[Adapted from the Guardian Unlimited]
Serious Eats provides a number of opportunities for people to interact with each other around content published on our site. These areas include discussions related to specific blog posts as well as our talk boards. Our aim is to ensure that this community is inclusive and safe, as well as being a platform for vibrant discussion. We want Serious Eats to be a place where you will always find lively, entertaining and, above all, intelligent discussions about food.
There are 10 guidelines we would like you to be aware of, and which we expect all participants in the community areas of Serious Eats to abide by:
- We welcome hearty debate and dissent, but the key to maintaining Serious Eats as an inviting space is focusing on intelligent, insightful and passionate discussion of issues.
- Please respect other people's views and beliefs. We understand that people often feel strongly about things, but we will consider removing any content that other members might find extremely offensive or threatening. We actively discourage obscenity and mindless abuse. Personal attacks on other members have no place in an intelligent discussion.
- We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or content that could be interpreted as such. We recognize the difference between criticizing a particular government, organization, community or belief and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
- We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like. Our aim is that Serious Eats provide a space for people to interact with our content and each other, and we frown on commercial entities passing themselves off as individuals.
- We frown upon egregious and excessive self-linking and will remove the offending URLs/links. Random off-topic insertions of self-links into other posts are discouraged and will be removed. Self-linking is something the Serious Eats community feels very strongly about. To be clear, including a link to your own site in a comment is OK provided that it has some relevance to the topic being discussed and is not your only form of site participation and is not an obvious attempt to drive traffic to your site.
- We will remove any content that may put us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libelous or defamatory postings, or which is posted in potential breach of copyright.
- Think before you press the Publish button. Remember that this is a public forum, and your words will be archived on this site and available for anyone to find for a long time — the web has a very long memory.
- Keep it relevant. The vast majority of conversations on Serious Eats relate to a specific blog post or topic within a Talk board. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is completely unrelated to the original topic then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track.
- The platform is ours, but the conversation belongs to everybody. We want this to be a welcoming space for intelligent discussion, and we expect participants to help us achieve this by notifying us of potential problems and helping each other to keep conversations inviting and intelligent.
- And remember... Text isn't always a great medium for conversation. Remember that tone of voice — sarcasm, humor and so on — doesn't always come across when using words on a screen. Be aware that you may be misunderstood, so try to be clear about what you are saying, and expect that people may understand your contribution differently than you intended.
In short, if you act with maturity and consideration for other members, you should have no problems.
Our team is empowered to help create and maintain a healthy and positive environment. Above all, we reserve the right to take steps or implement measures which we think will benefit the whole community of Serious Eats.
Interaction with members
In addition to the above, there are seven main ways we interact with people participating in conversations within Serious Eats.
- We deal with problems as we are made aware of them. At the bottom of every page there is a link that members can click to send a message to notify us about a potential problem. We urge you to use this feature to make us aware of issues which may go against our community participation guidelines (eg something offensive, or a personal attack on another member). When we share the responsibility for maintaining an appropriate environment, by getting members to notify us about problems, everyone benefits.
- We will, when necessary, remove some postings or comments from our Talk section and blog posts. If a contribution to Serious Eats is perceived as breaching the community guidelines set out above, then it will be moderated. We believe it is the best way to keep the tone of Serious Eats right for the vast majority of the people who visit.
- When only part of a post or comment is causing an issue, we will very occasionally remove the troublesome chunk while leaving the rest of the comment or post intact. We will never edit a post to change the meaning, spelling, or anything else intended by the member. We will only do this if removing the whole comment would seem heavy-handed.
- Sometimes, when a comment or post is removed, it is necessary to delete subsequent messages which refer to explicitly or quote from the original (deleted) comment, in order to preserve some notion of conversational thread. This may also happen because a later comment quotes directly the problematic bits of the original comment, which just perpetuates the problem.
- When a comment or talk board discussion gets extremely long, we may leave a warning in the thread and suggest that the conversation be restarted elsewhere where possible. This is because long threads slow the system down for everyone. We may also do this when conversations stray wildly off-track. Shortly after the posted warning, the thread may be closed and/or deleted. Long discussions or messages will be removed at the editor's discretion.
- Moderation is more than just dealing with problems. Sometimes we'll join a comment thread or talk topic to help focus (or refocus) the discussion, or to get people talking.
In short, our overarching aim is never to curtail conversation, but to create and maintain a pleasant and welcoming environment for everyone.
If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of community participation on Serious Eats, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.