What are your community guidelines?

Our community standards are set out in our terms of service, along with our privacy policy. The community guidelines are repeated here.

You will be deemed to consent to these guidelines if you choose to post any content or comments to the site.

Thefriend.org site provides a growing number of opportunities for readers who wish to discuss content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Our aim is to ensure this platform is inclusive and safe, and that thefriend.org is the place on the net where you will always find lively, entertaining and, above all, intelligent discussions.

There are 10 simple guidelines that we expect all participants in the community areas of thefriend.org to abide by, all of which directly inform our approach to community moderation. These apply across the site, while moderation decisions are also informed by the context in which comments are made.

1. The key to maintaining thefriend.org as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.

2. We acknowledge criticism of the articles we publish, but will not allow persistent misrepresentation of The Friend and our journalists to be published on our website. For the sake of robust debate, we will distinguish between constructive, focused argument and smear tactics.

3. We understand that people often feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but we will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening. Please respect other people’s views and beliefs and consider your impact on others when making your contribution.

4. We reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations that descend into arguments based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations.

5. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such.

6. We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libellous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.

7. We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like.

8. Keep it relevant.

9. You can help to keep thefriend.org community areas open to all viewpoints by maintaining a reasonable tone, even in unreasonable circumstances.

10. The platform is ours, but the conversation belongs to everybody. We want this to be a welcoming space for intelligent discussion, and we expect participants to help us achieve this by notifying us of potential problems and helping each other to keep conversations inviting and appropriate.
Contributing to the Friend

Can I submit an article to the Friend?

Anybody can write for the Friend and you don’t have to think of yourself as a brilliant writer.

To save you wasting your time, the editor would prefer to give you a response on an idea before you write it. Please send an outline by email or post, or give the office a ring.

Although we prefer articles to be commissioned in this way, we do use unsolicited articles, so if your idea is well developed and you must write it, the guidelines on these pages will help ensure it is used.

Please put your name, address, daytime telephone number and Monthly Meeting (if applicable) at the top of all submissions (not just on the cover letter) and on the backs of photos. We are more than happy to receive submissions by e-mail.

Use the contact us page or write to Ian Kirk-Smith, The Friend, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ, UK.

Do you pay for contributions?

The Friend relies on the goodwill of its contributors: we are not able to pay for articles, poems or reviews.

What is the copyright situation with material that I submit to the Friend?

Please do not submit material to the Friend that you are submitting elsewhere as this can have copyright implications. Please be careful when quoting from other works, as this can also cause copyright problems. Avoid long quotes. Write from your own experience.

Will you correspond with me about my submission?

We all have the best of intentions, but in a busy office letters and emails do sometimes go unanswered and phone calls unreturned. It isn’t personal so don’t feel timid about phoning or emailing the office to remind us about an article that might have been buried in the editor’s in-tray.

We often don’t reject articles outright because there are many articles that we would like to use but just don’t make it as the months pass. If we haven’t used your article after a few weeks, you may like to submit it for consideration to another publication like Friends Quarterly or Quaker monthly – if you are doing this it would be helpful if you could let us know. We won’t take it personally either.

Do you issue proof copies?

We don’t send proof copies of reports to writers before use, so we ask you to trust us to present your articles acceptably, even if we have had to cut it. You will be sent a complimentary copy of The Friend in which your report or photo appears.

Who writes the articles in The Friend?

The Friend doesn’t rely on a mafia of known writers; it is glad to hear from anyone - of any age, in membership or not - who feels they have something to say to Friends and like minds.

What length are the articles in The Friend?

Our standard lengths are as follows and your article is less likely to be cut if you stick to them:
Half a page: 300 words
One page: 600 words
Double page spread: 1150 words

What format should I submit the article in?

If possible, please email your article with a Word or Text-only attachment and paste the text into the email just in case the article becomes corrupted.

Please put your name and address on the copy as well as on the covering letter. If you are in membership, it helps if you let us know your Monthly Meeting and if you’re an attender your Preparative Meeting; if you are neither, please give us an idea of who you are. If you are writing on a specialist matter, it is also useful to know whether you have any professional or other knowledge of your subject.

Do you edit articles?

There are very few articles that receive no editing at all: the writer, being so close to their work, isn’t always aware of problems. It is good practice, when writing, to leave your first draft for a while and then return to it: you may well find that you need to do some revising.

Do you have a house style?

Our house style is currently in evolution. We do our best to respect the contributor’s intentions and make sure that their voice is distinct within the piece. We also try to standardise our presentation so that the reader finds consistency.

Can my article be published anonymously?

