The Provincial Website Standard is published by the Worcestershire Website Standards Committee.
The Standard applies to all websites developed by Lodges, Chapters and Preceptories under the jurisdiction of the:
The Worcestershire Website Standards Committee comprises representatives from each of these bodies. Its work is administered by the Secretary, who should be contacted for further information. Information about the website review process can be found on the Website Approval Process page.
All websites developed by Lodges and Chapters under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire and Worcestershire Provincial Grand Chapter must comply with the Standard. The Standard is compliant with the website guidance issued by the United Grand Lodge of England, allowing compliant websites to apply for a Charter Mark where appropriate.
Websites developed by Lodges and Preceptories under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand of Mark Master Masons of Worcestershire and Provincial Priory of Worcestershire must also comply with the Standard, unless stated otherwise.
Provincial Website Standard
The Standard comprises mandatory and recommended sections:
- all websites must adhere to the statements in the mandatory sections;
- adherence to the statements in the recommended sections is advisable but not required.
M1. Mandatory: Administrative
The following statements are mandatory and refer to administrative issues. As a web master, you must ensure:
- Your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory committee has given you permission to produce a website. In addition, this committee must review and approve your website before you seek further approval from the Worcestershire Website Standards Committee.
- You do not publish any content, including text and images, for which you do not own the copyright, unless the person owning the copyright has given you his or her permission to do so in writing.
- You do not publish a photograph of anyone under the age of 16 years.
- You have the permission of the person concerned before you publish his or her name, photograph or any other personal information (verbal agreement is acceptable, although you may wish to obtain written permission for your records). Such permission also applies to groups of named individuals, such as a list of Lodge officers, and group photographs, where the permission of everyone concerned is required prior to publication. In addition, you must remove all references to an individual, including his or her name, or photograph, on request.
- You do not publish any commercial advertising, or links to pages that contain commercial advertising, or are themselves commercial in nature.
- You include the following text on your links page: "We do not guarantee that websites accessed by links on this page are either Masonic in nature, or have been approved or endorsed by the United Grand Lodge of England. We specifically do not warrant that any other websites accessible from their pages are recognised by, or have the approval of, the United Grand Lodge of England." The text "United Grand Lodge of England" may be replaced with "Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England", "Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons" or "Great Priory" as appropriate. You may also wish to also include the name of your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory in this statement.
- Forms allowing a visitor to publish information on your website, such as a guest book or forum, are moderated. Content submitted to your website by means of such a form must only be displayed after it has been manually reviewed and deemed suitable for publication.
- Your website does not describe what Freemasonry is not (e.g. "Freemasonry is not a ...").
- You check all spelling and grammar before publication.
- You appoint an independent proof-reader to check your work. This proof-reader must check and approve every web page, including all additions and modifications.
- Your website is both accurate and professional. It is of vital importance that it creates a positive impression of our wonderful fraternity.
- You join the Worcestershire Web Masters and Internet Group. Your email address will then be added to a distribution list and you will receive updates relevant to web masters in the Province.
M2. Mandatory: Technical
The following statements are mandatory and refer to technical issues. As a web master, you must ensure:
- Your website is coherent and consistent.
- Your website contains a clear and logical navigation menu. This menu must be displayed in the same position on every page.
- Your website does not contain any references or links to private areas that allow a visitor to login and access restricted content.
- Your website does not contain any broken links.
- Your website does not contain any content, such as large images or videos, that hinders its downloading and/or viewing. You may have such content, but the visitor must choose to download it; it must not be downloaded and displayed automatically.
- Your website does not contain any animated images (unobtrusive and tasteful slide-shows are acceptable).
- Your website does not automatically play any audio files.
- Your website does not display any pop-up windows or dialog boxes.
- Your website does not contain any active code that leads to the generation of web browser errors, or other unwanted behaviour.
- Your website does not contain any malware, such as viruses.
- Your website displays a disclaimer if it serves cookies. A suitable disclaimer can be found on our Cookies page, which may be copied and used if required.
- Your website is compatible with a variety of different web browsers. Support for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox should be regarded as the minimum requirement.
- Your website contains a link to the relevant Grand and Provincial Grand Lodge, or their equivalents. For example, a Lodge website should contain a link to both the United Grand Lodge of England and Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire.
R1. Recommended: Administrative
The following statements are recommended and refer to administrative issues. As a web master, you should:
- Maintain your website and keep it up-to-date.
- Personalise your website and ensure it clearly refers to your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory.
- Display the name and number of your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory in a prominent position on every web page.
- Display an image of your banner, or a photograph of the venue at which your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory meets.
- Include examples of the charities your Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory supports, or has supported in the past.
- Not publish any personal information, such as a home address, telephone number or personal email address.
- Answer all email enquiries originating from your website quickly and politely. If you are unable to provide a timely and detailed reply, acknowledge the email and reply at a later date.
- Forward all published Lodge, Chapter or Preceptory news to the Provincial Communications Officer, if you believe it to be of wider interest. Please support our Provincial websites and contribute towards their success.
R2. Recommended: Technical
The following statements are recommended and refer to technical issues. As a web master, you should:
- Ensure the mark-up language of every web page is valid by using a recognised and on-line validation service, such as the W3C Markup Validation Service.
- Ensure all Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are valid by using a recognised and on-line validation service, such as the W3C CSS Validation Service.
- Ensure every web page is of the same width.
- Ensure every image has a suitable caption, unless its purpose is obvious.
- Ensure every image has an alternative attribute (ALT) containing a short description of the subject.
- Include a human test on any contact form, in order to avoid spam (e.g. by submitting characters displayed in an image).
- Create a link to every other Masonic website in the Province. A full list of authoritative links is published on our Links page. This is important, as inter-linking ensures our websites rank highly in search engine results. Note that a links page must contain a disclaimer, as described in section M1 above.
- Consider implementing a content management system if you are responsible for a large website.
Websites approved by the Worcestershire Website Standards Committee are listed on the links pages of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Worcestershire, Provincial Grand Chapter of Worcestershire, Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Worcestershire and/or Provincial Priory of Worcestershire websites. Websites not listed on these pages have not been approved or endorsed and are operating without the authority of the Worcestershire Website Standards Committee.
Websites will be monitored from time to time and any item found to be unsuitable for publication will be reported to the respective web master, Secretary, Scribe E or Registrar for corrective action.