Comment Policy

Preface

Effective Date: 2015 February 15

We aim to make chinaSMACK a unique, interesting, and objective resource for anyone who wants to learn more about modern Chinese society, especially through its internet trends, culture, and population. Therefore, we encourage you to discuss our articles and constructively contribute any additional information or insights related to the article’s subject matter that you might have.

To maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is free and open while remaining accessible and enjoyable, we also have a comment policy. This policy has evolved several times over the years in response to trends in our community, and this page will always display our current policy.

Our community includes people of all nationalities, genders, ages, backgrounds, and perspectives. Assume that everyone else on our site is also trying to make it a great resource for observation, learning, and discussion. Please be civil, considerate, and respectful towards each other. Encourage others to be welcoming, sincere, and measured in their interactions with both new commenters and veteran community members.

Commenting is a privilege, not a right. This is a shared space, and a community is a fragile thing.


Commenting Basics

If you log in with a valid social network account, or a Disqus account with a verified email address, your comments will be immediately published and publicly visible.

Alternatively, you may choose to comment as a guest, in which case your comment must be manually approved by a moderator before it appears publicly.


Comment Policy Violations

We believe most people have the common sense to know what sort of speech and behaviors are impolite and uncivil. In other words, “don’t be a jerk” to others. Although you are largely anonymous and safe behind your computer, avoid saying or doing things you would not say or do offline in the real world. Remember, our community has all sorts of people, so be considerate of them.

In general, violations involve being disrespectful, dishonest, or disruptive. Below are a few we want to emphasize:

Do not spam commercial or advertising messages.

Do not flood the comments by repeatedly posting the same or similar comment.

Do not impersonate others, by pretending to be someone or something you are not, to mislead others.

Do not engage in sockpuppetry, by using multiple identities and aliases, again to mislead others. This includes manipulating upvotes and downvotes.

Do not troll, by deliberately posting inflammatory comments with the intent to anger, harass, or otherwise elicit a negative emotional reaction from others.

Do not circumvent our moderation, by reposting comments that have been removed or trying to get around a ban. See below for appeals and false positives.

Do not make petty insults, personal attacks, or threats. We are all strangers sharing a public forum. Disagreement and debate is encouraged, and it can be done in a civil way that does not involve disparaging or hostile language that discourages, intimidates, or bullies other people from participating.

We understand people may be passionate about their beliefs and opinions, and can be become frustrated or lose their temper over differences and disagreements, especially in an impersonal, anonymous, online environment. Moderators will consider context and endeavor to be lenient when it comes to minor and infrequent lapses, especially if it is followed up with apologies, a return to civility, and is not a persistent pattern of behavior.

Please note that someone else violating our comment policy is not an acceptable justification for anyone else to violate our comment policy. Retaliation or “fighting fire with fire” is not okay.

We want the comments section to be a place where people can be exposed to different perspectives, exchange points, challenge positions, make arguments, and even conclude to disagree in a mature, mutually respectful way. The purpose of the comments section is to share, consider, and reflect upon information.

We do not want people flaming each other, nursing petty grudges, and generally creating a hostile environment that alienates new readers and would-be commenters.


Flagging Comment Policy Violations

If you notice a comment in violation of our comment policy, consider politely reminding that commenter with a reply. We would rather our community moderate itself instead of relying on moderators to police everyone. It is better and healthier in the long run for our peers to discourage our uncivil behavior than to appeal to higher “authorities”. We would like members of our community to hold themselves and each other accountable.

Flag as inappropriate.

If a violation is serious, you can flag a comment as inappropriate by moving your mouse over the top-right corner of the comment and then clicking on the “Flag as inappropriate” button. A moderator will be notified and will review the flagged comment as soon as they can.

Alternatively, you can contact us directly. Please copy and paste the direct link to the offending comment, which you can obtain through the “link” button in the “Share” feature under each comment. Reporting a comment this way allows you to explain why you think it is in violation of our comment policy, and get a response from a moderator.

Please give our moderators reasonable time to review the flagged or reported comments, which they may or may not agree is in violation of our comment policy. Note also that older comments made before our current policy may be exempted.

Finally, please do not abuse this feature of flagging or reporting comments. Those who do so may be banned.


Consequences for Violations

Comments in violation of our comment policy may be removed.

Commenters in repeat or gross violation of our comment policy may be banned from commenting entirely.


Appeals of Removals or Bans

Please contact us directly (be sure to check your Spam folder for replies). Appeals or complaints posted in the comments will be evidence of you intentionally circumventing our moderation. They will not be answered and will be removed.

Moderators do not ban commenters rashly and make every effort to review a person’s comment history and pattern of behavior before making a decision. A ban is not an indictment of your entire person or contributions to the community, but it does mean you’ve in some way become too detrimental to the community we are trying to maintain and foster.

If you’ve been banned and you suspect you know why, it is often best to submit an appeal acknowledging this and expressing a commitment to refrain from further violations. We believe people who maturely take responsibility for their mistakes deserve another chance.


False Positives

Due to the nature of the internet and our moderation tools, it is possible for you to suddenly be blocked from commenting as a “false positive”. A “false positive” means you are not actually banned but you are triggering a block in our system. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact us directly with your account name and/or email address and we will investigate. If it turns out you are indeed not banned, we will assist you in a fixing the issue so you can comment again. Thank you for your understanding.