GRAND LODGE OF PENNSYLVANIA
COMMITTEE ON INTERNET SERVICES
GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF LODGE WEB SITES
INTRODUCTION
These guidelines were adopted by the Committee on Internet Services for use by the Lodges working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and were approved by the Right Worshipful Grand Master.

All efforts to communicate the image of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania should reflect the goals of the Fraternity, and its principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. The Internet is such a broad means of communication, and its parameters change almost daily. It is essential that the image of Freemasonry be preserved in all that is communicated in this public venue. It is not the intent of the Committee to restrict the creativity of our members, or to ignore the many positive features of the Internet, but these must not conflict with the Ancient Landmarks, or the customs of the Craft.

ADVERTISING and SPONSORSHIP
Some Lodges may choose to use commercial web-hosting services that flash advertisements to the viewers. These advertisements are not within the control of the Lodge, however, if they are inappropriate, the Lodge must seek another hosting service. This holds true for any additional services, such as guestbooks, or links to other sites. The Grand Lodge offers free hosting service to all Lodges in Pennsylvania. For information, please read the remainder of this document, and then click the link at the bottom of the page. You MAY establish a relationship with PayPal or other reputable on-line payment service, ONLY IF the Lodge membership approves it by resolution adopted at a Stated Meeting. You MAY establish an on-line partnership or affiliate relationships with well-known and non-controversial businesses, ONLY IF the Lodge membership approves it by resolution adopted at a Stated Meeting.
CONFIDENTIALITY
For over 200 years the Grand Lodge has protected the confidentiality of its members by not revealing their names or involvement without their consent. Selling of mailing lists has never been condoned, and marketing to members has been selectively approved by the Grand Master. The Grand Lodge website, and the sites of subordinate Lodges, may not be used for marketing purposes, except in conjunction with the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Library and Museum Gift Shop. It is not permissible to publish the names, addresses, and phone numbers of members and officers of the Craft, without their expressed permission.

All contacts for information about the Fraternity, and the Craft, should be made via an e-mail address. However, even personal e-mail addresses should not be listed on web sites unless written consent (received via e-mail, online form, US mail, or otherwise) has been given by the holder of that e-mail address. Click here for samples.

CONTENT
When considering the content for a Masonic Web Site, there is a wide range of material available. It is important that a positive image of Freemasonry be presented, as this is a window through which the entire world can inspect our workings. The inclusion of high-quality graphics, photos, music and animations can add variety to a Web Site. However, whether or not a Web Site represents the latest in cyberspace technology, it is the message of Masonic benevolence, fraternal care, and rich history that must be displayed on every page. Always keep in mind that what you include on your Web Site is visited by persons who may know absolutely nothing about the Craft. Your Web Site is a prime opportunity for potential candidates for Freemasonry to obtain a favorable impression of our ancient and honorable institution. Include only those materials (text, photos, videos, music) that you believe send a positive message about the Fraternity, such as information on parades, fairs, car washes, charitable dinners, sports tournaments, etc.

LODGE NOTICES
Some Lodges post almost the entire text of their monthly Lodge notice on their web site. This is fine, except that it is NOT an acceptable substitute for the Lodge notice, which must still be produced and distributed by mail or email in accordance with Grand Lodge law and the decisions of the R. W. Grand Master. (Please note that it is NOT PROPER to include the names of petitioners, or candidates for degrees, on a web site. You may indicate that you will be conferring specific degrees, and that you will be balloting, but you must not name the subjects of those actions. That is business which is private to the Lodge. Additionally, the personal addresses and telephone numbers of Lodge officers and committee members should not be published on a web site.) Email addresses may be included, if permission is given by the owner to do so.
DUPLICATE INFORMATION
Each Lodge is responsible for the content presented on their respective web site, however, duplicated material should be kept to a minimum. If the content already exists on the Grand Lodge web site, the Lodge should provide a link to that content, instead of duplicating the information. This will provide a single source of input, revision, and ownership.
HOME PAGE
The home page is the first page of a Web Site. It should include, but not be restricted to, the following information:
  • The Lodge originating the site, clearly identified as a part of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, with a link to the Home Page of the Grand Lodge, either from the Lodge Home Page, or from a page linked to the Home Page clearly labeled as "Favorite Links" or something similar.
  • It should also include the following information, or a single obvious click-through to this information, for instance, under a link called CONTACTS:
    • The e-mail address of the site's Webmaster for response to any technical or operational questions.
    • The e-mail address for a Lodge official to answer public questions and concerns.
CREDIT
All material (written or recorded) copied from another source must appear with a credit line acknowledging the source of the original material, if known. This is both a courtesy to the original author(s) and protection against misquotes and claims of copyright infringement.
GUEST BOOKS
Guest Books are a popular addition to web sites in which visitors can make comments regarding the site and interact with other Guest Book signers. If there is no review or monitoring of Guest Book messages before they are posted in public, it is critical that the Webmaster review the site daily and have means to delete inappropriate messages.
LINKS
By linking to other web sites, a home page provides each visitor with the opportunity to visit other Masonic sites, within and without the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Be sure that the Masonic sites to which you link maintain a high quality and adhere to principles of common decency and courtesy. You should not link to sites sponsored by so-called Masonic entities with which we are not in fraternal communication. If you are not sure, ask the Grand Secretary's office for clarification. Links to general interest sites should only be included if they do not conflict with the principles of the Fraternity, or present controversial, political, or otherwise inappropriate content.
REQUESTING LINKS ON THE GRAND LODGE PAGES
When you have a website that is ready for public viewing, whether hosted by the Grand Lodge or by a third-party source, it is your responsibility to notify us that you would like it to be linked to the GREAT LINKS page, and the LODGE LOCATOR. Once that request has been acknowledged it could take up to two weeks to fulfill that request.
PHOTOGRAPHS
One way to enhance a Web Site is to include photographs of Lodge members doing things in the community. Just like a newspaper, it is a good idea to have the permission of those in the photograph for publication on the web. In some cases, it will be more prudent to have very general captions that describe an event, but do not identify the individuals pictured. Always be sure to respect the privacy of those who may benefit from the Lodge's charity.
OWNERSHIP
Lodge web sites are the property of the Lodge, even if they are hosted on a member's ISP allocated server space. The control of that web site is always the responsibility of the Worshipful Master, who is accountable for all material placed in public. It is a good policy for the Worshipful Master to approve everything that is posted on a Lodge web site. If the Worshipful Master does not have access to the internet, it should be the webmaster's responsibility to get approval of a paper copy of all material before it is posted.

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