Fight for the First Community Guidelines

Fight for the First is dedicated to the protection and preservation of the First Amendment, and as such we welcome a broad range of perspectives into our community. We have clear instructions regarding what the first amendment is, as well as what concerns fall within the purview of Within the confines of our focus on free speech, we welcome everyone into our community, regardless of background, as long as they follow our simple rules for keeping our community safe, respectful, and welcoming.

Our guidelines apply to all content you post. “Content” includes, but is not limited to, petitions, updates, comments, photographs, and usernames.

These Community Guidelines, alongside our Terms of Service, lay out the rules for using

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To start, here's a list of things we love seeing you do on Fight for the First.

Tell your personal story when you start a petition

Change happens because real people connect with one another, and true connection happens when we share truth from our lives. Explain how the problem you're facing has impacted you and your community. Explain how others can be part of the solution. By highlighting your personal experience, you can have the greatest impact.

Target your petitions

Who can make the difference? When you start a petition, it's vital to select a decision maker who can fix the problem that you and your community face. How will you be able to work with them on crafting the necessary changes, and how can you provide a case for this particular decision maker being the best choice for your campaign?

Motivate your community!

Change comes from within a community. From your close family, to your friends, to your coworkers: mobilize the community that can bring about the change you're looking for. Broadening your reach through social media, flier campaigns, and door-to-door canvassing are powerful tools you should consider as you move your campaign forward.

Be respectful of differing opinions

Differences of opinion will arise, even within groups that value the same things. While we are all here to promote and defend the ideal of free speech, your opinion on the best path toward those goals may differ from your peers. We want diverse communities to engage on these issues, and that means respecting opinions that may seem different than your own. Listen to others and engage with them about their concerns, and remember that a strong community is one made up of many voices. However, if you encounter content on Fight for the First that you believe runs counter to our Terms of Use or Community Guidelines, please report it right away.

Fundraise for your campaign

While we allow fundraising for campaigns, we do not allow links to direct payment services (including, but not limited to, Venmo, PayPal, or private banks). We do allow links to recognized crowdfunding services, like Ko-Fi and GoFundMe, as well as to charities. You can also provide donation links directly to EveryLibrary and Fight for the First., as every dollar you donate allows us to reach 100 more Americans with your petitions.

Keep your supporters in the loop

It's not enough to simply create a campaign, you need to engage your community through your campaign. Use the tools we provide to share your issue, build your network, and advance your cause. No matter whether the news is good or bad, it's important to keep your supporters aware of what's happening, so they can rally behind your effort and remain involved.

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These are things which may force us to remove or restrict content and accounts on Fight for the First. Please help ensure that our community remains respectful and strong!

Hate Speech Policy

  • Violence: We do not allow any content that incites, glorifies, supports or encourages violence against anyone for any reason. This includes support for organizations or individuals who themselves incite violence. When fighting for freedom of speech, emotions can run high, but you must ensure that you maintain a safe space for everyone.
  • Hate speech: We have a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of hate speech. This is any kind of communication that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language, targeting a person or a group on the basis of who they are (such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, skin color, descent, gender, or other factor of their identity).
  • Do not post content which attacks anyone based on their: age, skin color, disability, ethnic origin, gender identity, medical condition, nationality, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
  • Fight for the First also does not allow any content from organizations or individuals connected to hate speech (including symbols or logos). It is a violation of our Community Guidelines to post any content which supports such groups, individuals, or their aims.

Misinformation Policy

Misinformation is when someone inadvertently or purposefully shares incorrect information. Disinformation is where someone deliberately shares incorrect information, or information that is designed to mislead others and misrepresent or twist facts.

Misinformation is combated through verification. Any information you post must be verifiable. When our moderators encounter incorrect information, it will be removed.

Disinformation, whether as an individual or coordinated effort, is not tolerated on Fight for the First. We will remove any content that is part of a disinformation effort, as well as any content that is misleading or harmful.

Bullying and Harassment Policy

Privacy — treat any content posted to Fight for the First as publicly visible and avoid posting any private information about yourself or others. This includes email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, identification documents, and payment information. Do not post photographs of people taken in private settings without their prior consent.

