Mold Avoiders Forum Rules

Mold Avoiders Group Rules

The Mold Avoiders Facebook group is designed for those who are working to recover their health from mold-related illness issues by using the mold avoidance approach developed by Erik Johnson.

It is presented by the Mold Avoiders organization, which is a spin-off from Paradigm Change and run by Lisa Petrison.

General information about Mold Avoiders may be found in this Paradigm Change blog article. 

Those interested in participating in Mold Avoiders need to have read through the list of rules on this page and to intend to do their best to follow them.

Note that while some of these rules refer to a standalone Facebook forum, that is currently on hiatus but hopefully will be back up and running in improved form in the near future.

1. Mold Avoiders has as its foundation the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance (currently available for free in PDF format to those signing up for occasional email updates from Mold Avoiders). The purpose is for those who are interested in pursuing mold avoidance of the type discussed in the book to be able to ask questions and share their experiences with others.

2. Mold Avoiders members need to have finished reading the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance before posting or commenting in the Facebook group. Only those who have been approved as “Experienced Avoiders” may provide comments and give suggestions on avoidance-related questions.

3. Questions and concerns related to mold avoidance of the sort described in the book are appropriate Mold Avoiders discussion topics. Discussions of issues related to mold avoidance activities not mentioned in the book and of healing activities of all kinds also are appropriate.

4. Although bringing up principles of other avoidance approaches (such as those suggested by certain mold doctors and mold remediators) is not forbidden, please keep in mind that the main purpose of Mold Avoiders is for people to learn about the approach discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. If you bring up a different approach, please do so in a spirit of open discussion, rather than in a tone that suggests that the other approach has been proven to be correct and thus that the approach discussed in the book is incorrect or unnecessary.

5. We all know that doctors and researchers of all kinds have failed to research in appropriate ways or even to take seriously some of the most important topics discussed in Mold Avoiders, including the mold hyperreactivity phenomenon; the locations effect; and the exact role of toxins of all kinds in various chronic illnesses. However, I would like to keep discussion of this topic to a minimum, since that is not the purpose of Mold Avoiders.

6. No matter what Mold Avoiders members may say or do, there is no excuse for other participants to engage in ad hominem attacks of them (such as by making disparaging comments about their personality, character, mental/emotional health or intelligence), either in the Mold Avoiders discussions or in other public arenas. Individuals who engage in these kinds of personal attacks of other Mold Avoiders members may face immediate and permanent removal from the Mold Avoiders discussion forum and from the associated Facebook group.

7. More generally, let’s please all be as kind and respectful as possible to one another. It’s hard enough to have this illness without being hurt by other people who are in the same sort of situation that we have been in or who are trying to help us.

8. Let’s also be as kind and respectful as possible when speaking of other individuals who suffer from mold-related illness or similar health issues, or who have made efforts to help those with this type of health problem, even if they are not members of the forum. No one is perfect and we need all the allies we can get.

9. Regardless of whether individuals are Mold Avoiders members or have made apparent efforts to help people with this sort of illness, please refrain from posting ad hominem attacks of them (that is, criticisms of them that suggest that they are bad people or that they have character/personality problems, rather than criticisms of their specific actions or statements relevant to topics being discussed) in this forum. Hopefully this will result in more productive as well as more civil discourse, in which we can focus specifically on issues of importance to those with this sort of illness rather than getting off track.

10. Regardless of the circumstances, please do not accuse others of running a “scam” or make other assertions suggesting that they have problematic motives, since this falls into the category of making ad hominem attacks on them. If you believe that an individual or organization is doing something wrong, then please instead make a case for that by pointing out specific problems that you have observed with regard to their behavior or statements, rather than by impugning their general character.

11. Discussion of experiences with particular practitioners or remediation professionals is encouraged in Mold Avoiders, but those taking part in these discussions need to follow the Guidelines for Commenting on Practitioners and Other Prominent Individuals. Please take a look at these prior to making comments on this sort of topic.

12. Please do not criticize anyone else’s life choices. It is fine to say, in a kind way, “If you did X, it might be helpful to you.” But please do not say things like, “If you wanted to get better, you would be doing X” or “There is something wrong with you for not doing X” or “What kind of person are you, that you would fail to do X?” For the purposes of Mold Avoiders, other people’s decisions will be considered to be their prerogative and thus respected as such. The goal here is to provide information, and then to let people make their own decisions.

13. Unfortunately, there is not yet enough research either on mold avoidance techniques or on the effectiveness of adjunctive healing techniques for those pursuing mold avoidance for anyone to be making any definitive statements on whether or how these should be pursued. Certainly, comments such as “X is has worked for me” or “I have seen X work for others” or “Maybe you could try X, for this reason” or “In my opinion, X would be worth trying in your situation” are appropriate in the forum. However, let’s all please try to avoid comments such as “X is the right thing to do” or “You should do X,” since there is not yet conclusive evidence to support such statements.

