MSE Forum rules
Welcome to the MSE Forum, a free and open community where you as consumers come first and we collectively focus on all things MoneySaving.
This is a space to share, discuss and hopefully inform and improve your financial wellbeing, and while we encourage discussion and debate, we value this Forum as being friendly and safe above all else.
With that in mind, we have zero tolerance for bad behaviour and reserve the right to remove posts, threads and users – entirely at our discretion – if you don't follow these rules.
You can read our full set of rules below but there are three key things to keep in mind...
1. Keep it kind and keep it clean.
Be respectful, polite, friendly and mindful of the impact of your posts to other community members, Forum Ambassadors and MSE staff – everyone is human here. This rule is non-negotiable.
2. Stay on track.
Always be relevant and on-topic, or risk your posts being removed – we are all here to help one another and discuss MoneySaving matters only. This makes our Forum more useful for all.
3. Protect yourself.
Be aware – do not share any personal details and always respect the privacy of others. This makes the Forum safer for everyone.
Please take a few moments to familiarise yourself with these rules and help us make the MSE Forum the most useful, friendliest Forum on the planet.
MSE Forum Team
Without further ado, here are the complete and updated Forum rules.
1. Conduct and behaviour
We value this above all else: be kind and respectful of all your fellow MoneySavers. You never know when they can help.
Always be friendly
There is no place for trolling, harassing, bullying or deliberately provoking others here. Treat others as you like to be treated.
It's OK to disagree, but be civil, keep your tone friendly and don't be aggressive or make personal attacks on other members of the community. Before you post, think, 'could what I have written be read as unfriendly and upset someone?' and/or, 'how might this be perceived/make someone feel?'.
We want this Forum to be a safe and encouraging place for people to share their experience and information relating to all things MoneySaving. Abusive, manipulative and passive-aggressive behaviour is unacceptable, as is being provocative for the sake of it. Put that energy into MoneySaving instead.
There is zero tolerance in our community for hate speech, bigotry or prejudice, including, but not limited to, race, colour, nationality, sexuality, gender, disability or religion. Absolutely zero tolerance!
We use profanity filters and will act against those trying to work around them or using language that we deem offensive, this includes sexual references or inference and vulgarity or links containing any of these.
The same principles apply to usernames and avatars which should be clean and simple with no inappropriate connotations or innuendo.
Our team are human, have feelings and run this Forum to help you. Please be kind to them and understand that if you aren't, we won’t tolerate it. We reserve the right to take any action we feel is reasonable and appropriate, on a case-by-case basis, without debate.
One person = one account
It keeps things simple, and we will act on duplicates and any attempts to bypass this.
Attempting to impersonate MSE staff, public figures or other users – either via username, Forum posts or PMs – is not permitted.
Look out for other community members
No one knows what another person may be going through. We expect you to report any post that gives you concern for another person's wellbeing or safety. Although we may not be in a position to offer direct support ourselves, we can signpost community members to organisations that may be able to help.
In summary – please keep it kind and please keep it clean.
2. Posting content
Let's work together to keep us all safe and the Forum a happy space.
We want to keep our Forum focused on quality MoneySaving content and to keep you safe while doing this. Please do not request or share personal identifying information or arrange to meet up in posts or PMs. This also includes sharing your own or others' names, email addresses, details of where you live or work and any social media accounts.
Additionally, avatars shouldn't contain personal information, business details, copyrighted material or flashing images.
We also ask that you take extra care when uploading photos of personal documents and make sure that you have redacted all personally identifiable information.
Private messages are exactly that – please don't share them on the boards.
In order to be able to comply with the obligations involved in running a Forum, we request that posts are made in English, so that our team is able to review them if necessary.
Threads are easier to follow and read if they follow a conversation style pattern. With this in mind, please don't create duplicate posts on or across multiple threads. Flooding (repeated posting aiming to dominate or overwhelm a page) will be treated as spam.
Bumping threads annoys other users in the community, so please don't do it. People will respond if they have something to add.
Conversations work best when on topic, so keep your posts relevant and constructive. Derailing and disruptive posting is unacceptable.
Anyone who uses the internet will be familiar with both of these and the blurry bit in between. MSE is a free site and we don't allow people to buy advertising space. As a result, it is emphatically not a place for you to promote or advertise for personal gain. This includes posts on the Forum and information in your signature and avatar. Please don't link to your eBay sales, auctions or any other forms of selling or advertising. There are sites specifically to sell, trade, exchange, swap or to gift items – MSE is not one of them and we will always treat these posts as spam and remove them.
