FAQ: Comments & Moderation
Q: What is the NewsGrio Network's Comment Policy?
A: Community and Commenting Guiding Principles
In order to promote an open and transparent conversation, the NewsGrio Network moderates comments on news stories and blog posts.
The responsibility of each of our staff moderators is to publish appropriate comments and delete inappropriate comments. We also invite our community members to flag inappropriate comments. Our staff moderators pay close attention to our community's flags, and we defer to them in the context of our growing community reputation system.
Moderation, by its very nature, is subjective. The lines can be blurry. But our staff moderators and community moderators are guided by a series of basic guidelines. These guidelines include compliance with U.S. law, including copyright law, and regulations pertaining to intellectual property.
In general, the best way to determine whether a comment is appropriate is simple. Ask first whether it's inappropriate. Ask whether it violates any of the guidelines outlined here. If it does, then it should be flagged or deleted. If it doesn't, the comment should be published or left alone.
Here are our five guiding principles:
(I) The NewsGrio Network welcomes all users to join our community and to comment and treats all members of the community equally.
We do not discriminate based on the person who is posting, and we never censor comments for political or ideological reasons. We never delete an appropriate comment because we disagree with its viewpoint or ideology, and we never publish an inappropriate comment because we agree with or support its viewpoint or ideology. We also do not tolerate ad hominem attacks of any kind.
(II) We want the NewsGrio Network to be home to open, transparent conversations in which people connect, discuss, share ideas, and debate the issues.
This can sometimes lead to frustration, anger, hyperbole, or the use of biting humor. Courtesy can vanish, manners abandoned. As a community dedicated to being open and transparent and committed to fostering a vibrant discussion of the issues of the day, we can tolerate this.
We also allow a reasonable level of profanity. But our commitment to a basically civil tone means we do not allow extravagant or superfluous profanity or speech that is otherwise vile. We use our common-sense judgment to discern between the two and err on the side of openness and transparency.
In this area especially, we defer to the flags left by our users in the context of our growing community reputation system.
(III) We are also committed to maintaining a non-toxic atmosphere.
As such, we do not allow hate speech, nor do we allow speech that advocates or supports hatred or unlawful violence. We do not allow racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, or other intolerance. Likewise, threats of violence or threats to anyone or any group's personal safety are not acceptable. We also do not allow false claims or misleading implications that any individual or group perpetuates hate or unlawful violence.
We do not allow comments that criticize others based on physical appearances or mental characteristics. We do not allow comments that celebrate the death, illness, or personal loss of any person.
We also do not allow the promotion and propagation of conspiracy theories, including those about 9/11.
(IV) In order to preserve a functional and civil conversation, we do not allow trolls, trollish behavior, or stalking.
We do not allow speech that is solely intended to provoke other users, to cause disorder or confusion, or to inhibit regular, on-topic conversation. In this area especially, we defer to the flags left by our users in the context of our growing community reputation system.
We also do not tolerate stalking. This includes posting personal information about another community member, pursuing another member from thread to thread in an attempt to harass, deliberately misquoting or lying about another member, copying a username in order to embarrass or harass another member, or unwelcome sexual advances toward another member. In addition, we do not tolerate lying about being a staff moderator or about communications with a staff moderator.
(V) Members of the NewsGrio community deserve to be free from spam, and we do not allow posting the same comment multiple times within one thread or on multiple threads.
We also flag and delete all comments containing business solicitations or other advertising of personal interests, blogs, or websites. (A link to a personal blog is fine.)
Spam includes comments that are off-topic. If off-topic conversation inhibits or prevents on-topic conversation, we consider it comment hijacking, and do not allow it. That said, we understand that NewsGrio's comment threads aren't just about content. They're also about conversation. And in natural conversation, people exchange pleasantries, greetings, congratulations, praise, and other social gestures. So we err on the side of facilitating an open conversation, even when that means permitting limited off-topic comments and conversation. Also in this area especially, we defer to the flags left by our users in the context of our growing community reputation system.
Q: I posted a comment. Why can't I see it on the site?
A: There are two scenarios under which your comment may not appear:
1. It may be pending approval. Comments on the blog are moderated BEFORE they appear on the site, and this takes time. Since the volume of comments on the site has grown rapidly, there is often a delay between a comment being posted and it being approved, especially during peak hours. We appreciate your patience and ask that you refrain from posting the same comment repeatedly.
2. Your comment violated the policy above. We pride ourselves in providing a medium for engaging and thought-provoking stories and encourage our users to speak their minds freely, provided comments fall within our commenting policy. We must respect our writers and protect them from vicious and inflammatory comments. They too are entitled to free speech- the right to share their opinions without being subject to scathing and mean-spirited remarks.
Q: Why am I blocked from commenting on NewsGrio?
A: There are a few scenarios under a comment might be blocked:
1. A comment is extremely abusive, off-topic, uses excessive foul language, or includes an ad hominem attack.
2. If a commenter has previously posted comments that are abusive, off-topic, used excessive foul language, or include ad hominem attacks, a Huff Post moderator may decide to ban the commenter's IP address. This means the abusive commenter is banned from commenting on the site in the future, even if the later comments are not abusive.
Q: Can I include HTML in my comments?
A: We remove all html from comments to preserve formatting consistency.
Q: If you don't allow any HTML, how can I include a link in my comment?
A: If you include a URL in your comment, it will be converted to a link. Please note, comments containing links to personal blogs and other inappropriate sites will be deleted. Only links to relevant news stories or sites are acceptable.
Q: There is a comment that I find insulting and in violation of your policy. What can I do?
A: You can flag the comment as abusive by pressing the Flag As Abusive link below the comment. This alerts our moderators and delete the comments that don't comply with our policy.
Q: What is the "Follow" link?
A: When you find a commenter you like, you can press the Follow link next to the commenter's name. Your vote will appear on your profile page and on the profile page of that commenter. This way you can keep track of the commenters you like and those who like you. We are working on a way to alert you when your favorite commenters post new comments on the site.
Q: What does the "Favorite" link mean?
A: If you think a comment is particularly great, you can select it as a favorite. This will help us track the best commenters on the site.
Q: Can I follow a blogger?
A: Absolutely. Each blogger has their own profile page that includes their bios and a Follow link. You can find this page by clicking on a blogger's name.
Q: Can I print comments?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to print comments right now. We are building a feature that will let you print comments but for the time being, you can copy and paste them into another program and print them from there.