This post has been updated.

We’re no longer gatekeepers, but we’re managers of a community.

We’re still moderating comments, but we need your help. See a comment that thoughtfully encourages conversation? Promote the comment by clicking on the “Like” button. See a comment that you feel breaks our rules? Flag it so we can take a look. That will help foster the kind of debate we (and hopefully you too) want to see at VOSD.

Here are some general guidelines (in part inspired by the good rules in place at The New York Times, The Guardian, Poynter, Mashable and NPR). Please let us know if you have any suggestions on how to improve:

1. Play nice please! Criticism in a comment is fine, whether you’re politely disagreeing with another commenter’s opinion, a politician’s policy or the journalist who wrote the story. And while people of differing opinions may disagree fiercely, we won’t ban someone from commenting just because you disagree with them.

2. We will delete comments that:

– include personal insults or attacks, lewd remarks, any hate speech or serious unsubstantiated accusations;

– accuse an individual or an organization of something illegal, criminal or possibly libelous; and

– feature spam, ads or copyrighted material beyond fair use that’s not yours.

(Update: We’ve added “lewd remarks” as the kind of comments we’ll remove.)

3. We still require real first and last names and contact information for folks to comment. If you don’t include that after we’ve asked you to, we’ll remove your account from commenting.

4. If you repeatedly violate our rules about commenting, we’ll remove your account from commenting.

5. We may repurpose with your real first and last name any comments in our stories, social media or other promotional material, or turn them into stand-alone commentaries. VOSD reporters may email you with follow-up questions if they are interested in contacting you for a story. Update to this guideline: We added “with your real first and last name”  to clarify how we will identify commenters when we repurpose comments.

6. If you comment on the site, other users can click on your screen name to see your full name.

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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