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  When you ask other parents for advice, you should be asking a specific and concise question about a personal or family matter.  Please don't post an open-ended question about a topical issue, or a "why" question that invites speculation about an abstract issue such as "Why do parents allow their children to run around in restaurants?"  Ongoing discussions 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 department handles garbage pick-up in your city. 

  6. Questions that promote a 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 questions. Questions such as "How much do people pay for daycare?" or "What do parents think about Berkeley's parking policy?" are not accepted because they have the potential to generate too many responses on a big list like BPN, which has a subscriber base in the tens of thousands. Moreover, a survey-type question is unlikely to yield representative data. 4 or 5 responses per question is typical. BPN does sometimes run surveys; if you have a suggestion for a survey, contact us.

  8.  Broadcasting a personal concern.  Please don't use Parent Q&A as a platform for getting the word out to as many people as possible about a personal project or concern. This is outside BPN's mission. Examples that are not accepted: publicizing political causes, seeking donations or gifts for yourself or others, seeking contacts for your personal career or educational advancement.

  9. Market research. We don't accept market research questions, such as asking for feedback about a business idea you have. BPN does accept paid subscriptions from businesses that are seeking parents for focus groups or marketing research. See Research Queries on BPN for more information. 

  10. Questions seeking prohibited services or items. BPN does not accept posts about certain topics such as seeking children to adopt, asking for surrogates or donations of eggs, embryos or sperm.  See Prohibited Items on BPN.

  11. Questions you have asked before. Please do not post a new version of a question you have asked in the past.  If you didn't get the response you were seeking when you posted before, please try other venues besides BPN. 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. 

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, comment about others' responses, or challenge 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 or posting their opinion.  

  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.  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.  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 first read BPN's policy about negative reviews.  In brief, a negative review must be based on your own personal experience, and must describe the experience you had in objective, neutral language. Posts that use derogatory or inflammatory language 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 ..." followed by criticism, 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 that you are recommending, or withholding information in order to give the reader a false impression about your intent.  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 post. Please don't post more than once on the same thread. This means you may not post clarifications, rebuttals, or new questions. Only one post per thread, per subscriber, please. (We do accept "thank you" follow-ups and summaries of offline responses from the OP.)

  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, and our community is very diverse, so opinions can vary widely on any given issue.