Local Body Website Policies
Every US local body of OTO is required to have a publicly accessible web presence, such as a website or Facebook page. Web presence provides a useful contact point for your body, and is 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.
In this document, the term "website" is used to refer to the local body's primary public web presence, whatever that might be -- in the simplest terms, what will be linked from the USGL local bodies list. Similarly, the local body "webmaster" is whoever has primary responsibility for operating the body's website.
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 Secretary at email@example.com.
It is strongly recommended that your body have its own domain for use in both web and email addresses. The domain name should ideally consist of the local body name followed by "-oto" (e.g. Reuss Oasis might use "reuss-oto.org"). Internet conventions dictate that we should use the ".org" suffix, but this is not required. The domain should not include the body type ("camp", "oasis", "lodge"), as this will become obsolete if the body is ever reclassified.
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 2003 are considered pre-approved and may continue using such domains indefinitely.
If your website cannot be loaded directly via your domain (as is the case for Facebook pages, for example), it is strongly recommended that you arrange for your domain to forward to the actual URL of your content. A branded domain or full URL looks much better on promotional material than a long third-party URL.
Ownership and access
Website hosting should be paid for and controlled by the 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.
Should a local body with a website be closed or suspended, or if otherwise directed by USGL, the Master and officers of the body are responsible for immediately either taking the site entirely offline, or modifying it in a way which leaves no suggestion that it is an official OTO site. 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 OTO.
If desired, site access information may be placed "in escrow" with the USGL Internet Secretary, who will store it securely, and provide or use it should unforeseen circumstances leave the local body unable to manage its own site.
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:
- The name of the local body, as chartered by the Electoral College.
- The letters OTO (with or without periods) or the words "Ordo Templi Orientis".
- The "valley" of the body (city and state) as chartered by the Electoral College.
All local body websites must make the following information easy to find:
- The contact email address of the body.
- The contact postal address of the body.
- A link to the US Grand Lodge public website primary URL (https://oto-usa.org/).
Each of these required content items must appear in plain text available for screen readers and search-engine indexing.
- No copyrighted content may appear without prior permission from the copyright holder. Proper copyright notices must be displayed if required.
- No content which violates or advocates the violation of OTO USGL policies may appear. See the Camp, Oasis, and Lodge Masters' Handbook for details.
- No content which is defamatory, which could expose the Order to risk of litigation, or which could otherwise attract serious negative attention may appear.
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:
- Altered ("Photoshopped") images of people depicting them in one of our temples, or at an O.T.O. event, which they did not attend.
- Altered images of people such that a reasonable person might conclude from looking at the picture something that would be considered defamatory about the subject of the photo, or that could reasonably be considered an invasion of their privacy.
- A recognizable image, not in the public domain, of a person or persons without their express permission.
The local body 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.
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.