This page describes the general terms and conditions of collaboration on the blog series “Identity Stories”. Please read the content of this page fully, and make sure you understand and agree to all points before making any step towards contributing to the series. The content is somewhat lengthy and detailed, but this has been deemed necessary to make the process and rights of everyone involved explicit, given the potentially sensitive content of this series and its submissions. Thank you for your understanding.
Last updated: 17.04.19
1.1 Terminology: For the purpose of describing the Conditions of Collaboration for Identity Stories, and discussing Identity Stories, the following terms are used and defined:
- Website, site: The terms “website” and “site” are used interchangeably to refer to www.cassandrahl.com , where Identity Stories is currently published.
- Creator, editor, publisher: The creator, editor and publisher of the Identity Stories series is Cassandra H. Leung, the private owner and operator of the website.
- Submission owner, owner: The terms “submission owner” and “owner” refer to the person who owns the submission and its copyright. The submission owner assumes all responsibility for submission content and the final story, even in the case of submissions with multiple contributors. If a contact email address is provided, the submission owner is always the owner of that email address. In the case of submissions with multiple writers, it is the lead writer, unless a contact email address is provided. These rules apply regardless of who physically completes and submits the submission.
- Collaborator(s), contributor(s), writer(s), author(s), you: The terms “collaborator(s)”, “contributor(s)”, “writer(s)”, and “authors(s)” are used interchangeably to refer to anyone who is involved in writing or creating a submission to the Identity Stories series, regardless of whether the submission is actually selected or published. Since the conditions and FAQs are written in a style addressing potential contributors, “you” is also sometimes used in reference to the same.
- Lead collaborator, lead contributor, lead writer, lead author: The terms “lead collaborator”, “lead contributor”, “lead writer”, and “lead author” are used interchangeably in the case of a submission with more than one writer. “Lead” is used to refer to the submission owner, since each submission can only have one owner.
- Submission(s), submission content: The terms “submission(s)” and “submission content” are used interchangeably to refer to all content, data, or other information submitted to the editor for contribution to the Identity Stories series, including information provided in the initial submission form, and any subsequently transmitted comments, messages, or other information related to the same submission or story. It is possible for one collaborator to have multiple submissions.
- Story(ies), piece(s), contribution(s), your (identity) story(ies): The terms “story(ies)”, “piece(s)”, “contribution(s)”, and “your (identity) story(ies)” are used interchangeably to describe the part of the submission that forms the main content intended for publication.
- Conditions of collaboration, terms and conditions: The terms “conditions of collaboration” and “terms and conditions” are used interchangeably to refer to the requirements, arrangements, and specifications for participation in the Identity Stories series, as described on this page.
1.2 Acceptance of Conditions: In order to contribute to Identity Stories, you must agree to all terms and conditions, as described on this page. In the case of submissions with multiple writers, the person who completes and submits the submission form must accept the Conditions of Collaboration on behalf of all writers and have their permission to do so. Acceptance of the Conditions of Collaboration can only be confirmed via the submission form. For this reason, stories submitted via email, the contact form, or any other means, will not be accepted.
1.3 Remuneration: There is no remuneration offered for collaboration in the Identity Stories series, financial or otherwise. The editor / publisher makes no financial gain as a direct result of the Identity Stories series.
1.4 Identity Stories Location: Identity Stories is currently published at the location defined in “1.1.1 Website, site”. In the unlikely event that the location of Identity Stories changes, for example to its own domain, you explicitly give permission for your story to be published at the new location, so long as the Identity Stories series and its submissions remain under the control of the original editor / publisher, as defined in “1.1.2 Creator, editor, publisher”. This clause is included only to anticipate and enable the realisation of any potential desire to relocate the series, as a whole, at a future date.
1.5 Updates: From time to time, it may be necessary to update these conditions in order to more accurately reflect the process of collaboration, make certain points clearer, or to better protect the contributors or creator of the series. If and when edited, the most recent updated date will be noted below. For clarity, point “1.7 Conditions Last Updated” shows the last updated date for the post as a whole; dates listed directly under section headings refer to changes made specifically to that section. The updated date under this section heading “1. General” ignores any updates to point 1.7.
