Trust & Safety Guidelines

These Trust & Safety Guidelines were last updated on July 20, 2020.

1. Rules Against Manipulating or Influencing the Review System

It can be challenging to gather meaningful feedback on new courses, especially as a new Author. You are welcome to ask for feedback but be mindful of how you engage students.

1.1 Rules When Asking for Reviews

  • Authors cannot indicate what type of rating or review a student should leave, or outline any detail or information to be included
  • Authors may not specify what medium should be used to express varying feedback
  • Authors are not permitted to trade reviews with other Authors
  • Authors must decline any offer from a student to provide a positive review in exchange for goods or services, and should report the request
  • Authors must not seek to systematically reward positive reviews

1.2 How to Ask for Reviews:

  • Please give me feedback on my course by writing a review!
  • I really hope you found this course valuable, but either way, please leave a review and share your experience.
  • Tell me what you think! Write a review when you can. I’m also available for questions – send me a direct message anytime.

1.3 How NOT to Ask for Reviews:

  • If you liked the course, please give me a 5-star review!
  • If you did NOT like the course, please send me a direct message instead of leaving a review.
  • I worked very hard on this course and I hope you found it valuable and will leave a positive review about your experience.
  • If you leave a (5-star) review, I’ll give you my next course free!

1.4 Major Violations

The following activities are considered breaches of trust with Skill Vault students which may result in the permanent removal of the offending course and the Author from the Skill Vault marketplace.

  • Purchased reviews (reviews in exchange for money)
  • Incentivised reviews including offer of free or discounted courses
  • Multiple reviews from a single source (e.g. one user w/ multiple enrollments)
  • Reviews generated by bots, scripts, or other inorganic means 
  • When an Author is clearly going against the spirit of Skill Vault policies in an attempt to game the system, or if we see a severe negative impact on the student experience, it will be considered a violation of our policies.

2. When is a Negative Review Against Skill Vault Policy?

Occasionally, students may express themselves in a way that undermines the integrity of the review system. If a review is flagged, it will only be removed if it clearly falls into one the following categories.

2.1 Reviews unrelated to the student’s learning experience with the Author

Examples of reviews Skill Vault will NOT remove:

  • The Author is constantly trying to sell stuff to me
  • The Author was rude to me in the FB group they moderate
  • I don’t believe the Author’s credentials/that this Author is qualified to teach this topic

Examples of reviews Skill Vault WILL remove:

  • I divorced this Author for good reason
  • I had a bad business deal with this Author (unrelated/prior to enrollment)
  • I took a different course on this topic that I recommend very highly
  • The Author is so ugly, I can’t stand looking at them
  • You’re asking me for a review too early

2.2 Reviews focusing on technical issues outside the Author’s control

Examples of reviews Skill Vault will NOT remove:

  • I can’t use the downloadable resources
  • The audio is so distorted I can’t hear the Author
  • This course is not made to be watchable on mobile
  • Some of the lectures don’t play (reproducible problem with original file)
  • The Author didn’t say I needed to buy additional software to take this course.

Examples of reviews Skill Vault WILL remove:

  • The video playback is choppy (due to Skill Vault/internet speeds)
  • The software the Author used is expensive, you should use this (free) software
  • The captions are poor quality

2.3 Reviews deemed obscene, profane, threatening, or hate speech

Examples of reviews Skill Vault will NOT remove:

  • I can’t understand this Author’s accent
  • I can’t stand listening to this Author; they are so annoying
  • This course is worse than going to the dentist

Examples of reviews Skill Vault WILL remove:

  • I can never understand courses from people of this background
  • This course is f**king bullsh*t
  • I’d rather gouge my eyes out than watch this course
  • This Author should just go and die

2.4 Reviews from parties with a demonstrated conflict of interest

Examples of reviewers Skill Vault does NOT consider in conflict:

  • A Skill Vault Author with a course in a different subject
  • A competitor/colleague who does not teach online
  • A student with previous experience with the Author

Examples of reviewers Skill Vault does consider in conflict:

  1. An Author with a competing course
  2. A recorded personal or professional relationship unrelated to learning or teaching
  3. A recorded history of harassment or abuse elsewhere online

3. Skill Vault Review System Guidelines

The primary purpose of student reviews on Skill Vault is to help prospective students evaluate if a course is a match for their learning goals. Our review system empowers students to find and enroll in the courses that are most likely to fit their needs. Written reviews also provide Authors with direct feedback which can help them improve their content.

