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Forum's editorial guidelines
« on: November 28, 2011, 02:09:06 am »
The following are the editorial guidelines that forum moderators use when reviewing posts.  They can be found on the site here.

http://www.brookmans.com/guidelines.shtml

Forum Editorial Guidelines

The Brookmans Park Newsletter is independent of any political party or business interests and is run by local volunteers who give their time without charge. The site was set up in July 1998 and quickly became a rich resource of local information thanks mainly to two groups, the North Mymms Local History Society and the Gobions Woodland Trust.

They have allowed large parts of their content, including records, archives, books, data and reports, to be published on this site and to be available to all; content created by the community for the community.

That work makes up much of this site's history and environment sections. Others, including many local people and overseas users, have also contributed features to this site.

At the beginning of 2002, the site's interactive message board was replaced with a new forum enabling registered users to discuss local issues, and non-registered users to read the resulting contributions.

The editorial guidelines, which underpin the integrity of the Brookmans Park Newsletter, also apply to the forum. They govern, not only what is created in the reference area of the site, but also what can be published in the forum.

They will also help explain why posts to the forum might be edited or removed.

These guidelines should not be viewed as restrictive, but rather as central to maintaining the standards that have seen this site win various national new media awards and commendations since its launch in 1998.

Taste and decency

The Brookmans Park Newsletter will not display any material that could be considered offensive in terms of taste, decency, or public feeling, nor will it display material likely to encourage or incite crime, or lead to disorder.

The availability of such content elsewhere is not a reason for it to be included in the Brookmans Park Newsletter. What is commonplace on television, cinema, video, computer, or the internet does not necessarily make it appropriate to be included on this site.

Parents, guardians, and teachers should feel comfortable with young people using the Brookmans Park Newsletter as a trusted source of information.

Language   

Swearwords, inappropriate sexual references, and abusive names relating to disabilities can cause great offence. Such language will be edited from any contributions or, in extreme circumstances, the post removed.

Links

This site takes no responsibility for the content contained on external sites reached via links from the Brookmans Park Newsletter. However, this site will not link to sites where the content, in the first click, does not adhere to the same editorial principles and guidelines as those adhered to by the Brookmans Park Newsletter.

When posting links on the Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum, members may link to any other site that provides information that helps answer another member's question or is just of general interest to members of that particular forum; the Brookmans Park Newsletter forum support this type of exchange.

The only type of linking is not be allowed is when members invite people to leave the Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum in order to continue the discussion on another forum. The aim of this forum is to have a healthy debate on local issues and it makes no sense to transfer that discussion elsewhere. ion on another forum. The aim of this forum is to have a healthy debate on local issues and it makes no sense to transfer that discussion elsewhere.

Stereotyping  

Jokes based upon race, age, disability, or sex will not be tolerated. They might hurt groups of people who are the targets of such jokes. Any material, likely to cause offence, will be edited from forum contributions.

Defamation & fair comment

The Brookmans Park Newsletter's editorial team will remove any posts which are defamatory.

In a court of law a judge will usually rule that something has been defamatory if it ...

  • Reduces a person in the eyes of right-thinking people
  • Causes a person to be shunned or avoided
  • Exposes the person to hatred, ridicule or contempt
  • Injures them in their office, profession or trade.

The Brookmans Park Newsletter does not allow so-called "name and shame" campaigns. The site will also take special precautions to avoid what is known as the "jigsaw effect", where individuals are identified by location or circumstance.

Local businesses and services

Edits will rarely be made to forum contributions where a correspondent is questioning the services provided by the government, local authorities, or a public service. The government and local authorities are elected on a mandate and a site like this is an excellent tool for examining their record in delivering what they promise.

Similarly, posts about the service provided by rail or bus companies, which have customer charters and are duty-bound to deliver, will rarely be edited. A site like this can be a useful vehicle for debate on the delivery of those service.

Recommending or criticising the services provided by local restaurants and businesses is not allowed under the forum rules. If a precedent were to be set allowing that to happen it could open the floodgates to all sorts of abuse for commercial advantage and gain.

