Moderation Process

Why do you have moderation on this website? Is not it in opposition to the idea of free speech?

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 site 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 site remain appropriate, intelligent and lawful.

Why do you not allow discussion of moderation in comment threads?

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.

Why was my comment removed?

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

Why do not moderators just remove the bit of a comment which is objectionable, rather than deleting the whole thing?

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.

My comment did not break any rules – why was it removed?

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.

How would I know if a comment was removed?

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

Why are comments being removed with no marker left in place?

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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