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‘Lack of civility’ on comment thread sees The Conversation lay down guidelines

ConversationAcademic journalism website The Conversation has launched a set of community standards to raise the level of discussion in its comment thread.

Cory Zanoni has been hired by the not-for-profit website to moderate reader’s comments and develop the guidelines, which were published today.

“We want The Conversation to be a place for intelligent discussion and we think there’s more we can do to achieve that,” Zanoni said in an email to readers announcing his appointment.

In today’s newsletter he said his hire came after readers and editors raised concerns there was a “lack of civility” in many of the comment threads, and he would closely moderate comments as well as develop the guidelines with user feedback.

The community standards published today include:

  • Don’t attack people and don’t respond to attacks
  • Keep your posts on topic and constructive
  • Take responsibility for the quality of the conversations you take part in
  • Above all, respect others and their opinions

Comments deemed unconstructive will be deleted from the site, such as posts saying “this article sucks” rather than “I disagree with this article because…”

“Back up your ideas with evidence and fact where possible,” the website states. “Ask any questions you have for the author or your fellow commenters. Aim to add a new idea to each approach rather than repeating what’s already been said. Move on if things get stuck. We’ll distinguish between constructive comments and smear campaigns.”

Commenters are required to provide their real names on the website.

Zanoni asked readers to contact him as the standards are iteritive and will be developed with their feedback.

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