Local Body Website Policies

Updated 01/24/24 EV

Every local body of U.S.G.L. has been required to have a publicly accessible website, such as a professional website or a freely provided Google Site within the U.S.G.L. Workspace, since Fall, 2023 EV. A local body may host this website externally or host it for free in the Google Workspace as a subdomain (bodyname.oto-usa.org). Please contact tech@oto-usa.org for details. 

Websites not only provide a useful contact point for your local community but they are also an easy way to showcase local events, interests, talents, and achievements. We fully expect that local body websites will excel in creativity, diversity, and novelty. However, as these sites also represent the Order as a whole, there are a few simple policies governing them.

The local body "webmaster" is whoever has primary responsibility for operating the body's website and should use a workspace email (bodyname.position@oto-usa.org) to manage all resources.

If ambiguous or marginal cases arise in the application of these policies, or if you wish to stretch the boundaries, please feel free to contact the Internet Technology Committee at tech@oto-usa.org.


All local bodies are now given a subdomain in the Workspace or a redirect to their external site, patterned: bodyname.oto-usa.org, without the body type, as this will become obsolete if the body is ever reclassified. 

It has long been recommended that if your body has its own domain, it should utilize the local body name followed by "-oto.org" (e.g. Reuss Oasis might use "reuss-oto.org"), not including the body status  ("Camp", "Oasis", "Lodge"). 

If you wish to use a domain name that differs from this pattern, please get prior approval from the Internet Secretary to ensure that there are no issues regarding trademark conflicts or the like. Bodies already using other domain naming styles as of May 1, 2023 are considered pre-approved and may continue using such domains as long as they wish to support them externally.

Ownership and access

If paying for external website hosting, it should be paid for and controlled by the local body rather than by any one individual. In all cases, at least one person other than the local body webmaster must have both legal authority and appropriate access information (including passwords) to modify or remove the site on minimal notice, if necessary. At least one person holding such authority and information must be a primary officer (Master, Deputy Master, Treasurer, or Secretary) of the body. Per the decision of the Electoral College, all web resources must be in the control of one or more of the primary officer email accounts.

Should a local body with a website be closed or suspended, or if otherwise directed by U.S.G.L., the Master and officers of the body are responsible for immediately either taking the site entirely offline or modifying it in a way that leaves no suggestion that it is an official O.T.O. site until the matter is resolved. If the body is closed permanently and the site is hosted at a domain having the "-oto" suffix recommended above, use of that domain should be phased out at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile, extra care should be taken to warn visitors explicitly that the site is no longer officially sanctioned by O.T.O.

If desired, site access information may be placed "in escrow" with the U.S.G.L. Internet Secretary, who will store it securely, and provide or use it should unforeseen circumstances leave the local body unable to manage its site.

Sites created within the Workspace are made on one of the major email accounts (Master, Deputy, Secretary, Treasurer, or Webmaster), shared with those accounts, and with the Internet Technology Committee. The local officers may request assistance at any time with this process from creation to publishing by emailing tech@oto-usa.org to open a ticket.

Required content

Given the enormous scope for innovation and creativity in website design, it is impossible to specify where and how content items must appear. Some highly dynamic sites might not have separate "pages" per se, a site may have a text-free "splash page" as its primary entry point, and so forth. Therefore, this set of requirements is phrased in terms of relative prominence and ease of access. On more traditional sites, the intent is that prominent information appears on the primary content-containing landing page (typically the "home" or default page reached via the bare domain URL), and that easy-to-find information is either on that same page or easily reachable via a link from that page. 

All local body websites must make the following information prominent:

All local body websites must make the following information easy to find:

Each of these required content items must appear in plain text available for screen readers and search-engine indexing.

Content restrictions

Proper observance of these rules involves judgement and discretion. If in doubt, contact the Internet Secretary, who will discuss the proposed content with other U.S.G.L. officers if appropriate, and advise the local body on how best to proceed.

Unless otherwise marked, graphics appearing on the various U.S.G.L. sites are available for use on local body sites.

Images on the Web

As mentioned above, local bodies are prohibited from web posting of defamatory materials, materials that could expose the Order to risk of litigation, or that could otherwise attract serious negative attention. In particular, posting any of the following on local body websites or social media pages is expressly and specifically prohibited:


The local master is responsible for all content appearing on that local body's website (or any other official net channel), and for ensuring that all explicit content requirements are met. It is suggested that masters review all site changes for conformance to these policies.

Reporting changes

If a local body launches a new site or changes to a new URL (or changes any other public contact information), this process must be followed to update relevant U.S.G.L. and International Headquarters offices.