All views and opinions expressed in Pantagraph.com user comments are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and not those of The Pantagraph or its staff. The Pantagraph is not responsible for the content of its users' posts.
That being said, Pantagraph.com wants to foster a spirit of community involvement and conversation, and we need your help to do that. We ask that you keep your conversation clean, civil and respectful. You may, of course, openly disagree with stories or other user comments, but we expect that you will not submit objectionable posts, obscenity, defamatory remarks, unreported allegations, commercial messages, or violations of copyright, trademark or intellectual property. When commenting on crime-related stories, remember that suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The Pantagraph staff reserves the right to remove any posted comment at any time for any reason.
Do's and don'ts of user comments
- Do not post anything libelous, defamatory, obscene, harmful, vulgar, threatening, harassing, abusive, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, racially or ethnically objectionable, or illegal. This applies to your fellow commenters, as well as subjects of stories or authors of letters to the editor.
- Do not post anything that advocates violence against a person, a group or an institution.
- Do not post comments that imply suspects in crime-related stories are guilty before they have been proven guilty in a court of law.
- Maintain a civil tone. Blatant rudeness to other posters on the board will not be tolerated. As a rule of thumb, your comments should be about the discussion at hand, not the other posters. Rather than attacking other individuals when posting comments, you should argue a specific point of view.
- Do not use profanity. (Profanity with punctuation substituted for letters -- such as %#!$ -- is also not allowed.)
- Except for limited use to show emphasis, do not type your comments in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. This is the online equivalent of yelling and is considered rude.
- Stay on topic, within reason. Posts should be about the stories, or in reference to other comments on the stories. Please do not use the commenting section as a place to veer off into unfounded or personal allegations or attacks upon people in the stories, or upon the other comment posters.
- Do not post allegations about people or businesses that are not mentioned in the stories. If you have information about something that we did not report on in a story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do not post speculations or theories about the cause of death of a person who is the subject of a story.
- Do not pretend to be someone else ... not another poster on these boards, not a public official, not your first-grade teacher.
- Do not post personal information about other people.
- Advertising is not permitted. Do not solicit anyone to buy or sell products or services, or to make donations of any kind.
- Comments containing URLs or links to other websites may be deleted without review.
- Do not post any content that you do not have the right to make available. Don't post content that infringes on any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party.
- Do not attempt to post material that contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software, hardware or telecommunications equipment.
- Do not gratuitously bash The Pantagraph. We welcome constructive criticism on specific points, but like with any other business or individual, we will not tolerate blanket assertions accusing our staff of unfounded bias, incompetence, or other charges. If you have a problem with how we've covered or handled something, contact our newsroom directly. An editor will be happy to help.
Failure to follow these rules may result in your comments being deleted. Flagrant or repeat offenders may have their user accounts deactivated at the discretion of Pantagraph editors.
This policy is subject to change without prior notice.
Answers to common questions and complaints
Why isn't my comment showing up?
Our web pages do not update immediately. After you submit a comment, it may take up to 10 minutes for it to appear on the website.
Why have you deleted my comment?
At our discretion, editors delete comments when they violate one of the commenting rules listed above. If your comment has been deleted, you can try rephrasing it to remove rude language or allegations that we have not confirmed, and then posting it again. Do not take it personally if we have deleted your comment. We have several staff members who monitor comments every day. Note that at the discretion of our staff, comments on certain stories (like those involving deaths or other sensitive topics, for example) may be subject to a higher level of scrutiny for increased sensitivity.
My comment didn't violate the rules and it was still deleted. Why?
Our staff may simply disagree on whether you broke the rules -- in which case you will just have to try again -- but there may also be other reasons why your comment was deleted. Often, comments that quote other comments that we've deleted end up getting deleted themselves, because they contain the original comment that was deemed inappropriate. Sometimes entire swaths of comments may end up being deleted if they all quote an offending comment. It's also possible that a reply to a deleted comment may no longer make any sense outside the context of the deleted comment; in such cases, in order to clarify the discussion and keep it on track, such replies might also be removed.
Please review my deleted comment and consider allowing it.
Deleted comments are not subject to review or appeal. Once they are deleted, they are immediately purged from the system and cannot be restored.
Do you edit comments?
No. Comments are posted as they are written. Either the entire comment is left on the website, or the entire comment is deleted. We cannot edit your comment, even if you want us to.
Why have you closed the comments on X story?
We reserve the right to shut down comments on any story. Comments often get closed on stories after users have repeatedly violated the commenting rules.
The comments on X story are awful. Why did you allow that?
Comments are NOT screened before they are posted. They are moderated after the fact, and we do not always see everything right away. If you think something violates the rules, please use the "report abuse" feature, which is the fastest way to alert our editors to the offending comment. (You will need to be logged in to use the "report abuse" feature. If you do not have a user account, please send the full URL of the bad comment, and a copy of the comment text, to email@example.com.)
Why have you banned my user account?
Flagrant or repeated violations of the commenting rules may result in your user account being deactivated. You might or might not be contacted when this happens. If you find you can no longer post comments, you may request to have your user account reinstated. However, you must also agree to change your behavior.
I used the "report abuse" function. Why haven't you removed the comment I reported?
The "report abuse" function alerts editors that there may be a comment that breaks the commenting rules. However, the comment will only be deleted if it violates the rules in the judgment of our staff. Just because a comment has been reported does not automatically mean it will be removed. It may also take some time for our editors to take action on the abuse report.
When I try to post on a story, I get the message "An error occurred." Why can't I post on this story?
Either comments on the story have been closed, or your user account is not active. An inactive account could be caused by your account having been deactivated for violating the commenting policy. However, if you are new to the comments, it could be your account was never activated when you created it. In such cases, you must activate your account by logging into the MyPantagraph login screen and following the account activation instructions. If you have trouble doing this, you can e-mail us.
I am entitled to freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and you are censoring me.
Freedom of speech does not apply to Pantagraph.com comments. The Pantagraph is a private business and we permit comments on our boards that, in our judgment and ours alone, follow our commenting policy. Posting comments at Pantagraph.com is a privilege, not a right. We will do our best to enforce the rules fairly on everyone, but we reserve the right to remove any comment at any time for any reason.
You are clearly biased against/in favor of X political party/position/official. You only delete comments you don't agree with.
We are accused of bias by users on all points of the political spectrum, and we dispute all charges to that effect. We do not delete comments based on your political views; we delete comments based on the tone of your comments and whether you violate the policy.
Why did you immediately forbid comments on X story? I wanted to comment on this story.
Some stories have a track record of prompting discussions where the commenting policy is quickly and repeatedly violated. We reserve the right to disallow comments on those (or any) stories. Specifically, we will not allow comments on the following types of stories because they tend to elicit a large number of responses that violate commenting rules: Any crime story involving children; pornography; sexual assault and abuse; shooting and other weapons cases; pending criminal court cases; Crime Stoppers; and any fatality that doesn't have the victim identified...
Why don't you ban X user? Their conduct is unacceptable.
We only ban users after we have observed them repeatedly or flagrantly violating the commenting rules. If you do not like what someone is saying, we suggest you steer clear of them and not respond to their posts, or use the "report abuse" feature on specific posts where they are violating the rules.