Bullying — Debates about first amendment issues can be emotional, so it is important that you help maintain a respectful community. Avoid focusing on another person's personal characteristics, and keep your content respectful of privacy and human dignity. Fight for the First does not tolerate abuse, stalking, threats, trolling, any form of bullying, or harassment.

Child Protection Policy

Only a child's parents or legal guardians may post content about their children online, including images. Only adults may create accounts on Fight for the First.

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General Content Guidelines

These are general rules for Fight for the First that you agree to comply by when you use our services.

Avoid posting gratuitously violent, sexually explicit, or needlessly upsetting content. When crafting a campaign, it is important to highlight the seriousness of the issue using appropriate language. If you need to include content that may be emotionally intense, warn your audience beforehand.

Spam is a real problem on the Internet. Fight for the First does not allow personal promotional content, such as the sale of products or services. Treat our tools with respect and do not use them to send unsolicited communications.

All content on Fight for the First must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. Content must also not break local or national laws. You may use this platform to campaign for changes to laws impacted by the first amendment, but may not encourage unlawful behavior. Any statements posted on Fight for the First must be supported by factual evidence to avoid potential defamatory content.

When posting images to Fight for the First, make sure you have the rights to those images. Fight for the First is not responsible for your use of copyrighted material, and we require that you take full responsibility for ensuring that your posts contain only content that you have the right to use and share. You can often find great images under Creative Commons copyright licenses on Wikimedia Commons.

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Local Group Guidelines

We have important guidelines for setting up and running a local group.

Why create a local group?

Local groups are the bedrock of our work to defend freedom of expression.

You know the issues faced by your community better than anyone, so a local group can act swifter than any national organization.

That's where Fight for the First's true power comes in: we use our national reach to support your efforts at the local level, and together we can make America strong.

Who can be involved in local groups?

Anyone! First amendment rights are an issue that crosses all political and personal boundaries: when it comes to protecting our freedom of expression, we are all united.

Anyone participating in groups must abide by our Community Guidelines.

How to lead and participate in a local group

The five steps to success for local groups

  1. Preparation
  2. Perhaps you've just finished running a campaign, or maybe you'd like to campaign for a free speech issue in your community but feel like you need help to really make a change. Either way, the first step is building a local group!

    After using Fight for the First's tools to create a page for your local group, it's time to partner with other community members. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors, and anyone you've connected with through previous campaigns.

    Establish a goal and a target. Groups work best when they have a project to focus on, so identify a goal for your group as soon as possible, as well as a solution.

    In choosing a project, consider the interests of the group's members, and the skills and resources they have. What other resources will be needed to accomplish the goal? Who needs to be contacted about the project? What is the timeline? How and when will the group work on the project?

  3. Action
  4. The most important actions taken to defend free speech happen when there isn't a crisis. Your group can help shore up library funding, or tackle any of the other issues that fall within the first amendment, such as freedom of assembly and freedom to petition the government.

    Even if there's a current major issue that sparked the formation of your local group, you should consider, early on, the ways your group can serve your community's first amendment needs in the future.

  5. Reflection
  6. Think about the experience before, during, and after a campaign. Reflection can be a major part of a group's activities after, and even during, a campaign.

    This is where keeping detailed minutes of meetings, and detailed records of all events and group interactions, can be of great help: part of the reflection process can be reading through these materials to refine your group's approach to issues in the future.

    Consider: What was learned? How did each individual feel about the project? Did the group accomplish your planned goals? Did attitudes or perceptions change, either within your group or the community at large?

  7. Celebration
  8. Recognize your group's members and other volunteers for their contributions to any projects your group undertakes. Find a way to bring closure to the project.

    If your campaign ended successfully, celebrating it should be easy! But, it's even more important when things don't go your way. When a campaign falters, allow your group to share time to grieve for the loss, but ensure that you're there to congratulate everyone on their hard work. Remind your group that apparent setbacks are often the heralds of change!

    Ultimately: celebrate your accomplishments and have fun!

  9. Future Plans
  10. Whenever your group completes a project, it's vital that you engage in a dialogue about your next steps together. Does your group want to continue to work together? Does anyone have ideas for a new project? Are there other members of the broader community that may be interested in joining the group to work on a new project?