Sadly, not everyone is honest and genuine. Therefore, refrain from asking for money or sharing personal fundraisers as we can't police who is genuine or not, and doing so may also breach our rules on sharing personal information. This includes the posting of links to personal fundraising or crowdfunding pages, such as JustGiving.
Be wary of clicking on links – they could contain viruses or other harmful computer code. Users are not permitted to post URL shorteners such as Bitly, SnipURL and TinyURL. If you see one, please do report it and don't click it. If you choose to, you do so at your own risk.
Schemes and possible scams
Please don't share details of any type of pyramid scheme, including lottery and sweepstake schemes.
Be aware that the faces and names of famous people, including our founder Martin Lewis, are often used to legitimise scam products. See more about Fake Ads under Glossary.
The last thing any of us want is for people to be scammed.
We appreciate emotions can run high should you experience poor service from companies, but we cannot accept active calls to boycott organisations as we are unable to verify the service you received.
Please don’t share referral codes and links as we cannot verify their validity and security.
However well-intentioned, avoid seeking and/or offering medical advice, as it could result in unwanted consequences for all concerned.
Our Forum offers a wealth of MoneySaving wisdom, tips, hints and information both new and historical. However, some of the information changes quickly, is opinion or may be incorrect. We don't verify or take responsibility for what is posted by the community. No two people have the same circumstances or experience and it is up to you to investigate, check and check again before you make any decisions or take any action based on information you glean from our community. Remember, don't rely on what you are reading. Verify it and protect yourself. You are responsible for any action you consequently make.
'Fake news' has a significant impact in society, and it is wise to verify something before blindly stating it as true, or sharing it on a public Forum. Be wise. If we feel something does cross the line and/or is harmful or detrimental to our users, we reserve the right to remove it.
In summary – stay on track and protect yourself.
3. Legal considerations
The MSE Forum is a space that often deals with sensitive issues and is of immense benefit to those who view and contribute. To help you express yourself freely but accurately and legally, we ask that you pay special attention to these rules.
Please refrain from reproducing material that is not written by you. If you didn't make it or write it, it is owned by someone else and reproducing this material may infringe that person's copyright.
The Forum Team does not decide if a post is defamatory or investigate claims made in a post. Therefore, be aware that you may be liable for what you write in a post.
Remember: it must be about MoneySaving, be relevant to the thread and posted in accordance with the Forum rules.
If a post is reported to the Forum Team as being defamatory, we’ll follow a legal process set out in Section 5 of the Defamation Act 2013.
We have outlined what this means for both complainants and posters in the pdf What to expect in the Section 5 process.
If we have to follow the Section 5 process with you more than five times in any 12-month period or you are not prepared to stand by what you’ve said in three or more Section 5 processes in any given period, we may permanently remove your posting privileges on the Forum.
Please don’t write something you’re not prepared to stand by.
Please don’t post or exchange private messages about live court cases, as any discussions could influence proceedings and be classed as contempt of court, resulting in serious legal action against you. This includes the sharing of court and/or legal documents, either on the Forum or via private message.
Do not promote, encourage or glamorise any illegal activities. In particular on MSE, if you are thinking of posting about taking advantage of something that is dubious, or that exploits a 'grey area' of the law, err on the side of caution and do not share information about it. Common sense prevails here.
4. Using the Forum as a professional
Journalists, businesses, broadcasters, professional advisors and researchers should contact us before posting or if they would like information.
Posting on behalf of your business is only permitted if you are an MSE verified user. If you are not a verified user, please do not post on behalf of a business. Understandably, you may want a right to reply if someone posts about your business. In this situation, please contact us in advance to prevent the likelihood of your posts being removed.
It is instinctive to want to help someone, particularly if you are a professional in the area that is being discussed. However, please think carefully about the information you share and do not offer help framed as 'professional advice' to other Forum users. Offering advice as a way in to advertise or promote yourself for personal gain, falls under the rule above on advertising and spam and is not permitted.
5. Dealing with posting outside of the rules
We want the Forum to run smoothly and, ideally, we want to police the community as little as is needed.
