Comment moderation guidelines meant to cultivate community forum
Editor's note: Our conversation guidelines were revised in May 2011. See the new guidelines here.
We're committed to actively moderating the comments and posts on our site to help promote and maintain a civil forum where neighbors feel comfortable talking to each other about local issues.
Throughout the day, members of AnnArbor.com's staff take turns moderating comments using the following guidelines. We also contract with an outside company that moderates our site 24 hours a day.
Here are our conversation guidelines:
AnnArbor.com aims to provide a lively community forum where readers can talk to us and talk to each other - in a neighborly way, of course. The best comments and posts are those that add more information to the story, express a different viewpoint or help create intelligent debate. We welcome constructive debate on our site, but we won't tolerate jerks. Don't be that guy - avoid comments or posts that are off topic, offensive, contain personal attacks or that don't further the conversation. We encourage everyone who registers on our site to use their real name, or at least a consistent screen name. We reserve the right to pre-moderate comments and delete or edit comments.
Tragic deaths Stories related to tragic deaths including homicides, traffic accidents, work-place deaths and accidental deaths, we discourage commenting that: -Is derogatory toward the deceased, including comments that attempt to place blame on the victim, on family members or friends, or on professionals who may have had some contact with the victim. -Involves speculation about the cause of death or emergency or medical services involved. -Involves using the death to make a political point. -Discusses graphic details related to the death. -Presumes guilt of the accused or calls for a specific punishment for the accused.
In April 2010 we posted a notice outlining some of our internal moderation policies.
This post was updated Dec. 7, 2009 with additional moderation guidelines for stories involving tragic deaths.
And here is a link to a previous blog we posted on the topic before AnnArbor.com launched.