In the past I have not been too detailed about what is and is not an acceptable comment as defining a line can encourage people to try and go right to the boundary. But I think it would now be useful to clarify the proposed comments policy, so that people can modify their comments appropriately.
This is a draft, and feedback is welcome. Of course the final call is mine.
Worth nothing that there will be more leniency in the General Debate, than other posts.
So what is a no go.
Do not make comments that could get myself as publisher, or you, into a defamation suit.
Trolling I define as an attempt to deliberately disrupt a conversation by being grossly offensive or massively off topic. Examples are turning a debate into a religious flame war, or stating all Catholics are complicit in child abuse or the like.
This is the area where things are going to get tighter. I want arguments attacked, not people. As an example it will be unacceptable to call someone a moron, but it will be acceptable to say their argument is moronic. That may seem a fine distinction, but an important one. However don’t try and push the distinction to breaking point. If you say that someone’s argument has the integrity of a pus filled prostitute (for example), then that would find you with a warning or strike.
Gratitious references to attributes people have no control over
People can not choose their gender, race, skin colour or sexual orientation. There will be times when those attributes about a public figure can be a legitimate discussion in relation to an political event. For example the media have just quoted Grant Robertson on whether his sexual orientation may be a factor in the leadership election.
But slagging off an MP, or non MP, on the basis of something they can’t control will get a strike or a warning.
Likewise grossly offensive generalisations are not acceptable either. Treat people as individuals. This is not to say one can’t discuss group characteristics (such as why certain races are over-represented in crime statistics), but it should be done in a way which is not derogatory of the entire group.
In terms of humour, I have a wide tolerance for humour which makes fund of generalisations, so long as the intent is to be humourous, not to be nasty. If you are not sure of the difference, then don’t do it. And generally keep that stuff to the general debate. I do not want Kiwiblog to be a politically correct blog, but I do want it to be a place where people wouldn’t say anything in the comments, they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
I swear. Too much, according to my parents. I have a fairly wide tolerance for swearing so long as it is not directed at someone. Calling someone a c**t is almost never acceptable, but the use of the word in other contexts may be. Telling someone to f**k off is never acceptable. I’m the only one who makes that call on this blog. Sometimes swear words can be an effective way of adding emphasis. But use them too much, and they lose the impact. I’m not going to be a language nazi, but I will deal with complaints when swear words are directed at individuals, or used in a way which is trolling or disruptive.
Give other commenters the courtesy of referring to them by the name or alias they use on this blog. Do not reveal personal details about them such as their name, address, phone number etc. unless it is somehow connected to a public issue. If in doubt, check.
As I said, feedback is welcome on the above. Generally they are not a huge change from the status quo except in the area of personal abuse. I want more people to feel safe to post on Kiwiblog, without being abused for their views. Their views can be attacked, but not them. Obviously there is a certain amount of latitude – if someone starts trolling or says something absolutely offensive or ridiculous such as they think the US faked 9/11, then they’ll get a robust reaction. But on most topics, you should be able to reasonably and robustly disagree.