    Whether your last campaign was successful or not, remember that it's the long-term community action by groups just like yours that matters the most. A million drops create an ocean.

Behaviors of an effective group leader

Treat people with respect

The world improves when we respect one another. Regardless of differences in opinions, such as those involving political positions or policies, remember that you are engaging with other human beings.

Issues involving freedom of speech can become emotionally intense. Therefore, it is vital that the organizers of a local group work with their group's members to ensure that all messaging and actions taken by the groups show respect and care. This should be the case for members within a group, as well as when members of a group interact with the broader public (including those with opposing perspectives).

If you are the lead organizer for your local group, you have the responsibility for ensuring that your space is welcoming, safe, and adheres to Fight for the First's Community Guidelines.

Be firm

As an organizer, it is important that you maintain clarity when dealing with conflicts within your group. Be especially aware of how implicit power imbalances can affect the experience of marginalized members. If someone is disrupting your group space, maintain clear and neutral language while stating the rules of the group.

For example: "You may not use abusive language directed at other people in this group. If you continue, you will be asked to leave. Please take a break to breathe and consider your response."

Don't apologize for maintaining a safe and welcoming environment! Instead, thank your group's members for their patience and commitment to the Community Guidelines.

Be transparent and accountable

Please be as transparent as possible about actions and events that affect your group. By keeping the members of your group up-to-date on everything that occurs, you can create a culture of trust and reciprocity.

Even if the news you have to share is difficult, such as a loss for one of the group's campaign goals, it is important to present this information clearly and succinctly. This not only allows your whole group to share the news as a community, but aids in effective responses to crisis situations.

It is also a good idea for someone to take the minutes of meetings.

Likewise, it can be helpful to maintain a logbook of any disturbances your group encounters, such as encounters with abrasive citizens, or major disagreements between group members.

Ask for help

If you encounter a situation that you feel you are unable to handle, you can always reach out to Fight for the First for advice. Please be patient, as response times can vary.

If you encounter any form of emergency situation, contact your local authorities immediately.

Lead by example

Organizing can be tough. Remember that you are building a community, and that you are a member of a broader movement fighting to defend free speech in the United States.

Maintain behavior appropriate to your role as an organizer in all official capacities, and maintain a clear separation between your "public" views as a group organizer with Fight for the First, and your personal views.

This is especially important when using social media, as Internet communications are all essentially publicly available. When in doubt, refer to the Community Guidelines for a refresher on what Fight for the First is all about.

A positive and inclusive attitude does a lot to create a community!

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Event Guidelines

Here you will find a detailed overview of event guidelines, as well as some preliminary support for setting up an event!

A note about Covid-19 and in-person groups

Develop your event goal and objectives

The first step to take when you plan your event is to establish clear goals and objectives.

Begin by answering this question: Why are you organizing your event and what do you hope to achieve?

If you are creating an event to support an existing campaign or effort, this will be easy. If you are using this event to launch a new campaign, go through the essential steps of establishing the issue, the person or group who can make change happen, and the steps they need to take.

Next: Consider the group size. How many guests are you hoping will attend? Will this be a small event for a core group of community leaders, or will it be a public event drawing dozens or hundreds of people?

Understanding the scope, scale, and intentions of your event early on will help you reach your goals.

Also consider the downsides: what happens if you meet, exceed, or miss your goals? Even a single sentence to help you plan for these contingencies will be massively helpful later on.

Organize your team

For a small event, the team might just be you. But even small events benefit from a second perspective, and another pair of hands!

Events greater than ten people should always have two coordinated volunteers running things. A rough guideline to follow is: add one volunteer for every additional twenty people at an event.

For larger events, some key positions to consider are:

  • Venue Management
  • Speakers
  • Entertainment
  • Publicity
  • Sponsors
  • Volunteer Management

In order to create a system of accountability and prevent tasks from slipping through the cracks, it's vital to assign individual roles to your team early on.

Just remember that a larger team means more time needed in your planning schedule for group meetings.

