As a newspaper with a legacy well over a century, we deeply value the conversations our content sparks amongst our readership. We welcome readers to be as critical or as admiring as they like and though our readers don’t always agree, we encourage healthy debates in the comments sections. But like most major publications, we do not condone the use of racism or hate speech against any people or nationality on our site—ever. While the conversation is yours, the platform is ours. So to weed out trolling on our site, we moderate (approve or reject) every comment that gets submitted before it goes live.
Please bear in mind that our editors are not moderating your comments so that we can “censor” your opinions. We moderate to create a healthy space for dialogue to occur. This is why it is so important that whenever you leave a comment on our site, you provide us with a real email address. It will be invisible to everyone but our staff, but if, for some reason, your comment is not approved by our moderating team, it allows us to get in touch with you and explain to you where you might have gone wrong.
For those who want to ensure their comments pass moderation and don’t fall into a black hole of interstellar nothingness the first time around, we recommend you follow the following list of guidelines (adapted from The Guardian’s site):
1. Be Relevant
Discuss the story and stay on topic. If your comment is completely out-of-nowhere and off topic, or appears to contain commercial messages, it will be discarded as spam.
2. Be Respectful
Keep things civil. Avoid abusive or offensive language, threats, hate speech, libel, and calls for violence. And please, don’t make jokes about the misfortune of others. Imagine it was your loved one in the story and show some restraint.
3. Be Responsible
Think about what you’ve written before hitting that “Post Comment” button. And help us moderate by flagging comments that violate these guidelines.
4. Be Reasonable
Other readers may disagree with your ideas, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s the point. Disagreement in the comments section should never lead to verbal warfare. Even if you think the ideas of the author or of other commenters are absurd, please be reasonable. There are real people on the other side of the screen. You can—and should—disagree with them respectfully.
5. The Armenian Genocide Is Not up for Debate
While we are a platform for many differing voices and opinions to debate their stance and thoughts, as an official publication of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Eastern United States, there are certain issues on which we will not budge. One of those is the Armenian Genocide. The very existence of our publication is a testament to the residual scars of genocide on the Armenian Diaspora. Like one would not expect a Jewish newspaper to tolerate Holocaust denialism on its site, we similarly do not feel that the comments sections of our articles are a useful place to engage denialist rhetoric.
Our Armenian language predecessor, the Hairenik Weekly, served as a bulletin board for Armenians searching for their loved ones lost during the ethnic cleansing that took place in the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the century (i.e. the Armenian Genocide). If you need more proof that it happened, our site is brimming with it. But if you expect us to validate comments that seek to disprove this fundamental truth or argue that it “wasn’t actually genocide,” well, you’re barking up the wrong tree…
For more answers to frequently asked questions about moderation, please see our Reader FAQ.