Our comments policy is very simple: be polite, be on topic, and be who you say you are.
We welcome comments from all our readers, whether you are a Lib Dem, a supporter of another part, or of none at all. We want to foster a good quality of discussion and debate, and ask commenters to respect our rules of engagement. These are based on how we all would expect a well-run public meeting to operate: allowing everyone to have their say in a way which involves the whole audience, and not just its most vocal participants.
We’ve outlined our policy below so you can make sure your comments work with it, in both the letter and in its spirit. If your comments stay within our guidelines then they are very welcome, but in the end the responsibility rests with you to ensure that they do.
In addition to the guidelines below we have several spam filters in place. If you believe your comments are getting trapped, encounter another problem or have a query about how our commenting policy is being implemented, please get in touch. Queries about moderation in comments will not normally be published, although may be replied to individually.
Current Liberal Democrat members can have their comments marked as being from party members by registering for our Forum (a one-off process) and then by making sure they are logged in before posting a comment.
Please note that, if you comment on Lib Dem Voice, then we may be required to divulge your details if you post anything defamatory.
When posting comments, please respect other readers of the site by being polite, being on topic, and being who you say you are. Comments which are not will be removed.
To help those who welcome further guidance on what we mean by this, we hope what follows will help…
Comments that stray over the line into abuse of individuals or groups of people will be moderated. If in doubt, try being extra polite!
- Avoid abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, homophobic or coarse language.
- Focus on the topic, not what you know or think you know about the personalities of other commenters, or the author of the blog post.
- Avoid distorting the views of the author or subject of a post or other commenters. Expressing outrage at the views of someone who you have just misquoted is particularly to be avoided.
As editors of a political site on the internet, the LDV team expects to be criticised. However, we will not tolerate personal abuse towards any member of the team. Anybody who breaches this rule will not be allowed to comment on the site at least until they apologise to the team member concerned.
Be on topic:
- Your comments should be relevant to the subject under discussion. The one exception to this is if you wish to raise a topic that is relevant for the site and which has not been covered in a recent posting on the site.
- We do not publish ‘spam comments’, that is, ones posted for commercial purposes to boost the traffic and/or search engine rankings of a site selling goods or services. Links for example to the relevant page on Amazon for a book that you mention during a comment are fine, as are specific online references which provide useful evidence for your point.
- We welcome a diversity of voices in our comments threads, so please be careful about drowning out a thread by posting a high volume of comments yourself.
- Repeatedly posting the same, or substantially the same, comment on different threads will result in comments being removed.
- We encourage brief comments, which are easier to read and allow fair all-round participation in the debates. Our system restricts comments to 2500 characters in length. We do not allow the posting of “part one” and “part two” comments to get around this restriction.
Be who you say you are:
- You may use a pseudonym if you wish, but bear in mind that many readers pay much less attention to comments that are not accompanied by someone’s real name.
- Only make truthful claims about who you are, such as the job you do or your political party membership. If the claims are particularly relevant to the comment we may ask you to provide supporting evidence of them privately.
- Be consistent in the name you give when posting a comment. Using multiple names can give a false impression that several different people hold views which in fact are all coming from yourself. Comments will be moderated if they fall foul of this.
- When entering your comment, we ask you to provide a valid email address which belongs to you. This email address will not be published and is requested in case we need to contact you. We may send a test message to the email address given, in order to check its validity. Comments submitted without the provision of a valid email address, owned by the commenter, will not be published.
- You are invited to enter a website address when posting a comment. This will be used to turn your name into a hotlink and if you wish to use this facility should only be used to link to an address which gives further information about yourself.
Your comments are public
Once published, it is our policy not to delete articles or comments unless they break one of the above rules, even when requested by the author. This is because:
- Deleting a piece from our site rarely removes it completely from the internet, as it still lives on in cached copies, reproduced headlines on other sites, and so on;
- When comments have appeared on a post, that means there is content on it which is more than just that of the original author; and
- As a principled point, we do not believe in ‘airbrushing’ past events in this way.
Party selection contests
During party selection contests, Lib Dem Voice has voluntarily agreed to adopt a special comments policy to avoid breaches of the party’s selection rules. Further details are here.
After your first comment, we will normally publish future comments without any pre-moderation. However, if you have persistently broken our commenting policy, your comments will all require pre-moderation in future. If you subsequently post comments that fully comply with our policy for an extended period of time, we may remove the pre-moderation requirement.