• 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’)

    1. No direct or indirect derogatory references to other members
    2. No taunting or bullying
    3. Be civil

    Content Codes (essentially: ‘thoughtful, relevant contribution’)

    4. Stay on topic per the article
    5. No dishonest, unethical or illegal content
    6. No repugnant or harmful content

     


    Details for each Code

    1. No direct or indirect derogatory references to other members

    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.

    see: policy ‘Skirting the CoC’   see: policy ‘Objectionable Content

    2. No taunting or bullying

    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

    3. Be civil

    Simply stated, treat others as you would like to be treated. Disagree without being disagreeable.

    see: policy ‘Cumulative Behavior’   see: policy ‘Impasse’   see: policy ‘Agree to Disagree’   see: policy ‘Flagging

    4. Stay on topic per the article

    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

    5. No dishonest, unethical or illegal content

    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

    6. No repugnant or harmful 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.

    see: policy ‘Objectionable Content’     see: policy ‘Inflammatory Content

     


    Site Policies

    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.

     

    Behavior Policies

    Policies regarding the behavior of members.

    Skirting the CoC

    Comments that violate the spirit of the CoC but not the letter are ‘skirting the CoC’. Skirting the CoC is a violation.

    Disruption

    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’.

    Cumulative Behavior

    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.

    Flagging

    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.

    Impasse

    An impasse may be called between two or more members in a thread during a heated discussion by stating ‘IMPASSE’. An impasse call is a comment that contains one and only one word: ‘IMPASSE’. The spirit of this rule extends to other threads if it involves the same people involved. 

    Agree to Disagree

    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’.

    Content Policies

    Policies regarding member-provided content (typically in articles and comments).

    Objectionable Content

    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.

    Illegal or Unethical Content

    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.

    Inflammatory Content

    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

    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’.

    Authoring Policies

    Policies regarding the role of author (or seeder)

    Authoring

    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.

    Author Discretion

    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.

    Locking Articles

    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

    Slam articles about members are only allowed in the ‘Heated Discussion‘ group, but must be taken down within 36 hours.

    Moderation Policies

    Policies about moderators and how they operate.

    Moderation

    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.

    Moderators

    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.

    Violations

    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 $%^&.

    Other Policies

    Chat Feature

    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.

    Photo Feature

    The photo feature is for original artwork. Memes and other such visuals meant to convey a message will be removed.

    Groups

    Abandoned or inactive groups (groups with no activity for 6 or more months), may be removed by administration.

    Member Accounts

    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

    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. 

    Newsvine Policy

    Members shall not engage in badmouthing Newsvine or ex-Newsvine members in any manner. 

  • Prior Code of Conduct (obsolete)

    1. No Personal Attacks: Treat others as you would like to be treated. Address issues and arguments, not individual members. Comments, articles and misuse of chat that is designed as personal attacks or those which in-and-of-themselves, are off topic, disruptive, abusive, threatening, harassing or offensive, unlawful, defamatory, libelous, known to be false and presented as truth, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically are prohibited, and will be removed. Comments meant to inflame will be removed. You can not refer to a member as a troll, bigot, racist or anti-semite, liar, Teabaggger, or name call and make other personal insults. Comments about fellow members designed to taunt and skirt the "Spirit of the CoC", will be deemed personal attacks and treated as such. Members should refrain from further inflaming an argument. Comments, posting of articles, etc. that violate this rule are to be reported to the Resident Adviser or moderator. Slam articles about members are not allowed on the front page. They are allowed in "Heated Discussion" but must be taken down within 36 hours. When reporting a comment or article, please provide the comment link and the title of the article. 

    2. A user's participation on this site is judged as a whole, that is, based upon all comments, articles and actions as they relate to NewsTalkers. Recurring counterproductive behavior and/or negative/detrimental activity, be they violations of the CoC of the letter or the spiriting of the CoC, may still warrant suspension or removal of that person from the NewsTalkers Community. Members may contact administration and request to rejoin, in which case, should such request be considered, the individual will be asked to sign an agreement not to engage again in any such behavior.

    3. The NewsTalkers is a member moderated site, meaning that moderators are members of the NT community. Author/seeder (with assistance from administration) moderates his/her own article. Authors/seeders are expected to foster healthy, open discussions. They are responsible for the content they submit and must exercise impartiality if/when reporting abuse. If at any point in a discussion, an author cannot moderate, that author may close the article to comments. The author has the right to ask members to stay on topic and not disrupt the article. If a member is violating the CoC with intent of disrupting or being arbitrarily argumentative, the author has the right to warn the member civilly, that they are violating the CoC and to stop or leave the article. Furthermore, the author can contact administration to remove all off topic / meta comments. Intentional disruption of an article is defined as "A continuous exchange of posts between two or more members, which goes off topic, meta and/or are personal attacks resulting in the disruption of the article". Any/all off topic or meta comments or CoC violations can be removed by moderators. 

    4. Members on a rotating basis will also act as moderators on an appointed or volunteer basis. Moderators will be comprised of two permanent members, Perrie Halpern and A. Mac and three group members. 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. When an moderator deletes an offensive comment, all comments that pertain to the offensive posting will also be deleted. If you disagree with the actions of a moderator, you may appeal such action to the Resident Adviser  Perrie Halpern or A. Mac in her absence, at which point all decisions are final.

    5. 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 posters/members. When entering a heated discussion, don't inflame the discussion. Use common sense and courtesy are recommended regarding the use of "objectionable" language. Those asked to refrain from posting a given word or phrase by a fellow member are expected to do so. An impasse may be called between two parties during a heated discussion by stating "Impasse", which can not have a last statement either before or after the "Impasse" is called, by the person calling the impasse. Articles containing graphic material should have a warning in red at the top of the article. Comments with graphic material should also give a warning with a long break to avoid the material by other members. 

    6. Please keep the names of articles and seeds accurate and non-inflammatory. Headlines must not be misleading and should fairly accurately reflect the content of the seeded or authored article. Comments containing material from other sources should have the url cited within the comment. The chat "Main Room" and the "Activity" feed is 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. Memes can't be used as the sole basis for an article. "The Blogs" are for original pieces of written material  Art material may be included, but not for the sole purpose of the blog post. All blog posts are the sole possession of the writer and has sole discretion on posting and moderation.

    7. Members agree not to upload or post any content anywhere on the site, that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, known to be false, or invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable; are prohibited.. Pornography and content that would be harmful to minors in any manner 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. Copyright infringement is illegal. Abandoned or inactive groups (groups with no activity for 6 or more months), can be removed by administration. 

    8. Use of accounts owned by another registered member without prior notice to and agreement from administration is prohibited and 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.