eBay Updates Community Forum Rules

Liz Morton ~ Founder
Liz Morton ~ Founder


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eBay staff have posted an update to the community rules and created a dedicated forum thread that will be open until July 6th for users to give their feedback.

Updated Community Guidelines
Hello Community, We want to make the Community a safe and enjoyable place for all to come participate and learn from one another. The Community team has recently updated the Community Guidelines. You can find them here. I’ll keep this post up for until the end of day on July 6th for feedback on…

Hello Community,

We want to make the Community a safe and enjoyable place for all to come participate and learn from one another. The Community team has recently updated the Community Guidelines. You can find them here.

I'll keep this post up for until the end of day on July 6th for feedback on the Guidelines.

The new community rules can be found here:

Rules of Engagement
eBay Community is a space for eBay sellers and buyers to connect with one another. eBay staff occasionally participate, but eBay users are at the heart of building and growing the eBay Community. These Community Guidelines are the foundation for fostering a welcoming, helpful, and respectful experie…

And those who wish to compare to the old version can check out the Internet Archive Wayback Machine here:

Rules of Engagement
The eBay Community is a place where eBay Community members can connect, learn and share experiences and best practices with one another. By participating in the eBay Community, you agree to act in accordance with the Community Guidelines and the eBay User Agreement. These principles exist to ensur…

A few differences that stood out to me:

Old version (emphasis mine):

The eBay Community is a peer-to-peer support community.
While eBay employees will be on the discussion boards from time to time, the Community is not a dedicated customer service channel.

This is a peer-to-peer support community – inclusive of sellers, buyers, and eBay employees. It is a place to get tips and advice from Community members. If you require assistance directly from eBay Customer Support, please visit our Customer Support portal via the Help & Contact link.

New version:

eBay Community is a space for eBay sellers and buyers to connect with one another. eBay staff occasionally participate, but eBay users are at the heart of building and growing the eBay Community. These Community Guidelines are the foundation for fostering a welcoming, helpful, and respectful experience for all users.

Community staff clarified that despite the removal of the explicit verbiage, eBay still does not consider the community to be a dedicated customer support channel, which makes me wonder why they would change to be less transparent about that fact.

Several other sections were changed to be less explicit as well, with some specific guidelines (like minimum age requirements) removed and replaced by links to the general User Agreement instead.

One place eBay did get more explicit is in regard to activism - specifically adding boycotts and lawsuits to the list of forbidden subjects.

One has to wonder if eBay hasn't been carefully watching the ripples from the recent Etsy Seller Strike as well as other seller advocacy efforts. 😉

Old version:

Do not advertise items, listings, services, or commercial websites, including petitions or solicitations for others to buy your items, or use your products...

...Members are not permitted to tell others to stop selling on eBay or to leave eBay for any reason, which includes promoting off eBay sites, groups, or forums by name or by providing links.

New version:

Content and actions not permitted

Inappropriate content or content in violation of these community guidelines, or the eBay User Agreement, should not be posted. You agree to refrain from posting content or taking actions that are:...

...calling for petitions, boycotts, lawsuits, or other calls to activism in either posts or private messages or to otherwise drive traffic elsewhere...

...promoting off-eBay sites, groups, or forums, or suggestions that encourage users to leave eBay

Another really interesting point revealed in that new version - "in either posts or private messages".

Many community members in the past have believed private messages are in fact private, even from moderators and community staff, and the old version of the guidelines may have given that impression as well by saying "we assume private message content is intended only for the recipient(s)."

Keep private interactions confidential.
We assume that email and private message content is intended only for the recipient(s). Do not post personal names, addresses, tracking numbers, private messages, chat transcripts or emails from Community members, moderators or eBay.

However, I am aware of situations where users received warnings and/or suspensions for things which were said only in private messages - clearly showing eBay can and does monitor those messages as well as public posts.

The new version of the rules has removed that reference and as we can see in the new version about content and actions not permitted, they now explicitly mention both public posts and private messages.


What do you think of the new eBay community guidelines? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to leave your feedback on the community as well!

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