Friday, September 16, 2005

Weber County Forum Posting Policy

From the time of the original founding of Weber County Forum, this site has grown far beyond our initial expections, into a surprisingly substantial interactive community, where many readers exchange their thoughts and points of view.

While we don't want to interrupt the momentum WCF has built, we do suppose it is time to impose some basic posting rules. Things have gotten a little out of hand on WCF a couple of times recently, so the time has come to lay out a written posting policy, to provide at least some minimal guidance about what is expected of our gentle readers. We're sure some folks will be asking what took us so long to do this. We've received numerous emails about this. Believe us; playing "board nanny" isn't something we're particularly happy about; and we're not exactly rushing into this.

We generally won't censor comments because of disagreement with content. We won't delete a post because it differs from our own philosophy. This is because we want to maintain some detached objectivity, and we believe that freedom of speech is the currency of truth in the marketplace of ideas. Differing opinions are not only welcome here, but they are really what Weber County Forum was designed to be all about. These policies will be administered solely by your blogmeister, RudiZink, and no one else.

We will remove posts in the following instances:

  1. The post concerns an administrative decision related to posting.
  2. The post contains flaming, name calling, derogatory or obscene language, gratuitous personal attacks or fighting words, particularly if directed against other readers, the blogmaster or the blog itself.
  3. The post is lodged via a proxy server.
  4. The post is frivolous or entirely off-topic.
  5. The content of the comment is illegal; for example, it makes a specific threat toward someone, is blatantly libelous, violates someone's copyright, etc.
  6. The comment contains the personal or professional contact information of any individual, even if that information is publically available in directories or databases. The exception is that we'll permit the posting of professional contact information of public officials. Contact information for corporations is also acceptable, so long as that information isn't being posted to facilitate the contact or harassment of a particular individual.
  7. The post is an invitation to troll either on this site or another site.
  8. The post is a duplicate (the most common reason.)
  9. The post is spam or advertising.
  10. The post is part of an attack (ie, part of a flood of posts meant to waste disk space, slow down the system, etc).
  11. The post is under the ID "anonymous".
This list is by no means all-inclusive; and it somewhat embraces the unwritten policy we've been following so far. We're certain there are plenty of other things we haven't considered, but we're hoping this will at least give everyone the general idea.

If you find that a comment of yours appears to have been deleted and you don't think it meets these criteria, it is also possible that there's been a technical glitch. Are posts that were around yours missing too? Sometimes we do lose a few postings, especially if an article is updated or moved from one place to another, or when our host server has recently undergone some site maintenance. Our comments system software, which includes a spam filter function, also occasionally misidentifies legitimate reader posts as spam.

Trolling will not be tolerated.

In some circumstances, we may take steps to prevent obvious trolls from continuing to troll:

Generally speaking, we won't remove troll posts, but we may ban registered users, screen names or "handles" or from posting for a short time, to cut short useless flame wars and substanceless trolling. Additionally, we may use automated reply suppression to halt trolling, should a flame war break out or should the conversation degrade into grade-school behavior. In instances of flagrant posting policy violations, repeat offenders will be permanently banned.

Remember: commenting here is a privilege, not a right. You are a guest here -- we're not obligated to provide you with a platform for speech. We established Weber County Forum as a no-cost cyber gathering place, because we wanted to provide a convenient forum where members of our community could meet and discuss their differing points of view. We expect that our guests will behave themselves appropriately. Keep in mind that you're talking on our dime; and please behave with the same courtesy you would demonstrate if you were a guest in our home.

If you have questions, need any clarification or have suggestions regarding these policies, please feel free to send your input via the contact link at the top of the WCF sidebar.

We'll review and update these policies occasionally at our sole discretion, if the need arises, too.

Happy blogging, everyone.

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