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Editing policy

May 19, 2007

Hello again,

Having recently been berated by a commenter for curtailing his post, I thought this would be a good time to explain my editing policy for comments left on this blog. Basically the...

...principle is the same for this site as for a newspaper that receives letters from readers. The editor decides what to publish.

I edit for three main reasons. Firstly, some 40 comments per day are related to entirely unsuitable adverts that sick minds try to get posted. These are removed along with other offensive comments. Next, I usually edit for length. The comments forum is not provided for people to publish full-length articles, although they can provide links to relevant URLs if they wish. Ideally a couple of paragraphs would be the maximum comment length. This is an issue of courtesy both to me as the author of the original article and to readers, who do not expect to find lengthy material to have to sift through in the comments section.

Thirdly, I remove any references to individuals or organisations if accusations and allegations are made. I understand that individuals may have justifiable grievances, but I am unable to tell if an accusation is well founded or not. To protect this site from potential libel cases, I will not refer to specific cases, persons or organisations that are clearly in dispute.

Some time ago I also used to correct obvious typing errors. I know that comments are often sent hastily and it is easy to make mistakes. I did this so that the commenter could save face: after all, as this site relates to English language teaching, there is an expectation that a certain standard of literacy is to be upheld. However, I was accused by one commenter of being “patronising” so I now leave the comments, warts and all.

When a topic generates a lot of response, then it is excellent to see a broad spectrum of opinions. I am certainly more than happy for people to disagree with me, but I reserve my right to my own opinion, just as I respect the right of others to differ. However, arguments that involve trading insults will be removed. I don’t think this policy differs very much from that applied to similar blogs. The principles seem to me be to based on common sense and basic politeness.

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