Misconduct Rules and Penalties

Members of Trusted Origins and its Communities of Trust commit to honest and civil discourse. Specifically, we endeavor to bar membership by bots, trolls, shills and bullies. Members who violate these commitments will face penalties and possible banishment. The Board of Advisors in each Community may, from time to time, refine these rules and their application. The Community Adjudicators apply these rules and determine which behaviors to penalize and how severely.  The basic approach we employ mirrors that followed in FIFA Football and American Soccer.  Simply, egregious fouls earn the equivalent of a red card, leading to immediate suspension of membership privileges. Serious fouls earn the equivalent of a yellow card, and any member receiving a second yellow card automatically earns a red card and suspension from further participation.  Unless stated otherwise, member suspensions last indefinitely. Some Communities may adopt a specific time period of at least 12 months for amnesty. In Communities with amnesty periods, the Community forgets member offenses after the amnesty period lapses.  Thus, with an amnesty period of 12 months, the Community would forget any member’s fouls that occurred more than 12 months ago.

Members can challenge offensive articles as well as those who publish and endorse them. Community Adjudicators assess the reported offenses against the Community Code of Conduct and Trusted Origins Terms of Service.  Adjudicators issue a simple warning against some fouls, such as minor errors or overlooked evidence. Adjudicators, however, will treat repeated offenses of this sort more seriously, classifying them as misconduct worthy of a penalty.  Penalties for misconduct usually warrant a yellow card, as when an article makes an unfounded or biased claim.  Trolls and shills regularly commit such offenses.


Two yellow cards lead automatically to a red card, which suspends membership in the community.  Adjudicators can treat egregious offenses, such as hate speech or willful lying, more seriously, issuing a red card for the first incident.  While bullies routinely engage in hate speech, trolls and shills generate most of the lies and disinformation found on the Internet. 


Adjudicators commit to a Code of Conduct that requires them to apply these rules objectively and fairly. Community Governors will terminate any Adjudicator who violates that code.   



Updated on Aug. 21, 2020