Your comment on ClickonWales

Today the IWA publishes its moderation policy which aims to promote constructive debate and to ensure inclusivity

The comments on Click on Wales are an important part of the debate that the IWA exists to provoke. However, we’ve had numerous complaints from our members over a period that a small number of contributors are crowding out debate and are pursuing personal agenda’s which often take the debates off topic. Whilst we have contacted some users to warn them that they are in breach of our comments policy that policy has not been published, until now. To ensure that there’s a shared understanding of the terms of debate on our site our comments policy is now available and will be enforced consistently. Those who have persistently breached the guidelines have been informed that their posting privileges have been withdrawn. We do not take this action lightly but after much discussion feel it is important in order to foster the constructive debate we exist to promote.

The comments policy is available by clicking the button in the top left-hand side of the website, below the ‘Recent Comments’ feed.

Comments policy

The IWA encourages readers to comment on our articles. Comments are moderated. The aim is to foster inclusivity, to avoid abuse of our contributors and other commentators, and to ensure that comments add something valuable and substantive to the material that is being commented upon. We have adopted this policy to ensure that all those who wish to participate in IWA debates feel safe to do so, to encourage constructive discussion and to avoid unnecessary aggression. Comments are moderated according to the following criteria:

  1. Comments must engage with the article, or at minimum other comments – irrelevant contributions will be rejected.
  2. Comments must be coherent – incoherent and rambling comments will not be published. This does not mean comments have to meet academic standards; simply that they must be intelligible to other readers.
  3. Criticism should be constructive in order to further the debate – overly negative, insulting or petty comments will not be published.
  4. Comments must not be abusive; including deliberately attacking the contributor or other commentators, personal slights, and using excessive or unnecessary swear words.
  5. Comments must be respectful of other contributors; including the author and other commentators. Language that causes offense to minority groups will not be tolerated.

Participants who seriously, persistently or willfully ignore the participation guidelines will have their posting privileges withdrawn.  This is not an action that we take lightly or arbitrarily. However, we are aiming to create and maintain an online experience consistent with IWA values, and we reserve the right to make decisions which we feel support that.

We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libelous or defamatory postings, or material posted in breach of copyright. We will not edit user posts to change the meaning, spelling, or anything else intended by the user. Even if only part of a comment or posting is perceived as breaching the community guidelines, the whole thing may be removed.

Interpretation of this policy is at the discretion of the IWA editors. If we are unsure about a comment we will discuss it with the other co-editors before taking a decision. We sometimes contact people when we have concerns about their comments but we do not do so as a matter of routine. If your comment is not published and you have not heard anything, you may wish to resubmit your comment in a manner that is in line with our comments policy. We accept that some individuals may find a particular decision unsatisfactory, but we take the view that there will be more who welcome the ability to participate in fruitful and worthwhile discussion and debate.

12 thoughts on “Your comment on ClickonWales

  1. This is most welcome news. I look forward to informed discussions regarding policy rather than having to endure more irrelevant and ill-informed interventions.

    Ideally, I’d like to see a forum for Members and Fellows of the IWA (I’m not sure how we could distingish between the two, or if indeed we’d want to, to take this further, but I am very pleased to see this development.

  2. This is very welcome. As one whose opinions have occasionally been wilfully represented, I look forward to a higher standard of debate. I must confess to having lost my temper on one occasion when one of the entries was particularly arrogant and dismissive of a comment I had taken a lot of time over. Fortunately I was able to e-mail the IWA afterwards so it never made it onto the blog. I make no excuses for myself. But it will be reassuring to know in future that this type of entry will be monitored and dealt with appropriately.

  3. Very good news. Some people are deeply ignorant of some of the issues that are discussed on this site, and as such cannot but antagonize or cause the debate to turn into an argument. As a member of the IWA I am glad that this step has been taken. Hopefully, it will be a space to discuss different topics with a difference of opinion. A differece of opinion being different, of course, from being profoundly ignorant of the true situation.

  4. I also have no time for gratuitously abusive or self-serving contributions. However, I am uncomfortable with some of the points made in the responses that have already been made. For example, whether or not interventions are irrelevant and ill informed is surely a matter of opinion. Does the IWA want to be seen as elitist by restricting the right comment to its Members or Fellows and how does that idea sit with the IWA’s wish to increase its membership? Turning to whether or not something is or is not profoundly ignorant of the true situation, this is also a matter of opinion that should be explored, provided that the proponent abides by all the other criteria set by the IWA.

