Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct (CoC) guides interpersonal interactions and presented content (articles, messages, images, videos, etc.) It is an actionable summary of site policies. In its most succinct form, the CoC consists of six codes:
Interpersonal Codes (essentially: ‘be polite’)
Content Codes (essentially: ‘thoughtful, relevant contribution’)
Details for each Code
A derogatory reference is a negative statement about another member. Often this is called a personal attack. The best way to avoid a derogatory reference is to not make an uncomplimentary personal comment or include an insulting label. Basically, address issues and arguments, not individual members.
Derogatory references can be direct or indirect. A direct reference singles out the target (e.g. ‘you are a troll’). An indirect reference targets a category which includes the member. Derogatory statements attacking all within a category (e.g. liberals, conservatives, theists, atheists, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc.) are indirect derogatory references.
Taunting is purposely trying to anger another member. Bullying is forcing oneself on another member by being personally offensive, abusive, threatening or harassing.
see: policy ‘Inflammatory Content’
Simply stated, treat others as you would like to be treated. Disagree without being disagreeable.
Comments that are disruptive to thoughtful discussion (e.g. trolling) are not tolerated.
see: policy ‘Disruption’
Meta comments (comments about the site or its members) are always off-topic.
see: policy ‘Meta’
Segues to highly-related topics are allowed. For example, an article on high-speed rail systems could spawn discussions on why the USA seems to be falling behind on this form of mass transit systems. Authors (and seeders) determine (in general terms) what is considered on-topic (topical guidelines) while moderators determine if a specific comment violates the author’s topical guidelines.
see: policy ‘Author Discretion’
Do not present as true that which is known to be false. Do not post content that is invasive of another's privacy (e.g. doxing) or defamatory. Do not post unlawful content (e.g. violating copyright protection laws). Illegal acts which compromise the site will not be tolerated.
see: policy ‘Illegal or Unethical Content’
Hateful comments, articles and seeds – especially those against a legally protected class (e.g. racially / ethnically based) are prohibited. While cursing and other potentially objectionable content is allowed within reason, it should be used as seasoning – as emphasis. Gratuitous profanity and other repugnant language that does not support the point of the comment or is over-used is prohibited.
The code of conduct is based on site policies. A policy is a general guideline for how the site operates – in particular, member responsibilities and moderator actions. All members are required to abide by site policy.
A few terms used in the policy are defined as follows:
- ADMINISTRATION: This refers to site administration. In particular, to the resident advisor: Perrie Halpern and support from the moderators.
- MODERATION: Guiding site content to ensure it is appropriate. Moderation is performed by authors and by site moderators.
- MODERATOR: An individual charged with enforcing the CoC and empowered with special tools to do so.
- ARTICLE: Topical content designed to serve as the context for discussion or debate. Articles manifest as discussions or blogs.
- SEED: An article from an external source (outside of Newstalkers) hosted within a Newstalkers article for discussion or debate.
- AUTHOR: the member who provides contents. This may be original content (true authorship) or seeded content (where the author is also known as a seeder). The word ‘author’ herein means author or seeder.
Policies regarding the behavior of members.
Comments that violate the spirit of the CoC but not the letter are ‘skirting the CoC’. Skirting the CoC is a violation.
Disruption of an article is defined as ‘a continuous exchange of posts between two or more members which engages in meta or violates the CoC’.
A user's participation on this site is judged as a whole. It is based on all comments, articles and actions as they relate to NewsTalkers. Recurring counterproductive behavior and/or negative/detrimental activity may warrant suspension of member privileges, suspension or removal of the member from the NewsTalkers community. Members may contact administration and request to rejoin. Should such request be considered, the member will be asked to sign an agreement not to engage again in the improper behavior.
Members should refrain from disciplining other members. If someone is violating the CoC, members should make no comment but rather use the flagging system to report it to the moderators. Flagging for "Off Topic" can only be made by the seeder/ author.
An impasse may be issued in a thread during a heated discussion. Issuing an impasse ends all discussion between the issuing member and the target member within the thread. It also prevents the issuer from any further activity on the thread; if you issue an impasse, you are leaving the thread. (For example, issuing an impasse for comment ‘2.5.2’ applies to all comments starting with ‘2.5’ between the two members). To issue an impasse, the issuing member clicks on the user’s avatar for the target member’s offending comment and selects Impasse. Both the issuing and target members will now see IMPASSE in place of the REPLY function. Impasses that are written out will not be honored.
Note: you cannot issue an Impasse if you have had the last word. You can only Impasse on a comment that follows your last comment in the thread. Also, you cannot impasse in a thread unless you created the thread or have commented within the thread.
Abuse of impasse to not engage with specific individuals may result in a ticket. [updated on 3/8/19 by ph]
A call of ‘AGREE TO DISAGREE’ can be made between two members. Unlike impasse, which ceases all discussion, the two parties can still engage but not on that topic. As with impasse, the agree to disagree is a comment that contains one and only one phrase: ‘AGREE TO DISAGREE’.
Policies regarding member-provided content (typically in articles and comments).
Common sense and common courtesy are recommended guidelines for the use of ‘objectionable’ language.
PROFANITY: Use profanity judiciously and sparingly. It is understood that certain profanity is commonly used but be mindful that it may be deemed a personal attack or personally, offensive to other members.
DEROGATORY LABELS: Do not label a member with terms such as Nazi, commie, socialist, un-American. Descriptive, derogatory terms such as these are allowed as part of a discussion if they do not apply to a member. For example, ‘bigoted’ is allowed when referring to a concept or comment (i.e. that statement is bigoted), but do not so label another member (e.g. ‘you are a bigot’ or ‘you are bigoted against X’).
