A Few Comments About Our Comments Section

by Karen Goff December 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm 32 Comments

RestonNow Reston Now seeks to improve our community by bringing readers up-to-date news that’s relevant to their lives and localities; by giving local businesses more affordable and effective marketing options; and by reducing the need to cut down trees and burn fossil fuels for the production and distribution of newsprint.

We also want lively discussion on issues important to the community. The majority of our commenters are adding to intelligent discourse and conversation. However, it has come to our attention that several people are repeatedly misusing the comments section in an offensive manner.

Reston Now has both a terms of service to follow as well as as personal standard. A handful of repeat violators have had their IP addresses blocked.

We ask that users keep the conversation civil and on-topic. Our approach to comment moderation is that of a hockey ref — we try to “let them play” but also actively try to prevent fights and serious misconduct. We reserve the right to edit or remove any comments or message board posts with or without warning for any reason.

We also have filters that flag certain words before they even get to the site. Sometimes those comments will get approved; sometimes not. In any case, if your comment contains a flagged word, it might not be approved for an hour or two (or until the editor can get to the file). Be patient before you start posting about censorship. And if it does indeed get killed, that’s not “censorship,” as some readers claim. This is a business and we have rules.

Here is a reminder of our rules. If you have been following them, thanks in advance. If you repeatedly post things in violation, know that it won’t get on the site — and you will likely be banned.

The “golden rule” applies. Any posts or comments that contain the following are likely to be removed:

  • Hate speech, racism or discriminatory remarks
  • Strong personal attacks against forum users
  • Threats of violence
  • Off-topic diatribes
  • Negative remarks directed at victims of tragic events
  • Especially profane or vulgar language
  • Unsubstantiated, specific allegations of criminal wrongdoing directed at an individual or company that has not, in fact, been charged with a crime
  • Unsubstantiated allegations of corruption or conspiracies
  • Personally identifying information, such as phone numbers, home addresses or the full names of private individuals
  • Attacks on children
  • Topics not directly relevant to the local area and region. National political discussions without a strong local angle will be considered off-topic.
  • Business reviews. Please use Yelp if you want to review a local business.
  • Posts designed to stifle or disrupt conversation. This includes intentionally provocative “troll” comments.
  • Strongly negative comments about the personal appearance of individuals
  • Misleading claims about a comment’s authorship
  • Comments about illegal immigration or abortion in articles or forum posts that contain no reference to immigration or illegal immigrants or abortion

Note that comments may be pre-moderated. We will not disclose the methodology for this. Continued efforts to deliberately thwart pre-moderation will result in a ban from commenting.

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