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WVIZ/PBS

Community Discussion Rules

The following text serves as the official discussion policy for users of ideastream.org’s social networking tools. All participants in ideastream.org social networking features, story/blog commenting, and other forums are required to follow these rules, in addition to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for ideastream.org.

Every website has its own rules, and these are our rules for participating in ideastream social networking features, including discussions and comments. If you break them, don’t be surprised if we block your comments.

First things first: If you can’t be polite, don’t say it. Of course, we don’t want to stifle discussion of controversial issues. Some topics require blunt talk, and we’re not always going to agree with each other. Nonetheless, please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities. No personal attacks, name calling, libel, defamation, comments about someone’s mother, hate speech, comparisons to notorious dictators - you get the idea. And under no circumstances should you post anything that could be taken as threatening, harassing, bullying, obscene, pornographic, sexist or racist.

Don’t use obscenities - even if the word in question is often used in conversation. We’re not going to list the words we object to; you know what they are. Remember, this is a public forum and we want everyone to feel comfortable participating.

Anything you post should be your own work. You’re welcome to link to relevant content and to quote limited amounts from other people’s work with attribution and any associated copyright notice and consistent with “fair use” principles of copyright law. But that doesn’t mean you can copy and paste wholesale.

Please stay on topic. Think of it this way—if you hosted a book club meeting at your home, you wouldn’t want someone to show up and insist on discussing reality TV shows.

Rambling is the kiss of death. Keep your comments to 400 words or less. Generally, anything beyond a few paragraphs had better be very, very interesting to the larger community. We reserve the right to edit for brevity, clarity and other purposes.

Please respect people’s privacy. We love to learn about new and interesting individuals, but most people will not be happy to have their phone numbers or e-mail addresses published. Please do not share another’s contact information through ideastream’s discussion threads or social networking features.

Feel free to share your ideas and experiences about religion, politics and relevant products or services you’ve discovered. But this is not a place for advertising, promotion, recruiting, campaigning, lobbying, soliciting or proselytizing. We understand that there can be a fine line between discussing and campaigning; please use your best judgment—and we will use ours.

Do not “feed” the trolls. We encourage community members to report abuse by trolls. But we also ask that you not engage with trolls in the comment threads. Reacting to their provocations is exactly what they want. If we see you feeding a troll, we will remove both the troll’s comments and your responses.

We appreciate the news tips members of the public send us. However, ideastream reserves the right not to publicize rumors, allegations, conspiracy theories and other information which we know to be false or unsubstantiated. Be yourself - and not someone else. Don’t post anything on the site posing as someone else. Impostors, look elsewhere for kicks.

Please don’t use public forums for individual communications. Most of our pages have a link (it’s on the bottom of the page, “Send a Message") for sending individual messages to a blogger or host. Similarly, if you have comments about ideastream coverage or policies generally, please don’t use the site discussion threads to air them. For issues regarding ideastream editorial content or policies, please use our online feedback form here. To contact an ideastream program or any of our business and technical departments, use the ideastream feedback form.

You are solely responsible for the content you post. ideastream is not responsible for the content posted by its users. We do not and cannot review all user content posted on ideastream.org. However, we have the right (but not the obligation) to review, screen, delete, edit and/or move any content posted on ideastream.org.