby Club Website (, Facebook ( and Twitter (

At all times, the terms and conditions of the social network must be followed. In terms of age, the minimum age for users of the endorsed social networks is as follows:
  • Facebook – 13 years of age or older
Therefore the Club endorses the U14s as the minimum age group who are permitted to use a social networking site for team communication.

When a Facebook user reaches adulthood (18 years and older) the Facebook privacy policy changes and certain capabilities within the social network change.
  • You can now communicate with anyone on Facebook
  • Any person can add a tag of you to their posts
  • If someone adds a tag of you in a post and shares with Public, then that tag of you will be visible to everyone
  • You have the option to be contacted by everyone via the Public setting
Example: If a minor chooses to share his hometown with Public, his hometown only displays to friends of friends. When he reaches legal adulthood, his hometown becomes available to everyone on the internet.

Promoting in Facebook
Facebook provides 2 methods of promoting organisations.
  1. Pages allow real organizations, businesses, celebrities and brands to communicate broadly with people who like them. Pages may only be created and managed by official representatives.
  2. Groups provide a closed space for small groups of people to communicate about shared interests. Groups can be created by anyone.
BIRFC Ltd only endorses the use of Facebook “Closed Groups”.

Facebook Page information and posts are public and generally available to everyone on Facebook. Audience: Anyone can like a Page to become connected with it and get News Feed updates. There is no limit to how many people can like a Page.

Using Facebook pages does not afford administrators to control or restrict the viewing of content or posts.

Facebook Groups provide a degree of control over the individuals who can be affiliated to the group. When you create a group, you can completely control its privacy. There are three different access levels:
  • Open: For Open groups, everyone on Facebook can view the group and join. The group will appear in search results and all content (e.g., photos, videos and discussions) is visible to anyone viewing the group.
  • Closed: For Closed groups, everyone on Facebook can see the name and members of the group, but only group members can view content in the group. Unless you're added to the group by another member, you'll need to ask to join when viewing the group. You'll become a member when your request is approved.
  • Secret: These groups cannot be found in searches, and non-members can’t see anything about the group, including its name and membership list. The name of the group will not display on the profiles of members. To join a secret group, you need to be added by a member of the group.
Any Club related Facebook group must have the privacy setting of “closed”. Additionally, only administrators should be allowed to accept or reject joining requests.

In a closed, administrator controlled group, group members must be approved or added by the administrator(s) of the group. When a group reaches a certain size (250+), some features are limited. The most useful groups tend to be the ones you create with small groups of people you know.

Communication in groups, members receive notifications by default when any member posts in the group. Group members can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on group docs, and invite all members to group events

Admin Responsibilities

At all times, the Manager of a year group shall administer and maintain the Facebook Group.

Administrator tasks include:
  • Setting up the Group for his/her age group
    • Setting up the Facebook Group should only need to occur once. Groups can be established for each Ironsides age group from under 14’s and above.
  • Describing and naming the group
    • The description of the group should include a clear definition of what the group is as well as what and who it is for
    • The name of the group should contain the age group it is intended for, eg: “Ironsides Under 15’s”
    • At the beginning of each season the name should be updated to reflect the advancement of the age group.
  • Managing additional administrators
    • Where appropriate, the administrator can add additional group administrators. These administrators should be limited to other coaches or managers of that age group.
    • Every group created must include the BIRFC Ltd Safeguarding officer as an administrator.
  • Correctly setting the privacy controls
    • Closed Group
    • Only Admins can allow Members to join
  • Allowing / disallowing members to join the group
    • As requests to the group are made, it is the responsibility of the administrator(s) to vet and process each request.
    • Access to the group should be restricted to active members of that age group and other parties with a vested interest in that year group, such as relevant committee members and parents.
    • Every effort should be made to identify the individual making the group membership request. If the administrator or the section membership secretary cannot identify the originator of the request, then membership to the group should be denied until the identity can be verified.
    • Users admitted to the group erroneously, should be removed as soon as the error discovered or the administrator is notified of the error.
  • Moderating content
    • Any group posting, comment, event, document or photographs deemed inappropriate or unrelated to the group should be removed by the administrator(s) as soon as practically possible.
    • Guidelines for inappropriate content is listed in the following section.

