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Community Discussion Rules

Our mission at Newspaper Tree is to promote civic engagement and public discourse in government, education, the arts, health, business and other areas of interest to the El Paso-Juárez borderlands.

An important measure of our success is our ability to engage our community in matters of public interest and to produce news and information that provide a foundation for civil, informed, and fair discussion on important issues of the day.

The way we talk about issues matters. And the way we talk about issues on www.newspapertree.com is a reflection on us, you and our community at large.

In that spirit, we require all participants in Newspaper Tree’s social networking features, commenting, and other forums to follow these rules, in addition to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for www.newspapertree.com.

If you break these rules, there is a good chance we will block your comments or, if the problem persists, restrict your commenting privileges.

1. Be polite

Many of us remember the scene in Bambi where Thumper’s mother reminds him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” While we encourage discussion and we do want you to say something, this memorable quote (grammar aside) makes an important point—be polite. Remember that you can disagree without being disagreeable. Focus on discussing the issues and the facts. Avoid posting personal insults, name calling, defamation, hate speech, or anything simply meant to be mean. We will not tolerate any post that could be taken as threatening, harassing, bullying, obscene, pornographic, sexist or racist.

2. Do not use obscenities

You know the words—in English and Spanish. We do too. This is a public forum, so please don’t use them here. We want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable participating.

3. Give credit where credit is due

Sometimes you may want to link to related content or to quote limited amounts from another person’s work. If you do so, please remember to attribute the work and to provide any copyright notice required under “fair use” rules in copyright law.

4. Stay on topic

If you were at a forum on Chicano/a literature, you wouldn’t want someone to show up and insist on discussing summer superhero movies. And if you were with your friends discussing summer superhero movies, you wouldn’t want someone to show up and insist on discussing Chicano/a literature. Please respect the discussion and stay on topic.

5. Avoid rambling

We’ve all seen them—long, rambling posts that few people read and less understand. Be clear and concise in your writing. Do your best to keep your posts to 400 words or less. Newspaper Tree reserves the right to edit posts for clarity, brevity or any other purpose.

6. Respect other people’s privacy

Please respect people’s privacy. Any posts that are libelous, defamatory, or an invasion of privacy will not be tolerated. In addition, do not post anyone’s telephone number, e-mail, street address, or any other personal information through Newspaper Tree’s discussion threads or social networking features.

7. No spamming, advertising, promoting, recruiting, campaigning, lobbying, soliciting, or proselytizing

You should feel comfortable sharing your ideas and experiences about religion, politics and relevant products or services that interest you. However, a discussion thread is no place for advertising, promoting, recruiting, campaigning, lobbying, soliciting or proselytizing—especially if you’re posting the same message in multiple locations on the site. We understand that there can be a fine line between discussing and lobbying. Use your best judgment. And we will use ours.

8. Do not “feed” the trolls

Don’t “feed” the trolls. We encourage our discussion community to report abuse by trolls. But we also ask that you not engage with trolls in the discussion 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.

9. No rumors, allegations, or conspiracy theories

We appreciate when the public sends us news tips. However, Newspaper Tree reserves the right not to publicize rumors, allegations, conspiracy theories and other information which we know to be false or unsubstantiated.

10. No aliases or imposters

Be yourself—not someone else. Don’t create fake identities or post anything on the site posing as another real person. Also, don’t use multiple account nicknames in one discussion, and don’t answer your own posts using another nickname.

11. Avoid private communications in public forums

Please don’t use public forums for private communications. Our discussion threads have a link for sending individual messages. Similarly, if you have comments about Newspaper Tree coverage or policies, please don’t use the site discussion threads to air them. For issues regarding Newspaper Tree editorial content or policies, please write to info@newspapertree.com.

12. You are responsible for the content you post

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

If you want to know even more about what is and isn’t allowed on www.newspapertree.com, please see our Terms of Service.

Updated 7.3.13

Modified source: http://help.npr.org/npr/consumer/kbdetail.asp?kbid=184