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We believe in the importance of open exchange, and offer users the ability to offer opinions and comment on current affairs. We do not moderate posts on ideological or political grounds, so long as those posts align with the guidelines below. We will delete posts that we find detract from the enjoyment of reading and engaging with our site, according to these guidelines and the personal judgement of our moderators:
You are personally responsible for the content you publish on our site
. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy and take care to understand our site's terms of service.
Identify yourself—by name and, when relevant, your source of income/employer
. You must make clear if you are speaking on behalf of your employer or yourself. You may choose a handle -- a name that allows you to be anonymous -- as long as you truthfully disclose your financial or other interests. Handles that reference racial, gender or national bias, obscenities or other objectionable terms will not be allowed.
Don't provide confidential or other proprietary
information unless you are prepared to be held personally liable/responsible for the disclosure of that information. It’s good practice to ask permission before referencing clients, partners or suppliers. When you do make a reference, link back to the source. Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.
Respect your audience
. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in polite company. You should also show proper consideration for others' privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion.
Don't pick fights
. Respond with respect, and stick to the facts. Avoid unnecessary or unproductive arguments. Refrain from the temptation to have the last word. In the end, sometimes the best tactic is to agree to disagree.
Be the first to correct your own mistakes
. There is no shame in being mistaken; only in knowingly concealing what you know to be true. If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify content that was previously posted, make it clear that you have done so.
Try to add value
. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.
Be who you are
. We believe in transparency and honesty; anonymity is discouraged and sock puppeting will not be tolerated. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. Consider the content carefully and also be judicious in disclosing personal details. You are responsible for your own words.
Adopt a warm, open and approachable tone
. Your tone, your openness and your approachability can help develop your personal "brand” and trustworthiness.
Use your best judgment
. Remember that there are always consequences to what you publish. If you're about to post something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, think carefully about why that is before you hit publish. Again, you are responsible for your own words.
We frown on posts that fit into these categories, and will delete them when we identify them:
1. Use of
racial / gender / sexual preference / religion-bashing terms
or other hurtful speech. If you use a word with racial overtones in your post name, that counts. To you, it might be a source of pride, but the Web doesn’t know what nationality you are. All it sees is an objectionable word.
and links to spam. If you want to advertise, contact White House Voice directly.
We really don’t care if yours is the “first” or “nth” post
. The quality of a post is far more important than its time stamp.
Links to inappropriate or unrelated content
. If you link, make sure your links are relevant to the topic you are posting on.
Posts containing personal information about a third party
. Personal information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, or other information about a third party’s personal life. If you include your own contact information in a post, that’s fine. Just don’t post someone else’s information.
Nonsensical, off-topic or repetitive diatribes
. We ask readers to ignore such posts, though we recognize that these kinds of posts are infuriating. Rather than commenting, flag content you think falls into this category and our moderators will review it and delete it if necessary.
on other posters. Comment on ideas, not people.
8. Comments on grammar and spelling and any related discussion. Really, posting simply to correct grammar is annoying. If posts on this are made to proposals, we will fix the error(s) and then delete the posts; if you post to correct grammar on a comment, we’ll simply delete the correction, since Internet discussion is casual enough to allow some imperfections.
(or not so blatant) commercial posts.
of other users’ post names and related discussion about how the post is not from that user.
Double postings and “Sorry for the double post” messages
. We will delete the double and the “sorry.” If it happens to you, don’t worry about it.
Nation-bashing and associated comments directed at the people of a nation
and not its policies. If someone has trouble with English, please be respectful, as it’s probably not their first language.
Incomprehensible posts or posts in ALL CAPS
. All caps posts are the equivalent of shouting.
14. Comments about post deletion in news items. If a post of yours is deleted, e-mail the moderator.
Trolls, trolling and responses to trolls
. Don’t feed the trolls!
So, what can you post?
We’re looking for comments that are well-thought out, insightful, and informative. You can disagree, sometimes vehemently, with an opinion, but you should be prepared to support your argument and occasionally be swayed by an opposing argument. You are open-minded, you contribute positively to the discussion, and at the end, everyone who participated or read the discussion is enriched by it.
White House Voice Posting guidelines v.1, March 2011
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