Comment Policy

GUIDELINES TO GOVERN COMMENTERS

THE DAVIS VANGUARD
Davis, California

Adopted by The Vanguard’s Editorial Board on August 20, 2014.

The Davis Vanguard Editorial Board (Editorial Board) has adopted the following Guidelines to Govern Commenters. The standards are intended to provide guidance to commenters and to guide the actions of The Vanguard’s Content Moderator, who is designated by the Editorial Board.

The primary intent of these guidelines is to ensure an inclusive, civil tone that will encourage greater participation in the community dialogue fostered by The Vanguard. The Editorial Board seeks to ensure that all readers of the Vanguard are respected and comfortable sharing their views. The Editorial Board recognizes that some limitations on comments may help to limit the extent to which anyone is discouraged from engaging in dialogue based on the comments of others.

To carry out the intent of the Editorial Board as discussed above, the Content Moderator will apply – using her or his discretion – the guidelines below.

A. CONTENT THAT MAY BE REMOVED

  1. Off Topic Commenting. Comments that do not pertain to the topic of the main post will be removed by the moderator. For example, a comment on a national issue may be removed if it does not make a clear connection to the local issue. Comments that add to the context and history of a post will generally be allowed, so long as they add to the overall discuss of an issue.The Content Moderator will need to exercise some level of subjectivity in deciding if a comment is “off topic.” The inferred intent of the commenter may be the deciding factor. Comments that appear to use the comments section of a article to make a point unrelated to the article, will be removed. On the other hand, good faith efforts to explain the connection of a comment to the article and that contribute a perspective related to the main post, may be allowed.
  2. Insults Directed at a Commenter or Contributor. Directly calling someone a name that is or could be construed as derogatory will be removed by the moderator. When the Content Moderator removes a post for this reason, they will leave a note as to why with “[Moderator]” in front of their comment or edit.
  3. Hate Speech. Comments that constitute hateful speech will be removed. Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
  4. Debating Moderator Practices. An article’s comments section won’t be used to debate these guidelines or a decision of the Content Moderator. Concern about the removal of a comment should be addressed in an email to the Content Moderator. The moderator will keep confidential all email exchanges related to disagreements, and the identities of those raising concerns.

B. CONTENT DISCOURAGED (or “FOR SELF-RESTRICTION”)

  1. Racist, Sexist and Homophobic Comments. Comments that may fall into these areas by commenters, but that do not violate an area of Section A, will not be removed. While offensive, the Editorial Board believes responses that are, or may be considered, racist, sexist or homophobic are best handled by self-regulation or the civil responses of others.
  2. Generic Insults. Pejorative references to any general class of people are strongly discouraged. The Editorial Board asks commenters to understand that general insults discourage the participation of others. They contribute to a negative tone and strongly suggest disrespect for the views of others. In some cases, general insults oversimplify the positions of others, which is detrimental to informed and respectful debate. General insults that are provocative are especially discouraged.Examples of general insults would be referring to those who disagree with a commenter as: selfish, extremist, anti-growth, no-growth, open space extremists, reactionary, change-averse, no-growth NIMBY farmland moat people, moochers, looters and entitled population.

C. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

  • Content Moderator Participation in Discussions. The Content Moderator is encouraged to participate in discussion equal to all others. She or he will separate their roles as commenter and Content Moderator.
  • Review of Content Moderator Decisions. Concerns about Comment Moderator decisions should be addressed to the Editor of The Vanguard. A response will be provided to the complaining party. The Editor may consult the Editorial Board on these issues.
  • Review of these Guidelines. The Editorial Board will periodically review and update these guidelines at its discretion.
  • Reader Complaints and Comments. We welcome your comments. Comments for the Editorial Board or the Editor may be send to: info@davisvanguard.org.

Amended Vanguard Policy on Commenters

(Adopted by the Vanguard Editorial Board March 1, 2017)

In August 2014, the Vanguard Editorial Board adopted Guidelines to Govern Commenters. (see http://www.davisvanguard.org/about-us/comment-policy/). All the provisions of that Guidelines policy continue in effect, as amended by the December 2016 action by the Vanguard Editorial Board updating the comment policy to limit anonymous posters.

The default policy of the Vanguard is that posters must log in and post using their own name through a Facebook login.  Posters who do not wish to use Facebook can petition the Vanguard (through info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org) to login using their real life first and last names through a Facebook alternative provided by the Vanguard’s WordPress system.

The Vanguard recognizes that some posters have legitimate reasons to request anonymity in their postings, because of the potential for direct financial and/or employment reprisals; therefore the Vanguard has retained a system by which posters can mitigate the chances of such reprisals. Posters who believe they have a compelling reason to expect direct financial and/or employment reprisals, as a result of their comments on the Vanguard, can petition for the use of an extraordinary screen name other than their real life first and last names.  All requests for an alternative screen name should be submitted in writing and provide the following:

  1. Full Name (First Name, any Middle Names, Last Name, Suffix)
  2. A valid email address
  3. A valid phone number
  4. A description of the direct financial and/or employment reprisals they believe will result from posting using their real name

When the Vanguard approves an alternative screen name request, it will assign the alternative screen name in the format of First Name, Last Initial or the format of First Initial, Last Name. If those two standard combinations are too obvious (for example B Obama and Barack O), the Vanguard will add the submitted Middle Name and Suffix to the screen name assignment process.   The Vanguard will not allow self-assigned screen names.  All alternative screen name requests that were approved between December 23 and February 19 will be honored/grandfathered.  To achieve a 100% consistent handling of all Vanguard posters, the Vanguard asks all grandfathered posters to voluntarily adjust their screen name to comply with above-described alternative screen name format.

Don Shor, the site moderator will remove all posted comments from non-approved screen names immediately and contact the poster at their registered email address to notify them of the screen name violation.

In addition to all the Guidelines to Govern Commenters, which apply to all posters, anyone posting under an alternative screen name will have a higher standard for their posts.

Posts that meet this higher standard for removal are:

  • Personal attacks of other posters from behind the protection of anonymity
  • Use of condescending or derogatory language
  • Utilizing anonymity to question the integrity of other posters without providing a linked authority source for the standard they are using to question the integrity of the other poster.

REPEATED VIOLATION OF THE REMOVAL STANDARDS MAY AND WILL RESULT IN TERMINATION OF ALTERNATIVE SCREEN NAME PRIVILEGES.  If privileges of an alternative screen name are terminated, the poster may reapply to the Vanguard.  In the case of such a reapplication, all grandfathering will cease, and the Vanguard screen name assignment process described herein will apply to any subsequent alternative screen name assignment.

The primary intent of these guidelines is to ensure an inclusive, civil tone that will encourage greater participation in the community dialogue fostered by The Vanguard. The Editorial Board seeks to ensure that all readers of the Vanguard are respected and comfortable sharing their views. The Editorial Board recognizes that some limitations on comments may help to limit the extent to which anyone is discouraged from engaging in dialogue based on the comments of others.

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