Thank you for checking out these guidelines for commenting on our website.
We invite all our readers to contribute to the comment stream as we want to encourage wide debate on our stories and the issues affecting general practice and the health sector.
We have made it easy for our subscribers to comment on articles and blogs. The website is mostly behind a paywall. For this reason, and because we have a very small editorial team, we do not moderate comments. They appear online as soon as they are posted.
If you post a comment you will be required to use your real name (first initial, last name is okay). Pseudonyms and anonymous postings are not allowed.
This is a change from a policy we introduced in September 2014 when we encouraged people to use their names but also allowed the use of “anon”.
We know it is possible to work around using real names (including using plausible but fake names) and we won’t have the resources to routinely chase this up. We’ll be taking it on trust.
We will no longer allow direct posting of anonymous comments. If you have a comment to make and want to remain anonymous you should email the editor or content manager.
We will weigh the costs and benefits of anonymous comments, what they add to the discussion relative to what is lost by anonymity.
The sensible stuff
- Make your case as vigorously as possible without being rude.
- Keep your comments on topic and of a reasonable length so others will read them.
- If you’re feeling especially emotional about an issue, take a breath before posting.
- We will sometimes pop in and correct spelling and grammar if it gets a bit messy but otherwise your comment will appear as you have typed it. There is a preview button.
The sterner stuff
- Do not use swear words
- Do not use language or make comments that can be considered discriminatory on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, nationality, disability, etc.
- Your comments must not contain defamatory, obscene, pornographic, or otherwise illegal material.
- Do not make personal attacks, insults or threats.
- Putting whole words or sentences in CAPITAL letters is considered shouting when used online in comments. This is unacceptable.
- If you have a business, please do not use the forums to try to slip in free advertising.
Commenters who breach these rules will be placed on a watchlist and their comments will be moderated.
And to finish
We may take the opportunity to contact you directly if your comment raises issues we would like to follow up as part of the newsgathering process. We may also publish your comment in theNew Zealand Doctornewspaper.
We hope you take up the opportunity to debate with our readers and we look forward to reading your comments.
If you spot activity you believe violates our guidelines, please let us know. Contact the content manager [email@example.com]
Barbara Fountain, Editor