To make this possible, we need to be clear and consistent in forming and implementing rules, and you have to post within them. In order to keep our community free from unwelcome posting and unacceptable behaviour, we also rely on the valuable reporting system.
If you spot a post that needs to be reported, see how to report a post below. However, please don't abuse it, as this could lead to us sanctioning your account.
If one of your posts has been reported to us, we will try to link you to, or quote, the post in question and detail which rule/s have been breached when we take action. Sometimes we can't do this however, if your post is part of a thread that has been reported then deleted in its entirety.
A = A Quiet Word
As it says, an informal quiet word is given when you post something that is a bit off the mark or open to be construed as unacceptable.
C = Caution
You've stepped over the mark by consistently and/or more seriously flouting our rules.
T = Time Away
If you've been cautioned or significantly broken a rule, we may choose to give you some time away from the community by not allowing you to post for a defined period.
For gross rule breaches or where time away has already been provided, we will:
This happens when your breach/es are so often or severe, that we have no option but to remove your ability to post permanently.
Please remember, we will act on behaviour that breaches the rules as we see fit and while we will try to give feedback, we are not required to provide reasons, especially during busy times when this may not be possible. The team has to make judgement calls every day so please respect the rules and let’s avoid having to ACT at all.
Please also don't question or criticise Forum Team decisions on the public Forum. Any such posts shall be removed, and appropriate action taken.
If you want to appeal a decision, please email your appeal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don't post your appeal in the Forum or comment about it there.
We will take on any relevant information you supply and review the comment. Extenuating circumstances will not affect the outcome of a decision – posts are viewed in the context of the Forum. We'll then let you know the outcome – the normal timescale for this is around five working days.
Although your intent may not have been to offend/insult/breach etc, we or other community members feel differently. Please be mindful, accept this and move on.
Repeated or unwarranted appeals, or any abuse of the appeal system will not help your case. Communication of this nature is likely to be ignored, as will further appeals after a review.
We don't undertake these actions lightly and being able to appeal gives both you and the Forum Team the opportunity to 'sense check' decisions. We should stress however, that the decisions we make are final and we have neither the resources nor the inclination to enter into lengthy debate or discussion once an appeal has been reviewed and received a decision.
If we remove your ability to post, consequent unacceptable behaviour, such as alter ego creation to cause disruption, may result in us reporting you to your internet provider and blocking your IP address.
Finally, although thankfully rare, if we encounter any escalating or threatening scenarios as a result of removing you from the Forum, we won't hesitate to involve the police or commence legal proceedings where relevant.
6. Check out the FAQs
We will update this section on a regular basis. If you have things you would like us to cover, please email email@example.com.
To add a picture to your username, go to your profile via the link in the top right of your screen, click 'edit profile' and then 'change my picture'. As always, keep it anonymous, clean and inoffensive and don't use your business details, copyrighted content or any flashing images. Any pictures breaking these rules may result in the picture being removed without warning or posting privileges being removed.
The only links permitted in signatures are those of the MSE Team, the Forum Team, the Forum Ambassadors, or links to any pages within the MSE Forum. Any other links in signatures will be removed.
If you see a post or receive a private message that you believe breaches the Forum rules, it can be reported by clicking on the dedicated button on the post, via the blue link at the top of the Forum, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help us review your report, we ask that you:
- Include link/s to each post you are reporting and, if it's a username, a link to the user’s profile. It really helps us if you check that links are working before hitting send too.
- A clear explanation of why you are reporting it and the rule it breaks. For example, is it inappropriate, offensive or unfriendly?
You will receive an automated response confirming receipt of your report. If you don't, please resend it. Your report will be reviewed, and we may ask you for further information. We will then take the relevant action, in line with our rules, or as we deem appropriate to the situation. Once you've reported an issue, please let us deal with it and don't comment or respond about it on the Forum.
Our team works 9-5, Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and we aim to manage all reports as quickly as possible. However, some require investigation and can take several days. With this in mind, please don't chase us as it simply adds to the workload and delays everything further.
The consequences of breaking our Forum rules are discussed in more detail in the ACT section.
- Include link/s to each post you are reporting and, if it's a username, a link to the user’s profile. It really helps us if you check that links are working before hitting send too.
You'll come across other posters on any Forum, whose posts you simply don't like or want to read. The Forum has a useful 'ignore' feature which means you can opt to not see a user's posts. To add someone to your ignore list, click their username, view their profile, click on the downward arrow in the red button and select ignore – all done!
