AED Community Standards


Status of document

Date of Review: September 26, 2018

Proposed by: Marisol Perez

Final version approved by the AED Board: January 15, 2018

Valid until amended.

Next review:  January 2021 (three years)

1) Online Community
a) Purpose
To provide protected means of communication for AED members

b) Overview
i)    The AED online community is primarily a private social network and contains the following features: a general discussion forum, a referral network, a member directory, and virtual collaborative spaces for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and committees. Some features are available to the public (e.g., the referral network). The collaborative group spaces include the following features: SIG/Committee-specific discussion forums, collaborative file storage, and the ability to communicate via email within the community to specific groups. The AED staff periodically provides member lists for the SIGs, and any other information requested.

ii)    The general discussion forum is open to all current members of the AED. Members can control their notification preferences for posts to this forum in their online community profile. They may receive instant email notifications, daily or weekly digest email notifications, or no notifications at all. Notification preferences are unrelated to one’s ability to make a post to the forum.

iii)    SIG and Committee collaborative spaces are open to those members belonging to those SIGs and committees. Any member may join a SIG at any time by updating their AED Membership profile on Members should contact staff to be removed from a SIG. While any member can view SIG pages, only SIG members can contribute material and engage in discussions. Access to committee spaces is managed by AED staff who update permissions as members join and leave committees.

c) Thus, there are multiple discussion areas within the AED Community; each is meant to serve a different purpose dictated by its participants and audience.

d) The general discussion forum should be used to
i)     request information regarding referrals around the world when not available in the Find An Expert feature of AED,
ii)    share important news regarding eating disorders, and
iii)   in general, exchange information relevant to eating disorder treatment, research, prevention, and advocacy among members.

e) In order to facilitate efficient and effective communication among members, appropriate categories for posts should be selected that describe what the post contains (e.g., referral request). Members can select email notification preferences for each category individually, tailoring the content about which they are regularly updated.

f) The SIG and committee discussion forums should be used for the discussion of topics relevant to those specific causes and audiences. SIG members should keep in mind that their discussions within the SIG private working space are viewable by any member of that SIG. Committee discussions are also viewable only to those currently granted access (i.e., current committee members and administrators).

g) Rules for Discussion Forum Behavior
i)      All posts are the sole responsibility of the sender and do not reflect the opinion of AED. Posts are not prescreened (i.e., it is an unmoderated discussion forum). However, the online community is monitored to ensure adherence to AED policy (see below), and any member may flag a post as “objectionable,” which will prompt its review.
ii)     It is up to AED members to use best practice and professionalism when posting. Conversations should be professional and respectful.
iii)    Responses to requests for referrals or recommendations for treatment centers should be sent back-channel (i.e., sent directly to the individual who requested the information rather than posted to the forum). This reduces email notifications to other members who did not request the information.

h) The following are not permitted and will be considered misuse of the Community:
i)      Promotion/advertisement for treatment centers, treatment providers, treatments that one has a commercial interest in or commercial publications (e.g. books) or conferences; this includes notifications for events or products offered by for-profit entities.  For-profit agencies looking to advertise educational events or conferences should contact AED directly to discuss possible options for advertisement on the AED website
ii)     Profanity, personal attacks or inflammatory remarks
iii)    Posting of identifiable patient information
iv)    Content including political, religious and commercial material (an exception can be made for political content that directly affects association interests, e.g., bills before legislative bodies around the world)
v)     Information about specific charges or fees for services
vi)    Job postings (excluding un-paid training positions), which should be directed to AED’s Career Center
vii)   Advertisements for office space rentals or inquiries seeking office space
viii)  Advertisements for events, products, or services offered by for-profit entities

i) The following types of posts need prior approval by the AED Electronic Media Committee to be posted:
i)     Announcements regarding not-for-profit conferences.  Please be aware that AED may require documentation of the not-for-profit status.
ii)    Announcements regarding research studies

j) The following types of posts are never allowed on AED virtual presence mediums (i.e., website, Facebook, email, etc.)
i)    Solicitations for donations that do not directly support AED and/or its mission
ii)    AED reserves the right to decline to post or support other requests from members and non-members it deems inappropriate.

k) AED Community Oversight
i)     Posts are subject to review by the Electronic Media Committee (EMC). Posts that are in violation of this policy will be deleted as soon as AED Headquarters or the Electronic Media Committee become aware of the material, and violators will be notified with a warning. Members who violate these rules will receive up to three warnings from the AED and will be automatically suspended from the Community for a period of 6 months after three violations. Depending on the violation, removal may occur immediately and is based on a case-by-case assessment by the EMC, in consultation with the Director of Online & Social Media Portfolio Holder, the AED staff, and the Executive Committee. AED reserves the right to permanently remove members from, or reinstate members to the Community, based on the merits of each individual circumstance.
ii)    It is not permissible to send derogatory or offensive messages to a member back-channel (whether through the community or any other means) in response to a post on the Community. Violations may be followed by suspension from the Community.

l) Confidentiality of AED Community Material
i)    The AED online community is confidential, and accessible only by current AED members. It is in violation of AED policy to forward any post or information from the online community to any person or entity outside of the Community (e.g., personal or professional blogs, social networking websites) without the express written permission of the AED. AED acknowledges that educational information gleaned from online community discussions may be used by its members in further communication with colleagues and/or patients. This should be conducted in the spirit of the online community’s mission: “the exchange of information relevant to eating disorder treatment, research, prevention, and advocacy among members.”