14. Please understand that due to the failure of conventional science to appropriately research the mold hyperreactivity phenomenon, virtually all of the knowledge about mold avoidance that is discussed in Mold Avoiders is based on anecdotal reports rather than on peer-reviewed journal articles. Since arguments about methodology have the potential of distracting the focus of the forum away from its core purpose, those who object to this anecdotal knowledge-gathering approach are requested to look elsewhere for information rather than to attempt to participate here.

15. Although most of us here are not medical practitioners, I would like for the underlying principle of Mold Avoiders to be to do everything that we can to minimize the chance that individuals with this sort of illness will be harmed further. Please keep this in mind when making suggestions about treatments.

16. If you feel that a Mold Avoiders member has said something inappropriate, please do not take it upon yourself to try to correct the problem by bringing it up so that everyone else here is aware of situation. From what I have seen, this consistently leads to disintegration of online communities rather than improving the situation. Please instead either  a) bring the issue up to the person privately;  b) alert the moderators that there is a problem with the thread (through the “Report to Admin” option); or  c) let it go.

17. If you have suggestions for improvements in terms of how Mold Avoiders is run or in terms of something that I personally am doing, please share them with me via the Mold Avoiders Comments submission form rather than bringing them up in the forum discussions.

18. Do not bring up moderation decisions or suggestions for improvements in the group discussions, and do not contact me or the moderators directly about them. Rather, please submit a written summary of whatever thoughts that you have about this topic to me using the Mold Avoiders Comments submission form.

19. Discussions of political issues, especially those related to environmental issues, are an integral part of the Mold Avoiders group. Please do not express opinions in the group discussions or to me personally that you do not believe that political discussions should take place in the group, and please be sure that you are following all other group rules (especially Rules #6-10 and #16-18) when participating in political discussions.

20. Please do not share remarks that members have made in Mold Avoiders outside the forum or group unless you have those people’s permission. Note that remarks made in the standalone forum may be shared in the Facebook group and vice versa, however.

21. Please post questions about your own personal health issues in new threads, rather than adding them to existing threads.

22. If you would like to ask a question specifically of me, please do so by starting a new thread rather than by adding the question to an existing thread. Please note that while I am willing to answer many questions, I may choose for various reasons not to address certain other questions in general or at particular points in time. Your understanding should that occur will be appreciated.

23. Before posting questions, it is best if members look over the titles of previous threads in the relevant sections of the standalone forum and then skim through any threads that seem that seem that they may be of relevance. This will decrease the amount of repetitive discussion and allow other members to focus more of their time responding to questions that have not already been thoroughly answered.

24. When complex topics that have been frequently discussed in the past in the Mold Avoiders forum are brought up, I may suggest that looking at archived information may be helpful rather than spend my time answering the question.

25. Please post new threads sharing links to news/research/blog articles only if a) you are asking a substantive question or making a substantive point related to the article or  b) what you are posting is a new article that to your knowledge has not already been posted in Mold Avoiders. Because there already are so many postings in Mold Avoiders, please do not start threads sharing older articles that are not related to a particular point that you are making, just because you feel that conceivably someone might find them interesting.

26. Members who start threads in either the Facebook group or the standalone forum are not allowed to remove them or close them to further comments. That is not fair to other people who have taken their time to contribute to the threads or who have points that they would like to make in response to existing discussions.

27. When starting a new thread in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum, please choose a title that is descriptive of the content of the post. In addition, please make an effort to post the thread in the appropriate forum category. Although I occasionally may rename threads or move them to other categories, I would strongly prefer not to have to do this since it can be confusing for people.

28. When commenting on existing threads in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum, please do not change the thread title to something else since this makes it difficult for people to find material that they have previously seen. If your reply is not consistent with the original title of the thread, that is usually a good indication that it likely would be best to start a whole new thread.

29. If you recall someone posting something in Mold Avoiders and now cannot find it, please do not submit posts asking other people to help you look for it. Note that it is fine to post questions asking for general information on particular topics, and so phrasing requests in that way is a possibility.

30. Please do not use the “Reply” function in the Facebook group. Instead, please write any comments that you have all the way at the bottom of the thread. This saves considerable amounts of my time, of the moderators’ time, and of other members’ time, since otherwise we have to read the entire threads over and over again in order to see all the comments.

31. If others are using the Reply function on a Facebook thread, any group member may post the following comment either as a Reply or at the bottom of the thread: “Lisa requests that the Reply function not be used in this group.” Because it is distracting to the general discussion, there are to be no other comments about the Reply function issue in the group (e.g. please do not criticize or defend the group policy, apologize or provide explanations with regard to having used the function, promise not to use the function again, or make any similar remarks). The help of group members in reminding others not to use the Reply function is appreciated.