Recruit and train volunteers

Whether you are bringing on one person, or twenty, you need to understand their roles and how you can choose who does what. You also need to plan for recruitment, unless you already have a dedicated team ready to volunteer their time.

Define volunteer roles. depending on the size and complexity of your event, you may need any of the following positions filled:

  • Setting up and tearing down the event
  • Ushers and coat checking
  • Parking coordination
  • Refreshments (or a catering manager)
  • Registration

Establish your recruitment plan. If you already have an established group, share your required roles with them, and work with them to map out the best channels for posting the available volunteer roles (such as social media, local flyers, radio advertisements, and social media).

If you are working with a large group of volunteers, you will need to assign volunteer coordinators who will help train and manage the volunteers. For smaller groups, it might be up to you to provide training.

Remember that Fight for the First provides training materials to help guide you through this process!

A combination of in-person, recorded, and written training materials will help ensure that all your volunteers are on the same page.

Establish your budget

Even small events might have a budget for food or printing costs.

A solid budget helps ensure that your team can maintain realistic goals. Focus on what you're excited about and see how your budget fares once those main elements are taken care of.

Some expenses that may arise for an event are:

  • Venue: The cost of renting a space, as well as any event insurance required. This is an important point to consider Accessibility as well. Does your venue have disabled access? It’s vital that you make your event available to marginalized members of the community.
  • Food and drink: If you are providing this, you'll need to consider the budget. For some types of events, this cost can be outsourced to the community (for instance, by hosting a potluck).
  • Entertainment: Will your event have music, a film showing, or any other form of entertainment? Figure in the cost.
  • Decorations and paraphernalia: Not all events will require decorations, but some will. You might also have other needs, like signs with your event's name, pamphlets describing your event's goals, or business cards for your local Fight for the First group that can be handed out.
  • Staff: Especially for larger events, will you need to bring on hired staff? Caterers, a food truck, portable toilets, garbage collection, or security? These costs can run up your expenses quickly, so it's important to plan for them early on.
  • Marketing: Fight for the First has tools to help you share information about your event, but what specific approaches will you take? Consider if your event needs physical flyers, ads in local newspapers, spots on local radio stations, or paid online advertisements.
  • Technology: If you are setting up an event that has any sort of technology requirements, like a sound system or a projector, consider the cost to purchase or rent that. Also consider if your community can provide this for free.
  • Miscellaneous budget: It's always a good idea to set aside a small amount for unexpected costs that may arise at the last moment.

Set the date

Is this a one-time event or a reoccurring event? Ensure that you have the date fixed as soon as possible, and align it with things like securing your venue.

Also, consider creating two detailed timelines.

  • A timeline to your event: Working backward from your event date to the present day, isolate what needs to happen and when.
  • A timeline of your event: This timeline should detail what happens the day of the event.

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Reporting Problems

We reserve the right to remove or restrict any content on Fight for the First that breaks our Terms of Service or Community Guidelines. Repeated or serious violations may result in the suspension or removal of your account.

If you encounter content on Fight for the First that you believe violates our Community Guidelines, you may report it by emailing us.

We are not responsible for contributions to our service. Any content posted to the site, other than content officially provided by Fight for the First, remains solely the opinion and the responsibility of the person submitting them. We are not responsible, or liable to any third party, for the content or accuracy of any materials posted by you or any other user of this website, and you agree to bear full responsibility for the content you post to the site. While we try to investigate all credible complaints, we cannot ensure individual responses or removal of such content.

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Health Guidelines for In-Person Groups and Events

These important guidelines for health and safety are vital for any groups meeting in person, or who are planning in-person events

At this stage of the pandemic, both acute and long COVID-19 present risks to ourselves, our loved ones, and those in our immediate and global communities. Every person will have unique needs and risks that must be considered in light of this evolving situation.

We expect our group and event organizers and participants to accommodate the needs and health risks of participants attending in person gatherings. We appreciate your respect of, and care for, your community, especially those who are immunocompromised, disabled, or elderly.

Fight for the First reserves the right to alter our position on in-person events, based on new information regarding health concerns. We hope that this community will work to support and protect one another.

