Guidelines/ Etiquette

I hope that this blog will grow into something beneficial for many people.  Having said that I have seen on many a blog and forum where commentary gets a bit out of hand.  Be it spam, trolls, or people who are just unable to have a respectful difference of opinion.  One of the reasons I chose wordpress is their spam blocking set-up, and their ease of use.  Being an open to public forum though I feel I must have a few guidelines.

 

In the comment section of this blog I hope readers will wish to discuss content I write, or even debate issues. My goal is that this feels inclusive and safe, and that my comment section is a place on the net where you will always find open, entertaining and, above all, intelligent discussions.

 

There are 10 simple guidelines I expect all participants (including myself or guest authors) in the comment area to abide by.

1. I welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining this blog as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

2. I acknowledge criticism of the blogs I publish, but will not allow persistent misrepresentation. For the sake of robust debate, I will distinguish between constructive, focused argument and smear tactics.

3. I understand that people often feel strongly about issues of health, but will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening. Please respect other people’s views and beliefs and consider your impact on others when making your contribution.

4. I reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. I don’t want to stop people discussing topics they are enthusiastic about, but I do ask that you find ways of sharing views that do not feel divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

5. I will NOT tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. I recognise the difference between criticising a particular government, organisation, community or belief and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

6. I will remove any content that may put me in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libellous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.

7. I will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like. My aim is that this blog should provide a space for people to interact with my content and each other, and I actively discourage commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals, in order to post advertising material or links. This may also apply to people or organisations who frequently post propaganda or external links without adding substantively to the quality of a discussion.

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the things on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.  I don’t expect PhD questions or answers, I don’t even have a PhD yet.  Whether you are a 12 year old football player or 60 year old chiropractor all comments and views are welcome, just try to keep it on the general subject.

9. Be aware that you may be misunderstood, so try to be clear about what you are saying, and expect that people may understand your contribution differently than you intended. Remember that tone of voice (sarcasm, humour and so on) doesn’t always come across when using words on a screen. You can help to keep this blog open to all viewpoints by maintaining a reasonable tone, even in unreasonable circumstances.

10. The blog is mine, but the conversation belongs to everybody. I want this to be a welcoming space for respectful discussion, and I expect participants to help me achieve this by notifying me of potential problems and helping each other to keep conversations inviting and appropriate. If you spot something problematic in the interactions, please report it. When we all take responsibility for maintaining an appropriate and constructive environment, the debate itself is improved and everyone benefits.

In short:

– If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems.
– Don’t be mean. Demonstrate and share the knowledge and humor I know you have.
– Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this a great place for comment and discussion and it will be.

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