32. Please do not bring up directly or indirectly any so-called “brain retraining” or “neural retraining” programs – such as the Dynamic Neural Retraining System/DNRS (sold by Annie Hopper) or The Gupta Programme (sold by Ashtok Gupta) – in the Mold Avoiders group except on the designated thread. Previous discussions of this topic may be found in the Brain Retraining section of the standalone forum.

33. No mention or discussion of the the Hi Tech Air Solutions company or machines is allowed in the Mold Avoiders forums, and sales representatives for the company are not allowed to be members of the Facebook group. Previous Mold Avoiders discussions on Hi Tech in the Facebook group may be found at the links of Hi Tech Machine Technology and Other Hi Tech Discussion.

34. Although I am in agreement that issues going on in the skies that are related to airplane trails have the potential of affecting mold-sensitized people in negative ways, comments about this topic in the Mold Avoiders group in the past have often moved into what I believe to be libelous speech and also generated repeated contentious arguments that have not been relevant to the core purpose of the group. Thus, while it is fine for people to discuss their reactions when the skies look particular ways and to outline the avoidance activities that they pursue when this happens, I have placed very strict restriction on discussions of hypothesized covert activities that may or may not be causing the issues in the skies. For further explanation, please read this discussion of the topic.

35. Please do not state unsubstantiated theories about news events or other topics as if they are proven facts in the Mold Avoiders group. Insofar as you do not possess linkable evidence of the sort that could be used in a court of law or in a mainstream newspaper story to support a particular assertion, then any comments that are made with regard to that assertion need to be stated as a theory or as a speculation or as a rumor rather than something that should be accepted as the truth.

36. Some basic information on ionic detox footbaths is supplied in the Mold Avoiders FAQ’s, and there is a section of the forum devoted to the footbaths. Note that in the past, there have been some occasional comments from Mold Avoiders newcomers suggesting that detox footbaths are a “scam.” While I am not unwilling to discuss issues of science regarding these machines, I am disinclined to repeat the same discussion over and over again. I thus am requiring that prior to posting criticisms of this type of machine in Mold Avoiders, participants must have read all the threads in the ionic footbath section and then have informed me that they have done this.

37. Participants may share links to relevant blog posts or media articles that they have written themselves, provided that those articles are new or related to topics that are being discussed. Insofar as the focus is on providing useful or interesting information rather than selling products or asking for money, it is fine if these articles are presented by commercial organizations or individuals holding fundraisers.

38. Open discussion of products or services of possible relevance to mold illness and mold avoidance is encouraged, provided that the discussion follows the rest of the rules. However, there also need to be some constraints on the selling of products by participants so that it does not get out of hand. Here are the specifics on what is and isn’t allowed.

* Those who are selling products or services may ask me to start a thread about those products in the Mold Avoiders forum. Those selling the products as well as other members may add as many comments to this thread as they like.

* These product threads will be maintained indefinitely, so that new comments can continue to be added to them. That way, people can consider the products in the context of everything that has been said about them in the forum.

* If individuals selling products or services feel that these might be helpful for another member’s particular situation, they are permitted to make the following comment on any thread: “You may be interested in X product, which I sell and have been helped by, and so here’s the link to the thread about it.” Further elaboration is not allowed.

* If someone not selling a product or service brings it up in a dedicated post, then those who are selling the product may comment on that thread provided that they disclose their status as sales reps.

* Those who are selling products must disclose that status every time they make a comment about their products anywhere in the forum.

* Those selling products may not bring up those products to other members through the forum PM system or the Facebook PM system, though they may respond to inquiries by PM if others approach them. Please let me know if you receive unrequested solicitations for products from Mold Avoiders members through the PM systems.

* Those posting about products that they are selling need to be aware that they are being allowed to mention those products so that open discussion about them can take place, not because I have decided that it is their right to get free advertising. Thus, those wanting to bring up products that they sell in the discussions need to send me a statement that neither they nor the companies they represent will be suing otherwise attempting to harm any Mold Avoiders members who make critical or negative comments about the products.

* Individuals who have not contacted me stating that they agree to all these conditions are prohibited from mentioning products that they sell in the Mold Avoiders forum.

39. Please do not make comments on threads of the sort that suggest, “I have more information about this – PM me for more details.” This sort of language is often used by those selling products and thus is not appropriate in the context of the other rules on this topic. If the information in question is not related to sales of a product, then I would prefer that it be shared with everyone in the discussion, rather than kept confidential.