In order for the review system to be effective, students must trust that the system is fair and that Skill Vault is a neutral party. Authors can flag reviews, but Skill Vault will only remove them if they meet the specific, objective criteria outlined below.

Skill Vault removes reviews in several scenarios:

3.1 Reviews removed by the Automatic (Spam) Review Filter

If a review, along with the behavior of the reviewer, scores high in our algorithm as potentially spam, the review will not appear. Skill Vault scans all student ratings and reviews to identify those that are likely to be inauthentic. We incorporate many data points to ensure course feedback reflects the engaged, unbiased opinions of learners with a genuine interest in the course material.

Occasionally, reviews left by friends and family have been hidden by this filter. If you believe that a review has been removed incorrectly, you can let us know at info@skillvault.academy. While we are unable to provide any details about the filter, we will investigate to confirm that everything is working as intended.

3.2 Negative reviews reported as policy abuse

Anyone on Skill Vault can report a review as an abuse of Skill Vault’s policy, at which point our policy team will examine whether the review meets one of the criteria that warrants removal. 

3.3 Reviews acquired improperly

Authors are expected to follow Skill Vault’s rules against manipulating or influencing reviews, as well as the spirit of the review system as a tool for students to help each other evaluate courses.

4. Can I Use Content That May Have a Copyright?

If you think that the material that you are using might be infringing upon somebody else’s idea or content, we would suggest not including it in your course. The easiest way to check whether it is ok for you to use somebody else’s content in your course is to contact them directly and ask for their permission. 

Ultimately, Skill Vault cannot advise on any copyright issue and takes no responsibility for the material that you place on our platform. Remember that you retain the rights to all of the content that you place on Skill Vault and that we are simply the platform through which you deliver that material. 

Skill Vault Copyright Policy

1. Reporting Claims of Copyright Infringement:

Skill Vault takes claims of copyright infringement seriously. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law. If you believe any materials accessible on or from www.skillvault.academy (the “Website”) infringe your copyright, you may request removal of those materials (or access to them) from the Website by submitting written notification to info@skillvault.academy.

The rights of the copyright owner in Australia, copyright law is set out in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (the Act) and in various case law and decisions where courts have interpreted the Act. The Act gives copyright owners the exclusive right to deal with their material in certain ways, including to reproduce it, to “communicate” it to the public (eg., by email distribution, or by making it available on a website); and to perform, screen or play certain types of copyright material “in public”. For further information on these rights, see the information sheet An Introduction to Copyright in Australia.

2. Course Material & Price: Rules and Guidelines

To deliver a consistent student experience, Skill Vault courses will be approved by our Quality Team before they are uploaded.

Since Skill Vault is a marketplace for educational content, your course material should be designed with student learning in mind, not personal promotion.

Author’s are given a Course Layout document for guidance.

3. Detailed Course Material Guidelines

The course material is meant to help students learn within a safe environment. It is not meant to be used for Authors to market or sell to students in any way or form. If this happens, it results in students feeling distrustful because they’re being sold to when they want to learn.

  • Courses should not contain content that is duplicated in other courses published on the marketplace. Any overlap in content across your courses must remain minimal.
  • You may include your website, social media profiles, or contact information as a small watermark on your video throughout the lecture or briefly at the beginning or end of a lecture.
  • You may not include links to paid content off Skill Vault. The only exception is you’re providing access to a tool/product that is part of the Course Requirements, which is stated in the Course Landing Page.
  • You may not post personal information about students.
  • You may not include affiliate links.
  • You may not include coupon codes, links or promotional references to any Skill Vault courses.

When an Author is clearly going against the spirit of Skill Vault policies in an attempt to game the system or if we see a severe negative impact on the student experience (high unsubscribe rates or refund rates) it will be considered a violation of our policies.

4. Course Title: Quality Standards

4.1 Title Requirements and Quality Standards.

Here are Some Techniques we do Recommend:

  • Focus the title/subtitle on what students will learn and how they can apply the skill, instead of making salesy, big promises that can come across as scammy to students.
  • Make the title specific.
    • What level of student is this for?
    • What level of skill is the course?
    • What type of course within a given field is it?
    • What will the student be able to do or understand after taking this course?
  • Use titles with 60 characters or less.
  • If the course is about creating a course on Skill Vault or marketing on Skill Vault:
    • The course title needs to end with “- Unofficial” in the title.
    • The first line in the course description has to be “This course is not sponsored by or affiliated with Skill Vault, Inc.” (This is required for courses about Skill Vault!)