1.6 Updates After Submission: If the Conditions of Collaboration are updated after you have submitted a contribution to the series, it will be assumed that you agree to all changes, unless explicitly otherwise stated in writing. It is the individual responsibility of all contributors to inform themselves of the Conditions of Collaboration, and any updates to it. Please see section “5. Withdrawal” for further information, should you not agree to any changes to the conditions.
1.7 Conditions Last Updated: 17.04.19
2. Submission Content
Last updated: 17.04.19
2.1 Ownership and Responsibility: The editor assumes that all submissions are completely true and accurate until found otherwise, and takes no ownership or responsibility for the content of any piece included in the Identity Stories series, unless explicitly stated.
2.2 Copyright: The copyright for the submission belongs to the submission owner, and is not transferred to the editor or publisher at any point. Therefore, there is no requirement to transfer copyright back to the submission owner at any point, including where the story is not selected or published. Since the submission owner owns the copyright of the submission, they are free to submit or seek publication of the submission elsewhere without permission from the editor or publisher of Identity Stories. If a submission is published elsewhere, it would be greatly appreciated for the writer to include a link back to the original Identity Stories post or series, as a way to support the initiative and help raise awareness beyond the single story.
2.3 Permission to Publish: By submitting to Identity Stories and agreeing to the terms and conditions set forth on this page, you are giving the publisher explicit, unlimited permission to publish your story on the website. This includes publication outside of the Identity Stories series, for example if the story submitted is of interest but not necessarily suitable for direct inclusion in the Identity Stories series. Submissions about becoming more aware of other people’s identities and experiences might fall under this category. Permission to publish can only be withdrawn according to the conditions detailed in “5. Withdrawal”.
2.4 Accurate Representation of the Facts: The content of all submissions must be completely true and not include anything that is known to the writer(s) to be false at the time of submission. Where the writer has provided a contact email address and becomes aware that part or all of their submission is inaccurate or untrue, they are obligated to immediately inform the editor in writing. Particular care must be taken to not exaggerate or misrepresent the words or actions of any person or body described or otherwise included in the submission. Any submission that is found to be fabricated, purposefully exaggerated, or otherwise dishonest will be immediately disqualified from inclusion in the Identity Stories series. The use of creative writing techniques is permitted, but fictional content is not allowed under any circumstances. Use of tools such as analogies, metaphors and similes are also permitted, so long as they are clearly portrayed as such.
2.5 Defamation, Censorship and Evidence: Points “2.1 Ownership and Responsibility” and “2.4 Accurate Representation of the Facts” notwithstanding, the editor / publisher takes a journalistic approach to writing and publication. Where a submission contains potentially defamatory content, the editor reserves the right to censor or change the name of, or withhold potentially identifiable information about, any person or body described or otherwise included in a submission. The editor decides what constitutes potentially defamatory content. While all submissions will be considered on an individual basis, the editor will generally require that evidence in support of any defamatory content is privately submitted before considering the possibility of identifying any person or body against whom potentially defamatory statements are made.
To safeguard against the unlikely event of any legal complaints, proceedings, or similar, being brought against the editor / publisher as a result of a submission, the editor / publisher reserves the right to indefinitely seek, retain, and share any evidence as part of a legal defence, even if said evidence was not originally intended for publication or to be shared with third parties. This includes all submission content and evidence relating to a published story that has since been withdrawn by the submission owner, as in “5.3 Withdrawal of a Published Story”.
2.6 Intent: All submissions should be submitted with the intent of supporting the mission and goals of Identity Stories, as detailed in the Call for Collaboration. If any submission is deemed to have the whole or part purpose of being deliberately offensive, abusive, or similar, with no real constructive or well-intended message, it will be immediately disqualified from inclusion in the Identity Stories series.
2.7 External URLs: Contributors must ensure that any external URLs or links included in the submission do not contain harmful or illegal content, including, but not limited to: computer viruses, malicious code, pirated content, websites operating illegal activities. The editor reserves the right not to access or include any external URLs on this basis.
