A) TARGET GROUP and OBJECTIVES
1. TARGET GROUP
The Competence Site is an expertise-sharing, networking platform which brings together experts (individuals and organisations) from the worlds of academia and business.

2. OBJECTIVE/SHARING EXPERTISE
These users, experts and leading organisations bring their expertise to bear on the Competence Site and present their knowledge. This makes others aware of them and able to assess their expertise. Sharing and embodying expertise is also the best way to advertise your services in networks.

3. OBJECTIVE/PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING
In this way, these experts advertise their expertise to one another and find suitable solutions from other experts and suitable partners. On this basis, they generate new expert posts and economic benefit together within the network.

4. OBJECTIVE/PROMOTING DIALOGUE BETWEEN EXPERTS
The Competence Site offers its partners in particular the opportunity to publish and utilise specialist texts in a high-quality environment by means of suitable and innovative formats such as articles, studies, white papers, e-interviews, expertise profiles, expert blogs, forums, etc.

B) CULTURE
1. CULTURE OF THE EXPERTISE-SHARING PARTNERSHIP
Competence Site’s expertise-sharing culture is built on two inseparable pillars which relate to both its users’ ethics and their competencies: a focus on quality/economic benefit and a spirit of partnership. All structures and partners are dedicated to maintaining this expertise-sharing partnership.

2. QUALITY
In this definition, quality means the ability of a competency product to fulfil the competency client’s expectations (based on ISO 8402). This does not necessarily mean that such products may not contain promotional messages. However, failing to fulfil expectations is prohibited, e.g. by providing competency products whose content do not live up to the promises made in their titles.

3. SPIRIT OF PARTNERSHIP/FAIRNESS
In the above definition, a spirit of partnership means safeguarding the autonomy of all partners but also acting in a way that takes other partners’ interests into account. A passive spirit of partnership means avoiding unfairly damaging other partners’ interests. An active spirit of partnership involves actively taking partners’ interests into account in your own actions/decisions.

C) AUTONOMY and OPENNESS
1. OPENNESS/AUTONOMY: JOINING
In line with this ethos, the Competence Site is open to all partners (especially users) who are keen to uphold the networking culture of our expertise-sharing partnership.

2. OPENNESS/AUTONOMY: LEAVING
Partners also have the sovereign right to terminate their involvement with the Competence Site themselves at any time and to decide how their existing data and posts will be used in the future. There will be no expropriation in such cases.

3. OPENNESS/NON-EXCLUSIVITY
Partners are free to participate in other networks at the same time. The open Competence Site does not strive to be exclusive in any way and does not expropriate partners’ data or their online posts. On the contrary: the Competence Site will provide an increasing number of interfaces and processes to enable partners to use data and online posts in other networks.

4. NON-ACCEPTANCE
Should justified doubts exist surrounding partners’ voluntary commitment, a partner can be refused acceptance and excluded from the processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership. Processes are gradually being optimised with a sharper focus on ensuring that they are fair and objective.

5. EXCLUSION SUBSEQUENT TO ACCEPTANCE
Partners who violate the Competence Site’s networking culture can be excluded from the processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership subsequent to initial acceptance. In the case of exclusion, the partner will retain sovereignty over his/her own data and posts as long as third-party rights are not affected.

6. SOVEREIGNTY OVER DATA
Every partner is free to decide on the form his/her involvement will take and contribute to the Competence Site accordingly. Partners have the sovereign right to determine the way in which their data and posts are used on the Competence Site (e.g. whether data and posts are visible) within the scope of the technical options currently available. NetSkill is gradually optimising these technical options.

D) SPIRIT OF PARTNERSHIP
1. TOLERANCE OF DIFFERENT VIEWS
All partners have the same right to document and share their different views on this platform, as long as this does not infringe on other partners’ rights. The Competence Site does not aim to present a single truth: it strives to reflect the full range of views held by the Competence Site’s partners.

2. RESPECTING OTHERS
The Competence Site’s network partners always respect the rights of other partners and their autonomy in particular. To this end, the partners communicate and cooperate with one another openly, transparently and based on a spirit of partnership. Criticism and discussions are also handled openly and constructively. Communication and cooperation should always serve the interests of all the partners involved and not thoughtlessly make demands on an individual’s time or other resources.

3. TRUST
Trust in the spirit of partnership and the partners’ expertise is crucial for a relationship founded on mutual respect. Criticism of the spirit of partnership and/or allegations of conduct at odds with this spirit of partnership must not be premature and exaggerated. Any such reprimands should be expressed conscientiously after due consideration and based on sound facts. Otherwise, the network risks incurring considerable expenses associated with discretionary prosecution and damage.

4. EXPERTISE AND ADVERTISING
Any demonstration of expertise is a means of advertising your services. This means that expertise and advertising are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary: the notion of competency-based advertising aims to make expertise transparent and use it as a way of recruiting expert partners.

5. SPAMMING, ETC.
Acts such as spamming (mass advertising e-mails), bashing (digital libel using false data), trolling (provocation) and other forms of communication or conduct which go against the spirit of partnership are, of course, prohibited. Like other activities not reconcilable with the spirit of partnership, they can lead to users being excluded. In the case of conflicts, the processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership will ensure that fair resolutions are found between the parties to the dispute.

6. COOPERATION/INVOLVEMENT IN JOINT ACTIVITIES
Partners can get involved in joint posts and structures (voting centre, committees) by means of the transparent processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership, based on their existing expert posts. This means that the cooperation partners’ roles (e.g. users, experts, committee members, coordinators) depend on their expertise and history.

7. COOPERATION/SHARING JOINTLY GENERATED ECONOMIC BENEFIT
Partners can profit from the advantages and success of cooperating within the network via the transparent processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership on the basis of their existing expert posts (to the extent that this can be supported technically). Any economic benefit which is generated jointly should be shared by the whole partnership. Partners are not abused (e.g. by sharing expenses within the network but only allowing a few people access to the advantages).

E) FOCUS ON QUALITY and ECONOMIC BENEFIT:
1. REFERENCING/OPEN AUTHORSHIP
The network’s quality is built on comprehensive referencing in posts and, in particular, its policy of no anonymous posts. Each partner acknowledges his/her comments, which enables other partners to judge the quality of the post, authorship and the context of the post. External sources and other references are documented (linked) so that they too can be verified. Special care must be taken over the long-term documentation of authorship.

2. FOCUS ON EXPERTISE
Professional expertise and/or proven competency are indicative of an individual’s specialist knowledge and also the essential basis for the quality of network posts. An individual must have verified specialist knowledge to legitimately contribute to the processes which support the expertise-sharing partnership. Knowledge and/or expertise does not necessarily mean an academic qualification; it indicates that the person is able to solve an issue based on his/her own experience.

3. TRUTH/CLARITY
All partners also undertake to uphold the principles of truth and clarity in their comments. Conjecture and third-party opinions are clearly identified as such and not propagated thoughtlessly. Fraud, manipulation, deliberate misinformation and other acts which go against the network’s quality (and partnership-based) ethos are not permitted.

4. FOCUS ON ECONOMIC BENEFIT AND MEANINGFUL ASSISTANCE
The real aim of cooperating within the network is to create economic benefit and provide meaningful assistance for all network partners who are either directly or indirectly affected. In particular, this means that anything which does not generate economic benefit or provide meaningful assistance – and anything which ties up financial or other resources – is not permitted. All partners should receive the most transparent feedback possible about the economic benefit they generate within the network.