However, people are allowed to discuss the impact of a local business, such as the behaviour of people visiting and leaving a restaurant (but not criticise or recommend the services provided by the restaurant), or the likely impact of building development plans (but not criticise or recommend the services provided by the builder/developer), because those are local issues that are in the public interest and which effect the lives of people living nearby.

The only exception could be where a local business has invited a discussion about its services and users respond. Even then, the tone of those responses will be carefully monitored to ensure they comply with the forum agreement and these guidelines. Unfortunately, this means that innocent, and often humorous, observations also have to be edited for consistency reasons.

Race

Forum posts that are threatening, abusive, or insulting towards a racial group and which are likely to incite hatred or violence against any racial group will be removed.

Religion and politics
 
This site's forum exists to enable local residents to discuss local issues. By the very nature of local debate, political and religious points of view will often be part of those discussions.

Adverts   

This site's classified adverts facility has been set up to enable local people to sell unwanted goods locally. It is for personal sales only not trade. Any trade sales will be removed, as will any adverts that contravene this site's guidelines on taste and decency.

This section is not for people selling items or offering services outside the area covered by the site. However, local people with holiday homes who want to offer them to rent can do so.

The Adverts section is not the place to offer local commercial services. That facility exists in the Business Directory (see below), however, a "help wanted and offered" category exists in the classifed adverts to enable people needing help, and those able to respond, to make contact.

Business directory   

This site's Business Directory enables local commercial concerns to post and edit their company details. It is another free service offered by the Brookmans Park Newsletter and is available to all businesses in North Mymms as long as the business meets this site's guidelines on taste and decency.

All adverts should have a local resident's name or local address which can be identified. A nationwide business cannot be entered just because a local resident works for the company. Similarly, the service is not for local agents working for national companies.

Calendar  

The calendar enables local people to advertise local, non-commercial community events.

The calendar is not the place to advertise car boot sales, factory surplus sales, commercial promotions, or damaged goods sales.

Forum users are welcome to add fund raising events for local charities. If these are events that are also raising money for political parties, this needs to be made clear with a percentage show of how much goes to the charity and how much to the political party organising the event.

We try to encourage people to draw attention to events within the North Mymms area only, however exceptions can be made for some charitable events that border the area. Please contact the site if your event fits into this category.

Editing of posts  

The forum's volunteer moderators are able to make edits to posts in the forum. When an edit is made to a contribution, the morderator with usually write to the author of the original post explaining why the action has been taken. They will also keep a copy of the original post should they need to refer to it later.

A moderator will not edit a thread just because she or he disagrees with the views being expressed, but only if the content contravenes the rules set out in these guidelines and in the forum agreement, which all forum users sign up to when registering for the Brookmans Park Newsletter forum.

It is totally understandable if people are annoyed when their contributions are edited. Most people put a great deal of thought into posts and it is not nice to find they have been changed. Since the new forum was launched in February 2002, there have been a number of disagreements about edits. So far users of this site have been extremely generous in their attitude, despite some heated exchanges.

Thanks for everyone’s patience in all of this. It is not nice having contributions edited and it is not nice having to edit them, write to the correspondent, and handle the grief that sometimes results. It is only done so that the forum can continue to serve the community without damaging anyone involved in the community. In all cases, the final decision on thread removal rests with the editor of the Brookmans Park Newsletter.

The guidelines, set out above, are similar to the core editorial rules observed by the majority of respectable newspapers and broadcasters in the UK.

These guidelines will satisfy most potential users in most respects. We want all to feel at home using the Brookmans Park Newsletter but those wishing to air views outside these guidelines will have to do so elsewhere. Google Groups, for example, provides a wide-range of noticeboard topics where those who feel restricted by this site's guidelines might be more comfortable.

Comments on previously published text

Apart from posts in the public forum, this site is lagely made up of content contributed by the North Mymms Local History Society and the Gobions Woodland Trust.

More than a dozen complete history books and many documents have been reproduced on these pages. In some cases, published details might need to be revised as more information is uncovered.

The policy of this site is to leave originally published text as it is, even though facts are later disproved, but to add a comment if the facts of the original are in dispute or need clarification and to refer to other sources where possible. Any such edits will be written in maroon italics and look like this sentence.