2) Website
a) Purpose
The AED website ( is the principal online representation of AED.
i)     Oversight: Taken in tandem with #1, all major design suggestions for changes to AED’s web presence should go directly to staff who should consult with the EMC before implementing (i.e., going live). This excludes corrections of errors and regular updates/editions (e.g., updating the webpage listing current committee members; adding the latest press release documents, and minor adjustments to improve navigation and usability). The EMC will be tasked with maintaining order, coherency, and consistency with AED’s mission on the website and online community. The EMC will also continue to enforce the policy governing member behavior in the online community, and they will take responsibility for holding other AED committees, task forces, and other bodies accountable for updating web content relating to their work when necessary.
ii)    Testing: The Primary role of the EMC is to monitor the website and test new features/functionality. The committee serves as a focus/testing group of AED members, before new features or systems such as search features, mobile apps, or other functions that become available are released system wide.

b) Maintenance
The AED website is maintained by the AED Staff with the oversight of the Electronic Media Committee, and the assistance of many other AED committees. The staff has responsibility for collecting and reviewing requests for proposals, making recommendations for new features, capabilities, and implementing changes to the website and online community. The Electronic Media Committee can also make suggestions for updates, new features, and other needs they may identify to the AED Board of Directors via the Director of Online & Social Media Portfolio Holder.

c) Use of Online Material
The content on the AED website, as well as written materials (e.g., Medical Care Task Force Guidelines) are the copyrighted property of AED. Some pages may be explicitly marked for permitted download as the viewer wishes. Anyone wishing to use other material, that is, material not specifically marked for download in any format (reprinting, photocopying, etc.) for any purpose is required to obtain permission to do so from the AED staff with a written request sent to Materials that are used cannot be altered in any way. Once permission is granted, any material used requires a full credit citation listing the AED as the source where appropriate. This listing should indicate that the material is copyrighted by and reprinted with permission from AED in the following way:
“This material is copyrighted and reprinted with permission from the Academy for Eating Disorders.”

d) The AED website also hosts videos or links to videos that in general are meant to be educational. Those videos are copyrighted and are not to be copied or reproduced without written permission.

e) The AED website includes the AED Events Calendar. This calendar is dedicated to events that relate to primarily eating disorder education and professional training offered by nonprofit organizations that are represented within the AED membership. Submission of events is accomplished by following this link:

f) With each update and revision of the AED website there will be added functionality and interactive content. New policies will be developed with each website revision and may be in place even prior to making the content live on the website.

3) Social Media Outlets

a) Purpose
With increasingly online-oriented social interactions, AED uses social media outlets to promote its mission and distribute information to eating disorder professionals and the public.

b) Social Media Outlet Oversight and Maintenance
The Social Media Committee (SMC) is in charge of identifying information from various sources that is appropriate to post on sites such as: Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, and the AED Community. The Committee works closely with AED staff and the Advocacy and Communications Committee (ACC) to facilitate the propagation of information and considers information provided by all AED entities.

The Social Media Committee is responsible for engaging our membership with pertinent material much the way they already engage members over other platforms and the public broadly.

c) Procedures
The AED Social Media Committee is responsible for scheduling posts and content on behalf of AED on the official AED social media outlets such Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. All AED members and committees are encouraged to provide the Social Media Committee with topics to post.
i)     All press releases issued by AED will be posted on the AED website, and via all AED social media platforms as soon as possible after their official release to the press.
ii)    When committees and other AED bodies wish to use social media to distribute information, the chair(s) of that body will to formulate an agreed upon plan, which will then be communicated back to each body respectively.
iii)    If the Social Media Committee feels it is important to post an item regarding a controversial topic, they may do so. However, in some instances responses by the members and general public may require assistance from the Social Media Committee, Director of Online & Social Media Portfolio Holder, AED staff, and/or the Board of Directors, depending on the circumstances.
d)    Day-to-day posting and sharing of content should be accomplished using best practices and guided by the AED’s mission.
e)    In some cases, the Social Media Committee may cross-post onto the discussion forum in the AED Community to specifically target the membership with messaging.

4) Advertising on the AED Website and Online Community

a) Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to outline the process for accepting and maintaining postings on the Academy for Eating Disorders website and in the online community including: advertisements for research studies, conferences sponsored by other organizations, links to other websites, and other postings by both non-profit organizations, partners, chapters, and affiliates, as well as for-profit entities. The AED staff is responsible for setting advertising prices based on current market conditions and best practices.

b) Job Postings
i)     Advertisements for open job positions which provide a salary of any kind are to be submitted to the AED Career Center, and are subject to fees. Similarly, the AED Career Center is available to individuals seeking employment opportunities. .
ii)    An exception is job postings for trainee positions (e.g., post-docs). They are free for AED members to post. Submit such posting requests to

c) Research Study Recruitment
i)     Research study recruitment is free on the AED Community for members and non-profit organizations. However, non-members and members associated with a for-profit entity are subjected to paying a fee to AED for this service. Submit such posting requests to
ii)    All requests must be approved by AED's Electronic Media Committee (Forward all necessary information to Studies must have direct relevance to eating and/or weight-related disorders.
iii)    All requests for research recruitment advertisement must be accompanied by IRB (human subjects or ethics committee) approval, study abstract, author list (which must include an Academy member), and the proposed text of the posting.
iv)    Postings are free of charge for AED members and non-profit organizations that are partners, chapters, affiliates, or friends of AED, and $75 for non-members and for-profit entities. Postings will also be placed on the website where they remain for 6 months.
v)    Upon approval, the member advertising his/her study should make the post on the Community personally. This post has to be started with “***This message was approved for posting by the AED Electronic Media Committee***”. AED staff will post the information on the appropriate AED website page.

d) Announcements about Treatment Centers
AED accepts advertising for announcements from for-profit entities, including treatment centers. Ads may be placed on the AED website, in the online community, and in the Forum newsletter. Advertising rates can be obtained by contacting