There is a lot more information about COVID-19 now than there was in 2020. While there is no way to remove all risk from in-person events, we appreciate your care and solidarity with those who are often most at risk. If you have the ability to host virtual events, remember that those may be more accessible to members of your community who are immunocompromised, elderly, or disabled.

Important COVID-19 Tips for All In-Person Event Attendees

  • Ensure high circulation of fresh air in gathering spaces. COVID-19 is airborne, can spread through the air even if people are socially distanced, and can linger in the air even after the infectious person has left the space. Maximizing fresh air in a space can help with this. The less shared air you’re inhaling, the better!
  • Wear a mask. Masks can help reduce the spread of COVID-19, particularly higher quality, well-fitting masks like a KF94, N95, or KN95 wherever possible. Even if universal masking is unlikely to happen because of attitudes toward masks in your area, every mask helps.
  • General hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, and ensure that hand sanitizer is available for events where access to handwashing stations may be limited.
  • Stay up to date on your vaccinations. Vaccination enormously reduces the risk of serious illness and death for most people if you have gotten all the doses you are eligible for. Vaccination does not prevent you from contracting or spreading COVID-19, or eliminate the risk of long COVID.
  • Remember: You can catch COVID-19 more than once, and a prior infection does not protect you from further infections or dealing with symptoms of long COVID.
  • Remember: Some people are more at risk from COVID-19 than others, and those most at risk are often already marginalized by society in other ways. Even if high-risk people opt not to attend your event as a participant, they may be working in the space where it is being held.
  • Remember: There is no one single solution to reduce or eliminate the risk of COVID-19; a layered approach of multiple mitigation methods offers the best protection.

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COVID-19 Tips for Hosts

Things you can do to help make any in-person event safer

While we do not require that hosts take any of these measures, we appreciate your reading, and consideration of, the following tips.

  1. Venue
  2. If you are holding an event at a public venue, ask about their ventilation and filtration system. Are they circulating fresh air at the maximum capacity of their HVAC system? Are they doing anything to clean the air, like installing HEPA filters or Corsi-Rosenthal boxes? Can you open any windows or doors if the weather permits?

    Seek out spaces that have prioritized staff and public safety throughout the pandemic wherever you can. Ask your participants for recommendations for any spaces they’ve been to that have done a good job with this.

  3. Attendees
  4. Request that attendees wear masks. Asking people to mask with the highest quality mask they have access to, with a reminder that high-risk people may be present, often drastically increases masking. You don’t need 100% compliance for a reduction in risk.

    It is a good idea to cap attendance, so your event isn’t too crowded. Likewise, consider keeping events shorter than they would have been pre-pandemic. Even with excellent ventilation and filtration, there’s only so much it can do in a crowded space, and shorter events can mean less shared air.

    Remind everyone about vaccine eligibility and availability, with information about accessing them in your area. While it is unlikely you’ll convince anyone who is opposed to vaccination, less than half the people in the US who are eligible for a third dose have received one, and someone might just need some assistance to make that happen.

  5. Communication
  6. Offer clear communication about what safety measures are or are not being taken, before and after events. Be extremely up front with all of the above information, so people are able to accurately assess their own circumstances and make an informed decision.

    Remind people frequently to stay home if they display any symptoms of illness, even if they are confident it’s not COVID-19—rapid tests can fail to catch COVID-19 infections, and even non-COVID symptoms can cause serious consequences for people who may have to miss work, keep children home, isolate from immunocompromised family members, etc. if they are exposed to any potential illness.

    Encourage people to notify you if they do test positive shortly after attending an event, and have a very clear and shame-free approach to communicating this, so people have accurate information.

Schedule your events with your own circumstances in mind, and encourage others to do likewise when deciding which events to attend.

If you know you’re attending a higher risk event at some point, give yourself a buffer afterwards rather than planning to attend back-to-back events. If there’s a local event or holiday or other occasion that you know is likely to mean a lot of large gatherings, avoid planning any events for a few days afterwards.

Be aware of the current levels of COVID-19 in your community, and plan to cancel or modify events as needed if there is a significant surge in your area. Keep people in the loop about your process for making this decision.

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Thank you for being a part of Fight for the First, and supporting free speech in your community!