Please feel free to submit your own articles for publication and comment on existing posts – within these guidelines.
In every group, on every news site, every Facebook thread, and yes – every blog! – there are people who post and comment just to start trouble. The Al.com comment threads are a perfect example of that.
Many news and entertainment sites actually seem to encourage that behavior because online pie fights generate traffic, page views, and ad clicks.
We don’t need money that badly and we never will.
The best code of conduct we’ve found comes from this article and boils down to “don’t be a dick.”
I’d define dick-ish behaviour on a news site as including, but not restricted too: personal attacks, using “amusing” clichés like EUSSR and Tony Bliar, making the same off-topic point day after day, being rude and grumpy and unwelcoming to newcomers, mocking other people’s spelling, bullying and hectoring staff and journalists appearing in the comment threads, asking “is this news?” on a story you are not interested in and which nobody forced you to read, hate speech, “ironic” hate speech, anything that might now or in the future potentially land the publisher in legal hot water, and any comment which includes the phrase “I don’t suppose the moderators will publish this but…”
We’ve dealt with this behavior before and have no problem removing offensive content. Nobody is censoring “freedom of speech!” because the writer can say whatever he/she wants on the sidewalk, on their own site, or anywhere people will stop to listen. We’re paying the bills & shouldering the legal responsibility for the blog content. The admins make the rules. Period.
And while we’re discussing legal issues, keep these points in mind:
- Copyright: Please respect the work of others! Clearly identify direct quotations and provide a link back to the original content when possible.Do not copy and post the entire content someone else’s article or op/ed. It’s ok to include a snippet of the original (that’s Fair Use under copyright law), but not extended sections.If an editor thinks that you’ve violated copyright, your submission may be deleted or edited.
- Image posting: Images are also subject to copyright law. Do not post any images unless you own the rights to them. Other blogs have been hit with huge charges and legal bills after users posted copyrighted images.It’s ok to post photos you’ve taken or that the photographer granted rights for. Images your created yourself are also fine. But don’t just grab a picture you found on another Web site and pop it into your article. That is copyright infringement and it’s illegal.It is possible to get the rights to free or low-cost images at sites like BigStockPhoto.com. Beware of sites like flickr or photobucket. People often post images there that they don’t have rights to distribute.
- Language: This isn’t exactly a “family blog,” but it’s not a trash bin either. Keep it clean, y’all. The English language has one of the largest word pools. If you can’t express yourself adequately without profanity, you either lack education or imagination.Posts/comments containing insults, profanity, and ad hominem attacks will be deleted and the writer may be banned from posting.