Forum Etiquette & Moderation
This website is moderated by the Government of Alberta in collaboration with an expert global moderation team from Bang the Table.
The Government of Alberta adheres to the government’s social media comment and general use policy when moderating this website, which can be reviewed at the social media commenting rules site.
Bang the Table’s moderators provide multilingual moderation support to ensure participants, site administrators, and third-parties are safe from malicious, inflammatory and illegal materials.
Bang the Table’s role in moderation of this site is to ensure that contributions are reviewed and assessed in an impartial manner according to the rules outlined below.
This policy covers the following:
This policy covers the following;
Usernames - which are submitted by participants during the registration process as a way to identify themselves in public facing activities, are approved in accordance with the username rules set out below:
- Usernames should not be defamatory, obscene or include language which could be deemed offensive. This includes the creative use of characters and symbols to hide explicit content;
- Users must not masquerade as other members of the public, elected officials, moderators, site administrators or employees of the Government of Alberta. If you are found to be impersonating someone else you may face sanctions;
- Usernames must not be a URL or web address;
- Using your username for activism purposes is fine as long as it doesn’t breach any of the above. Ie. savethereef or trains-not-traffic.
If you breach any of the above username rules upon registering for this site the following will occur:
- Username change – Bang the Table’s moderation team reviews every username submitted to this site via registration. If they deem your username to be in breach of the above rules they will change your username and inform you this has occurred. You can later change your username to something within the rules via your participant profile;
- Temporary Suspension - a participant who repeatedly and flagrantly changes their username in breach of the above rules may be suspended from access to the website for a period of up to one week. The period will reflect both the severity and consistency of the breach;
- Permanent Blocking - a participant who continues to violate the username rules following reinstatement after a period of suspension may have their access to the website permanently blocked.
All public facing contributions - that is, contributions that can be seen by other website users - are moderated in accordance with the moderation rules set out below.
- Never post personal information about yourself or another participant. This includes identifying any individual by their real name if they have not already done so, or providing personal contact information;
- Never identify a staff member of the Government of Alberta by name;
- Don't defame anyone or any organisation. A comment is defamatory if it lowers or harms the reputation of a person or organisation. If you wish to insult anyone, this is not the place to do it. If you wish to accuse anyone of wrongdoing or incompetence, this is not the place to do it;
- Don't post anything that could be considered intolerant of a person's race, culture, appearance, gender, sexual preference, religion or age;
- Don't be obscene and don't use foul language. Lots of people from different backgrounds participate on this website. We want them to be able to continue to do so from home, work, school, university or wherever they may be. Disguising swear words by deliberately misspelling them doesn't make them any less offensive;
- Don't personally insult or harass other participants. Always focus on the logic of the argument rather than the individuals involved in the argument. Participants are entitled to choose not to enter into debate with you;
- Don't post or link to any inappropriate, offensive or illegal material. Don't post any advertisements;
- Don’t promote self-harm, suicide, violence or criminal activity of any kind;
- The use of emoji or images to convey inappropriate meaning consistent with the rules outlined above will also be moderated;
- Ensure comments seek to address the topic or focus of the engagement activity at hand. Users which intentionally distract from or ignore the discussion topic may have their comments treated as off-topic and removed;
- Please don't raise concerns about the moderation on the site as it disrupts the flow of any discussion. Please direct any queries regarding moderation directly to the contact person identified for an engagement, or the moderation team at email@example.com.
Breaches of the moderation rules will be dealt with as follows:
- Removal of comment - any comment that, in the view of the moderator, breaches the rules will be removed;
- Temporary Suspension - a participant who repeatedly and flagrantly flouts the moderation rules may be suspended from access to the website for a period of up to one week. The period will reflect both the severity and consistency of the breach;
- Permanent Blocking - a participant who continues to violate the moderation rules following reinstatement after a period of suspension may have their access to the website permanently blocked;
- Automatic Blocking - a participant who posts or links to inappropriate, offensive or illegal material will be immediately blocked from the site.
The following are not enforceable rules, rather they are suggestions about etiquette to help keep the website respectful and constructive:
- It's a good idea to read through the information on the site and the other participant comments before getting involved in the discussion yourself;
- Always respect the views of other participants even if they don't agree with you;
- Be constructive. It's okay to disagree with other forum participants, in fact we encourage debate, just keep the dialogue positive;
- Always keep things civil. We recognize that this can be difficult sometimes, especially when you are passionate about an issue, but it is important to keep the discussion focused on the issues rather than letting it deteriorate into personal insults;
- Once you've left your comment keep an eye on the project to see what other people have to say;
- If you feel that someone has violated a moderation rule, report their comment to the moderator by clicking the “Alert Moderator” button. Don't perpetuate the dispute. The moderator will take a look at the offending comment and decide whether it should be removed;
- Stay on topic. The projects on this website have been created for a specific purpose. Please stay within the boundaries of the subject matter;
- Turn off the "CAPS LOCK". Writing in ALL CAPS is the equivalent of SHOUTING and can cause offence;
- Choose one place to post each of your unique comments. Don't cut and paste the same comment into lots of different places on the website. These may be considered duplicates and could be removed;
- Don't be a "troll". Trolls intentionally incite annoyance or offense. They do not participate constructively in the discussion and do not add any value to the debate;
- Don't bully, harass or threaten other participants. If another participant proffers an opinion that you don't agree with, you have no right to demand that they support their position with a detailed argument. They do not have to respond to your questions. It is up to each individual to participate as much or as little as they wish;
- Please respect the moderators. Their job is to keep the forum safe and constructive so that everybody gets to have their fair say. It is not always an easy job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is moderating the site?
The moderation of content is a shared responsibility between staff from the Government of Alberta and the moderation team from Bang the Table.
What happens if my comment is removed?
If you post something to this website, which is removed by our moderators, you will receive a notification via email informing you of the decision. You will be informed as to which of the moderation rules you are in breach of and asked to review and resubmit your contribution.
What if I disagree with a moderation decision?
If you disagree with a moderation decision you may get in touch with the contact person identified for the engagement, or reach out to Bang the Table support by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org to explain why you think your contribution should be accepted.
Can a website owner remove my comment just because they don’t like it?
All comments are moderated in accordance with the moderation rules outlined above and the Government of Alberta social media commenting rules. If a decision is made to moderate a contribution, the contributor will receive a notification email.
Can I report a comment anonymously?
If you feel a username, comment or contribution on the site is in breach of the rules outlined on this page, you are within your right to alert our moderators. Simply locate the “alert moderator” link near the comment you believe needs to be escalated to our moderation team. Alerting a moderator will not reveal your identity to the person who posted the comment and you will remain anonymous.
How will I know if I have been blocked from the site?
If you are repeatedly in breach of our moderation rules you may incur sanctions as outlined above. In the event that you are blocked from the site, you will receive an email notification informing you of your sanctions and the conditions of those sanctions.
Is moderation independent of the website owner?
No. Moderation is done in collaboratively by the Government of Alberta and Bang the Table.
How does moderation deal with comments which suggest a person is at risk of harming themselves or others?
Our moderators are trained to identify comments, which contain references to self-harm and or threats of violence and crime. Comments which mention or promote this behaviour will be removed and escalated for further review and passed on to the Government of Alberta for further action. Any further action will be at the discretion of the Government of Alberta, including referrals to law enforcement, primary health or first responder services. If you notice comments of this nature, please alert our moderators and the Government of Alberta immediately. Our team can be contacted at email@example.com.
What personally identifiable information about me can the moderators access?