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Here’s the good news!
- You can interact without fear of abuse, insults or personal attacks.
- And we don’t take kindly to defamatory comments.
- We don’t like trolls and will try to remove all trolling posts.
- Our site is free of foul language, as well as inappropriate and illegal material.
- We don’t let random businesses advertise or spam you.
- And we avoid getting bogged down in “religious” debates that can’t be won because this is just not the forum to be debating philosophical stuff!
But please remember
- There’s a process for moderator complaints, and it’s the only way to get your grievance heard by the Pod moderators. Simply email email@example.com and let us know your needs.
The following general guidelines are adapted for The Pod from Netiquette
Remember your audience — present and future!
Be aware that a large audience might see your post, and your words may come back to haunt you. That audience might potentially include past, present and future employers; staff at your place of study; friends; family; etc. And unlike the spoken word, your written posts will exist on Whirlpool for a long time.
Challenge arguments, not people! What is Defamation?
Do not attack other people, attack their argument — and this does not mean changing “you are an idiot” into “your comments are idiotic”. If you take issue with someone else’s position, try to explain why you disagree with them in a polite and professional manner, providing suitable supporting evidence as required.
Defamation is a communication (written or spoken words, pictures, graphics, gestures, etc) from one person to another that lowers or harms the reputation of an identifiable third person where the communicator (the publisher) has no lawful defence. The law of defamation aims to balance free speech with the right of an individual to enjoy a reputation free from an indefensible attack. It can have legal ramifications.
The key issue in a defamation action is damage to a person’s reputation. The test of whether a communication is defamatory is: ‘Does the communication lower/harm the plaintiff’s reputation, hold the plaintiff up to ridicule, or lead others to shun and avoid the plaintiff?’ This is judged from the viewpoint of ‘ordinary reasonable people in the community in general’ and in light of contemporary standards.
The meaning that is argued over (the ‘imputation’) might not be what the communicator meant to convey. The court will look at what it considers the ordinary reader or viewer could have understood the communication to mean. This may differ from what both the plaintiff and the defendant think.
Even if something is, at first glance, defamatory, there are several important defences under the law of defamation. In the main, these defences include (but aren’t limited to):
- Honest opinion (previously known as fair comment)
- Fair reporting
- Innocent dissemination
Before you Post
- Consider the context of what you are saying. What meanings arise? Might they be defamatory? Try to put yourself in the position of potential plaintiffs.
- Check who is identified. Just because you refer to someone by their Pod user name doesn’t mean there aren’t people who know the real identity behind the user name.
- What defences might be relevant? If it is meant to be comment, ensure that it is clearly identified as such (for example by adding “In my opinion …” and that the facts on which it is based are stated or obvious). Try to focus on issues rather than personalities.
Intolerance and Vilification
The Pod forum is open to everyone as a paying member.
As such intolerance or vilification of other people’s race, culture, beliefs, height, weight, hair colour, IQ, gender, physical or mental conditions, shoe size, sexual preference / orientation, religion, age, etc is unacceptable.
Breaching this rule will attract a Zero Tolerance response from The Pod Moderators.