Legal implications on the Discourse forum I create


I just realised when setting up a forum, the owner is legally responsible for the posts in your forum.

Btw, I’m in Australia and I believe laws on internet forum might be similar in some sort.

My question is how to have a user to agree on your forum rules when they sign up? or if it’s already in place? If it’s already in place, do I need to change the wordings or it’s already good enough? (e.g. includes the common things like can not comment on people based on their religion/gender etc)

2nd question is due to there is a law saying owner is responsible after he/she is aware of the content and refuses to remove it. So that means I’ll need a functionality where people to email or let me know if a content is inappropriate so that I’ll know to remove it. If this functionality is available in Discourse?

Hope all is making sense… any part not clear please let me know.

Thanks very much all :slight_smile:

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1st: Not sure if you can add a checkbox, but there is this note on the signup page:

2nd: each user can flag other users. This way admins/moderators are notified of something fishy and can take action.

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Welcome @kforr,

Unfortunately Meta isn’t going to be of too much help when it comes to legal implications. For that, you need a lawyer, one who both understands your site as well as Australian law.

Out of the box, Discourse comes with terms of service you are encouraged to customize. These terms cover topics including acceptable use and content standards. The terms also include an email which users can contact site owners. Again, I’d encourage you to seek local counsel to review these terms to ensure they work for your site, as well as local laws.

As for content removal, as Ionuț mentioned users can flag content for staff review. Users can also contact you via the email or website you include in the contact email/contact url site setting. Any forum admin or moderator can delete topics, posts, users, and any other content on the site as necessary.


Lots to discus there, and TOS is pretty much where you put all that fine print, however, having those after the create your account likely negates its effect, like handing someone the keys and then saying you can’t drive,

I did opt to add a disclaimer check box for our users,

But remember, you did get this advice on the internet :wink: