Privacy and Anonymity on BPN

About BPN's Privacy Policy

The Berkeley Parents Network is meant to be a supportive, helpful forum for parent-to-parent networking. BPN's Privacy Policy is designed to 1) protect the anonymity of subscribers so that we will all feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics about ourselves and our families, and 2) ensure that parents who post to BPN will not be subjected to unwanted marketing from other subscribers.

Information You Provide to BPN When You Subscribe

When you subscribe to BPN, we ask for certain information to make sure you are eligible to subscribe and also to create an account for you on the BPN website. The information we request includes:

  • All subscribers:  your full name, your email address, the city you live in, a username of your choice, and a password
  • Parents: the ages of your children, the neighborhood you live in, and an optional introduction
  • Community subscribers: the name of your school or business, license number, capacity, and a description of your program

How BPN Uses the Information Your Provide

Your email address is used to:
  • mail BPN newsletters to you (you can opt out of newsletters on your account page)
  • forward messages to you from other BPN subscribers (you can disable this on your account page)
  • contact you if moderators have a question about something you posted

Your username is used for posting and sending messages on BPN - more below.

All of the other information you provide when you subscribe is stored on your account page on BPN, which can be accessed only by you and by BPN administrators. This information is never shared or sold or made available to anyone else outside of BPN, except as may be required by law, or with your consent. For example, if you choose to be included in the "Welcome to New Members" section of the Announcements newsletter, your username, city, ages of your children, and your introduction are listed in the next newsletter, which is a one-time mailing sent to BPN subscribers only.

Your Username on BPN

Your username will appear on all your posts with the exception of "Q&A" posts, which can be posted without a username if desired. Most BPN subscribers choose a username that does not identify them.  You can change your username on your account page -- click "my account" in the upper right corner when you're logged in, and then click the "Edit my Account" tab.

Sending Messages on the BPN Website

Sending a Message:

BPN subscribers who are logged in to the website can click on the username on a post to send a private message to the post's author using their contact form.  The BPN website forwards the message to the email address on the recipient's user account. The sender's email address and username will appear on the message, but only the recipient's username is visible to the sender.

Replying to a Message:

When you receive a message from another subscriber who clicked on your username to send you a message, you can either reply back directly, or use their contact form to reply. If you reply directly, the recipient will be able to see your email address, because the email is coming from your own email account.  If you instead click on the link that takes you to their contact form, they will not be able to see your email address.

Posting Anonymously

All postings are signed with your username, except for "Q&A" posts, which can be posted without a username if desired.  Your real name and email address are never included on a post unless you specifically type it into the body of your post.  Only the BPN moderators have access to your name and email address. We recommend that you choose a username that does not identify you to preserve your privacy, rather than submitting Q&A posts anonymously. Posts that include a username are friendlier and more in keeping with the community spirit of BPN.

Mis-Using Subscribers' Information

You may not send unwanted or unsolicited messages to other BPN subscribers using email addresses on BPN postings, or by clicking  the username on a BPN post to send them a message. This is a misuse of BPN and can result in your account being deactivated. BPN subscribers post to the website with the expectation that they will be networking with other local parents, not making themselves available to marketing from businesses that subscribe to BPN, or to criticism from other subscribers.

Unwanted and unsolicited emails include:

  1. Offering services that were not specifically requested in the original post. Example: If someone has posted to Marketplace looking for a used stroller for sale, you may not send them a message about your stroller business.

  2. Complaints or criticisms about a post. Example: If someone posts an opinion in the Q&A newsletter that you do not agree with, you may not send them a private message to argue with them or complain.  Instead post your own opinion.  If you think a post has violated a BPN policy, please Contact the moderators and we will review the post.

  3. Collecting email addresses from BPN postings for use by other services and organizations that target parents.   Example: You may not collect email addresses from posts on the Childcare message board in order to create a mailing list for another parenting website or business.