Of course, if someone is breaking the rules in their posts, use the report feature. Don't PM (private message) or engage publicly with people you've taken a dislike to – if you do and it breaks the rules, we may infract your account. Instead, use 'ignore' and move on.
The software our Forum uses doesn't allow a post to be removed if it's the first in a thread. This is because it would remove the complete thread. If it contains personal information, email email@example.com and we can remove this for you.
On desktop, click the ‘Latest Posts’ tab from the left-hand sidebar on any board or discussion page. On mobile, click the dropdown at the top of any board or discussion page and click the ‘Latest Posts’ tab. You can also see a small sample of recent posts halfway down the homepage in either view.
By clicking ‘View all boards’ on the right-hand side of the homepage, you can see a list of all the boards and sub-boards in one place. If you prefer this view, you might like to bookmark it so that you always land here first.
Type a word or words into the search bar at the top of any page and click the magnifying glass icon to search. On the page of results, click the little black arrow to open the search filter dropdown. Alternatively, you can click the magnifying glass icon to go straight to this page, then add your search terms.
To allow others to view things you've seen outside the Forum, quote only short sections and, ideally, state your source and link to it. It's OK to duplicate your own posts outside MSE, but not posts by other users.
Yes. If you shrink the width of your browser by dragging the edges inwards, at a certain point the view will change to mobile view. This means the left-hand side bar is hidden and tabs such as ‘new thread’ and ‘notifications’ appear as always-visible ‘sticky’ tabs at the bottom of the page.
In general, this is limited to household names with a large customer base, companies that have been mentioned by MSE or non-profit advice agencies (see the verified users list).
If an account is verified, you will see ‘Organisation Representatives’ written underneath the username. However, it doesn't mean that MSE endorses its products or services.
Verified users can respond to posts, but they can't send or receive PMs. If they want to discuss something further with a poster, they can ask them to contact the customer service details in their profile.
If you fit the profile of – and have authority to become – a verified user, drop our team a message via firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you see a post about your business that you would like a right to reply to, report it, or drop the team an email via email@example.com, explaining why you'd like to reply. We'll check you're authorised to represent the company and ask you to provide a statement that we'll post for you.
If you spot posts claiming to be from a company and the account is non-verified, please report them or email us.
We will update this section on a regular basis. If you have topics you would like us to cover, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forum Ambassadors are our brilliant bunch of MoneySaving volunteers who keep our boards running smoothly. They tend to focus on specific boards, keep posting on-topic and signpost users to helpful information elsewhere on MSE. They merge and link threads, and lock and flag contentious ones to the Forum Team, as well as reporting spam and problem users. You can help them out by sending them a PM if you see a thread that might be better elsewhere/is a duplicate/could be merged.
Once you've checked the Forum rules and linked info, if you are still unsure why a Forum Ambassador took a certain action or if you want to flag something specific, please drop a message to the Forum Team via email@example.com rather than discussing it on the Forum.
You are likely to have seen these: online scam adverts using fake stories and doctored images of celebrities, including our founder, Martin Lewis! The stories often claim that these celebrities endorse the service or product.
The ads appear on all kinds of sites including news and social media, often for Bitcoin or cryptocurrency scams. Don't be fooled. Martin never endorses products, nor does MSE. It's so important to us that people don't fall victim to Fake Ads, that Martin took on Facebook and we have a whole guide on it on MSE: 30+ ways to stop scams.
If you see a Fake Ad, please use the spam reporting function and don't share it on the MSE Forum.
Skimlinks is software from a company of the same name, that tracks links for companies it has a relationship with. Some of these links are posted by users on our boards. When one is clicked on, it's tracked as coming from our site and Skimlinks gets a lead generation fee that MSE get a proportion of. See our Skimlinks/affiliated Forum links factsheet for more details.
We don't alter posts, and any link posted will be directed to where the poster intended. The only difference is that it sends you via a Skimlinks/affiliated Forum link so that the retailer knows you came via MSE. None of your personal identifying information is tracked.
Skimlinks are turned on by default when you join the Forum, but they can be turned off within your profile. We hope you will choose to keep them on as it helps contribute towards the running costs of this free Forum.
We believe this is a clean way to generate revenue that falls within our ethical stance (see How our site's financed).
Clever ways to calculate your finances