Labeling and/or creative name-calling of entire political groups, ideological, religious, cultural, sexual identity / orientation, etc. groups (i.e. Rethuglicans, Libtards, etc), is forbidden. Phrases meant to denigrate are not allowed (e.g. ‘your ilk’).
Common abbreviations such as STFU, FU, and GFYS are considered personal derogatory attacks and are forbidden.
Members are not allowed to proselytize on the site.
When asked to refrain from posting a given word or phrase by a fellow member, one is expected to do so.
Articles containing objectionable graphic material should have a warning in red at the top of the article. Comments with objectionable graphic material should also give a warning with a long break to avoid the material being seen by other members. Articles and seeds that disparage an entire group (i.e political, religious, etc) are forbidden.
Members are not to upload or post content on the site that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, known to be false, invasive of privacy (e.g. doxing), hateful, racist or otherwise objectionable. Content that would be harmful to minors (e.g. pornography) is prohibited. Distribution of personal emails, or ‘spam’ is prohibited. Posting content that potentially infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary right(s) of any person or entity is prohibited.
Death wishing of a public figure is prohibited.
Content that arguably and unnecessarily seeks to anger others is prohibited. This does not preclude inherently hot topics for debate (e.g. the abortion debate). A topic designed to engage others in thoughtful discussion or debate (e.g. ‘At what point in a pregnancy do we have a human being?’) is welcome. One that seeks to inflame (e.g. ‘Pro-choice means killing babies’) is not.
Meta that comes from the RA, which applies to the whole group, will go in the ‘Meta’ topic category. Individual Meta shall go in the group ‘Metafied’.
Policies regarding the role of author (or seeder)
Authors (with assistance from administration) moderate their own articles. Authors are expected to foster healthy, open discussions. They are responsible for the content they submit and must exercise impartiality when reporting abuse.
Article and seed titles should accurately reflect the content of the article. Seeded articles should us the title from the article they are seeding from in accordance to copyright law. Titles should not be misleading or inflammatory. Content from other sources (i.e. quotes, seeds) should have the URL cited along with the content. Memes cannot be used as the sole basis for an article.
Blogs are original writing. Art may be included, but not as the sole purpose for the blog. All blog posts are the possession of the author.
Seeds that are op-eds should be clearly marked as such in their title.
The author defines the topic and has the right to ask members to stay on topic (as defined) and not disrupt the article. If a member is violating the CoC with the apparent intent of disrupting or being arbitrarily argumentative, the author has the right to politely warn the member that they are violating the CoC and to stop or leave the article. Furthermore, the author may contact administration to remove all off topic / meta comments. Off topic or meta comments or CoC violations may be removed by moderators.
If, at any point in a discussion, an author cannot moderate, that author may LOCK the article to comments. If an author is unable to moderate due to absence, the author is required to LOCK the article.
Slam articles about members are only allowed in the ‘Heated Discussion‘ group, but must be taken down within 36 hours.
Policies about moderators and how they operate.
The NewsTalkers is a member moderated site – moderators are members of the NT community.
When a moderator deletes an offensive comment, all comments that pertain to the offensive posting will also be deleted. Disagreement with the actions of a moderator may be appealed to the Resident Adviser: Perrie Halpern (or A. Mac in her absence). All appeal decisions are final.
Members will operate as moderators on an appointed or volunteer basis. Moderators will be comprised of two permanent members, Perrie Halpern and A. Mac and a suitable number of rotating members based on need. All members with at least 3 months on NewsTalkers and no major infractions, can qualify to be a moderator. Moderator comments will be made in purple. Moderators must recuse themselves in articles where they have been actively commenting.
You are allowed four (4) Code of Conduct (CoC) violations before you get your first suspension. A CoC violation is defined as violating site policy – typically this is a violation of one or more of the six codes.
Two (2) ‘skirting the CoC’ violations is equal to one CoC violation. (‘Skirting the CoC’ is defined in Behavior Policies).
Suspensions start at two (2) days with two (2) days added for each additional suspension over a month's period. At the end of the month, a member's slate is wiped clean.
Types of Violations
Comment removed for CoC violation: I direct insult. You are an Ahole. This is a violation.
Skirting the CoC: An indirect insult. Anyone who would right that comment is an Ahole. This is a violation.
Comment removed for context: when someone has repeated a removed comment. No violation.
No value: A comment made that is to disturb the discussion and has no value to the discussion. Usually more than not, could have been skirting, but gave the benefit of the doubt to the poster. No violation.
Off Topic: Can only be called by the author/ seeder. No violation.
Sweeping Generalizations: Just like it sounds. A broad brush comment. All of you type A's are $%^&.
All NT members must be on IM. The chat ‘Main Room’ and the ‘Activity’ feed are to be used for social purposes only. Personal attacks, fighting and comments that are meant to skirt the spirit of the CoC are prohibited and will result with chat privileges being suspended for a given period or a comment being removed.
The photo feature is for original artwork. Memes and other such visuals meant to convey a message will be removed.
Abandoned or inactive groups (groups with no activity for 6 or more months), may be removed by administration.
Use of accounts owned by another registered member without prior notice and agreement from administration will result in the immediate deletion of that account. Use of an anonymizing service, for the purposes of cloaking your identity, or gaining admittance to the site is prohibited.
Fake news will be determined using both Media Bias/Fact Check and Wikipedia. If a site is not on the main scale of Media Bias check and Wikipedia agrees with the assessment, the site is not allowed on the NewsTalkers.
Members shall not engage in badmouthing Newsvine or ex-Newsvine members in any manner.
Prior Code of Conduct (obsolete)