Forum behaviour  

All forum members who sign up to the Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum agree to a set of rules that determine the behaviour in the forum.

They include references to many of the issues mentioned above. The rules also include bans on spamming, trolling, and flaming. All three are explained below.

Spamming is repeatedly posting the same link on multiple boards, or trying to get people to go to another site to buy something.

Trolling is going onto a board for the sole purpose of starting trouble or instigating an argument.

Flaming is going onto a board and insulting people because of their beliefs, sexual preference, gender, ethnicity or any number of things.

None of these three items will be tolerated on this site’s forum, and those that perpetrate these acts will be contacted by one of the administrators and encouraged to edit, or remove the post.

If they fail to do so, and persist in spamming, trolling, or flaming, they will have their access to the forum removed. There are no exceptions to these rules.

Also, please refrain from using BTTT (back to the top or bumped to the top) to push forum threads to the top of the list. If you want a thread to go to the top again, please just add something current and meaningful, otherwise others might do the same, and this could lead to an extremely poor forum experience when forum users click on a topic expecting to see a new contribution.

Despite all these rules, I hope you enjoy using the Brookmans Park Newsletter. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for improvements.

The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 01:19:52 pm »
The thread, formerly entitled “Ukip v Welwyn Hatfield and the rest” has been reopened and given a new title “Welwyn Hatfield politics” so that it is not focused on one particular party.

Discussing who is standing locally in a forthcoming election, along with exploring the main local issues being addressed by the parties taking part in that election, is within this forum’s rules. Posting xenophobic comments, or posting to inflame xenophobic fears and get a reaction, is not. That is classed as trolling. The Wikipedia definition of a troll (Internet)Wiki is:

Quote
a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion

This site is meant to be a place where people of all racial and social backgrounds feel comfortable discussing local issues. The moderators spend a great deal of time attempting to ensure that the tone and language of that debate remains civil.

In all cases we message forum members whose posts we edit or remove in order to explain the situation. That communication is not an invitation to discuss forum policy, but rather an attempt to remind the forum member of the rules.

As always, all we ask is that forum members observe the agreement that all signed up to when registering and abide by this site’s editorial guidelines.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

Offline larrylamb

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 05:43:31 pm »
The thread, formerly entitled “Ukip v Welwyn Hatfield and the rest” has been reopened and given a new title “Welwyn Hatfield politics” so that it is not focused on one particular party.

Discussing who is standing locally in a forthcoming election, along with exploring the main local issues being addressed by the parties taking part in that election, is within this forum’s rules. Posting xenophobic comments, or posting to inflame xenophobic fears and get a reaction, is not. That is classed as trolling. The Wikipedia definition of a troll (Internet)Wiki is:

Quote
a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion

This site is meant to be a place where people of all racial and social backgrounds feel comfortable discussing local issues. The moderators spend a great deal of time attempting to ensure that the tone and language of that debate remains civil.

In all cases we message forum members whose posts we edit or remove in order to explain the situation. That communication is not an invitation to discuss forum policy, but rather an attempt to remind the forum member of the rules.

As always, all we ask is that forum members observe the agreement that all signed up to when registering and abide by this site’s editorial guidelines.
Why is wikipedia now the absolute authority on semantics? wikipedia is not always correct in its facts and figures.

It seems the word troll is attached to anyone who has a differening view, the word racist is often used in a similar way to slap people down where there is not always basis in fact.

Taking Rotherham as an example let me ask you David, if there was an individual/group of males found guilty of grooming from this area would you allow the dicussion to take place on the forum irrespective of colour creed or nationality?

I acknowledge Its not always easy being a moderator and interpretation is the key, but by excluding posts that clearly dont break forum rules can only serve to highlight your own and your follow moderators prejudices.

Larry
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 06:33:21 pm by larrylamb »
 

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 05:51:06 pm »
by excluding posts that clearly dont break forum rules can only serve to highlight your own and your follow moderators prejudices.

Posts are edited and removed only if they break the forum registration agreement and the site’s editorial guidelines.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 06:04:26 pm »
I don't think that's entirely true and certainly the reverse isn't true i.e. some posts are left up even when they break the forum registration agreement.

