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House Rules

Here’s the thing: Foursquare is great. Help us keep it that way by following a simple set of House Rules developed for (and by!) our community.

Good things

Find all your friends on Foursquare. Foursquare is better with your friends! Find friends in the app. Only friend people you know and wouldn’t mind sharing your location with. Sending mass requests to people you don’t know is a big no-no – that should really go under ‘Not cool,’ but we like to keep things positive.

Add shouts and photos to your check-ins. Shouts add context and conversation to where you are (think of this as the “what you’re doing” part of a check-in, like “With Tamara, Nina, and Tracey!” or “Finally trying the double double animal style”), and photos make your check-ins stand out.

Leave tips for others. Leave useful tips at locations you’re familiar with. Give recommendations for what to order at a restaurant (“Try the curried ginger milkshake. Not on the menu, but so good!”) or other insider information (“Come on a weekday to avoid lines”) that would be the same kind of helpful info you’d pass on to a friend. Bonus: other people will ‘like’ your tips – the more likes you get, the more your reputation as an expert will grow!

Create lists. Add places and tips to your to-do list – it’ll help you remember what you want to try next! And create other lists to show just how much you know about comic book stores, or to share your chicken nugget know-how.

Upload a handsome profile photo. A good photo helps friends recognize you when they’re sending friend requests.

Use Foursquare to make the most of where you are. If you’re in a new area or deciding where to go in your city, open the Foursquare app and browse in the Explore tab to discover that hole-in-the-wall spot of your dreams and tips (“try the wasabi ice cream! It’ll blow your mind!”) around you. Just tap the search icon to look for what you’re craving, like “Mexican Restaurant,” “nachos,” or “Joe’s Taco’s.”

Be respectful of other people. Duh. Keep the Foursquare community positive! Harassing other people through photos, tips, lists, shouts or places is SO not cool. So just be nice and respectful, instead. Comprende?

Not cool

We don’t like it when you check in when you’re not at a place. It makes us sad. Only check in when you’re there (remember: only one check-in per day at a place counts toward mayorships, so no need to check in more than once at the same exact place)! If you check in too often in a short period of time, you’ll see the rapid fire check-in error message. Also, checking in across the globe from where you’re at is discouraged – we know you love badges, but it’s only really fun if you earn them fairly.

Try not to add places to Foursquare that don’t actually exist. A place on Foursquare should be a social location where people can actually meet up. Oh, and places like Snowpocalypse (that are based around a temporary, real event) are social and therefore okay! Confused? Well, we think that if people are enjoying checking in to a place and it’s not hurting anyone, that it’s legit. Examples of what not to add: I'm on a plane, stuck in traffic, your mom. Make sure to search for a place before adding it to our system. That’s the best way to prevent duplicates!

Please refrain from checking in to the homes of others, unless they are your friends and have invited you to do so. Homes are sensitive – it can creep people out to see non-friends checking in. Remember, checking in to your own home is okay! If you’ve categorized a place as a home, it will not show up in search to others, but it will show up if you search for it by name (which is why you should choose a unique name!). And only create a Foursquare location for someone else’s home if you have the permission of the resident/owner.

Don’t create tips or any other content with inappropriate language or negativity directed at another person. They will be deleted! Plus, being nice is better than being mean.

Don’t spam! Spamming through tips, places, photos or anything else is not okay. (What’s spam? So glad you asked. Spam is any content including links to websites selling software, realtor contact info, a listing for your business, or other promotion). Uploading similar content to several different places is considered a violation of our Terms of Service and will cause your account to be deactivated. Tips, places, photos, etc. should be unique to the place they’re at and useful for others.

Don’t misuse our trademarks. As our company grows, we need to protect our trademarks or we risk losing our rights to them altogether (you remember what happened to ‘escalator’ and ‘xerox’). That said, we love when people create vibrant communities around Foursquare, so we ask that you use ‘4sq’ instead of ‘Foursquare’ or ‘foursquare,’ and please make clear that you’re ‘unofficial’ and not affiliated with us. See our trademark guidelines for more details.


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