Frequently Asked Questions
Why was OurSay created?
To improve democracy by increasing public participation in decision making using technology.
What is OurSay?
OurSay is an online community engagement platform managed and developed by a team of activists, public servants and technologists.
How does OurSay work?
Public organisations and institutions use OurSay to host online community engagement projects. OurSay provides the core web infrastructure, community rules and moderation process.
The OurSay team supports users, both project hosts and public participants, to contribute to the process of online community engagement.
Who pays for OurSay?
Public organisations and institutions pay to use OurSay’s core web infrastructure on a subscription basis.
Who oversees the community rules and moderation?
OurSay oversees the community rules and manages the moderation process independently.
You can view our Community Rules and Moderation policy here.
Why does OurSay require me to set up an account?
In order to post or vote, OurSay requires you to register an email address to ensure you are a real person and so you can receive notifications about the impact of your contribution on a project.
We also ask you to provide some basic information about yourself including gender, year of birth and postcode so we can report on the demographics of people participating in projects.
Do I have to use my real name?
No. You can use any name which complies with our Moderation and Privacy Policies.
What is an OurSay forum?
An OurSay forum is a public discussion open for a set period of time to allow public participants to submit ideas or questions to decision makers.
It is also a place where the public can prioritise ideas and questions posted by others through different voting mechanisms.
The public is unable to make a contribution to a forum which is closed or not open.
How many ideas or questions can I post?
As many as you want.
Can I modify or edit my idea or vote once it is posted?
No. Think carefully, and review your ideas or questions before you post. We can't change them after they are posted, as other people may have voted for it as it was when you posted it.
How can I report something I have seen to the moderator?
Please email email@example.com
How to use OurSay
How do I post an Idea or Question?
Depending on the type of OurSay forum, you can post an idea or ask a question. There are two ways to post an idea or question:
- Once you are on the page you want, click the blue ‘submit your idea’ button and type your idea into the box then click submit to post it on the page or cancel if you don’t wish to post.
- You can also type your idea into the blue ‘Submit your idea’ box in the top right hand corner of the page.
How do I Vote for ideas or questions?
There are a number of ways to vote depending on which method appears on your forum:
7 votes - If you see this button, it means you have seven (7) votes to allocate to the ideas already submitted on the page. You can put them all on one idea or spread them across several. To cast your vote, simply press the ‘vote’ button next to the idea you support. If you wish to leave a comment, press ‘comment’
Thumbs up or down - You can either support this idea by pressing the thumbs up or oppose it by pressing thumbs down. There is only one vote up or down with this voting system.
Support - You can show your support for ideas on the forum by pressing the ‘support’ button on the idea you wish to support. It will then turn red to indicate your support has been registered for this idea. If you wish to undo your support, simply press the button again and it will return to light blue. There is only one vote per idea with this voting system.
Up/down - press the up arrow to vote up the idea and the down arrow to vote down. There is only one vote per idea with this voting system
How do I register my vote or submission?
Once you have clicked ‘submit idea’ or voted, you will need to register an account. We ask for your email address, gender, year of birth and postcode. Once you have registered an account you will be re-directed back to the forum page.
How do I get more votes or build support for my idea?
Share your idea or question through social media and email. Rally your networks. Get people excited to vote for your post. You can do so by clicking the social media icons next to your idea.
Community Rules and Moderation Policy
OurSay is designed to be used by all members of the public. If you are under 15 years of age, however, you should ask a parent or guardian if it is okay for you to create an account on this website.
Only one (1) account per person. You may not create an account on behalf of another person or in the name of any kind of group or organisation of which you are not an official representative of.
If you are found to have multiple accounts or if you have found a way to cheat or exploit our voting systems, your accounts may be disabled and any content, including votes, ideas, questions or comments contributed by you may be removed.
You must not use another person's account without permission. You are solely responsible for the activity that occurs on your account, and you must keep your account password secure. You must notify us immediately of any breach of security or unauthorised use of your account.
Rules of engagement
Be civil. It is the internet after all, so any process or contribution, from the registration of your username to your contribution to content (including but not limited to questions, comments, videos and pictures), must not contain:
- Offensive content: Don’t post content that is bigoted towards people based on their race, gender, sexuality, faith or is otherwise extremely offensive. Exceptions may be given to content that is thoughtful and considered. Outright bigotry and hate will not be tolerated.
- Obscenity: Don't post or distribute content that is obscene or indecent, depicts violence, sexual activity or pornography; or contains instructions in crime or drug use;
- Abuse: We moderate content for mindless abuse and excessive trolling;
- Defamatory content: Don’t post content making false claims about other people;
- Contempt: Please watch your language and respect other people's views, beliefs and emotions;
- Incitement: Don’t post content that is threatening, advocates the use of force or violence towards any person or encourages, endorses, approves or recommends the performance of dangerous or illegal acts;
- Copyright infringement: Don’t copy copyrighted material or material created by others without direct permission;
- Promotional or advertising material: We encourage users to post links to information supporting their issues, but content and links that promote or advertise products and services unrelated to the topic at hand may be moderated; or
- Material that is otherwise unlawful.
We reserve the right to refuse to post or redact content that we deem to be spam or breach these terms. We reserve the right to pre-screen submissions or contributions as we see fit.
If you feel we have been unfair in our moderation, let's talk about it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org setting out your concern and providing a way for us to contact you, and we will endeavour to respond to you or to contact you to discuss the issue.
Finally, we do reserve the right to remove any content for any reason, but we are not responsible for any failure or delay in removing such material.
We also reserve the right to, at any time and for any reason, deny you future access to this site or impose conditions on your access.
Our website may contain links to other sites as well as embedded content hosted on other sites (e.g. YouTube/Vimeo videos). We are not responsible for and have no control over the privacy practices of those sites, and recommend that you read their privacy policies for further information.
I have read all the information on this page and I still need help. Can I talk to someone?
Please email email@example.com for a helpful human
Customer Support and Maintenance
OurSay maintains a Help Desk from 9am-12am (AEST) daily to support all customers with their technical and non-technical inquiries. The Help Desk can be accessed either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in-app chat. Between these times you can expect to hear a response within 2 hours and a resolution within 16 hours.
Hosting and data storage
The OurSay platform is hosted on the Australian cloud availability zone of Amazon Web Services offering high-level security, data storage and backup, and system uptime close to 99%.
The OurSay platform is built on the top of MySQL database which one of the most popular databases in the market. MySQL enables flexible integrations both with a large number of 3rd party services and platforms along with solid data security layers that protect sensitive data from intruders. Rights can be set to allow some or all privileges to individuals. Passwords are encrypted. MySQL can handle almost any amount of data, up to as much as 50 million rows or more.
Platform Maintenance and Updates
OurSay deploys platform updates weekly responding to feedback and opportunities to improve user experience. Updates are scheduled at low traffic times during the week to avoid disruptions to users.
OurSay provide community moderation as standard 24/7. Moderation is supported by spam and profanity filters as well as a robust policy for managing community content. All content is reviewed by a human with 2 hours of being posted. We schedule extra moderation support at peak times (6:30am, 9:00pm on weekdays and during the day on weekends).
Webinars and e-learning
OurSay provides regular and free webinars covering a range of topics to support successful online engagement projects. Topics cover everything from "how to activate online channels" to "responding to nutters: the art of risk communication", we make sure you are informed and prepared to get the most from your OurSay experience. We also blog...a lot...about these topics.
To see upcoming webinars visit: hub.oursay.org/academy