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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.

  • 2ndBreakfast

    Bravo!

  • Reston Legendary

    The Reston Association must approve any and all comments before they are made public.

    • Karen Goff

      I know you are trying to be funny, but that is spreading false information. We are completely independent of RA.

      • GB

        that’s funny/sad

  • Rob

    Does this include a ban on Mike M?

    • Mike M

      No. Sorry. Did I hurt your feelings somewhere?

  • RestonResident

    Does this mean the war on conservative thinking continues? I’d hate to think this is becoming a “Safe space” for “Group think”

    • GB

      Conservative posts are always treated with respect. The problem is they are few and far between. A lot of babel get’s posted and labeled conservative by the poster. These posts correctly labeled as babel by others.

      • Mike M

        😉

    • Karen Goff

      There is no war on conservative thinking. Just follow the rules. You will be fine.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Ming will continue to bring happiness and enlightenment to his subjects – especially to the large number in this area who are in thrall to bizarre and failed dogmas.

  • Arielle in NoVA

    Thank you!

  • susie

    Will pictures of ugly trolls depicting conservative commenters still be allowed, Karen?

    • Karen Goff

      Those cartoon trolls are used against commenters of all stripes. But I will keep my eyes peeled for rule-breakers.

      • Troll the troll

        Me still allowed?

        • Trollie

          Me still allowed too?

    • GB

      The article was, “Police Arrest Three in Robbery, Assault of a Teenager”. The comment was, “One more reason to move away from this area – Liberals will ruin it.”

  • Wings!!

    I’m sure we can all agree that Reston needs a Hooters.

    #HootersForReston

  • lukeinva

    Thank you for this.

  • Thomas Day

    If only there was a way to hide certain people, that would be perfect. Tired of seeing some people with names like “XXXXX the XXXXX” feel they need to weigh in on every.single.article.

    • meh

      every single article? And they have “the” in the middle of their name? Hmm

    • Mike M

      As for me, I see Ming as quite the value add. Hope you don’t get too tired.

    • Greg

      Ming’s comments add value and, correctly, call out those who make absurd, unfounded and often partisan comments. If you don’t agree, don’t read them.

  • Steve

    Thank you for taking the time to clearly state the rules. Not only are these reasonable, but they also are consistent with the rules for comments on other news organizations’ sites.

  • J

    I agree… Although, I have become more intrigued to read or even open some articles because I know some halarious comments will ensue.

  • TRS

    I generally ignore the comments because they are typically not informed, civil, humorous or on topic. I encourage all commenters to try a little harder — ESPECIALLY the guy who responds to every article regarding the need to bring a Hooter’s to Reston — even I can appreciate stupid base humor but repetitive stupid base humor is annoying.

    • Greg

      You missed the humor above?

  • thebratwurstking

    a little tired of labels. conservative, liberal, blah…most anyone should be able to fit in more than just one category, depending the topic. open and smart discussion with some fun sprinkled on top

  • reston99

    If only other news outlets would follow suit…

  • RoadApples

    Was it Hemingway ? that extolled the virtues of critics when he surmised; (please forgive me as I paraphrase his quote):
    “Critics are those that come out of the mountains after the battle has been fought and shoot the wounded”

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