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Community Guidelines

The online community at exists to provide a platform for people to express their views on the stories making news headlines in our region. This community is shaped by the people who have a voice here. It is everyone’s responsibility to make it a place for intelligent, insightful and entertaining conversation. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, so please debate the issues fairly and be constructive. In short, no profanity, no insults.

How do I post a comment on a story?

You must be logged in to Facebook using your Facebook credentials and your real name to post a comment. Facebook accounts using fake names will be banned from commenting. To access the comments page of an article, click the comment count at the top or bottom of an article. Type your comment into the box and when you are satisfied with the content, click ‘submit’.

How are comments moderated?’s commenting platform is moderated by staff and the community of readers. This approach aims to elevate the tone of conversations. If a problematic comment slips through moderation, users can alert our moderators by flagging the comment. 

Certain subjects — race, immigration, religion and sexual identity among them — unfortunately attract a high number of offensive and abusive comments that could be potentially libelous for this news organization. For these reasons, we may choose to close comments pre-emptively.

When and why are comments closed?

1.    Legal reasons: If comments breach a publication ban when the story involves a trial, crime or other legal case, or when comments contain information that could put at legal risk, comments will not be opened at the time the story is posted. An accompanying message will also be posted explaining why comments have been closed.

2.    Abuse: If comments regarding a particularly contentious issue are offensive, vulgar, racist and/or libelous, comments will be closed. An accompanying message will be posted explaining that comments on the story "have been closed because an overwhelming number of readers were making statements that could be considered offensive, libelous, untrue or vulgar."

What kinds of comments are removed?

•    Personal attacks: Name calling, threats and verbal abuse directed at another individual will not be tolerated. Comments will be removed. The offending commenter may be banned from commenting in the future.
•    Profanity: Keep it clean. Opinions can be expressed without foul language.
•    Spam: Multiple messages promoting commercial entities or competing media sites will be removed.
•    Trolling: Commenters will be banned if there is an attempt to derail a conversation or post inflammatory comments. Please stay relevant and on topic.
•    Racism, sexism and other discrimination: Attacking an individual or group of people for their gender, gender identity or expression, race, culture or belief(s) will not be tolerated.
•    Illegal activities: Libelous statements or comments that include false or unsubstantiated allegations will be removed.
•    Offensive usernames: If your username includes words that are offensive or abusive, your account will be blocked.

Can I delete my comment?

You can delete your comment at any time by clicking the ‘delete’ icon just below your comment.

How does determine if commenters are using their real names?

We encourage readers who post comments to use their real name, but verifying commenters are using their actual legal name when posting would be onerous and ineffective. Readers are encouraged to flag comments by those using names that appear to be fake. When our moderators encounter a name that appears not to be real, a message will be sent to the commenter advising them their account appears to be fake and advising them the account has been banned.

Do reporters and writers read and respond to comments? journalists will respond to queries and/or concerns when time and situation allows. 

I can’t see my comment - what happened?

Try to sort comments by ‘newest first’, your comment should be at the top. If your comment has disappeared it is likely that it was rejected by moderators or by a moderator because it violated our guidelines.

What other comment features are available?
•    Replies to comments: you can reply to other users’ comments by using the ‘reply’ icon under each comment.
•    Share: you have the option to share the conversation via a link. Just click the down facing arrow at the top right corner of a comment and select ‘share’.


The views expressed in the comments of this site do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of, its staff or contributors. reserves the right to ban any commenter. 

About this document

These guidelines have been created by members of our editorial staff, including the managing editor, reporters, and members of the community, incorporating feedback from our moderators and users.