4.2 We Don’t Allow the Following in Your Title/Subtitle:

  • Don’t use direct references to monetary promises, specific amounts or promises how much money or income etc. as being the purpose of your course. Students are here to learn skills that they can apply, so do focus the positioning of your course on the skill that students will learn. To pass the Quality Review Process, your title, subtitle, and course description cannot include monetary promises related to making money, financial success, income etc.
  • Don’t over capitalise or use unnecessary punctuation or special characters (invalid characters, hyphens in the wrong places, multiple exclamation points etc.).
  • Don’t use the word “Skill Vault” in the title or subtitle, unless the course is about creating a course/marketing on Skill Vault.

5. Author Bio: Quality Standards

What is Your Author Bio? Why is it Important?

Your Author Bio is your dedicated space to present your expertise, your experience and your personality. It makes up your user profile, and also appears on your course landing page(s).

In a survey of potential students, respondents cited “credibility” as the most important factor in choosing an online course, so it’s critical to establish your expertise in your Author Bio to boost student confidence and enrollments.

What you Need to Know

  • Relate your Author Bio to your course topics
  • Provide social proof to potential students on why you’re a legitimate expert
  • Keep your bio short, relevant and concise
  • Include a high quality non-pixelated, non-animated image of yourself
  • Don’t include links in your Author Bio. Add them to the designated links section instead.
  • All information in your Author Bio must follow our Trust & Safety Guidelines.

5.1 Best Practices

  • Relate your Author Bio to your course topics. Write your bio to cover your expertise in all of the topics.
  • Provide social signifiers. Include social proof for your potential students to demonstrate that you are an experienced and legitimate expert. Have you worked with many large, Fortune 500 companies in your career as a consultant? Name them.  Have you published articles in magazines? List them out. Real-world examples of your experience provide depth to your Bio.
  • Keep it comprehensive, but concise. This isn’t the place for 2,000 words on your childhood. Keep your Bio short, to the point, and relevant to your expertise.
  • Include a high-quality image of yourself. Share a non-pixelated, non-animated (no cartoons!) image of yourself to establish more trust with your students. If you are publishing as a company, including a corporate logo is fine.

Minimum Requirements to Pass our Quality Review Process

  • Use the Author Bio to highlight your background, experience, and credibility in your field.
  • Don’t include links in your Author Bio. Instead, add them to the designated “Links” section of your profile. 
  • All information in your Author Bio must follow our Trust & Safety Guidelines.

6. Course Description: Quality Standards

6.1 What is Your Course Description? Why is it Important?

Your course description explains what your course is about to potential students. It is largely responsible for convincing them that your course — and your course only — will change their lives! In your course description, we recommend providing information about 1) the content of the course and 2) how students will benefit from that content.

What you Need to Know

  • Use the course description to summarise what your course covers, how it is taught, what students will learn, and what they will gain from the course.
  • Don’t include images, external links, or links to other Skill Vault courses in your course description.
  • Don’t include coupon codes, coupon links, course referral links, or mentions of discounts


6.2 Best Practices for the Tone of Your Description

6.2.1 Ask yourself these questions before writing (to make sure you really understand your potential student):

  • What are the demographics of your ideal student?
  • What needs are you solving for your ideal student?
  • Why does your ideal student want to enroll in your course? Is it essential to their career, relationships, lifestyle? If so, how?
  • Look at message boards, forums, reviews of other similar books or products.  What do students ask for in other places?  How will your course meet those needs?

6.2.2 Get personal with your students:

  • Speak directly to the students; say “You” instead of “enrollees”, “students”, or “course participants”.
  • Use easy-to-understand copy, and sentences of various lengths to keep students engaged.

6.3 Stay positive and emphasise benefits:

  • Focus on the benefits your course provides to students. What problems will it solve for them?  How will it help them?
  • Stay positive and approachable as you walk students through what makes your course unique and what the students will learn.
  • If possible, add in some real-world examples to validate your course topic.

6.4 Bold and CAPITALISE with care:

  • Just as sentence length should vary, so should formatting (if too much is bolded, nothing will stand out).
  • Do not include long and dramatic bullet point lists

 7. Best Practices for the Structure of Your Course Description

7.1 Add an introductory 2-3 sentences at the beginning of your description:

  • Highlight what your course is (a high level overview) and how it will benefit students.
  • Do not ask questions or “pitch” students here — instead, focus on the problem your course is solving in a positive and inspiring tone.

