Comments – Community Guidelines

debate clip artTHESE GUIDELINES have been drawn up to give those leaving comments on the Hedon Blog an idea of what will be – and what will not be – allowed to be published on the Hedon Blog.

We encourage people to leave comments and join in the debates – but within these guidelines.

1. We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining Hedon Blog as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

2. We acknowledge criticism of postings we publish, but will not allow persistent misrepresentation of Hedon Blog participants 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 which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. We don’t want to stop people discussing topics they are enthusiastic about, but we do ask users to find ways of sharing their views that do not feel divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

5. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. We recognise the difference between criticising a particular government, organisation, community or belief and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

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 postings that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like in the free-to-the community areas. Our aim is that this site should provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other and we actively discourage commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals, in order to post advertising material or links. This may also apply to people or organisations who frequently post propaganda or external links without adding substantively to the quality of the discussion on Hedon Blog.

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

9. Be aware that you may be misunderstood, so try to be clear about what you are saying, and expect that people may understand your contribution differently than you intended. Remember that text isn’t always a great medium for conversation: tone of voice (sarcasm, humour and so on) doesn’t always come across when using words on a screen. You can help to keep the Hedon Blog 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. If you spot something problematic in community interaction areas, please report it. When we all take responsibility for maintaining an appropriate and constructive environment, the debate itself is improved and everyone benefits.

With thanks to Talk About Local website for help with these guidelines.

One thought on “Comments – Community Guidelines

  1. I HAVE been contacted by several Hedon Town Councillors (since the resignations of two councillors on 14th November 2013) who have been somewhat dismayed by the reaction of some people – particularly via the Hedon Blog – which have sought to cast aspersions on individual councillors or made insinuations as to ‘wrong-doing’.

    Most Town Councillors have chosen not to comment in public on the issues surrounding the resignations, which is their right.

    I have received the following communication from a person who does not wish to be named, but does sum up the position of some of the existing members of Hedon Town Council.

    In an election period, and to ensure a balanced debate, the Editor deems it worthwhile publishing this:

    “The reasons the Council, or any of its remaining members have not responded to the claims made by the departed members are that the disagreements which led to the resignations were personal ones, and it is not the Council’s place to discuss personal conflicts in a public forum, and further, certain issues are sub-judice, ie they are in lawyers’ hands.

    It is worth noting that your readers have actually only heard the claims of the departing councillors, and there are always two sides to a story.”  

    Published to ‘balance’ what has previously being seen by some as a-one-sided debate.

    Although an election period and strong views and opinions are likely to be expressed, we do remind those who comment about our community guidelines and particularly section 4 which reads:

    We reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. We don’t want to stop people discussing topics they are enthusiastic about, but we do ask users to find ways of sharing their views that do not feel divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

    A ‘flame-war’ we describe as:

    “… a heated argument between individuals, that results in those involved posting personal attacks on each other during or instead of debating the topic at hand.

    “Most forums have rules that forbid flaming. This is because the quality of conversation on a forum can be seriously degraded by a flame war. Topics can be “hijacked” by people who would rather flame each other than discuss the subject of the thread.”

     Editor, Hedon Blog, Wed 15th January 2014

Comments are closed.