Sustainable Sponsorship

Learn how we encourage debate and interaction around the content we publish on our website and throughout social networks, and our moderation process works.

F.A.Q. Centre

Have a question? Here you may find the answers for the most common questions asked by our users.

Sustainable Sponsorship


Sponsored content is a type of promotional media approach paid for by an advertiser but created and shared by another brand, influencer, or content publisher.

This type of content is most engaging when you sponsor a company or influencer who targets your core audience and already discusses topics that align with your brand. When this is done right, any mention of your brand feels like a natural fit rather than an invasive advertisement.

Yes, we do allow hyperlinks to be added to articles. However, we do not accept hyperlinks that target the following:

  • Off-topic contributions which are not related to the specific matter under publication.
  • Hyperlinks targeting mature, nude, adult content.
  • Websites that contain malware, spyware and other viruses.




Contributions will be perceived as off-topic if they veer substantively and wildly from the current conversation topic, either as an attempt to derail the conversation or as completely irrelevant.

Obviously, this is contextually-flexible; sometimes conversations are wide-ranging, and so more things can be perceived to be appropriate, topical and relevant. In other cases, off-topic relates to the general subject area of a particular series or section (e.g. the media blog).

While it is always possible to introduce new topics into a conversation, they should at least bear some relevance to the primary discussion.


The moderation staff is responsible for moderation services on the website.

There is a small pool of dedicated moderators employed by us, rotating duties and coverage across all community areas.

We advertise open Community Moderator (and other) positions within the community team when they come up, both online on our website and in social networks.

If you are interested in applying, it might be worth setting up a job alert on our website so that you will be the first to know when a new role is advertised.

We welcome applications from anyone with the relevant skills and experience.

It is definitely useful to have previous experience of participating in online communities and social media themselves since that can help them to understand some of the motivations and social situations which can occur in online discussions.

No. Moderators are not employed on the basis of any affiliation, and are required to enforce the community standards neutrally and consistently across the site, whatever their personal perspectives.

Although they sometimes need to make decisions which may be unpopular, their actions should not be interpreted as being revealing of pro- or anti- leanings apart from pro-[our community standards] and anti-[behaviour which goes against them].

We do not publish specific hours of operation, but there is moderation coverage throughout the day and overnight, seven days a week.

Obviously, sometimes are busier and some periods have more cover than others, so we ask community members to be understanding if we do not always manage to deal with things straight away.

Our moderators are part of the central Community Staff which is part of the website and reports to the head of community and to editor-in-chief, audience.

All moderators work closely with editors and editorial staff across the website and some have specialist knowledge or experience which means they work predominantly in one or more subject areas.

However, the community standards, which the moderators are responsible for enforcing, are set centrally, although we consult with the senior editorial staff when revising them.

Additionally, the Community Staff regularly reviews activity on the site with relevant editorial departments, as well as updating them on any policy or approach changes.

While website editors do not directly influence moderation policy or daily process, moderation decisions are sometimes taken after consulting with editors who have specialist knowledge about particular subject areas.

Incidentally, we ask staff members and blog contributors (e.g. freelance authors) to report potential problems in participation areas using exactly the same method as everyone else.

If a staff member spots an issue, they report it in the normal way to bring it to the attention of a moderator, who will then make a decision based on the usual criteria.

Authors do not moderate their own content.

Unfortunately, the massive quantity of user content on the website means that we cannot enter into correspondence regarding specific moderation activity, although all correspondence will be read.

If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of moderation and community participation on the website, you can always contact us.


Of course, it would be lovely if we did not need to have anyone looking out for the quality of conversation on the website. But the fact is that as a big media organisation we have a responsibility to maintain the quality of content which appears on our website and so we employ a small team to monitor and manage community participation.

The aim of moderation is not censorship, but ensuring that the community participation areas of the website remain appropriate, intelligent and lawful.

Because then the conversation could be derailed into talking about moderation rather than the established or initial topic.

We occasionally create threads specifically to discuss moderation, but even then, we would not discuss specific situations, cases or decisions in public, because we feel that is inappropriate.

Comments are removed by moderators if they go against the Community Standards & Participation Guidelines, which every participant on the website is bound by.

Because moderators are not editors.

Participants should bear in mind that even if only one little bit (or line, or paragraph) of a comment is problematic, the whole comment will be removed.

This is partly to avoid moderators editing your contribution to remove the offending bit (which might inadvertently change the meaning) but also to encourage contributors to think carefully before posting.

In some cases, comments may have to be removed if they quote from or refer explicitly to an earlier comment which fell foul of the Community Standards.

For example, a comment which says “I cannot believe you said XXXXXX. I completely disagree!” where “XXXXXX” is an offensive, legally problematic or otherwise abusive statement, means that this comment just repeats it and so also needs to be removed.

Please, try and avoid perpetuating issues by referring to them.

When comments are removed by moderators, a marker is automatically left in the conversation thread to say that something has been removed.

Exceptions to the marker rule occur when moderators remove duplicate posts, spam, or sometimes when a comment or post is removed, it has been necessary to delete subsequent messages which refer to explicitly or quote from the original (removed) comment, in order to preserve some notion of conversational thread.

In such cases, not every deletion will be marked individually, as this then clutters the comments.

If your comment has disappeared with no marker left, it is generally because it was referring to an earlier comment that has been moderated.

Comments about moderation will usually be treated in this manner, as they usually refer to moderation that is taken place up thread.

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