Discussion Forum Moderation Policy

This moderation policy has been established so that everyone can get the most out of the discussion forums. This Policy is intended to help create an atmosphere in which freedom of speech is balanced by self-discipline and a mature attitude to discussion. We encourage people to join these discussions and exchange views and opinions in a way that values and respects individuals.

By registering on groups.southglos.gov.uk or consultations.southglos.gov.uk you agree to abide by this Policy and the House Rules.

The House Rules

  • Contributions must be civil and tasteful
  • No disruptive, offensive or abusive behaviour: contributions must be constructive and polite, not mean-spirited or contributed with the intention of causing trouble.
  • No unlawful or objectionable content: unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive or otherwise objectionable material is not acceptable.
  • Do not incite people to commit any crime.
  • No swearing, vulgar or offensive language.
  • Do not publish personal information about yourself or other people.
  • If you use multiple logins for the purpose of disrupting the community or annoying other users you may have action taken against your accounts.
  • Be patient: users of all ages and abilities may be taking part in the relevant discussion groups.
  • No spamming or off-topic material. Please don't re-submit your contribution to more than one discussion, or contribute off-topic material in subject-specific areas.
  • No advertising
  • No impersonation
  • No inappropriate (e.g. vulgar, offensive etc) user names.
  • Deliberate misuse of the complaints facility is not permitted. If you persist in doing this action may be taken against your account.
  • Avoid contempt of court, which are actions that risk prejudicing on-going or forthcoming court proceedings or break any court injunctions.
  • Reference should not be made to the personality of other participants in a discussion nor should attacks be made on another person.
  • One to one arguments, disagreements and disputes of a personal nature must be conducted through private Email and not through public discussion.
  • If you are taking part in a private group discussion group you are not allowed to distribute any information they obtain from a private Group outside that private Group without the permission of the information owner.

Bear in mind that this is a site for South Gloucestershire and in general topics and contributions should relate to life in South Gloucestershire or the services provided by South Gloucestershire Council or other partner organisations working in the area.

In all discussion forums, it is a matter of trust that participants openly declare any relevant interest they have in a subject. For example, in a discussion about 'roads and pavements' involving a Council employee, that individual should declare this role.

You should remember that you are legally responsible for what you write; you must not make statements that are libellous, obscene or seek to incite racial hatred.

Advertising is not normally allowed, except where it is for an event, publication or product of direct relevance to the discussion. Moderators will always check any reference to promotional information and it will be subject to normal moderation policy.All links included in posts must be relevant and appropriate to the discussion. Links must not lead to unacceptable websites or pages, which are likely to cause offence to other participants.

Always try to address participants� arguments with courtesy and respect. Personal attacks, obscenities and mindless abuse of others including groups, organisations and businesses will not be posted to any discussion. This includes posts including sarcasm as they can be easily misinterpreted online.

Racism, sexism or homophobia and other forms of discriminatory behaviour are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Party political views will not be posted onto the discussion forums.

Never give away personal information in a discussion. If you want to make contact with another participant contact the moderator.

If a person has sent you a private Email you may not forward it to a discussion group without the prior consent of the person who sent it. This does not prevent you forwarding private Email to the Group Moderator should you consider this appropriate.

If you think a participant or a Moderator is in breach of the Moderation Policy or any 'house rules', you should send an email to the system administrator, who will consider the matter and let you know what action has been taken. Any complaints posted to discussions will not be posted.

This Policy is subject to change without notice. Specific discussion forums may have their own 'house rules' for discussions.

South Gloucestershire Council or any of its partner organisations reserves the right to reproduce postings for internal uses.

Failure to comply with this Policy will result in the moderator rejecting posts and returning to the sender.

What is Moderation?

Messages that you send to discussion lists on this site may be subject to moderation.

The role of moderator is not to censor postings. The objective is to keep discussions within the defined topic, and to ensure that postings comply with the site's Moderating Policy and House Rules.

Moderating allows members with moderator authority to approve, edit or reject emails sent by other members before they are sent to the group as a whole.

Groups include a feature to enable moderation to apply to only the first few messages sent to a group. This allows moderators to "vet" new members so that inappropriate messages can be stopped and these new members can be made aware of group policies regarding email content, without the problem of having to approve postings from established group members. The number of initial messages to moderate for each user is configurable.

Of course, full moderation is also an option, giving the moderator(s) in the group total control over email content sent to the group.

Moderation settings can also be applied specifically to individual members, so extra moderation can be placed on problem members, and trusted members can be allowed easier posting.

The group moderator will be sent an email notification each time a member sends a message that requires moderating to the group. They can then moderate the message either through the web interface or via email.

The moderator can do one of three things:

  • Approve the message - the message content is acceptable and does not require moderation
  • Edit and approve the message - some of the message content does not conform to group policy, and so requires some editing. It is customary for the moderator to include an indication that this message has been edited under moderation.
  • Reject the message - the message content is inappropriate, and cannot be forwarded to the group. Normally the moderator will reject the message and will specify a reason for the rejection. The rejected message is sent back to the original member who sent it.

Only messages that have been approved or edited and then accepted are forwarded on to the group.

By virtue of your participation in a discussion, you are deemed to have agreed to abide by the rules. Although the Moderator cannot take responsibility for monitoring every message that is sent to the group, they reserve the right to remove items submitted from anyone who ignores these rules.

Your Safety:

We advise that you never reveal any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example: telephone number, home address or email address), and please do not include postal addresses of any kind. If you have a helpful address to share, inform the moderator, and they will promote it if they see fit.

About the law:

You may not submit any defamatory or illegal material of any nature in South Gloucestershire Council�s website or discussion groups. This includes text, graphics, video, programs or audio or any other data format.

Contributing material with the intention of committing or promoting an illegal act is strictly prohibited.

You agree to only submit materials, which are your own original work. You must not violate, plagiarise, or infringe the rights of third parties including copyright, trademark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights.

The views expressed in consultations.southglos.gov.uk discussion areas are those of members of the public and are not necessarily those of South Gloucestershire Council.

How to complain about a comment:

We want our users to help us keep the discussions accessible, safe and acceptable to all, so we welcome complaints and will deal with them speedily.

Please don't abuse the complaints facility. It is only for serious complaints about comments, namely that they are obscene, abusive, threatening, unlawful, harassing, defamatory, harmful, profane, racially offensive, or otherwise strongly objectionable.

Please do not use the complaints facility to complain about such things as spelling errors, differences of opinion, or multiple postings.

If you think a comment breaks the House Rules, contact the moderator, telling us why you think the comment is not acceptable and specifying the discussion group and comment you wish to complain about.

Your complaint will be brought to the attention of the moderator who will decide whether the comment breaks the House Rules. If it does, they will remove it. If it doesn't, it will be allowed to remain on the site.

We will not normally enter into correspondence about complaints, but will do so in special cases. If you are not happy with the way the moderator has dealt with your complaint and you want to take the matter further, you can contact the system administrator. Your complaint will be dealt with through our corporate complaints procedure.

Updated 22nd September 2006