Harmony   Equality   Acceptance   Respect   Tolerance


Sites nominated for a Harmony or Mercy Award are visited and evaluated for the criteria of the particular award. We look for evidence that the site clearly, thoroughly, and pervasively embodies the ideals we espouse in our Mission Statement. Most sites offer something of value to visitors (why would anyone visit them otherwise?) and are community-oriented; such is the nature of the Web itself. We honor those sites that transcend the common and best exemplify an other-oriented, cooperative, and respectful focus.

Honoree Duties

1) Honorees should display their awards prominently on their home pages. The award image should be linked to the Golden Heart Society Home Page (http://www.oocities.org/capitolhill/2668/).

2) Honorees are asked to review the lists of other Harmony Award and Mercy Award Honorees and to select at least one site from one of those lists and link it from their own site. In other words, make a link on your page to some other Golden Heart Society Harmony or Mercy Award winning site. You need not identify the site as an honoree or give the link any special prominence. We merely want to enhance the exposure of our honored sites and emphasize the idea of community.

Rejected nominations

Not all nominated sites will be honored. A decision not to honor a site in no way reflects negatively upon that site. We use a number of specific criteria when evaluating a site, and our decision follows in part from those guidelines. To some extent, however, it is also a subjective decision. We freely use personal judgment. Quality of the site, quantity of information, aesthetics, identity, and such are entirely irrelevant to our decision.

In special circumstances, we will try to give specific reasons for rejecting a nomination. We will make an extra effort to do so in borderline cases and when the problem is specific and easily remedied. Most often, however, rejection comes not from a specific problem but a lack of a convincing sense that the nominated site is clearly and significantly furthering the ideals of the Golden Heart Society by meeting the criteria of either award.

Cause for rejection

The Golden Heart Society supports impassioned argument and discourse and does not support censorship. We do not obstruct anyone's access to free expression. We can and do, however, decide whom we will and will not recognize and honor. Certain qualities or expressions are so contrary to our mission that the presense of such on a web site will disqualify that site for any honor from our society. These include the following:

Expressions of hatred, bigotry, intolerance, or sterotypes.
Advocacy or expression of violence, aggression, prejudice, hostility, or limitation of others' civil rights.
Exclusionary or divisive objectives or expressions.
Abusive, combattive, inciteful, or demeaning objectives or expressions.
Ad hominems, personal attacks, excessively hurtful or mean criticism, or unwarranted pejoratives.
Objectives or expressions that trivialize human diversity by generalizing broadly about any group, class, race, faction, or other gross classification of people (except in a definitional fashion).
Sites that promote a product or service for profit (See self-serving purpose, below).
Sites with restricted access.

Such objectives, expressions, or qualities are also grounds for retraction of any award already given.

Self-serving purpose

Sites with a self-serving purpose are disqualified for an honor. This would include any site that promotes a product or service for profit. For example, a site that provides extensive information about heart disease and its treatment would be eligible for an honor if maintained by a private citizen or a medical doctor. The same site would be ineligible if maintained by a pharmaceutical company or an insurance provider.

The self-serving disqualification is waived when the entity so served is itself active in the promotion of the Golden Heart Society's ideals. To continue with the same example, if the site that provides heart disease information were maintained by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, it would still be eligible despite the self serving purpose because these organizations themselves are motivated by good will.

About the Society

The Golden Heart Society is a privately founded and operated social society that exists for the promotion of the ideals expressed in its Mission Statement. We are indeed biased and certainly do have a social agenda. We do not have sponsors or other external sources of support but rely solely on volunteer administration. Those who disagree with the opinions or objectives of the society may freely distance themselves from it, may refuse an honor, may express their disagreement, and are perfectly free to found their own societies and promote their own agendas.

The Society determines its own membership. We currently have five members; membership is presently closed. Honorees are not members. Only the Society's founder and chair, John Bickford, Jr., may represent the Society to nonmembers.


The Society reserves the right to rescind any Award from any Honoree who subsequently violates the Society's mission in a significant way. Retracted awards must be removed from display within a reasonable time period after notification or such display will constitute a copyright infringement.

The design and content of the Web Site of the Golden Heart Society is the intellectual property of and copyrighted (1996) by the author and society's founder, John Bickford, Jr. No part of this site may be downloaded, edited, reproduced, republished, or displayed on any other site, except by express written permission. Exception is granted for downloading for the purpose of accessing, reading, and caching the site as is normally done when browsing World Wide Web sites.

The images of the Harmony Award and the Mercy Award are copyrighted (1996) artwork by John Bickford, Jr.. Neither image may be reproduced or displayed in any print or electronic/machine-readable format, nor displayed on any Web site, without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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Copyright 1996 by John H. Bickford, Jr.