Community Standards: What membership of independentvoices.com means

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

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The independentvoices.com community is the engine of our site. It drives debate forward, sparks news ideas, and offers alternative perspectives. Our members are the core of what we do: they shape our content by making their voices heard. The guidelines below are intended to ensure this site remains a space for intelligent, free-ranging debate; here, first, are the privileges that membership brings:

As a member of independentvoices.com you can:

1. Comment on articles

2. React to articles

3. Sign individual petitions

 

We won't assume that you support all of our petitions. Some of you may be against our campaign to legalise same-sex marriage, for instance, while keen to support Malala Yousufzai.

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, the large volume of comments means it is impractical to enter prolonged conversations over moderating decisions. We reserve the right to delete comments without notification or explanation.

If you have any questions regarding moderation or the Independent Voices community or if you wish to report what you feel is a violation of these Community Standards, please email IVmoderator@independent.co.uk

For more general questions regarding the site, see Commenting, Reacting and Debating.

The moderation process

1. "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

1. 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.

2. Hate-speech and inciting violence

We will not tolerate sexist, racist, homophobic, and other discriminatory language or views. Comments which incite violence or appear threatening or harassing will also be deleted - and those users banned.

3. Bad language

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.

Other commenters

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Flagging wars

Flags are an 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

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Links and urls

If you include a link to another site, please be sure the content complies with Independent Voices community standards 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

10. Risk of libel / contempt of court / breach of copyright

We reserve the right to protect ourselves from legal action by closing comments on articles 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 article’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.

11. Spam

Independent Voices 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.

12. 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.

Please note the comments thread is not the place for enquiries regarding moderation or your individual account. Such posts are unlikely to result in a timely response and will probably be deleted. Instead, email any enquiries to IVmoderator@independent.co.uk. For more general questions regarding the site, see Commenting, Reacting and Debating.

You can find full terms & conditions and a code of conduct for www.independent.co.uk here:

http://independent.co.uk/terms

http://independent.co.uk/contributors

http://independent.co.uk/codeofconduct

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