Why does the Globe allow comments?
The Globe and Mail encourages readers to comment on almost all of its news stories and on its blogs because we believe there is value in getting feedback from readers -- both positive and negative. It helps further our goal of fostering a national debate on key issues, and also provides an avenue for readers to contribute information about news events that could help us in our reporting. Comments also help build valuable relationships between readers and our journalism.
How are comments moderated?
In most cases our comments are post-moderated, which means that we don't review them prior to posting them (although we use an automated filter to block offensive words). Instead, we do our best to remove comments that have been flagged by our readers as abusive or offensive or otherwise in breach of our terms and conditions in some way. Comments are not edited or changed in any way by Globe editors. If we remove a comment because it breaches our terms and conditions, an automated message appears saying that the user's comment "was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed." In some cases, repeat offenders may have their ability to access the Globe website restricted.
How do I report an offensive comment?
Unlike some websites that preview all of the comments before they are posted, we rely on you the reader to let us know when a comment is offensive or inappropriate in some way. You can do that by clicking on the "Report abuse" link, which is just below and to the right of each comment. Flagged comments go into a queue that is then reviewed by an editor, who decides whether the comment should be removed or not. Reviewing all of the flagged comments on the Globe website can take some time, so comments may not be removed immediately. In some cases, the editor may decide that the comment doesn't breach our terms and conditions, and will allow the comment to remain. If it is removed for breaching our rules, an automated message will appear saying "[Reader's] comment was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed." If you simply disagree with a commenter, please use the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons rather than flagging it as abusive.
When and why are comments removed?
We reserve the right to remove comments that are not in accordance with our terms and conditions and comments that a) include personal attacks on Globe journalists or other commenters; b) make false or unsubstantiated allegations; c) quote people or sources where the quote or fact is not known or easily verified; or d) include vulgar or hateful language or libelous statements, or comments that are legally questionable. Our editors and bloggers use their best judgment in making these determinations. We try to err on the side of maintaining a civil discussion, while at the same time fostering an atmosphere in which readers can have a stimulating debate on the issues of the day. Comments may also be removed if they are not relevant to the topic, if they contain advertising, "spam" or other commercial elements, or if the person posting the comment is impersonating someone else.
What if I change my mind after making a comment?
Our policy is not to remove published comments that otherwise meet our guidelines, except under extreme circumstances. Comments are published automatically, and aren't reviewed by an editor unless they are flagged as abusive by other readers. If you have posted a comment in error, the best approach is simply to post another comment explaining what you meant. If you make a direct appeal to have your comment removed because it could pose a threat to you in some way, we will consider the merits of your case and may remove it under certain circumstances. We do not control whether your comment is available via cache search results at Google or any other search engine.