7.2 Add in 1 sentence ‘heading’ after your 2-3 sentence overview:

  • Structure this as follows: one sentence that contains an action verb, the subject of the course, and context of the course subject (in bold and “title case” — the first letter of each word capitalized).
  • Do not repeat the title of your course.
  • Do not make claims such as “The best course on the subject!” or “100% satisfied or your money back”.

7.3 Add in a short list of bullet points underneath the heading:

  • If a student is scanning your course page, including this short list will help them take in the most important benefits your course provides, and what makes it unique.
  • Your bullets should be structured as short phrases that start with an action verb (e.g. Learn, Recognise, Build, Find).

7.4 Add in a one line overview of your course topic:

  • This line should be different than the one line heading.
  • Bold this text, if desired.

7.5 Add in an overview of your course topic (what are you covering?):

  • This should be 4-6 sentences long (or two small paragraphs).
  • Some ideas for content to include: the course topic’s history, what the topic is used for, who uses it, why it’s unique, the types of jobs you can get if you know the topic, current events or news about the topic.
  • In general, short teasers are better than detailed histories.
  • Highlight what makes your course unique (e.g. real-life applications, projects, test-prep).

8. Course ‘Landing’ Page: Rules and Guidelines

The Course Landing Page includes the title, subtitle, course summary, Author bio and course goals. This is where Authors provide information to help potential students decide whether the course is right for them. 

Don’t engage in misleading marketing messages; if a student has a bad learning experience because of a bad fit with the course, it can result in bad reviews and low engagement. Don’t include coupon codes, course referral links or external links (except in the designated links field of the Author bio) either.

9. Author – Detailed Guidelines

Skill Vault strictly prohibits the following in any sections of the course landing page:

  • Misleading marketing messages
  • Coupon codes, references to coupon codes or course referral links
  • External links (except in the designated links field of the Author Bio)

Referring to your other Skill Vault courses is allowed only when it helps you be more transparent to students. For example, if you have a large course A, and a smaller course B that covers a portion of what you cover in A, then it’s good to let students know this in the Course Landing Page or Promo Video. Don’t use this as an opportunity to sell your other course, but to let students know so they can make an informed decision.

When an Author is clearly going against the spirit of Skill Vault policies, in an attempt to game the system or if we see a severe negative impact on the student experience (high unsubscribe rates or refund rates), it will be considered a violation of our policies.

Q&A: Rules and Guidelines

The Q&A serves as a forum where students can engage each other and the Author in conversations about the course content, and Authors can reinforce material that’s been covered.

Please note: the Q&A is not available in free courses.

Authors – Detailed Guidelines

  • DO encourage your students to interact with each other.
  • DO answer questions politely and in a timely manner.
  • DON’T post rude, aggressive, or threatening comments.
  • DON’T use the Q&A for promotion; posting coupon codes, promotional external links, links to other Skill Vault courses, any sort of marketing messages or references to the same are prohibited.
  • DON’T ask for or post personal information about students.

Students – Detailed Guidelines

  • DO ask and answer questions politely.
  • DO engage in discussions with students and the Author.
  • DON’T post rude, aggressive, or threatening comments.

When an Author is clearly going against the spirit of Skill Vault policies in an attempt to game the system or if we see a severe negative impact on the student experience (high unsubscribe rates or refund rates) it will be considered a violation of our policies.

Trust & Safety FAQ

Why are there rules in the first place?

Skill Vault is committed to ensuring that students have a safe and engaging learning environment, and Authors are set up for success. Our rules exist to ensure we protect student’s learning experience and enable positive, healthy interactions between authors and students.

How will I be notified if there is a violation?

You’ll receive an email from info@skillvault.academy about the violation, the reason why you received it, and the consequences. We’ll be thoughtful and fair about how we determine if there’s a policy violation as well as how we apply consequences. We encourage you to provide context and ask questions. We’re here to help, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with someone on our team.

How are you monitoring and catching bad behavior?

We hear from our students and authors who write to info@skillvault.academy or flag abuse on the site in various places. We also proactively monitor on-site behavior and reach out to students and authors when we identify policy violations.

We encourage Authors to be proactive about understanding and following Skill Vault policies.  

