Policies for Parent Q&A

Parent Q&A is intended as a way for parents to problem-solve with each other and get a range of suggestions and advice from other parents. The policies below have been developed to keep the forum friendly and useful for parents.

See also: Policies for Posting Reviews on BPN


Policies for Parent Q&A

Questions that BPN doesn't accept

BPN accepts all types of questions, not just parenting advice.  Popular topics include advice about relationships, careers, Bay Area neighborhoods, how-to questions, vacation suggestions, and much more. See the Advice and Reviews Archive for thousands of past discussions in many different categories. 

Here are questions that we don't accept:

  1. Requests for services outside the SF Bay Area BPN discussions are limited to the Bay Area with the following exceptions: boarding schools, colleges, sleepaway summer camps, vacation spots, and "moving to a new city" queries.

  2. Seeking expert-level advice about a legal, financial, or medical issue. It's OK to ask for referrals or for other parents' experiences, but please don't post a question that requires professional expertise to answer.  See Giving or Requesting Professional Advice. 

  3. Questions that contain gossip or criticisms.  BPN accepts negative reviews when posted in response to a question, in accordance with the Negative Review Policy. However we don't accept criticisms in the question itself, such as asking for preschool recommendations while criticising your child's former preschool. Gossip is also not accepted. If your question contains a phrase like "I heard that ..." followed by negative remarks, we would consider that to be gossip. This includes questions that invite other parents to post negative reviews about a school or business. 

  4. Rhetorical questions & open-ended discussions  You should be asking a specific and concise question about a personal matter that you would like other parents to give you advice about.  Please don't post a "why" question that invites speculation about an abstract issue such as "Why do parents allow their children to run around in restaurants?"  Open-ended discussion and editorializing are outside BPN's scope and there are other forums you can use. 

  5. You can google that.  We don't accept questions looking for the one correct answer that can be answered by doing a google search or making a phone call yourself, such as asking what the tuition is at a specific school, or which city department handles garbage pick-up.  Similarly, BPN should not be used to ask other parents to help you with a personal favor, such as asking if anyone has a contact at UC Berkeley graduate admissions.

  6. Questions that promote a particular school or a business.  Please do not post a question in order to solicit reviews of your child's school or the business of a friend or relative. See Biased Posts for details.

  7. Survey and market research questions. Questions such as "How much do people pay for daycare?" are not accepted because they have the potential to generate too many responses on a big list like BPN. We periodically run surveys, so if you have a suggestion for a survey, contact us. We also don't accept market research questions, such as asking for feedback about a business idea you have. This conflicts with BPN's policy about advertising and promotion. (Note: BPN does accept paid subscriptions from child-related business that are seeking parents for marketing research. See Research Queries on BPN for more information. )

  8. Questions seeking prohibited services or items. BPN does not accept posts about some things, including seeking children to adopt, asking for surrogates, donations of eggs, embryos or sperm.  See Prohibited Items on BPN.

  9. Questions you have asked before. Please do not post a new version of a question you have asked in the past, hoping to get more or better responses than you got last time. We receive scores of new questions a week, and we want to give everyone the chance to have their question appear in as short a list as possible. It isn't fair to other subscribers if you repeatedly post the same question, and it can also give readers the false impression that many parents are concerned about an issue that in reality only one person is concerned about.  If you didn't get the response you were seeking when you posted before, please try other venues besides BPN. 


Responses that BPN doesn't accept

  1. Replies that don't​​​ answer the question. All responses should directly answer the question that was asked. Responses should not give advice about a different topic, pose a new question, or make a comment about the question itself. We aim to keep Q&A discussions on track, and we also want every parent to feel comfortable seeking advice on BPN without worrying that they will be criticized for asking a question.  For example, if someone posts a question asking where to get a cake for a first birthday, you may not post a response saying that one-year-olds should not eat cake. 

  2. Replies must be based on your own first-hand experience as a parent. Your post should clearly describe your own first-hand experience, or your child's. For example, if you post a review of a therapist, your review should mention that you were a client. This is because BPN does not accept colleague referrals or reviews of friends and family.  For details see First-Hand Experience.

  3. Replies that give professional advice. Please post as a parent, not as a professional. BPN's mission is to support parent-to-parent networking, not business-to-parent networking, no matter how well-intended. If someone asks for advice about creating a will, and you are an attorney, please post only about your own experience as a parent, not your professional opinion. See Professional Advice for more information.

  4. Negative reviews that do not comply with BPN's Negative Review Policy. If you are posting any sort of criticism of a school or business, please be aware of BPN's policy about negative reviews.  In brief, a negative review must be based on your own personal experience, and must describe the experience in objective, neutral language. Posts that use derogatory or inflammatory language to describe other people, businesses, or organizations are not accepted.  

  5. Gossip and hearsay: BPN does not accept posts that contain gossip or criticisms heard from others. If your post contains a phrase like "I heard that ..." or "my friend told me ..." we will not be able to accept it.

  6. Criticizing other parents. BPN subscribers are expected to be civil and polite when posting on BPN. Posts that disparage other subscribers or their opinions or beliefs are not accepted. Please express your own opinions and beliefs without criticizing those of others. 

  7. Deceptive reviews. This includes posts that are deliberately misleading, such as not disclosing your personal interest in a business you are recommending, or withholding information in order to give the reader a false impression.  See Deceptive Reviews for policy details.

  8. Multiple reviews of the same school or business from the same subscriber.  Please post only one review about the same school or business. Since reviews on BPN can be anonymous, multiple reviews from the same subscriber may mislead the reader about the popularity of the school or business.

  9. Follow-ups to your original post. Please don't post more than once on the same thread with clarifications, rebuttals, or new questions. Only one post per topic, per subscriber, please. We do accept "thank you" follow-ups and summaries of offline responses.

  10.  Judgmental and unwelcome advice is accepted, as long as it meets our other policies. If you are asking for advice, please be aware that you may receive responses that you disagree with, or advice that you would never follow. BPN has the goal of being helpful and supportive to the community of parents, but our community is very diverse, and opinions can vary widely on any given issue.