The following items is a list of things to, or not to, do to ensure that your group's web site may be considered as 'Officially Recognized' by the Kingdom of Atlantia and the SCA in general. This is not a checklist *per-say* but you may use it as an informal self test to make sure that you're sites are aligned with Society and Kingdom Policies.
This article is a work in progress. If you have a question, just ask. firstname.lastname@example.org
These items are taken directly from the most recent edition of the Society Web Minister's Handbook (available on sca.org).
- All recognized web sites must have a link to http://www.sca.org.
- Recognized websites may never be hosted on a service that requires banner or popup advertisements.
- May not have links to non-recognized websites without an external link disclaimer such as:
"All external links are not part of the [Group Name] web site. Inclusion of a page or site here is neither implicit nor explicit endorsement of the site. Further, SCA, Inc. is not responsible for content outside of [website address]."
- Official sites must have a statement of ownership, or an obvious link to one, on the homepage.
- "This is the recognized web site for the <branch name> of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. and is maintained by <Modern and/or SCA name of Webminister>. This site may contain electronic versions of the group's governing documents. Any discrepancies between the electronic version of any information on this site and the printed version that is available from the originating office will be decided in favor of the printed version. For information on using photographs, articles, or artwork from this web site, please contact the Webminister at <Webminister's email address>. He or she will assist you in contacting the original creator of the piece. Please respect the legal rights of our contributors. Copyright © <Year> <branch name>. The original contributors retain the copyright of certain portions of this site."
- DO NOT politicize the office. This is not freedom of the press. These websites, officially recognized ones in particular, that represent a legal 501.3(c) corporate entity. The following will not be tolerated:
- Mundane politics on published pages
- Advancing the position of a given faction with the SCA
- Imagery or advertising that does any of the above.
- No lewd or adult content.
- ℳel says: There are aspects of researching Medieval life which involve imagery or materials which may not be acceptable by modern social standards but I don't consider them to be 'lewd'. There is a real difference between something that can be reasonably expected to offend and material that is intended to be lewd. That being said; my general rule is "if you would have to put up a curtain with an Adults Only sign to display this at an event - Don't post it on a website."
- Don't be a goob. The following activities are not allowed and infractions will be swiftly addressed.
- Personal attacks on individuals or groups
- Harsh criticism of the behavior of individuals or groups
- Copyrighted material used without permission
- Use of derogatory racial or religious stereotypes
- Offensive words, phrases, or images
- Personal information (Modern name, Home or work address, Phone numbers, Personal e-mail address) may NOT be published to unsecured / password protected sites without formal consent. This can be done via a simple email but it must be archived so that it can be referenced as needed. Information that you CAN post without formal consent includes SCA name and SCA email address. If the email address ends in "[whatever].sca.org" you may safely assume that it is an SCA email, otherwise ask.
- Maintain easy to read, uncluttered pages. Providing too much information on a given page only obscures the page’s true message * Do not abbreviate anything without explaining the full term first, keeping in mind that the web site may be the first point of contact for people otherwise unfamiliar with the SCA and its attendant specialized vocabulary.
- Keep all your pages as uniform as possible; nothing confuses a visitor faster than obscure navigation and drastic visual changes from one page to the next
- Do not use flashing text, overly large fonts, overly small fonts, or other such items that are deemed inappropriate for a professional web site. When in doubt consult with the Kingdom Web Minister
- When navigating away from your web site, either notify the user that they are leaving with a redirect page or visually indicate external links in some way (specific icons, font changes, or warnings that a link will open in a new browser window or tab)
- Obfuscate all e-mail addresses by placing spaces between names and "at" "(@)" signs, spelling out "at", or any other method which prevents automatic e-mail address farming
- ℳel says: I'm not a stickler for this one and neither is the society web minister. Even the sca.org homepage has non-obfuscated email addresses... BUT it is currently in the Web Minister handbook. There was a time when email address farming was a thing but spiders are so much smarter now that expending the effort to make the addresses difficult to identify just makes life harder on your users.
- Never use embedded sound, music or movies on a main page or the site in general. Give the user the option to "opt-in" by making a link to a page with the media content and allowing them to hear and/or see the content. Use of content appropriate media is encouraged, but allow the users to choose when and what to experience.
- Use both grammar and spell checkers on all site content
- Maintain a high contrast between text and background
Suggested Best Practices
- Avoid the use of frames
- Choose a favico.ico appropriate to the SCA
- Try to minimize external links to specific pages. If links are required, try to link to the root of any given site
- Do not assume that everyone has a broadband connection; limit the amount of graphics on any given page, especially the main page. One or two is fine but don't clutter things.
- Check your links regularly and ensure they are not broken
- Attempt to use compliant hypertext markup language (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS)
- Remember thy mobile devices. Lots of people use their phones to look up information at an event.
- Advertising is OK. Even paid advertising, BUT: all products or services advertised must relate directly to SCA's mission, if you charge - you have to use the same pricing model for all ads and the ads must meet the general guidelines of the thou shalts (no blinking, no auto play movies, etc)