Editor’s note: Below is the Vanguard Comment policy as adopted on August 20, 2014 by the Vanguard Editorial Board. Some readers requested space to make comments and raise issues on either the policy or enforcement of the policy. The Vanguard Editorial Board is scheduled to review the policy this summer, but can take these comments under advisement.
GUIDELINES TO GOVERN COMMENTERS
THE DAVIS VANGUARD
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”)
- 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.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.