Moderation on newsnetscotland.com

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We have been listening to comments about the updated moderation policy and we fully understand some of the concerns expressed by those who post here on a regular basis.

We have also received many comments from those who post only occasionally, or simply like to read the articles and informative comments made by other readers.

We have almost 90,000 (and rising) different individuals visiting the site to read the news from the standpoint of supporting major constitutional change for Scotland whether that be full fiscal autonomy or full independence.

Of those visitors, less than 4,000 have registered to make comments. The vast majority of them only do so occasionally, but we have perhaps 200 who post quite regularly. Most of the “regular” and “occasional” posters are extremely well informed and bring an added dimension to the debate on Scotland’s future, for which we are hugely grateful.

However, any online site risks its comments becoming dominated by a small group of people who enjoy chatting to each other, and the responses we have received indicates that this reduces the readability of the site for the huge number of other readers.

Those responses, suggest that many readers stop reading the comment thread when they encounter posts which simply express partisan negativity about individuals, or which have links to items like irrelevant YouTube videos, that they don’t have time to watch. Consequently, they never see the incisive comments provided by other posters further down the thread.

The principal aim of NNS is to provide an examination of Scottish current affairs which empowers our readers to challenge the portrayal often given in the mainstream media. In our threads, we want to prioritise comments which help us all to be empowered in the ongoing debate.

We do understand that some posters like to chat between themselves. The Newsnet Scotland site itself is not the place for that but our Facebook page provides exactly that facility. We would encourage our readers to chat there, where being off topic is not a problem.

You can also follow us on Twitter for those who prefer making concise comments.

One of our posters commented that we should all think of ourselves as “ambassadors for independence – in the eyes of those who have not yet made up their mind and have come here to help them do so.”

We endorse that view and are confident that our readers will follow that thinking when they comment here and on Twitter and Facebook

Moderating practicalities

We are a team of volunteers. While you are personally responsible for any comment you make, our core task is to allow readers the maximum access to informative comments from other readers. NNS is not a chat room.

We do not take arbitrary decisions. If we are doubtful about a post, we will remove a comment from public view, and share our doubts with the other moderators and get their input. Depending on the consensus view, the post may reappear or remain out of sight.

Moderators try to read all posts and we do revisit threads to check for new posts, but we cannot guarantee to look at every one. If you have concerns about a post that you consider inappropriate, please contact us and we will look at it specifically.

We see many posts that you as readers have not seen because they have failed to abide by the moderation policy. We had also seen a significant increase in posts that add nothing to rational debate and often seem aimed at simply derailing threads.

We simply do not have the resources to edit and give moderator responses to every single one of these posts. Yes, it is a bit like making Peter pay for Paul but please bear with us. The last thing we want to do is stifle a good healthy debate and if there is some humour thrown in as well, then so much the better.

We are open minded, we enjoy humour as much as the next person and we try our best to take a fair and even handed approach to moderation.

“Humour”, however, is in the eye of the beholder. If someone thinks it is “funny” to comment on the physical or mental characteristics of someone in public life, for example, then that will only appear on site if we have accidentally missed it. We would not accept such posts.

We suspect that some posters have not looked at the moderation policy. http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/contact-us/moderation-policy

We would request that all current and potential posters look at the requirements for posting comments, before doing so.