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Comments Policy

Our Comments Community Standards

About our comments sections

The comments areas of Journal Media publications are open forums for discussion on the stories that impact our users. As such, Journal Media does not moderate your comments, nor edit comments after they are published. It’s worth noting before you submit a comment that you will not be offered an opportunity to edit it, so think carefully before you post. In order to maintain a lively and inclusive environment for debate we ask all commenters to adhere to community guidelines, outlined below.

How to see more comments you love, and fewer you don’t

This is your comments community and we want you to feel comfortable and safe here. We have created a number of features to allow you to read more from those commenters you enjoy and reduce your exposure to those whose comments you find less useful.

You can access these by clicking on the down arrow which appears on the right hand side of every comment.

I want to reward good commenting behaviour

If you have enjoyed a particular comment or commenter’s contribution, you have the option to:

  • Give the individual comment an immediate ‘thumbs-up’
  • Enter the dropdown menu and choose ‘promote commenter’ to see this community member’s contributions more often in your comment threads

I want to see less of a commenter I don’t enjoy

Using the dropdown menu on a particular comment, you can

  • Hide the comment so it disappears from your view
  • Mute a commenter entirely so that you will no longer see their contributions

I want to alert to defamatory or offensive comments

Journal Media does not remove comments because we disagree with the sentiment or opinions being expressed. However, there are a number of ways in which you can alert us to comments which you believe are deeply offensive or are defamatory towards an individual or individuals.

Using the dropdown menu, you can:

  • Flag a comment as defamatory.
  • Report a comment as offensive. You will be asked to give your reasons for believing that it flouts the community commenting guidelines

Feedback when you are writing a comment

We have partnered with a Google’s Jigsaw programme Perspective to help identify whether a comment could be perceived as “toxic” to a constructive discussion.

This programme uses machine-learning models to score the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation - we then supply you with this real-time feedback before you submit your comment. The intention is to give you time to reword or reconsider your comment before submission so that you can make your best possible contribution to the conversation.

"Toxicity" scores also help our system to identify and downgrade comments which contain elements – foul language, generalised abuse – that have previously been flagged as a block to good debate.

Our commenting community guidelines

The intention of all Journal Media comments sections is to provide a platform for intelligent, productive and entertaining debate.

We reserve the right to remove without notification comments which are flagged and found in breach of our guidelines. Users who indulge in particularly egregious commenting behaviour may be permanently barred from further participation in conversations. We cannot enter into correspondence about deletions or bans.

Please familiarise yourself with these standards to ensure continued participation in our commenting community.

Play the ball, not the player

Do not make personal remarks about the author of a story, about individuals mentioned in stories, or about other commenters. We encourage committed and passionate debate, but ad-hominem insults or insinuations are not part of this.

Be the voice of reason

If all commenters agreed with each other, a comments section would be a dull and unenlightening space. But there are ways to phrase dissent without resorting to foul language, incivility and SHOUTING. Even if you believe what another commenter is saying is unreasonable, express that in a reasonable fashion. Respect each other as human beings.

No hate speech

Do not make comments which are racist, sexist, homophobic, offensive on the grounds of religion, nationality or demographic group. Do not make comments which are threatening or harassing or which could be perceived as such.

Do not post defamatory content

Users who are found to have posted defamatory content on any Journal Media comments section will have their commenting privileges withdrawn.

Stay on topic

Of course we want discussion to be as wide-ranging as possible, and we understand that conversations can take unexpected turns. But we’d like to make our comments areas a place for people to talk about the topic in front of them. Resorting to generalisations or dragging the comments off on a tangent that is not pertinent is boring and repetitive and kills insightful debate.

Don’t be a troll

Having a different viewpoint to other commenters or holding views that are not palatable to all-comers is not trolling if those views are sincerely held. However, don’t be provocative just for the sake of it. Equally, if you feel someone else is being deliberately provocative, don’t respond – it only encourages them. If you feel strongly that comments made by another user are deeply offensive as outlined in these guidelines, let us know by reporting the comment in the dropdown menu detailed at the top of this document.

Safeguard personal information

Don’t post sensitive personal information or the personal details of others in our comments section. Be privacy- and safety-mindful at all times.

This is not a marketplace

We welcome links in our comments sections which add context or extra information to the debate at hand. Do not use comments to promote commercial products or services.

Contacting the author of a story:

Please be aware that the authors and reporters of articles and stories on Journal Media publications do not monitor the comments underneath their work. Please do not use the comments space to notify us of technical or editorial errors, or to make offensive, insulting or personal remarks to or about the author of a story or comment.

Your constructive criticisms are always welcome, but we would ask you to use the “Send a Tip/Correction” button at the end of every story, or email the author directly.

We want our website to be a place where everyone can join an open and civilised debate. Please note that Journal Media cannot endorse or stand by the accuracy, truthfulness or reliability of any material posted by users in the comments space. Statements made by users of Journal Media publications only reflect the views of that user, and are not representative of the views of the Journal Media, or any of its editorial teams.

While we do not and cannot review every comment, we reserve the right to remove any we deem unacceptable without notification. We reserve the right to block at our discretion users who are in breach of these guidelines.