Trust and Safety at Skill Vault

Our site is made possible by authors who are passionate about teaching and students who are dedicated to learning. Skill Vault is founded on core values that centre around this exchange of knowledge. We are committed to empowering highly knowledgeable everyday experts to provide an amazing learning experience for a global community of students.

It is up to all of us here at Skill Vault to live these values: Authors, Students, and the Skill Vault team. When we live these values, we continue to create a thriving, sustainable marketplace where anyone can truly learn anything online — and have a great time doing it.

Who Forms our Community? Students – Our students come to Skill Vault to have an engaging learning experience where they have access to a huge variety of topics from experts who practice these skills on a daily basis.

Authors – Our authors are an inspiring bunch who love to teach. They come to Skill Vault because of the opportunity to impact students across the world, and for access to the tools and platform that enables them to create high-quality courses.

What are the Ground-Rules?

1) Don’t spam

Students come to Skill Vault to have a safe and engaging learning experience and Authors teach for the love of sharing knowledge. Authors: Once you’re on the Skill Vault platform, don’t try to sell other products or spam each other with requests and offers.

2) Don’t game the system

  • For Authors: Don’t direct Skill Vault students away from the Skill Vault platform, push the envelope on what is and is not allowed, or search for loopholes in policies. We want our community of students to grow, as does every other Author. When you game the system, the whole community loses out on having a common pool of engaged students who want to learn.
  • For students: Don’t harass Authors or offer reviews in exchange for things. The community relies on a healthy interaction between students and Authors, as well as honest student feedback to understand which courses are right for them.

3) Keep it professional

Our Authors actively collaborate and communicate with each other, and we wish for students and authors to have healthy and vibrant discussions through the course-taking experience. We ask that, in connection with those relationships, you are respectful, honest, and considerate with students, authors, and Skill Vault staff. Be a positive member of the Skill Vault community. Never ask for personal information, or post unoriginal content as your own.

4) If you see something, say something

If anything you see or experience ever seems like a violation, or you are unsure about a policy, just let us know by emailing info@skillvault.academy. Someone on our team will review every report, answer your questions, and determine whether there has been a violation of our policies.

We’re here to help you understand our policies and be successful on Skill Vault.

Co-author Relationships: Rules and Guidelines

A Skill Vault course may have more than one author who plays a role in creating and managing the course. Co-developing a course can be a great way to add expertise and a fresh perspective.

We see three main reasons why authors buddy-up on Skill Vault:

  1. They’re looking for support with course creation, development and production
  2. They’re looking for help teaching or managing the course (e.g., responding to discussions etc.)
  3. They’re looking to exploit Skill Vault marketing tools to share each other’s student base

In short, we’re big fans of #1 and #2, and Skill Vault’s policy is intended only to address cases where the only motivation is #3.

Skill Vault Policy on Co-Authors

We’re always on the hunt for new ways to leverage our Authors’ innovation by providing Authors with creative freedom – whether it is to find new ways of creating great content or tapping into each other’s expertise to grow their business. As with all tools and features, the purpose is to use them to benefit both students and other fellow Authors.

Here are a Few Quick Rule-of-Thumb:

  • DO be co-authors if each individual is bringing in unique expertise in the form of course creation, development, production, teaching or managing the course.
  • DO make co-authors visible on the course if they’re the ones actually appearing in the course videos and/or engaging with students. At least one of the visible Authors on the course, should be the person students are learning from and interacting with.
  • DON’T be co-authors with the primary goal of exploiting Skill Vault’s marketing tools or sharing each other’s student base.
    • For example, if an author wants to pair up with you after you’ve published your course just to market to one another’s students, this is against Skill Vault policies.
    • If on the other hand, you want to co-develop or co-manage a course together right from the beginning, that’s exactly why we enable courses to have multiple authors, and is totally fine.

When we see cases where an author is clearly going against the spirit of Skill Vault policies in an attempt to game the system or if we see a severe negative impact on the student experience (high unsubscribe rates or refund rates due to co-author behavior) it will be considered a violation of our policies.

Remember, if you are planning to add a co-author to your course, we recommend that it be someone whom you know and trust. Please take extra care and consideration if you are splitting revenue with or giving editing rights to a co-author. Keep in mind that Skill Vault’s contractual relationship is strictly between Skill Vault and each of the Authors.  Any co-author business agreements related to a course remains exclusively between the co-authors.