We are delighted with your response to our comments facility. We aim to moderate the comments section to high and consistent standards, based on the House Rules.
On this page, we aim to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. We will add replies below as issues come to light and based on feedback from you.
1) Why was my comment deleted?
(i) In the vast majority of cases your comment was deleted because it was judged by the moderation team to be in breach of one or more of the House Rules. We do not delete comments based on whether or not we agree with the points raised.
We stand firmly behind our House Rules as reasonable limitations imposed in the interests of fostering constructive debate.
(ii) You are asked to abide by the House Rules in spirit, as well as in letter – this means, for example, that attempts to bypass the ‘No Swearing’ rule by substituting letters or characters in words to make obvious profanities, will be regarded exactly as if the offending word had been written correctly and in full. This applies equally to all House Rules.
(iii) Please note that contributors to the commenting section have the option of using the ‘report comment’ function where they feel a comment is in breach of the House Rules. When this happens, the comment is temporarily removed from the thread and enters a moderation queue, after which it will be reviewed by a member of the moderation team. Please tell us why you are reporting the comment in the form provided.
We may agree or disagree with the reasons for the comment being reported, and will act accordingly, either deleting the comment as being in breach of the House Rules, or approving it as fair comment.
2) Why was my comment deleted for saying ‘X’, when another commenter said the same thing and you left theirs up?
This may be for one of two main reasons.
Firstly, context is important, and content that may be judged fair comment in the context of one discussion may be inappropriate in another. The moderation team reserves the right to exercise judgment on how we deal with comments, with the aspiration at all times being to foster an atmosphere of constructive debate, and we appreciate your understanding in helping us to achieve this aim.
Secondly, the moderation team is made up of individual editors with individual opinions as to what constitutes fair comment, and what does not. When, as is frequently the case, we are dealing with grey areas, inconsistencies may unfortunately arise. As time progresses and our experience and understanding of the comments section deepens, we aim to iron out these inconsistencies. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, you are welcome to raise the point with the team at email@example.com
3) Why can’t I comment on a particular news item?
We cannot enable comments on stories that are connected with on-going court proceedings or live criminal investigations as we do not wish to prejudice trials or investigations in any way.
In addition, experience in moderating comments has alerted us to certain topics as being ‘red flag’ issues. What this means is that the level of debate around certain topics is likely to be extremely polarized, polemic in nature, and very likely to descend quickly into personal abuse. Because moderating such topics is a significant drain on time and resources, and because we do not pre-moderate comments, we disable commentary on such topics.
4) I want to raise an issue with the moderation team. Who do I speak to?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a specific point of feedback and we will endeavour to respond as soon as time allows.
We welcome feedback on our comments section and encourage you to get in touch with suggestions as to how it can be improved, bearing in mind our stated aim to create a forum for constructive debate on the issues of the day.