Andrea Rondeau column: Some dos and don’ts for successful online posting

Our settings will automatically screen out your comment if you use profanity

We’re pretty lenient about the kinds of things we let people say on our Facebook page and our website.

After all, we want to encourage people to use these spaces as a place to engage in discussions about things that are happening in our communities and indeed the larger world. So we let people talk to one another, sometimes in fairly strong terms. Being passionate about issues isn’t bad.

But there are some definite no-noes.

We’ve had a few people complain that their posts aren’t showing up or have been removed. Totally true. We try to keep an eye on discussions as they evolve and make sure to keep things within some boundaries.

First, our settings will automatically screen out your comment if you use profanity, so don’t bother.

But sometimes if you wait a bit you will see your comment pop up if you’ve used a word like “breast” or “stupid”, both totally valid terms depending on the discussion (think a conversation about a breast cancer fundraiser, or breast cancer screening, for instance. You can also feel free to call certain policies or practices stupid, though not usually people). That’s because some words will automatically send it for a review by one of our editorial staff. We try to get to it as quickly as we can, but it’s not always instantaneous.

Sometimes people think they will be clever and work around these restrictions. Generally we will find your comment and send it to the bin sooner or later.

Also, if someone posts something that is hateful or racist, we will turf it.

And seriously, don’t post random ads on every post — I’ll ban you if our filters don’t catch you first.

It’s not a perfect system, even with it’s combination of machine and human screening. So feel free to report a post you feel crosses the line and we will take a look at it.

So here’s some dos to go with the don’ts. Do have fun posting about a whole host of topics. Do argue your points with fellow posters — that’s often how we learn things. Do take a second or two before you post something that may be controversial. Do have a sense of humour about your posts and the posts of others. It helps to keep the online tone civil. Most of all do post — often!

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