Whaleoil’s ‘Ten Commandments’ explained

Credit: Whaleoil

Our revamped, simplified and easy-to-understand ‘Commenting and moderation’ page is now up and every Whaleoil general debate and backchat post has a link to it.

The purpose of the information is to make it easy for everyone to follow the rules.


Commenting and moderation

Whaleoil is a RESPECTFUL forum for opinions.

Everyone is offered the opportunity to comment BUT this is a privilege that can be taken away.

You are welcome to comment on Whaleoil posts if you abide by our ‘Ten Commandments’

If you don’t abide by the commandments a moderator will delete your comments. If your comments need to be deleted regularly, or you intentionally break the commandments, or your break is considered serious, your commenting access may be denied altogether.

 

The golden rule of commenting

Each comment should:

  • be on the topic of the post
  • add information, a point of view or a contribution of some substance and
  • be respectful and do no harm to others.

The Ten Commandments

 

  1. Comment on the topic
  • Comment only on the topic raised in a particular post. The only exceptions are ‘Whaleoil general debate’ in the morning, ‘Whaleoil backchat’ in the evening and any other post that specifically invites general comments.

 

  1. Be truthful and keep it legal
  • Don’t tell lies or create or spread gossip.
  • Don’t break or risk breaking court suppression orders. Don’t guess, speculate or link to other sites that breach suppression. If your comment results in legal action against Whaleoil you will be made a co-defendant.

 

  1. Keep your language clean and respectful, including your username
  • Don’t exhibit trolling behaviour and don’t brag about trolling elsewhere.
  • Don’t put other people down. Don’t swear, including abbreviations (eg FFS). Don’t use inflammatory language (eg ‘you righty **nkers’). Don’t use disrespectful language or nicknames that are not in the Whaleoil dictionary (eg Gweens, Liabor, Twitford and ragheads). Don’t use a ‘clever’ technique that attempts to bypass this commandment (eg B I T C H).
  • Don’t criticise, draw attention to or correct another commenter’s spelling, grammar or punctuation.
  • Don’t have a username that is intended to offend, champion a cause or otherwise be inflammatory.
  • Don’t make a personal attack or threaten to kill, harm or otherwise injure anyone, even in jest or with ‘clever’ language.
  • Don’t bring your ill feelings, anger, fights – public or private, vigilante intentions or bad history against others, including other websites, to Whaleoil.
  • In the once-a-week ‘Comedy corner: Non-PC jokes’ post “naughty and offensive jokes” are OK but it’s not open slather; this commandment still applies so apply your best judgement.
  • If in doubt, leave it out or use wording that you know will be acceptable.

 

  1. Keep your images clean and respectful
  • Take care with your avatar and any photos, cartoons or other images posted. These must also be clean and respectful. No nudity, no mutilation, no corpses, no sex or porn (simulated or not), no wounds and be careful using images of children.

 

  1. Add value
  • Your comment should provide information or express a point of view that discusses the contents of the post or another commenter’s statement or point of view. Don’t post short ‘empty’ or ‘zero-calorie’ comments, such as ‘I agree’ or ‘Me too’.
  • Don’t cut and paste material from another source as your comment. Post a link, perhaps a snippet, and add your own point of view or information.
  • Don’t repeat a comment you have made in one post, or something essentially the same, in another post.
  • Don’t copy a comment here that you have already made on another website, even if that website refused to publish it.

 

  1. Don’t be greedy
  • If you are regularly responsible for more than a third of the comments on a post, or you regularly comment on more than two thirds of the posts most days a week, then you need to ‘get a life’ and allow other voices a chance to shine through.
  • If you have a lengthy rebuttal, or an article is about you or an area where you think you have expertise, you can submit a guest post for consideration as a ‘right of reply’.

 

  1. Respect the moderators
  • Don’t do the moderators’ job. By all means, guide new commenters to this ‘Commenting and moderation’ page but never act as though you have any authority.
  • If you see someone appearing to break the commandments, click on the ‘vote down’ option. DON’T REPLY to the commenter. If you reply, you risk being considered part of the problem.
  • Alternatively, alert the moderators by clicking on the ‘flag as inappropriate’ option, found to the far right of the line on which the poster’s username appears, and select ‘Targeted harassment’.
  • Don’t comment on moderation or on using the Disqus block feature.
  • Don’t argue with the moderators.

 

  1. Act like a guest
  • Consider the blog the same way you would consider someone else’s home. You are a guest not an owner.
  • If our editor or one of our writers seems to break any of the commandments that does not make it acceptable for you to use the same wording or expand on an inference or judgement.
  • Don’t ‘test the waters’ to see what you can get away with.
  • Don’t make personal comments about the moderators or any other Whaleoil personnel but by all means discuss the topic of the post with them if they submit a comment.
  • Don’t promote without prior approval: don’t use a comment to promote any business or other enterprise, whether commercial or not for profit. If you want to promote something or someone via Whaleoil click on ‘Contact’ and find the appropriate email address to discuss your options.

 

  1. Use the correct channel for making contact
  • There is ONLY one place to go if you have an issue with commenting or moderation, after first reading all of the Ten Commandments and the moderation material below, and that is Whaleoil’s volunteer HELP DESK.
  • Put your Disqus username in the subject line of an email to [email protected] and include a link to one of your comments if you know how to.
  • Please do not contact Cameron Slater, SB or other Whaleoil personnel directly about comments, commenting-related issues or moderation as those matters are not their responsibility.