Consider this:
Quote
We discourage posts about developments at local shops such as a new owner or refurbishments for the same reasons.

Then why has there been a long thread about the  refurbishment of the Co-Op? That seems to break this guideline. But within this thread posts which mentioned other shops were taken down.
 

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 06:20:45 pm »
The fact that the Co-op was closing for refurbishment was information that would be useful for people to know about so they could make alternative arrangements. When James posted that information he was not breaking any forum rules. The section about local shops and recommendations reads:

Quote
Recommending or criticising the services provided by local restaurants and businesses is not allowed under the forum rules. If a precedent were to be set allowing that to happen it could open the floodgates to all sorts of abuse for commercial advantage and gain. However, people are allowed to discuss the impact of a local business, such as the behaviour of people visiting and leaving a restaurant (but not criticise or recommend the services provided by the restaurant), or the likely impact of building development plans (but not criticise or recommend the services provided by the builder/developer), because those are local issues that are in the public interest and which affect the lives of people living nearby.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 07:22:05 pm by Editor »
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 06:28:32 pm »
My quote is from the "Registration Agreement" so the agreement and guidelines contradict each other.

Why were posts containing useful information to help people make alternative arrangements taken down? They certainly seemed to abide by the terms of your last quote.

 

Offline larrylamb

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 06:31:51 pm »
by excluding posts that clearly dont break forum rules can only serve to highlight your own and your follow moderators prejudices.

Posts are edited and removed only if they break the forum registration agreement and the site’s editorial guidelines.
I bet you also say privately .... the forum and .... all these antagonists!!! ;) :)
 

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 06:43:00 pm »
My quote is from the "Registration Agreement" so the agreement and guidelines contradict each other.

Thanks John, I will rectify so they have the exactly the same wording and so as to remove any confusion.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 02:01:22 pm »
I see the Welwyn Hatfield Politics thread is locked again. Any explanation?
 

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2014, 02:59:52 pm »
I see the Welwyn Hatfield Politics thread is locked again. Any explanation?

The thread is open again. It was temporarily closed while we discussed editorial issues in the moderators' area of the forum.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 03:10:22 pm by Editor »
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John_fraser

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Re: Forum's editorial guidelines
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2014, 04:02:00 pm »
Quote
I have locked two threads while I discuss a number of editorial issues with the team of volunteer moderators. This site has editorial guidelines that don’t allow pushing or campaigning for a political party. The Welwyn Hatfield politics thread has also broken other forum rules. 

A small number of forum members appear to be trying to test these rules. This is taking up far too much of our moderators’ time. We are also having to read far too many incoherent rants that border on racism. It’s not a pleasant experience. It’s also becoming repetitive and boring.

The forum moderators try to discuss all the edits made to posts so that we can offer a considered and reasoned explanation why edits are made. It’s a difficult job. We don’t always agree, and in those cases I have to make the final call.

In future, if we think a post should be edited or removed because we think it breaks forum rules, then it will be. We are under no obligation to explain our reasoning, and certainly in no mood to engage in a debate with those who don’t approve of our actions.

There are many other forums where the rules are more relaxed. I suggest those who have made it clear that they don’t like the way this forum is run check them out.

I feel much of the sting of this post is directed at me, and only because I have repeatedly and openly disagreed with the editorial practice and rules on this site. Certainly I have not been racist in this or any other thread. I realise you are under no obligation to explain why you have removed or edited a post, but I don't feel that disbars me from challenging what I see as arbitrary and inconsistent application of the rules.

Over the years you have edited or removed a number of my posts. While I didn't think I'd broken the rules I could see why you felt I had and abided by the decision. Recently, however, you edited and  removed a number of my posts on a thread regarding the CoOp. Depending upon which rule you looked at I either had not broken the rules or the whole thread broken the rules. To me your changes and deletions were entirely arbitrary.

The Welwyn Hatfield politics thread was way off topic from the start and I pointed this out. Having allowed it to run for weeks you've now locked it for breaking the rules. It was breaking the rules from day one. Where is the consistency here?

Yes I could go to another forum, but it's a public forum so I'll stay. You've made it clear you don't like my criticisms, perhaps you should make it a closed forum. 
 

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