    As for weeding out self-seekers, how can the value of any comments in any field be measured without revealing the experience that a person has to make them? Finally, how does a member open up a field for debate that has not previously appeared in the IWA’s annals?

  5. On reflection, Derek Griffiths has a fair point regarding my pondering restricting the site to IWA members. Ideally, the IWA should have such a large membership that the question is academic. As it does not, the site needs to be open to all who are willing to engage in positive and constructive analysis of policy optiona and the such-like.

    I think his request for an avenue to suggest new topics is a good one as well. Perhaps there could be a slot for members to submit proposals and ideas, which could be developed into new topic entries.

  6. I agree with David Lloyd Owen. Firstly there needs to be an open forum, subject to the usual codes of conduct, since there is no other open forum for those interested in Welsh affairs to express and exchange their opinions with others.

    Secondly there should be a means by which members can propose topics and not just be confined to the role of being commentators. This would not just extend participation but help improve its quality as well.

  7. The policy seems perfectly reasonable to me and contains no big surprises. For what it’s worth my personal bugbear is number 1, since we rarely see 2-5 in all fairness. I could tolerate almost any level of irrationality and personal abuse (towards myself that is) as long as the comments were actually relating to the substance of the original article!

    However I am saddened that this has had to happen as well and I hope it will not put people off from contributing difficult, controversial or contrary opinions. I have learnt an awful lot from some of the articles and subsequent discussions, often from those who express an opposite view to my own. They have often made me think harder and I wouldn’t want to lose that aspect of challenge.

    As a rule, I don’t think it is a bad idea to have a general self-imposed discipline of ‘one shot only’, that is trying to encapsulate your comments, ideas, questions or whatever into one comment only and desist from protracted tit-for-tat conversations. ‘Publish and be damned’ sort of thing: in essence showing the same discipline as the author of the original article. I know it is not always possible, and I have certainly been guilty of repeated posts myself in the past, but if we can all aspire to that, the quality of individual comments will rise I’m sure.

  8. I understand the need to exclude certain comments that offend the guidelines but I am uneasy about excluding anyone from commenting because of past misdemeanors. Remember the parable of the prodigal son; there is more celebration over a sinner that repenteth….

    Moreover someone whose views are rebarbative on one subject where they have a bee in their bonnet may make a good contribution on another.
    “How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense,
    And love the offender, yet detest th’ offence?”

    You should lose the sin and keep the sense by ruling out the offence but leaving the offender free to try again.

  9. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the commenting policy but its application clearly leaves a great deal to be desired from my reading of the comments threads.

    As far as I can make out we have 3(?) Brits summarily banned from posting – one with what can only be described as an unique statistical insight into some of the failing policies supported by the IWA – while our opponents are allowed free rein even to sink to the depths of suggesting in a recent comment that all Unionists may be fascists! Get a grip!

    When you add up all the derogatory language that has been used recently, frequently completely inaccurately, against individual Brits who venture to provide some balance to the highly partisan editorial content on Click then double-standards doesn’t even begin to define the application of editorial control over commmenting as seen from the Brits’ point of view.

    I happen to believe in free speech – which includes the right to be offensive every now and again – but if a policy is in place then it should be applied in an even-handed way. I suggest you therefore make a start on applying 3. and 4. and 5. a little more rigorously to ‘your own side’…

    Or I suppose you can just ban the rest of the Brits then you can all go back to talking amongst yourselves!

  10. @ John R Walker

    who has been banned? Surely not ‘Jon Jones’?!? If they have then I think that shows the underlying agenda of the IWA.

    I welcome this new comments policy as a way to prevent personal insults but my spider sense is also tingling that it may be some sort of veiled attempt to get rid of posters who’s comments they dont like i.e. those that dont agree with the claimed ‘success’ of devolution and/or blanket Welsh language enforcement…. and worse still backing up their p.o.v. with facts and statistics

  11. RT and JRW do have a point that perhaps consideration should be given to repentant sinners. For that, undertakings about behaviour would be needed.

    I do feel that much of the bad language on both sides has arisen because of the unacceptable behaviour of a few people and their inability to look beyond single-issue concerns and therefore to relate to the actual blog.

    One thing for certain us that the tone and tenor of the replies on the site are so much better now. Indeed, looking at various threads, there has been engaged debate rather than sloganeering and cliches.

Comments are closed.

Also within Uncategorized @cy