Thursday, February 29, 2024

COMMUNITY Guidelines

This is an overview of our approach to the community at the Weekly Voice – how and why we deal with comments on news stories, live discussions, forums and the other ways in which we engage with our readers. The Weekly Voice provides readers with a number of ways of interacting with its journalists and discussing its content, as well as the important issues that arise from that content. While we are committed to principles of openness and freedom of speech, however, we will not allow our site to become a haven for personal attacks and offensive behavior, and so we do a number of things to ensure that the discussion remains civil. What follows is an overview of our approach to community and a response to some frequently-asked questions – for our full terms of use in more detail, please see this page. If you don’t want to abide by these guidelines, we encourage you to take your comments elsewhere.


  • Why does the Weekly Voice allow comments?

    The Weekly Voice encourages readers to comment on almost all of its news stories and on its blogs because we believe there is value in getting feedback from readers – both positive and negative. It helps further our goal of fostering a national debate on key issues, and also provides an avenue for readers to contribute information about news events that could help us in our reporting. Comments also help build valuable relationships between readers and our journalism.

  • How are comments moderated?

    In most cases, our comments are post-moderated, which means that we don’t review them prior to posting them (although we use an automated filter to block offensive words). Instead, we do our best to remove comments that have been flagged by our readers as abusive or offensive or otherwise in breach of our terms and conditions in some way. Comments are not edited or changed in any way by Weekly Voice editors. If we remove a comment because it breaches our terms and conditions, an automated message appears saying that the user’s comment “was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed.” In some cases, repeat offenders may have their ability to access the Weekly Voice website restricted.

    Articles about topics that attract a high number of inflammatory or offensive comments are pre-moderated, meaning any comment must be approved by a moderator before appearing on our site. A message will pop up informing the user that a moderator is reviewing the comment. As long as the comment passes the community guidelines, the moderator will approve it and it will appear on our site.

  • How do I report an offensive comment?

    Unlike some websites that preview all of the comments before they are posted, we rely on you the reader to let us know when a comment is offensive or inappropriate in some way. You can do that by clicking on the “Report abuse” link, which is just below and to the right of each comment. Flagged comments go into a queue that is then reviewed by an editor, who decides whether the comment should be removed or not. Reviewing all of the flagged comments on the Weekly Voice website can take some time, so comments may not be removed immediately. In some cases, the editor may decide that the comment doesn’t breach our terms and conditions, and will allow the comment to remain. If it is removed for breaching our rules, an automated message will appear saying “[Reader’s] comment was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed.” If you simply disagree with a commenter, please use the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” buttons rather than flagging it as abusive.

  • When and why are comments removed?

    We reserve the right to remove comments that are not in accordance with our terms and conditions and comments that a) include personal attacks on Weekly Voice journalists or other commenters; b) make false or unsubstantiated allegations; c) quote people or sources where the quote or fact is not known or easily verified; or d) include vulgar or hateful language or libelous statements, or comments that are legally questionable. Our editors and bloggers use their best judgment in making these determinations. We try to err on the side of maintaining a civil discussion, while at the same time fostering an atmosphere in which readers can have a stimulating debate on the issues of the day. Comments may also be removed if they are not relevant to the topic, if they contain advertising, “spam” or other commercial elements, or if the person posting the comment is impersonating someone else.

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