Community Guidelines

All you need to know about membership privileges and our community standards

Our members are the core of what we do; they shape our content by making their voices heard, spark new ideas and offer alternative perspectives.  The guidelines below are intended to ensure the website remains a space for intelligent, free-ranging debate.

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As a registered member of Independent.co.uk you can:

* Comment on content and videos
* React to content and videos
* Participate in polls
* Vote on articles

We won't assume that you support all of our views.  Not making assumptions about you is, we hope, a sign of our respect for your views; and we hope that you will show the same respect to other members.  That ethic is behind our moderation too.

Our moderators strive to be sensitive to context when making decisions and to keep the process as transparent as possible.  However, large volumes of comments mean it is impractical to enter prolonged conversations over moderating decisions.  We reserve the right to delete comments without notification or explanation.

Comments

To leave a comment on the website, you need to sign up for an account. The easiest way to do this is using a social media account.
 

Debates and Votes

On selected topics where debating is possible,  you’ll see two boxes underneath the article, titled for and against, and comment streams underneath them with comments for and against an issue that’s outlined above.

To post an argument for or against the debate question, just enter your comment into the appropriate box and click submit. Your comment will be added to the side of the debate you’ve posted in for users to vote up or down based on its merits.

There are no replies to comments on debates; to respond to a particular point outline your objections to it in the opposing thread, or vote down the arguments you think are the least valid. 

To upvote an article you need to be signed in to the Website.  Then simply click on the arrow to upvote.

Deleting comments

If you’ve left a comment you want to delete, just click the grey x in the top right corner of the comment and it’ll be deleted.  There’s no way to restore a comment that’s been deleted, and deleting a comment also deletes all of the replies to it.  Keep this in mind when you’re leaving a reply; the person who left the first comment ‘owns’ that thread, and can delete your comment along with their own if they don’t like the tone of the thread.  This is another reason to be respectful of your fellow commenters.

Flagging comments


If a comment is beyond the pale, and includes a personal attack or insult, it’s possible to flag it to bring it to the attention of the moderators.  You can do this by clicking the flag in the top right corner of a comment; you need to be logged in to flag a comment.

Logging in with Facebook

Logging in with Facebook is the easiest way to sign into the website to leave comments and reactions.  We also encourage people to use their real identities when commenting on the site to improve the standards of commenting by making users accountable for what they say.

To change the privacy settings or the link between your account and your Facebook account, you can check your application settings here.

The moderation process

"Disappearing" comments

Our moderation programme automatically refers for moderation comments which contain certain words. When a comment has been referred from moderation, it is suspended from the site until a moderator has approved it for publication. This process usually takes less than 24 hours.

If you notice a comment you've made does not appear on the site immediately, this is likely to be the reason why.  Unless it contains abusive language, or in any other way contravenes our community standards it will reappear on the site within 24 hours.

Abusive language

Personal attacks

We make a distinction between lively criticism of an argument, belief or style of writing and attacks on individuals.  Comments that are abusive to other commenters or our journalists will not be tolerated.

Hate-speech and inciting violence

We will not tolerate sexist, racist, homophobic, and other discriminatory language or views.  Nor comments which are defamatory, malicious, threatening, false, misleading, offensive or abusive.   Comments which incite violence or appear threatening or harassing will also be deleted - and those users banned.

Bad language or indecency

Comments which include swear words will automatically be referred for moderation and usually deleted.  Any swearing directed at another user will automatically be deleted (see: ‘Personal attacks’).  Experience has taught us that banning bad language raises the level of debate, so even though we know you’ve heard it all before, please keep it clean!  It’s always frustrating to have to delete an otherwise great comment, because it includes swearing.

Please also refrain from posting any content which could be seen to be indecent, obscene or of a sexual nature.

Other commenters

Privacy & impersonation

Respect the privacy of other commenters and don’t include personal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers or full names in your post.  Do not impersonate another user in your post.

Off-topic spats

In any online community it’s usual for regular commenters to get to know each other and each others’ views.  However please refrain from breaking off from the topic under discussion to engage in personal chats or spats.

Flagging wars

Flags are an important way for commenters to communicate with the moderator.  Please don’t abuse the flagging function by using it as a weapon in personal vendettas.

Straying off-topic

Keep it brief

Individual comments are limited to 200 words.  We think that’s enough to develop your argument without disrupting the rhythm of debate.

Repetition

Our moderating system will automatically flag comments from the same user in a single thread if they exceed the frequency limit.  This is intended to encourage interaction and prevent a single user from dominating the debate.

Links and urls

If you include a link to another site, please be sure the content complies with these community guidelines and is relevant to the topic.  Any comments including unsuitable links will be deleted, but we should not be assumed to endorse any link which has not been deleted.

Spam, copyright and libel

Risk of libel / contempt of court / breach of copyright

We reserve the right to protect ourselves from legal action by closing comments on videos reporting on ongoing court cases or otherwise.  We will also delete comments which we deem potentially defamatory or in breach of copyright. Commenters using another video’s comment thread to open discussion on a topic closed to comments will be banned.

Please note that you are responsible for your posts and we will not accept any liability for their content or accuracy.  We also reserve the right to republish your posts, which is another reason why we are including your contribution on the clear understanding that your posts are your own work and not copied from others.  By contributing posts you are agreeing to all the above and warranting that your comments are not defamatory, obscene or in breach of anyone else’s rights.  This means generally that you must own the rights in everything you submit or must obtain permission from the rights owner to submit the material.

Spam

Independent.co.uk is intended as a platform for the exchange of views and ideas.  Comments intended to sell a product or promote commercial interests will be deleted, as will multiple posts.

Write in English

Unfortunately our linguistic skills aren’t up to moderating in Tagalog, old Norse or, for that matter, GCSE French.  For simplicity, therefore, comments in languages other than English will be automatically deleted.  This also applies to html code.

Technical Issues

Comments containing content which is technically harmful (including, without limitation, computer viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software, harmful data or conduct) are not permitted.   Nor is any activity which attempts to get round any protections we put in place for the security and operation of the website.

Breaches of these guidelines

Please do not leave comments which are in breach of these guidelines, our Terms of Use, or any of our other policies.

If you have any questions regarding moderation or the independent.co.uk community please contact webteam@independent.co.uk.  Or if you wish to report what you feel is a violation of these community guidelines, please flag the comment first.  For more complex issues please complete the online Complaint form

You can find full terms & conditions for contributors of content to Independent.co.uk here

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