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David Lee King

Community Discussion Guidelines for our Digital Branch



Remember my post from last summer about comments at my library’s website? Here’s a follow-up post to that earlier discussion.

Because of all those comments (some of which were mean, snarky and personal), we needed a good, fair, “official” way to deal with them. So I started poking around other websites with commenting policies and guidelines, and came up with a library version of commenting guidelines.

I ended up adapting ours from NPR’s Community Discussion Rules. Want to see a whole bunch of these? Check out  the Online Database of Social Media Policies – good stuff.

Our discussion guidelines are posted (via a link) beside the comment box on each page of our website. Here’s what it says:

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Community Discussion Guidelines:

Here are some guidelines to posting comments and content at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s digital branch. The goal? To help you have fun!

We encourage comments:

  • We want to hear from you! Please post comments, questions, and other thoughts … as you think them. That’s what we’re here for.
  • Stay on Topic – stick to the subject and issues raised by the post, not the person who made it or others that commented on it
  • 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.
  • If you can’t be polite, don’t say it. Respect is the name of the game.  You must respect your fellow commenters.

Some Don’ts:

  • Don’t post copyrighted materials (articles, videos, audio, etc) that you do not have permission to reproduce or distribute.
  • Don’t post content that installs viruses, worms, malware, trojans, etc.
  • Don’t post content that is obscene, libelous, defamatory or hateful
  • Don’t post spam
  • Don’t post personal, real-life information such as home addresses and home phone numbers.

What will we do?

  • We’ll respond to comments, answer questions, and provide suggestions as appropriate.
  • Sometimes we’ll join a comment thread to help focus (or refocus) the discussion, or to get people talking.
  • If you break one of the guidelines above (or come close to it), we’ll email you and ask you to stop. We might also post a reminder to the discussion. If it continues, we will delete your comments and block you from posting.
  • We will remove any posts that are obviously commercial or otherwise spam-like.
  • We will remove content that puts us in legal jeopardy, such as potentially libelous or defamatory postings, or material posted in potential breach of copyright.
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Does your library or organization have similar policies or guidelines? Drop a link to them in the comments!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Melissa

    Have you seen the Air Force’s Blog Assessment Tool? I learned about this from Meg Canada. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/12/31/diagram-how-the-air-force-response-to-blogs/

  • Melissa

    Have you seen the Air Force’s Blog Assessment Tool? I learned about this from Meg Canada. http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/12/31/diagram-how-the-air-force-response-to-blogs/

  • Liam Hegarty

    I have a problem with “hateful” in that one person’s hateful is another person’s snarky or whatever. “obscene, libelous, defamatory” have legal definitions, thereby leaving the library open to legal action if they are published… I think. Hateful is too vague.

  • Liam Hegarty

    I have a problem with “hateful” in that one person’s hateful is another person’s snarky or whatever. “obscene, libelous, defamatory” have legal definitions, thereby leaving the library open to legal action if they are published… I think. Hateful is too vague.

  • http://josephsandersmorgan.com/neolib Joe Morgan

    Just curious? How often do you need to take action on comments? I’ve always wondered whether libraries have the possibility of becoming home for trolls like . . .oh I don’t know. . .newspaper sites.

  • http://josephsandersmorgan.com/neolib Joe Morgan

    Just curious? How often do you need to take action on comments? I’ve always wondered whether libraries have the possibility of becoming home for trolls like . . .oh I don’t know. . .newspaper sites.

  • David Lee King

    Joe – this version of our website has been up for 19 months, and I’ve only had to take action twice – so not too often, thankfully.

  • David Lee King

    Joe – this version of our website has been up for 19 months, and I’ve only had to take action twice – so not too often, thankfully.

  • http://www.library.nashville.org/ Pam Reese

    Ours is short and sweet:
    Be nice. Be on topic.
    All new comments are currently reviewed prior to posting.
    The following things are uncool, and will be removed:
    • Obscene or racist content; insults or threatening language
    • Comments or links totally unrelated to the discussion
    • Commercial promotions, political activity, or spam

  • http://www.library.nashville.org Pam Reese

    Ours is short and sweet:
    Be nice. Be on topic.
    All new comments are currently reviewed prior to posting.
    The following things are uncool, and will be removed:
    • Obscene or racist content; insults or threatening language
    • Comments or links totally unrelated to the discussion
    • Commercial promotions, political activity, or spam

  • webroyalty

    such a nice posting ,this is a real good page

    http://www.webroyalty.com

  • Sweetflora20

    the first i hate and i ll 2,3 times in discussion that why people can not continue there topic why the left topic and just speak useless things

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