Hey y’all,

One of the things we’ve been most proud of at JJP is the engaged and intelligent community that has grown here over the past four years. Due to resource constraints and a high level of trust, we have never formally declared a standard for posting comments nor what would get people blocked. After careful consideration over the past year, however, we have decided to make these guidelines transparent.
In this post, we are proposing a set of community standards which we will enforce in the comments section. We would like your input on these before they go into full effect and will accept feedback for one week (until Friday August 20th). If you don’t feel comfortable posting your feedback as a comment, please email jjpolitics at gmail.com.
While these standards are under your consideration, everyone who received a warning or suspension recently is being given a clean slate. Karla O. has been deputized to help monitor comments starting Monday. You may receive a message from her, reminding you to review and observe the community standards and guidelines while they are pending.
We’ve been disappointed in the level of abuse that occasionally happens in the comments, and we regularly get complaints from readers about personal attacks and language. It makes all of us look bad to have that type of discourse, and we know it can and has scared off those who want to participate.

For most violations, folks will receive a warning before other action is taken.

In order to maintain respectful and informative discussions, we expect everyone, posters included, to uphold JJP community standards when posting comments. In addition to the built-in flagging feature of Disqus, we’ve set up a form for you to report those who do not adhere to our community guidelines: http://bit.ly/jjp_cmty_standards

A lot of people are watching us, and we want to hold ourselves and our community to the highest standards for black thought & discourse. We hope you’ll support us in that endeavor — your help is greatly appreciated.

If you receive one or more complaints from the community or if you step outside the community guidelines, you will receive one public warning (unless otherwise noted below) if you violate any of the standards below prior to a suspension of your ability to comment. If you’ve been suspended and you commit a subsequent violation, you will be banned.

Comments are currently moderated using the following guidelines:
  • Language: We understand you’re passionate. So are we. However, please express yourself respectfully. Comments containing excessive profanity will not be tolerated.
  • Personal Attacks: Disagreement with someone’s comment does not justify attacks based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, gender, etc. Threats of violence will not be tolerated and will result in immediate banning. Avoid unnecessary conflict by using “I” statements and avoiding generalizations about entire communities.
  • SPAM: Spam is not just links to a shady dating site. Off-topic comments in general will be considered as Spam and promptly deleted. Please stay on topic and avoid comment-spamming. If there is a tangential topic or different topic you’d like to see JJP discuss, you can always use the contact information (on the About Us page) to reach out to the bloggers, and we have open threads which will remain open for almost any topic of interest to a blog about politics from an African-American perspective.
  • Manners: Condescending remarks are not conducive to fruitful discussions, particularly when discussing politics, race, etc. Let’s encourage diversity of thought and opinion without imposing personal ideologies. There’s a difference between pushing back to challenge someone’s premise, argument or assertion and dissing someone’s mama’s breath and/or booty.
  • Conspiracy Theories & Trolls: Negative nonsense such as (but not limited to) flaming, trolling and threadjacking will be discouraged. Misleading activities related to online identities including (but not limited to) sockpuppeting, meatpuppeting, and astroturfing, are also prohibited. Please take responsibility for familiarizing yourself with these terms using the provided links. Our community goal is encouraging authentic and focused discussion that does not go off into unproductive tangents.
  • Comment Length: We love to hear what you have to say – but we ask that you please limit your comments to a reasonable length (no more than several paragraphs, please!) for a public forum. We’d like everyone to have a chance to comment without being intimidated or “out-commented” by dominant voices.
  • “Fair Use”: Do not copy and paste entire articles from other sources. We know you love JJP and don’t want to cause us a ‘Copyright Infringement’ headache. Instead, provide a link of the article’s URL with a nice little description of its contents.
Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in a probationary period for the commenter — suspension for a week or more — and/or banning if such behavior continues. Comment suspension or banning is at the sole discretion of the moderators, which include all the front page bloggers of JJP and their delegates. If you would like to request an appeal of your suspension or ban, please email jjpolitics at gmail.com and we’ll give your request our consideration.

Honestly, this move is long overdue. Our site has grown so quickly that we could barely keep up. So to those who are thinking, “finally!”, we apologize for the delay and hope these new standards & guidelines keep the discussions at a level where we can all be proud.
For those of you concerned about these proposed standards, please know that we are not interested in wasting our time being thought police, censoring ideas we merely disagree with. We want different opinions aired in the comments. We want to be challenged. The Internet’s been around for a while, and we all should have thick skin by now. At the same time, we want to avoid some of the nastier and distracting exchanges we’ve seen, and this is our attempt to raise the bar.
Thanks, Jack and Jill & all the bloggers at Jack and Jill Politics.
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