Blogs » Digital Babble » Online communities and their policies


(Warning: Photo intended for humorous purposes.)

I've had many ask me why we've deleted their comments, and left other comments alone. I've also had others suggest we are protecting some posters, while leaving others to run rampant. And some have even suggested I have gone power-crazy, removing comments at will, like some sort of harsh dictatorial comment-deleter. (See photo above.)

We must keep in mind that these features, the comments and blogs, are part of the Victoria Advocate's Web site. And along with these features are rules to follow. Those who choose not to follow our online policies will have their comments removed, and repeated violation of our online policies will result in their accounts being suspended permanently.

If you feel that you cannot make a comment online without including disparaging remarks to others, then perhaps this is not the place for you.

To better explain comments that are not acceptable, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss that here. I always learn best by example, so here are a few samples of comments that are not acceptable. (Note: these are comments I totally made up on my own, I did not copy these from our forums.):

Comment From: cjcastillo   (Report this comment as a violation)
Tue Nov 11, 2008 13:00:00 CST
Dear [insert name here] how can you say that [insert cause or political view] is not an important? Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries! Oh, and your feet smell of old ham and cheese!

Comment From: cjcastillo   (Report this comment as a violation)
Tue Nov 11, 2008 13:45:02 CST
While I agree that the relationship between global crop production and fertilization is analyzed and it is argued, that fertilization beyond current levels is unlikely to increase crop yields as effectively as in the past, due to diminishing returns. However, this argument is termed as misleading as diminishing returns are not readily apparent on a global scale.

 But since [insert name here] appears to know everything about this topic, I'm sure [insert name here) will have something to say of course, you nasty, stuck-up nitwit. You son of a silly person! I blow my nose at you!

Comment From: cjcastillo   (Report this comment as a violation)
Tue Nov 11, 2008 13:45:02 CST

I've looked around at the online policies of other Web sites, and wanted to share some of them here with you.

BBC News
No swearing. People of all ages read and contribute to Have Your Say. Please don't use profanities or other words which might offend them.

No spamming or flooding. Don't repost the same message, or very similar messages, more than once.

No capital letters. This is internet shorthand for raising your voice. You can make your point perfectly well in lower case so please take the caps lock off.
New York Times
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence and SHOUTING.

Be courteous. You agree that you will not threaten or verbally abuse other Members, use defamatory language, or deliberately disrupt discussions with repetitive messages, meaningless messages or "spam."

Use respectful language. Like any community, the online conversation flourishes only when our Members feel welcome and safe. You agree not to use language that abuses or discriminates on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, age, region, disability, etc. Hate speech of any kind is grounds for immediate and permanent suspension of access to all or part of the Service.

Debate, but don't attack. In a community full of opinions and preferences, people always disagree. encourages active discussions and welcomes heated debate on the Service. But personal attacks are a direct violation of this Agreement and are grounds for immediate and permanent suspension of access to all or part of the Service. - (this is a service that moderates online communities)
When you use a Web site that verifies your identity through Truyoo, you agree to not:
    • upload, post or otherwise transmit any content that Truyoo deems to be harmful, threatening, defamatory, harassing, obscene, profane, or otherwise objectionable;

      • upload, post or otherwise transmit any content that is hateful or promotes hatred based on race, ethnicity, disability, gender, age, or sexual orientation;

     • upload, post or otherwise transmit any advertising, solicitations, promotional materials, spam, chain letters, or any other form of solicitation, except where specifically permitted.

What do you think of these online policies from other Web sites? Does their explanation of what is not acceptable help clarify their stand on commenting?

While this entire post seems to be a lecture on how not to comment, we also want to commend our posters who bring many positive things to our community. I've seen various instances of community and involvement on our forums and blogs, and I'd like to encourage that. We are working on ways to applaud and highlight those commenters.