 

  1. Edit your comments correctly
  • If you edit a comment for spelling, punctuation or grammar, please don’t say so.
  • If you edit for more than this, ie adding, removing or changing the content, you must indicate this as part of your edit. Not doing so may cause your access to commenting to be withdrawn.

 

Moderation

Whaleoil is a private enterprise. Our goal is to make sure that the comment section is interesting to read and respectful to everyone. Your opinion will not be moderated, but how you express it can be.

The moderators at Whaleoil are editors of the comments on posts. They do this by enforcing the Ten Commandments. While they aim to be fair and consistent and do discuss some flagged comments before making a decision, the moderators are human and there will be variations in response.

Comments come to the moderators’ attention in two ways. The first is via an auto-sideline feature run within WordPress that responds to certain words, phrases, letter combinations etc. The second is by other commenters reporting comments of concern via the ‘down vote’ or by flagging the comment as inappropriate.

 

Moderators look at each flagged comment and consider:

  • whether the commenter is a Whaleoil regular
  • the quality of their commenting history
  • whether they have broken the commandments previously and how seriously
  • the seriousness of the current infringement and
  • anything else they deem relevant.

 

They then decide if:

  • the comment will be deleted, with or without a warning to the commenter, or
  • a temporary ban (for a specified or unspecified time period) or permanent ban will be imposed on the commenter.

 

Please be aware that not all commenting blocks are caused by Whaleoil. We estimate that about 10% of blocks are caused by a Disqus bug.

 

Moderation FAQs

 

My comment got deleted. Does that mean I’ll be banned?

If the moderators delete a comment here and there, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you find your comments are deleted on a regular basis then it’s probably time to re-read the Ten Commandments. If your deleted comments start to mount up, a temporary ban is likely.

 

Can I be told why my comment was deleted?

In a perfect world, yes. In this one, no. If you read the Ten Commandments you should find the answer in there somewhere. Please just take it on the chin and accept that it is not a personal attack. Try thinking of yourself and others as submitting comments for consideration. Some will fail because they don’t abide by the commandments.

 

What do I do if I think I’ve been unfairly banned, temporarily or permanently?

Moderation queries MUST be expressed VIA EMAIL and not by posting a comment. To check if your ban might have been caused by Disqus, or to ask for a banning decision to be reviewed, email the voluntary HELP DESK ([email protected] with your Disqus username in the subject line). Please be respectful and do not make demands.

NOTE: If you have chosen to block your commenting history on Disqus, it means that the moderators can’t look at your past behaviour and follow their usual consideration process. Without access to that information, they are much more likely to ban you.

If you have not been banned by the Whaleoil moderators, they will try to help you get back on.

If you have been banned by the moderators and request a review, you will be given a final decision. Please accept it gracefully and learn from it.

 

I’m only a new commenter. Why have I been banned already?

Firstly, read the Ten Commandments.

Secondly, Whaleoil does not want commenters who are captured by a single issue, sign up and then dominate the discussion. Often, because they don’t know the Ten Commandments, these commenters will troll, swear, go off topic and mock other commenters directly. This will result in an instant and irrevocable ban.

It is better to read the commandments, get the feel of the place, get to know other commenters and let them get to know you. Then, when something comes along that really has you fired up, you will know how to comment and survive. If you have a track record of posting respectful and interesting comments, then the moderators may give you a little more leeway the first time you break a commandment.

 

How do I get back as a commenter after I have been banned for an unspecified time period?

If your ban is not permanent but you were not banned for a specific time period you will need to email the voluntary HELP DESK ([email protected] with your Disqus username in the subject line) to ask politely to be let back in. There is a process that you need to go through.

If I have been banned for a specific time period, such as three months, how do I regain my commenting privileges?

Short-term bans for a specific time period will automatically be removed by the system. There is no need for you to contact Whaleoil.

 

Why are you censoring my comments?

You have entered Whaleoil’s ‘house’ and your host has established and published the commenting rules, known as the Ten Commandments. The host determines which comments are not suitable for publication. You are welcome to comment here if you respect our commandments. If you want 100% free speech then you can have it by starting your own blog.

 

Does Whaleoil censor comments to suppress a contrary point of view?

Whaleoil edits the comments so that respectful and interesting comments are published and disrespectful and empty ones are not. We welcome different opinions that are respectful and follow the Ten Commandments.

 

Is there ever an amnesty for banned commenters?

There has been in the past. That is up to our moderation team. Please do not ask for one.

 

I am a Whaleoil subscriber or I donate to Whaleoil. Why have I still been banned?

Whaleoil really appreciates the financial support of our subscribers and the generosity of those who donate.

We deliberately do not give our moderators access to any information about donations, no matter how generous or frequent. They do not know who is a subscriber and who isn’t because we want them to make their decisions based purely on the content of the comment under consideration.

While we appreciate commenters who also contribute financially, being a subscriber or donor does not buy anyone the right to break the Ten Commandments. If you choose to withdraw your financial support because you received a temporary or a permanent ban then we accept your decision. If losing your financial support is the cost of maintaining our high standards then it is a price that we are willing to pay.

If you really value what we do then we know that you will support us even if you lose the ability to comment for a short period, or even forever.


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