Started this topic because I wanted to leave feedback on OKF’s website terms and conditions.
So some feedback on the terms:
Remove superfluous texts
All texts like:
"These final 'boilerplate' terms of should go without saying, but we are saying them anyway just to be clear." "We may sometimes fail to enforce our rights under this agreement (for example because we decide not to, or we did not realise you were in breach of contract)."
should be removed. I know that sometimes when you are writing something, you just write in a kind of overly expressive way. But if you realise that every word you put in a document can be conceived as an extra burden for readers, then you look at being only as expressive as is needed. This is a good principle for all terms-and-conditions documents especially because most readers most likely consider them to be really irritating. I suggest making successive ‘passes’ over the document, revising and revising again, to get it just right.
Date the document.
Dating the document is useful for readers, because they can quickly get an idea as to whether it has changed or not, since their last review.
Make certain texts optional reading.
For example, the payments section is only relevant at the time when you start using paid services. If you are just using free services, it has no relevance. Therefore, make it clear that you only need to read the section if you are using paid services. Simple idea, but can go a long way to improving terms and conditions.
Mark out texts relevant to obligations.
Everyone is busy, and many people most likely have little patience for terms-and-conditions documents. See the BBC article at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22772321 for some justification for believing this. If you are able to mark all the texts relevant to the user obligations that are directly imposed by the provider, this can really help users. For example, myself, I don’t care about how providers are protecting my privacy. I simply rely that the law adequately protects me. I find it really irritating when providers force users into reading privacy policies that almost always never impose extra obligations on users.Instead of marking obligations, another thing you could do is simply have a separate document containing all the directly imposed obligations. Users can then just review that and forget about the rest.
I think that’s enough suggestions to start this topic off.
If you’re interested in finding out more, why don’t you have a look at the recent communication I sent to Barclays regarding improving some of their terms? The communication consists of the material at the following addresses:
Additionally, why don’t you have a look at the (currently unofficial) improvements I made to the website terms of the Linux Foundation, at the following addresses:
https://tinyurl.com/LinuxFoundationTermsImproved (New version)
https://tinyurl.com/LinuxFoundationTermsOriginal (Old version)
So, does anyone have anything else to add?