Commenting and moderation

[Updated 17 Jun 2016 – additions in red]

[Updated 3 Sep 2015 – addition in blue]

Commenting on Whaleoil articles is extended as a privilege, not a right. Anyone can comment on Whaleoil articles, but if you don’t follow some basic rules, your comments will be deleted.

In cases where your comments are regularly deleted, or are intentionally destructive, your commenting access may be denied altogether. Whaleoil has little to no patience with people who try to disrupt the smooth operation of the blog.

At the risk of appearing pedantic, but for the sake of preciseness, here are the rules Whaleoil applies when moderating comments

  • Stick to the topic, except for any “general debate” type posts
  • Don’t tell lies
  • Keep the language clean. Also no masking and abbreviating (FFS, 5#1T,C..T,B I T C H, etc). If you are seen to be deliberately getting around bad language blocks, you risk being banned.
  • No promotion without prior approval, especially self promotion
  • Keep it legal, or you will be made a co-defendant in any legal action
  • Do not break or otherwise toy with breaking court suppression orders. Don’t guess, don’t speculate, don’t suggest using search engines, don’t link to other sites that breach suppression.
  • “Don’t be a dick” (means: no trolling, no “me too”, “first” or other zero-calorie content)
  • The “get a life” rule: If you are regularly responsible for more than 1/3rd of the comments on an article, or you regularly comment on more than 2/3rd of the articles most days a week, then you need to get a life and allow others’ voices a chance to shine through
  • No inflammatory language (this is where you righty wankers have got it all wrong, etc)
  • Being critical of, drawing attention to, or ridiculing another’s spelling or grammar is off topic, disruptive, embarrassing to the person you’re white-anting and not allowed
  • No repetitive comments or repeating of exact comments, especially between articles
  • Any concerns about moderation are to be expressed via email
  • In general, try to use the proper words to describe things. Liarbor, Laybia, Gnats, Gweens, Ragheads etc become tiring to read and detract from the argument. If you do it a lot, you risk being banned.
  • If you edit a comment for more than spelling, punctuation or grammar, thus adding, removing or changing the content so it means something else, you must indicate this somehow as part of your edit. Not doing so may cause your access to commenting to be withdrawn. If you ONLY correct the spelling or grammar, please do not say so.
  • Anyone who publicly discusses that they have blocked/muted someone using the Disqus block feature will lose their ability to comment. Blocking/Muting is a private decision. To make your decision public will cause friction and risks your own ability to contribute. 
  • Deliberately offensive aliases and/or avatar images may see your account blocked from commenting. Do not change your avatar to champion a cause. Previous examples included the Flag Debate and Israel v Hamas. These are seen as “gang patches” that follow you around in all the topics, and are therefore disruptive.
  • Take care with photos. No nudity, be extremely careful if the photo contains children, no mutilation, corpses, sex or porn (simulated or not), wounds, anything deliberately rude or offensive captions, etc.
  • Do not threaten to kill, harm or otherwise injure anyone, even in jest. Don’t think that you can get away with clever language like “I propose a lead injection”, or similar.
  • No personal attacks on Whaleoil staff, other commenters, or anyone else for that matter. Discuss people’s statements, policies, decisions or actions.
  • If you see someone else troll DO NOT REPLY. If you reply, you risk being seen as part of the problem (no, we don’t care “who started it”).
  • Do not copy whole articles into comments. Comments are for YOUR views. Post a link, perhaps a snippet, and it better have something that you want to write about it as well. Just content from somewhere else will be deleted.
  • Do not tell others about your comments (or trolling) on other sites. Do not copy your comments from other sites here (even if that site refused to publish). Do not cause vigilante feelings or action against another site. Do not bring your fights on other sites here. Do not copy/paste comments from other sites here. SUMMARY: Nothing to cause ill-feeling towards us or towards them is to be used in our comments. Do not leverage our blog for your own private wars.
  • Do not address personal comments to Cameron Slater or other blog staff – use email
  • Just because certain language may be part of a headline or article doesn’t clear it for use in the comments
  • If in doubt, leave it out
  • Knowingly breaking the rules can result in an instant and irrevocable, ban.

Moderation isn’t “fair” and it may not be balanced. It is performed by a number of people, so there will be variances. These people will also have better days and average days. Any attempt to generate public debate on moderation will be deemed off-topic. Any and all concerns about moderation should be directed to our volunteer help desk via the Contact page.

Whaleoil will never delete comments from people who disagree based on their view of the facts of a given situation. However, many such comments also stray into attacking the blog staff, other commenters or other people at the same time. When such comments are removed, commenters perceive this as being censored for their views, and not for their behaviour. Whaleoil encourages everyone to try out commenting with opposing views without, at the same time, attacking or undermining people or the blog staff, and be pleasantly surprised that their comments will remain published.

Warning to long-term commenters: your tenure counts for nothing. It doesn’t give you licence to get away with more or have blog staff look the other way.

DO NOT

  • email us/Cam/Pete to ask why a comment was deleted
  • email us/Cam/Pete to ask why you are banned
  • email us/Cam/Pete to beg for a review.

DO 

  • contact the help desk to ask why you were banned
  • contact the help desk to ask for a review.

NOT ALL BLOCKS ARE CAUSED BY WHALEOIL. DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME YOU WERE BLOCKED BY US. CHECK FIRST. (TIP: Being nice goes a long way.)

Want to contact the help desk? That’s a deliberate barrier for you to overcome as an intelligence test.

Tip: Bothering Cam or Pete directly about moderation is almost guaranteed a negative outcome. Case study:  Someone emailed us “demanding” an explanation of why a comment was deleted. Result: instant ban. There are ways, and there are ways. Your way may not work. Try our way first. You can always go nuclear afterwards.

 

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