We always prefer to give contributors’ names. When necessary, as in discussion of sexual or other abuse where confidentiality is essential, we are able to publish articles anonymously. The editor must know the true identity of the writer and have discussed the question of anonymity with him or her. A similar rule applies to letters to the editor.

What about arts and book reviews?

We have an arts section in many issues and are happy to receive 300 or 600 word reviews on new books, plays or exhibitions of interest to Friends. We also receive, or can request, review copies of new books so if there is a book you think the Society would be interested, get in touch and we can advise on whether it is already being reviewed; send you the review copy if we have it; or request one if we haven’t.

The Friend reviews list shows you what we have in the office that could be reviewed. Use the contact us page to get in touch with editorial if you would like to review an item from the lsit.

If there is a book or other media that you think the Friend should review, we should be glad to receive a review copy, or to be told of it so that we can request a copy from the publisher.

How do I become a reviewer?

If you are interested in reviewing books for us, or know someone who might be, do let us know, including an indication of areas of interest. While reviewers are unpaid, they do keep the review copy!

What if I don’t like the book that I am reviewing?

If we send you a book which, on reading, you do not believe to be of value or of interest to readers of the Friend, please let us know: don’t struggle over reviewing no-good books.

What is your policy on letters to the editor?


Two hundred and fifty words looks long in print, though it looks short on your notepaper. This is a maximum: the length we can fit depends on many factors, including the space available each week, the complexity of the subject and the extent to which it is a subject which has already been discussed. We cannot consult writers about the cutting of their letters.


We cannot respond to unused letters to the editor, explaining the reasons for their non-use. Nor can we print dialogues in the letter columns, with writers serially responding to one another’s responses to their letters or articles.


When handwriting, please ensure that your letter, including your name and address, are clearly legible. We cannot use an e-mailed letter unless a postal address is included. You can choose whether to have your Quaker Meeting, email or postal address included with your name. The rules on anonymity are as given for articles.

Is The Friend the right place for my letter?

As a Quaker journal, it is worth thinking about the relationship between the letters columns and our Local and Area Quaker Meetings. While The Friend is a useful place for airing thoughts and views, longer-term consideration of serious issues has to take place within our Meetings for Worship for Business. It is also worth remembering that writing to the media (including the Friend) is rarely a best first step when we see things going wrong: have you first taken up the matter with those responsible?

Can I submit photographs and other images?

Images are important in the Friend. Quakers are diffident souls, good at photographing backs of heads or distant dot-like figures. Get your subjects talking and laughing together or with you, not standing in an embarrassed row. Most people are unenthusiastic about photographs of themselves eating. Colour prints are preferred; unless you’re an experienced black and white photographer, your results are likely to be much better in colour. Email is best but if you send prints, please label the photo with the name and address of the photographer and with the names of those in the picture.

We cannot use photocopies of photos, or reproductions (including postcards) of pictures unless permission from the holder of copyright is obtained. While copyright of articles generally lies with the publication in which they are printed, copyright of photos and drawings remains with their author.

Images can be submitted independently of any written contribution and are sometimes used on their own either on the cover or on page 2 of the printed and pdf editions.

We also use images that are royalty-free or are available with a Creative Commons licence. We always do our best to give the correct credit.

Do you publish poetry?

We receive considerably more than we can print; and we find difficulty in printing particularly long poems.

There are no rules about poetry which is or isn’t ‘suitable’ for the Friend. If your poem is very like others you have seen in the Friend, that might be a reason for not sending it in, and vice versa: a poem may well have more impact if it is on a theme that we don’t automatically associate with verse.

Do remember that there are probably few published poems that haven’t been through more than one draft. You may feel that a poem has been ‘sent’ to you, as ministry is in Meeting for Worship; but the Spirit may nonetheless be expecting you to do further work on refining it so that it conveys its meaning as purely as possible.

Do you publish obituaries?

We do not publish unsolicited obituaries. If you know of someone who has recently died, and whose life you feel warrants an obituary, please contact the editor directly to discuss the matter. Close friends, colleagues or others who knew the subject well are the best people to write obituaries. Generally, obituaries are not written by relatives. Obituaries are sometimes a collaboration between several authors.

Obituaries are not ‘Testimonies to the Grace of God as shown in the life of…’ Please send these to the Yearly Meeting’s Recording Clerk’s Office of Britain Yearly Meeting for consideration for inclusion in Documents in advance.

Is The Friend a charity?

The Friend is owned by The Friend Publications Ltd, which is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. These are our details:
The Friend Publications Ltd. Registered office:173 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BJ
Company registration number: 604838 (England and Wales)
Charity registration number: 211649
VAT Number: 233 7215 83