About WhatDoTheyKnow

Using WhatDoTheyKnow

Access To Information Help

Rules & Complaints

Your Privacy

Information Officers

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If your question isn’t answered here, or you just wanted to let us know something about the site, contact us.

House rules

How we expect people to use and behave on the site

Violation of any of the below rules is likely to lead to the suspension of your account, and you will no longer be able to make requests or updates on WhatDoTheyKnow.

In some cases, breaking these rules could lead to legal action being taken against you by the authorities or an aggrieved party.

Additionally, breaches often take significant amounts of volunteer time to deal with and risk mySociety’s ability to run the service.

  • Use WhatDoTheyKnow only to request specific information, not for general correspondence with public authorities, and certainly not for personal correspondence.
  • Do not include potentially defamatory/potential libellous comments (such as allegations) in your requests and annotations.
  • Do not post information that is unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, discriminatory or profane
  • Only use WhatDoTheyKnow to request information which anyone could expect to obtain if they requested it. If you have a specific right to information, for example because you are seeking your own personal information, then you should correspond privately with the public body concerned to request it. The same principle applies for requests for information about members of your family. Requests for your own personal information are known as Subject Access requests and the Information Commissioner (ICO) has published advice on making such requests.
  • Keep messages sent via our service concise and tightly focused on the subject of the request for information. Heed our advice on making responsible and effective requests.
  • Do not try to impersonate someone else.
  • Do not use any language likely to offend in your usage of the service, including requests and annotations.
  • No spamming.
  • Requests must be made in mixed case letters, i.e. not all in capitals and not all in lowercase (this is automatically enforced by the software that WhatDoTheyKnow runs on).
  • Do not make vexatious requests (requests with no serious purpose, or which are intended to disrupt the operation of a public body). The ICO has guidance on vexatious requests here.
  • Do not use our service to request other people’s personal information and do not include such information in requests, annotations or follow-ups, unless it is fair to do so.
  • Do not seek to evade the actions of site administrators by, for example, creating new accounts to evade a ban, or a rate-limiting cap, or by republishing material which you know has been removed by moderators.

By breaking the rules above, you risk being banned from using the site, and/or your requests/annotations being removed. In cases where it’s clear that your intentions are not malicious, we will contact you first so that we can give advice on how better to use the service.

The use of threats and abusive language will result in no further contact from mySociety staff and volunteers, and a ban from using the site.

Changes #

We keep these pages under review, and may make changes from time to time to ensure that they remain up-to-date and accurate. You can find a synopsis of changes we’ve made at our GitHub repository but if you have any questions, please do contact us.