CAR Online has a reputation for intelligent, friendly and informed debate – both in our forum and on the comments attached to each story. However, a minority of users has recently dragged the standard of conversation down, ruining the enjoyment of the majority. Today we launch new guidelines so our users know the ground rules; we hope to moderate more effectively and introduce a new three-strikes-and-you're-out-rule.
'We have to act to protect CAR Online's quality debate,' said associate editor Tim Pollard. 'Typically 99% of the comments and debate in our forum and article pages are of a remarkably high quality. Considering we have half a million people using our website every month, I'm routinely amazed by the widespread intelligence, courteousness and good humour of the majority of our posters. But there are a few bad apples who are ruining the debate. The time has come to clamp down on this behaviour.
'If you want to come and talk about cars in a friendly, knowledgeable and informed environment, you are welcome at CAR Online. If you want to attack fellow posters, voice extreme views and generally abuse other car enthusiasts and sling your weight around, then you should go elsewhere. From today we – with the help of our tireless community moderators – will be moderating more effectively, warning offenders and striking them off if they persist. I must stress this only applies to a very small number of users who are ruining the debate for the majority.'
General guidelines for debate on CAR Online:
• While debating and discussion is fine, we will not tolerate rudeness, insulting posts, personal attacks or purposeless inflammatory posts
• CAR Online has a zero tolerance policy on swearing (even using asterisks) or material that abuses religious beliefs, is racist or libellous
• We reserve the right to remove offensive posts without notice. Our decision is final
• We aim to remove all posts that breach our rules. Sufficiently serious breaches will incur an official warning. On the third official warning, we will ban that user
• Advertising, spamming and trolling is not allowed on the forum or article pages
• Each member is allowed one log-in account. Registering with multiple accounts is not allowed and we will summarily close down any shadow accounts we discover
• While we are quite happy to have constructive comparative conversations about competitor's products, we will not tolerate blatant adverts
• We also reserve the right to ban anyone who wilfully violates the forum rules
• Discussion of illegal activities such as software and music piracy and other intellectual property violations are not allowed.
• Also while these rules cover most common situations, they cannot anticipate everything. Consequently we reserve the right to take any actions we deem appropriate to ensure these forums are not disrupted or abused in any way.
If you encounter any breaches of our guidelines, please use the Report offensive post button visible to registered users on each article page. There are now tens of thousands of pages on CAR Online and it's impossible for us to moderate every comment 24/7. This will help us investigate each complaint and act accordingly.
UPDATE 22 January 2010: Reporting an offensive post
Report offensive post is instantaneous if you are on a PC and using outlook, it opens automatically and posts the details of the message in the email, then just click send.
However it appears this is not the case for everyone at this stage i would imagine it is dependent on your email client, browser or even whether you are using a pc or Mac. So for those who are incurring issues please send to the helpdesk (email@example.com) with a screen grab and or copy and paste of the date and time of offensive post.
As soon as i have any news on why this happens i will inform you all.
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