25060 Avenue Stanford, St. 141
Valencia, CA, 91355
Main Desk: 661-259-1234
We hope what follows will give insight into how we moderate comment posts and also offer assurance that we don’t moderate posts arbitrarily.
First, there are a few things to bear in mind as you read:
We try to remove as few posts as possible. As such, we have only seven simple policies a user must follow when posting something:
Posts that violate one or more of the above policies are removed. Sometimes we see posts on our own that we remove. Most often, we respond to abuse reports. A user will be banned after the first violation. There are no second chances.
We’ll now expand upon each of the seven policies:
Profane or vulgar words are not allowed. We’re not going to list them here. Start with George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television.”
If a profane or vulgar word is found in any post, the entire post is removed.
We don’t allow slurs based on race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability or sexual orientation.
Any post advocating unlawful violence or harassment against a person or group will be removed. Some users may try to wiggle around this rule by “posting factual information” or indirectly advocating violence. We don’t allow that either.
Here are some examples of violations of this rule:
In the United States, libel is considered to be the malicious act of publishing information known to be inaccurate that is damaging to a party’s reputation. Libel is also the malicious publishing of inaccurate information that is damaging to a party’s reputation without making a reasonable attempt to confirm its truthfulness. Whether something actually is libelous is determined by a court. We will remove posts that have even the potential of being libelous.
If a user makes a statement of fact on our site that could be potentially damaging to someone’s reputation, and we are not immediately able to verify the accuracy of the facts presented, we remove it.
The key here is “potentially.” It doesn’t matter if the user’s statement is ultimately true. If we aren’t able to verify it, it is removed. It doesn’t matter if the statement caused or could cause actual damage. If the potential is there, we remove those posts.
For example, if a user posts, “It doesn’t surprise me that he got arrested. I went to high school with him, and he was way into drugs and crime,” we will remove that post. There is no way for us to immediately verify whether such a statement is true.
On SignalSCV.com, we want to promote civil discussion. Disagreements are fine and expected, but name-calling, flame wars, baiting other users, etc., are not allowed.
A classic example of a personal attack is a post that starts with, “I’ll bet you’re the kind of person who…” and then descends into a list of unflattering characteristics.
Another classic example are the useless, throwaway posts such as, “Why don’t you gay-marry me, stud?” that are just designed to insult or inflame.
More common are posts that simply devolve into a personal back-and-forth between users. There can be a fine line between when users stop arguing about issues and start attacking each other, but usually once the line is crossed, it becomes clear that users need to take their discussion offline. Other users have no interest in reading personal arguments between users.
Another example is users who use our site to carry on a dispute. We don’t allow users to use our site to vent about how they were short-changed by a business, for example. We also don’t allow members of feuding families to fight with each other on our site.
OTHER REASONS FOR BLOCKING COMMENTS Sometimes comments are removed for reasons other than for violating the seven policies. Sometimes, comments removed for these reasons don’t count against the user, but they may.
WHAT IS ALLOWED?
Some users complain about posts that don’t break any of the seven policies. What is important to remember is that we don’t remove posts based on their intellectual content or their political point of view.
As such, before reporting a post as abusive, or before calling us or writing an angry Letter to the Editor, users should ask themselves if the post really does break one of the seven policies, or if it is just something with which you don’t agree.
Perhaps it is helpful to list the kinds of posts that we won’t remove, assuming the posts don’t also fit into any of the seven categories already mentioned. We don’t remove:
We follow these general policies regarding banning users:
Bottom line: SignalSCV.com has the right to allow or remove anything for any reason at any time from the website, without explanation.
However, we do not remove comments arbitrarily. If a comment was removed, users can be assured the comment was in violation of one or more of the above-stated policies.
Still, we are sometimes accused of “censorship” for removing posts or banning users. Such accusations are incorrect.
Censorship is when the government controls your freedom of speech. We are not the government, and we have no control over your freedom of speech. If we don’t allow your post here, your free speech remains perfectly intact. You are free to start your own website or blog. Hand out leaflets. Shout on a street corner. Buy television time.
Our only agenda is providing a forum for civil, thoughtful discourse among SignalSCV.com’s users about the stories we publish, and that affect our lives as residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.
We invite your comments. E-mail [email protected]