It was with great interest and amusement that we at Maven ran across this item regarding a UK company’s hilarious April Fool’s joke. It seems that Gamestation, an online computer game retailer, inserted language in their Terms & Conditions on April 1st granting the company “a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your [the buyer’s] immortal soul.” The term included a checkbox allowing the user to opt out, for which the buyer was also granted a £5 coupon (and, presumably, the right to retain their soul). Guess how many people opted out? Fewer than 12% of the 7500+ buyers who used the site that day!
Once the laughter died down, we realized that the point Gamestation was trying to make is very applicable to Maven- i.e. that people tend to gloss over online Terms and Conditions without paying much attention to what they are signing up for. This is a real problem, and one that Maven has always sought to combat.
One of the most common pieces of feedback we receive from Mavens and prospective Mavens is that signing our Terms and Conditions is rather more involved than signing T’s & C’s for other networking or ecommerce sites. While the overwhelming majority of such feedback is positive, from time to time users do express the perception that perhaps having someone read and digitally sign our Terms in six different places is a bit of overkill. We disagree.
Maven’s Membership Terms & Conditions are important and are intended to protect our participants. The review and signoff process is intended to make you think and to remind you of your rights, responsibilities, and obligations as a Maven. This includes respecting your external obligations, understanding your limitations so you can avoid putting yourself in potentially conflicted situations, protecting our Clients’ privacy and confidentiality (just as they agree to protect yours), and abiding by relevant laws. In addition to the document itself, our plain-English explanations of the relevant sections are intended to help you understand the issues involved and reinforce that Maven takes these issues very seriously.
At Maven, we aren’t after your immortal soul (our lawyers suggested it, but we managed to overrule them). Rather our goal is to provide a safe, secure, and conflict-free platform for the rapid and ethical exchange of knowledge, perspective, and opinion between professionals. We always err on the side of thoroughness and transparency, and our Membership Terms & Conditions review and signoff process is critically important to help us achieve that goal.
Note- As mentioned above, Maven’s Clients agree to their own set of Terms & Conditions that help to protect you. To see what they agree to, click here.