40. Almost all individuals with mold illness are living under substantial financial constraints. They thus rarely have any ability to provide financial help to other illness sufferers and often get upset when they feel that others with the illness are pressuring them to give money. Therefore, individuals who are holding fundraisers in order to pay for expenses related to mold avoidance or medical treatments are not allowed to post them in Mold Avoiders or to contact other Mold Avoiders members about them through the PM systems. However, I do have a Mold Illness Fundraisers page on the Paradigm Change website, and I periodically share that page in Mold Avoiders and elsewhere. Please let me know if you would like to be included on the page.

41. Mold Avoiders is a recovery help forum, not a support group. Although you very well may find emotional support here, please keep in mind that the primary purpose of the forum is to provide information and discussion that will help individuals to move toward recovery from their illness.

42. Very often, feeling depressed or suicidal is a symptom of being exposed to particularly problematic mold toxins. It thus seems important for people to feel free to bring up these symptoms in the Mold Avoiders forum, so that others can use the information to help them to pursue mold avoidance more effectively. However, please note that few Mold Avoiders members have any clinical psychological training and that most members are currently under substantial emotional stress of their own. Participants thus should not be expected to provide emotional support or guidance to those who are feeling suicidal or undergoing other emotional crises. I encourage those who are experiencing these kinds of acute emotional issues to seek out other sources of emotional support and counseling from people who are better qualified to provide them with the needed help, rather than looking for that sort of help in Mold Avoiders.

43. I am not a medical practitioner and the vast majority of those posting in Mold Avoiders are not medical practitioners either. Regardless, no one should take as medical advice comments from anyone posting in forums on the Internet. Mold avoidance is not a substitute for appropriate medical treatment from a qualified physician. Please use your own best judgment in making decisions about treatment of your own health issues, rather than relying on comments from other Mold Avoiders members.

44. Please follow standard “netiquette” (such as avoiding the use of too many exclamation points or all capital letters) when posting or commenting in Mold Avoiders.

45. There are many other groups and other sources of information about toxic mold illness on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet. Mold Avoiders has the specific purpose of discussing mold avoidance and related treatments as discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. Those who would prefer a different kind of discussion are encouraged to find groups that are more to their liking, so that this forum can stay focused on its main purpose. All members should feel wholly free to bring up other groups and other sources of information in Mold Avoiders.

46. Mold Avoiders is moderated by individuals whose only responsibility is to ensure that comments made are consistent with the rules on this page. Comments that are not consistent with the rules will be removed and the member informed by PM. If you disagree with a moderation decision, please do not attempt to discuss the topic directly either with the moderator or with me. Rather, please provide your comments to me via the Mold Avoiders Comments submission form. Although I may choose to respond or not respond to individual comments, I do read all comments and take them into consideration in administration decisions for the group.

47. “Mold Avoiders” (as well as “Paradigm Change,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Avoiding Mold,” “Locations Effect,” “Locations Ratings” and “Living Clean in a Dirty World”) are trademarks belonging to Paradigm Change/Lisa Petrison. Please do not use “Mold Avoiders” or any of these other names as the name of your organization or other enterprise without my express written permission. Information about circumstances under which I may permit the name “Mold Avoiders” to be used by Facebook groups run by other individuals can be found in the Mold Avoiders FAQ’s section of the Paradigm Change website.

48. I am not sure how long into the future I will continue to run the standalone forum or the Facebook group. Please enter into this experience with the goal of obtaining value from discussions here while the forums last, rather than with the expectation that discussions here necessarily will go on forever. Insofar as I do discontinue active discussions, the information already generated will remain accessible to members who might want to go back and read it.

49. These are fairly simple rules and I am extremely busy. I would appreciate it if all members would be careful to follow the rules, so that I do not have to spend my valuable time enforcing them.

50. If unforeseen issues come up, additional rules may be added to this list.

Both the Mold Avoiders standalone forum and its associated Facebook group are closed forums. Although anyone may become a member of either of these, discussions cannot be viewed by non-members or robots. Discussions thus should not be searchable online. I promise that this level of privacy will continue to be maintained permanently in the future for both these forums.

A PDF version of the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance is currently available for free to those signing up for occasional emails about mold avoidance topics from Mold Avoiders.

More about mold avoidance is on this Paradigm Change website page.

I would like to thank Erik Johnson for developing the concept and the specifics of mold avoidance over the past three decades and for generously sharing his knowledge with others.

Thanks again for joining me in the Mold Avoiders forum. I hope that the forum will provide a positive and helpful experience for all involved.

Mold Avoiders on Facebook:

Information about Mold Avoiders:

Best regards,

Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Paradigm Change/Mold Avoiders
info at paradigmchange dot me

Updated December 20, 2018

Links on this page are in green (no underlining).