The Rapidian Home

Policies and Guidelines

In order to provide a welcoming atmosphere to our users and neighbors, we require that anyone who submit words, pictures, video and audio content to the site abide by the following terms and conditions.

Content Responsibility, Ownership and Liability

The Rapidian is a platform for citizen journalism for the community. Content on The Rapidian is created and presented by independent community members within general expressed guidelines. While The Rapidian may limit or remove certain content in violation of common rules, choice of subject and reporting style is at the discretion of the citizen reporter.

Community members who submit content (text, photo, video or audio) remain the owners of the content. Submitting content indicates permission for the content to be displayed on the site and redistributed according to the licensing rules (below). Such display or distribution does not constitute any ownership of the submitted content by The Rapidian, Community Media Center or any partners or sponsors. Content creators/owners are free to use their content and without restriction in any other time/place and manner they wish.

Advertorial content may not be submitted by users in the form of articles, comments or any other form. Those wishing to advertise to the Rapidian community may contact our business development department.

Upon submitting content for distribution via The Rapidian, all submitters attest to the fact that they have or have obtained ownership/rights/permissions necessary to legally distribute the content. Further, content submitters accept complete liability for their submission; fully attesting that there is no illegal content and they alone are responsible for any claims to the contrary. All submitters/reporters/commenters agree to indemnify and hold harmless The Rapidian, Community Media Center and its partners or sponsors in issues related to content they submit.

Licensing and Distribution

It is the intent of The Rapidian that we encourage broad distribution of community oriented news and information. Articles and multimedia content on this site is available for aggregation and third party distribution under the following terms.

Anyone who submits content agrees to the following licensing policies. All content on The Rapidian is licensed under one of two possible  Creative Commons licenses. Redistribution under the terms applicable to each license requires no additional permissions from the creator or The Rapidian.

  1. Attribution, No Derivatives (The Rapidian default standard)

    Attribution, no derivativesThis license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with proper credit to both the creator (the citizen journalist) and the source (The Rapidian). Electronic reprints should provide a link back to The Rapidian. Except where specifically noted, The Rapidian content can be assumed to be licensed under this license.
  2. Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivatives (selectable option for reporters)

    Attribution, noncommercial, no derivativesThis license is the same as the first license with one notable exception: It allows only for noncommercial redistribution. Works must still be unchanged and in whole, with proper credit to both the creator (the citizen journalist) and the source (The Rapidian). Electronic reprints should provide a link back to The Rapidian.

    Requests for permission to use The Rapidian content in any way which does not fully conform to these licenses requires additional permission, which will not be granted without agreement by the content creator/submitter.

Content Guidelines and Policies

These policies have been created to encourage the best and most productive use of the resources and are closely aligned with the stated values of The Rapidian. 


Discussion and learning is encouraged, fighting and insults are not. This includes having respect for others' content and opinions. Debate and communication should include facts and persuasive writing. Insubstantial banter or insults do not contribute to a healthy communication process. While The Rapidian considers itself a proponent of free speech, defamation (the expression of injurious, malicious statements about someone), obscenity (indecency, lewdness or offensiveness in behavior, expression or appearance) and hate speech (bigoted speech, attacking or disparaging a social or ethnic group or a member of such a group) will not be permitted. Content that includes such material will be removed by the authority of the managing editor. Disagreement need not be synonymous with anger, bitterness, loathing, intolerance or other nonproductive negativity.

No Anonymity

The Rapidian is intended to foster greater dialogue and increased engagement by our community. To this end, we must be willing to take ownership of our words. The Rapidian will not allow anonymous submissions or comments. Anyone wishing to create an account, make comments or submit stories must disclose their legal name. In the event that a reporter wishes to sign their work with a pen name or nickname, that signature must be linked to the reporter’s profile containing their actual name. Reporters are not required to identify sources if there is sufficient reason for anonymity (whistleblowing, etc.), but the reporter must be identified to the readers/viewers and--as always--assumes responsibility for content.

Local Relevance

The Rapidian is a hyperlocal news project. Stories should be about a person or institution that resides or has resided within the City of Grand Rapids; about a law, event or something of equal influence on; or opportunity for a group of residents or institutions that resides within the city limits of Grand Rapids.


The Rapidian encourages original writing and photos. Do not submit others' work as your own. Please attribute all information you get from other sources, including people, TV shows, Web sites, blogs or traditional publications. If you need help with attribution, contact us: we'll be happy to help.

Original work in your own words is the best submission. If you want to tell others about an article found elsewhere on the Web, provide a link rather than copying and pasting the entire article. You may not republish someone else's copyrighted material on The Rapidian without permission of the copyright holder.

Agree To Editing

By submitting a story to The Rapidian, you agree to possible editing of your story for capitalization, spelling, punctuation, or presentation. The substance of your story will not be edited. We may try to contact you for further information. With regard to categories, when submitting a story, you may suggest a category. However, The Rapidian reserves the right to recategorize content more appropriately.


We cannot edit comments; they are all or nothing (keep copies of your submissions so you can submit a new, edited version if necessary). We are willing to help you find a way to get your point across without violating the site's terms and conditions.

Labeling Sensitive Content

In some cases, there is news that is not suitable for younger audiences or information that is graphic in nature or offensive to some of our readers. If you are posting content that falls under this category, then please select “viewer discretion advised” when posting said content.

Age Requirement

We accept content form people of all ages. However, anyone under the age of 18 must have an adult co-signer who is taking legal responsibility for content submitted by the minor.

Please Leave Site Policing to the Moderators

It's not necessary for site users to police one another's comments by adding comments about others' use of the site. If you would like to report a possible violation of site policy, please email us and refer us to the offending URL or comment. We'll be happy to take care of it so you don't have to. You can also use the "flag for review" feature.


Registering as a user on constitutes acceptance of this site's policies and agreement to abide by the terms and conditions of the site. is not responsible for stories and comments posted on this site. Information posted on the site is the responsibility of the individual contributors and not

The Rapidian reserves the right to refuse publication of any story or comment, for any reason.

The Rapidian reserve the right to require any reporter to pre-submit stories to an editorial mentor for structural review prior to posting.

The Rapidian reserves the right to ban or suspend any user at any time, with or without warning, for activities that put the site at risk.

If you feel you have been wronged somehow by the execution of this policy, you may make your case by sending an e-mail. These rules and policies may be changed periodically as the project evolves.