2.8 Language: Only submissions that are written in English will be considered for the series. Communication about submissions should also be in English.
3. Privacy and Anonymity
Last updated: 17.04.19
3.2 Third Party Tools: In order to collect and edit submissions for Identity Stories, various Google Apps are used. Google Docs is used for editing, so if any updates or notifications are sent by email, the content of those updates will also pass through the email servers of the receiver (the editor and / or writer(s)). By accepting the Conditions of Collaboration of Identity Stories, you also understand and accept the passing of information through the services and third parties used to make collaboration possible, and agree to the privacy policies of the third party services used.
3.3 Submission Data: With the exception of the third parties outlined in “3.2 Third Party Tools” and the terms described in “2.5 Defamation, Censorship and Evidence”, the content of submissions will not be shared with any other third parties before publication, unless explicitly agreed upon with the writer, in advance. For example, in the case of a submission with multiple writers who all want to be involved in communications and editing. It is possible to include information in the submission and any subsequent discussions, which is not to be published or otherwise made generally available.
3.4 Anonymity: One important goal of Identity Stories is to give people a safe space to share their stories without repercussion. To this end, various degrees of anonymity are possible, including:
- No anonymity: Your full name is included in the submission and published as the writer of the story – everyone knows who you are
- Partial anonymity: Your name is included in the submission but is not published as the writer of the story – only the editor knows who you are
- Full anonymity: Your name is not included in the submission and is not published as the writer of the story – no one knows who you are
3.5 Contact Email Address: Including a contact email address as part of a submission is optional. If no email address is provided, this will enforce certain limitations upon the possibility of collaboration and withdrawal; see sections “4.3 Editing Without the Writer” and “5.4 Submissions Without an Email Address” for further information. The owner of the contact email address provided is automatically the submission owner. The contact email address provided will only be used in direct connection to the submission and will not be used for any other purpose.
4. Selection, Editing and Publication
Last updated: 17.04.19
4.1 Selection: All decisions regarding whether a submission is selected to be part of the Identity Stories series and subsequently published on the website is at the complete and sole discretion of the editor / publisher. The editor / publisher reserves the right to not select, edit, publish, or otherwise respond to any submission to the series, without notice, reason or explanation. This applies at any time, even if editing or other discussions have already begun. Potential reasons not to select or publish include, but are not limited to:
- The submission has been found to be in breach of section “2. Submission Content”
- The submission is a commentary on someone else’s identity, and not that of the writer(s)
- The content of the submission is completely unclear or confusing, past the point of suitability for editing
Please be assured that the editor will never decide not to select or publish a story simply because it does not match the experiences or viewpoints of the editor. This would completely go against the goals and founding values of Identity Stories.
4.2 Editing with the Writer: At a very minimum, all selected submissions are subject to proofreading for spelling and grammar. If the writer has included a contact email address and asked to be involved in the editing process, edits will be made available to the writer before publication. This may include more significant changes that improve the quality of the piece, for example, removing a paragraph that does not add to the story, or contains unrelated details. Further editing rounds may also take place, during which time the writer has the opportunity to edit the piece further, or discuss it with the editor in more detail. All edits, comments, and suggestions strive towards a high quality piece that will have the best desirable impact on readers. In extreme cases, a different approach to the story or style of writing might be suggested.
Since all submissions are edited using Google Docs, collaborators are required to have a means to view and edit a Google Doc, a link to which will be sent to the contact email address in the submission. Editing with the writer is not possible without including a contact email address in the submission.
4.3 Editing Without the Writer: At a very minimum, all selected submissions are subject to proofreading for spelling and grammar. If the writer has not provided a contact email address or chosen to not be involved in the editing process, the writer will not be contacted about any changes, and implementation of all changes (large or small) will be at the sole discretion of the editor. By not providing a contact email address or choosing not to be involved in the editing process, you explicitly consent to all changes made by the editor, in advance. This includes cases where the writer has asked to receive a final copy of the story before it is published, but chosen not to be involved in the editing process.
