Community guidelines

Publish.org Community Guidelines

Our aim is to ensure that the Publish.org platform is a useful place for writers to work. We want to improve the methods for producing quality journalism in the world and to provide support for independent voices. Please use the following guidelines to get the most out your experience with Publish.org and to help us develop the community into a place where everyone can enjoy spending time together.

Community experience

The following guidelines are designed to facilitate a healthy community experience for everyone that chooses to get involved from writers to commenters to readers. There are 10 simple guidelines which we expect all participants to abide by, all of which directly inform our approach to community moderation (detailed below). These apply across the site, while moderation decisions are also informed by the context in which comments are made.

  1. We 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 Publish.org as an open and healthy community space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

  2. We acknowledge criticism of published material, but we will not allow persistent misrepresentation of our community and our members to be published on our website. For the sake of robust debate, we will distinguish between constructive, focused argument and smear tactics.

  3. We understand that people often feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but we 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. We reserve the right to redirect or curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars based on ingrained partisanship or generalisations. We don’t want to stop people discussing topics they are enthusiastic about, but we do ask users to find ways of sharing their views that do not feel divisive, threatening or toxic to others.

  5. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. We 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. We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libellous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.

  7. We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like. Our aim is that this site should provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other, and we 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 the discussion on the platform.

  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 thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

  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 text isn’t always a great medium for conversation: tone of voice (sarcasm, humour and so on) doesn’t always come across when using words on a screen.You can help to keep the community areas open to all viewpoints by maintaining a reasonable tone, even in unreasonable circumstances.

  10. The platform is ours, but the conversation belongs to everybody. We want this to be a welcoming space for intelligent discussion, and we expect participants to help us achieve this by notifying us of potential problems and helping each other to keep conversations inviting and appropriate. If you spot something problematic in community interaction areas, 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,

  • Be a positive influence, a creative participant and helpful to your peers here on Publish.org;
  • Be considerate and respectful of other people even when you disagree; and
  • Be responsible and help us all maintain a quality conversation here.

Moderation approach

Participants who seriously, persistently or wilfully ignore the community standards, participation guidelines or terms and conditions will have their posting privileges for all the community areas withdrawn.

This is not an action that we take lightly or arbitrarily. However, we are aiming to create and maintain an online experience consistent with our values, and we reserve the right to make decisions which we feel support that. Please be aware that moderators may contact you by email in relation to your participation, especially where an issue comes up in relation to these community standards. Any advice they give/request they make should be adhered to, as our moderators are employed to enforce these community standards and create a constructive environment for everyone who contributes to our site.We will, when necessary, remove comments and articles. *

If a contribution to the Publish.org website is perceived as breaching the community guidelines set out above, then it will be removed by the community team, in the interests of keeping community areas of the site appropriate for the vast majority of the people who visit.

NB: We will not edit user comments to change the meaning, spelling, or anything else intended by the user. Even if only part of a comment or posting is perceived as breaching the community guidelines, the whole thing may be removed. Also, when a comment or post is removed for any of the reasons above, it is sometimes necessary to delete subsequent messages which refer to explicitly or quote from the original (removed) comment, in order to preserve some notion of conversational thread. This may also happen because a later comment quotes directly the problematic bits of the original comment, which just perpetuates the problem. In such cases not every deletion will be marked individually.

We reserve the right to take steps or implement measures which we believe will benefit the whole community.

Because we are ultimately responsible for everything which appears on this site, all actions and decisions taken by our moderators are final. The growing quantity of participation means that we may not always enter into correspondence regarding specific moderation activity, although all correspondence will be read.If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of community participation on the Publish.org website, you can write to help@publish.org.

Note about community content

The views expressed in community areas of this site do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Publish.org, its staff or community members.

Reviewing and commenting activity

The intent of the reviewing model here at Publish.org is to develop shared standards of quality and to improve the experience for journalists. If in our judgment a member or group of members are behaving in a way that is deemed contrary to that intent then we will take action to correct the activity.

For example, it is strictly against our policies to create multiple accounts for the purposes of influencing editorial or community decisions. This practice may jeopardize any articles or related user accounts. It may also mean that accounts get suspended.

The best way to give more support to the journalists is to upgrade your membership so that you have more points to spend and to encourage others to follow your lead.

Further information and resources

A frequently asked questions (FAQs) should answer any questions you have about interaction functionality and moderation process.

Additional questions can be sent to help@publish.org.

We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Please remember that by registering for the Publish.org website you have also agreed to our terms of service.

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