Linkage is the promotion or display of connecting URLs (universal resource locators) a.k.a “links” from one website to another.

Examples of linkage: 
  • Links to the Ironsides Rugby web site can easily be positioned and displayed on 3rd party sites like Facebook by any user or Facebook page / group administrator.
  •  Links to 3rd party sites like Facebook can easily be positioned and displayed on the Ironsides Rugby website by any coach or manager who has administrative access.
Administrators of the Ironsides Rugby website and social network groups or pages may provide linkage to or from the Club site in the following circumstances
  1. From within the closed group to the club site generally and the relevant members area specifically
  2. From the relevant members area to the closed Facebook age group

The reasons for this are two fold:
  1. Password security and group membership remain in place and will prevent individuals who are not members of either a closed Facebook page or the members area from accessing content inappropriately
  2. Linking to relevant and associated sites will increase traffic to the Club site. The Club should recognise the role that Facebook plays in young people’s lives and leverage that to make the Club website as important and relevant to them in their rugby activities.

Guidelines for posting Content
Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. Use your real name, identify that you represent Ironsides, and be clear about your role at the club. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. Transparency is about your identity and relationship to the Club. You still need to keep confidentiality around sensitive information, members’ privacy and content.

Be judicious. Make sure your efforts to be transparent don't violate the standard social network’s privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines. Ask permission to publish or post information or conversations that are meant to be private or internal to the Club. All statements must be true and not misleading and all claims must be substantiated and approved. Statements pertaining to Club policy must be approved for external posting by the appropriate committee member. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters or junior members. If you want to write about opposition clubs, officials or referees, make sure you know what you are talking about, that you do not slander, inflame or use derogatory language or reference. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully.

Write what you know. Make sure you write and post about your areas of expertise, especially as related to rules of the Club, Laws of the game. Always write in the first person. If you publish to a website outside of the Club, please use a disclaimer something like this: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent Ironsides positions, strategies, or opinions." Also, please respect the Ironsides brand and logo. Remember, you may be personally responsible for your content.

Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Ironsides affiliate, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about the Club by the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and committee. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Ironsides values and ethical standards.

It's a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people in personal situations. In other words, avoid overly pedantic or "composed" language. Don't be afraid to bring in your own personality and say what's on your mind. Consider content that's open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. You can also broaden the conversation by citing others who are posting about the same topic and allowing your content to be shared or syndicated.

Are you adding value? There are millions of words out there. The best way to get yours read is to write things that people will value. Social communication from Ironsides should help our members, partners, and volunteers. It should be thought provoking and build a sense of community. If it helps people improve knowledge or skills, build their abilities, do their jobs, solve problems, or understand Ironsides better—then it's adding value.

Your Responsibility: What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of Ironsides is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect. Please know and follow the RFU Code of Rugby. Failure to abide by the Code of Rugby could put your participation at risk. At all times, follow the terms and conditions for any third-party sites.

Create some excitement. As a club and as a community citizen, Ironsides is making important contributions to society, to the future of our game, and to public dialogue. Our Club activities are increasingly focused on quality, high-value and participation. Let's share with the world the exciting things we're learning and doing—and open up the channels to learn from others.

Be a Leader. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Do not denigrate fellow Clubs or our own. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics—like politics or religion—slide more easily into sensitive territory. So be careful and considerate. Once the words are out there, you can't really get them back. And once an inflammatory discussion gets going, it's hard to stop.

Did you screw up? If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you're posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.

If it gives you pause, pause. If you're about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, don't shrug it off and hit 'send.' Take a minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out what's bothering you, then fix it. If you're still unsure, you might want to discuss it with your fellow peers or a committee representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours—as is the responsibility. So be sure.

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