Every reasonable effort will be made to not fundamentally change the meaning, intent, or other semantics of the story. Where the meaning of a particular section is unclear to the point of not knowing whether alteration or removal would fundamentally change the narrative, it will be left unchanged with a “[sic]” signifier.
4.4 Publication: A story selected for publication as part of the Identity Stories series will be published on the website. The publisher reserves the right to decide not to publish a story at any time without notice, reason, or explanation. In extreme cases, a piece that has already been published can be removed from the website. If the writer has provided a contact email address and asked to be involved in the editing process, or asked to receive a copy of the final story before publishing, reasonable effort will be made to do this. If the writer has not provided a contact email address or asked to not be contacted about their submission, they will not be contacted before publication. This does not affect the right to withdrawal, as in section “5. Withdrawal”. See also “2.3 Permission to Publish”.
4.5 Time Frames: There are no set or promised time frames for selecting, editing or publishing a story. Even if a copy of the final piece has already been made available to the writer, there will be no set time frame subsequent to this during which the story must be published.
Last updated: 17.04.19
5.1 Right to Withdrawal: A submission owner has the right to withdraw their own submission(s) from the Identity Stories series at any time without notice, reason, or explanation, provided that the conditions in point “5.2 Process for Withdrawal” are met. This also applies in cases where the story has already been published, or where the story has been selected and / or published outside of the Identity Stories series (see “2.3 Permission to Publish”).
5.2 Process for Withdrawal: A writer can only request to withdraw their own submission(s), and must verify their identity as the submission owner by making a written request to the editor at contact[at]cassandrahl.com from the contact email address included in the original submission. Do not use the contact form. Only the submission owner can request a withdrawal, even in the case of submissions with more than one writer; see points “1.1.4 Submission owner, owner” and “3.5 Contact Email Address”.
The extent of the withdrawal is up to the submission owner and must be made clear in the request before any withdrawal can be actioned. For example, a request could include:
- Permanent or temporary postponement of publication
- A change of mind from “no anonymity” to “partial anonymity” – a request not to publish the writer’s name
- Complete withdrawal, including permanent deletion of all submission data
Where the submission owner has more than one submission, it must be made clear which submission(s) they wish to withdraw, as all submissions are considered and dealt with on an individual basis.
The publisher aims to acknowledge all requests for withdrawal within seven calendar days of receipt. If this does not happen, it is possible that there was a problem with the email reaching the editor. If no response has been received within seven calendar days, the submission owner should try to make contact via other means, such as the contact form or Twitter. The submission owner will still be required to confirm their identity as such via the original contact email address provided. Once a request for withdrawal has been verified and the extent of the request is clear, every reasonable effort will be made to complete the request within 48 hours. If this is not possible, the submission owner will be informed as soon as possible.
5.3 Withdrawal of a Published Story: It is possible to request withdrawal of a story that has already been published on the website. In this case, the story will be removed from the website. However, due to the nature of the internet and the public domain, there is no guarantee that the story will not still be available to view or read from another source or cache, in part or in full, privately or publicly. The publisher takes no responsibility for a withdrawn story still being available for consumption outwith the most recent version of the website. With this in mind, in the case of stories which include potentially defamatory content, the publisher reserves the right to indefinitely retain all submission content and evidence for legal defence, as in section “2.5 Defamation, Censorship and Evidence”. This applies even after the story has been removed from the website.
5.4 Submissions Without Email an Address: Withdrawal can only be requested by the owner of the submission, by way of a written request to the editor from the contact email address provided in the original submission. As such, it is not possible to withdraw a submission that did not originally include a contact email address. Please consider this when deciding whether to include your email address in your submission. This decision is designed to protect the voices and viewpoints of contributors to the Identity Stories series by attempting to prevent cases of abuse, where a reader may not like a story that has been published and try to have it taken down by pretending to be the original writer.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Conditions of Collaboration fully. If you understand and agree to all Conditions of Collaboration, you can submit your story here.