I have several different blogs, you can find links to these in the right hand sidebar.
All discussions on these websites are moderated to some degree. And each site/page/group has a set of rules that those interacting are expected to abide by.
I have admins and moderators to help me enforce these rules. Most of these are volunteers who give up their own free time to help ‘keep the peace’. People who break the rules may be blocked or banned from joining in.
Objectives of my rules
The purpose of my rules is to
- Keep my websites family friendly
- Avoid the sites being flooded with advertisements
- Create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere
- Promote reasoned debate
#1 Family Friendly
My dog websites and pages are aimed at all age groups. Posts must be family friendly. Swearing, posting horrific images of dogs in dire straits, and other specifically adult material, is not permitted.
#2 No Advertising
A very busy site is obviously attractive to people who want to promote their own business. But that is not the purpose of my websites.
So you are asked not to post links to your own Facebook pages or groups, nor to your own website, nor to advertise your puppies or items for sale, without written permission from me. Such permission is likely to be limited to exceptional charitable causes.
# 3 A welcoming and friendly atmosphere
It is my wish that everyone should feel comfortable joining in and asking questions, whatever their views. This is not possible on many websites which are dominated by those with the strongest views, and the fewest manners.
For all to feel able to post, it is important that people with strong views are not permitted to intimidate those with opposing views. To this end, I do not permit rudeness, personal attacks, or shouting (capital letters). Those participating in heated discussions are expected to remain reasonable and on topic
#4 Reasoned debate
This is the hardest objective to meet, but we are successful for the majority of the time.
Sometimes I deal with controversial topics on my blogs. Topics about game shooting for example, homeopathy, pedigree dog health, electric collars, silver labradors, neutering, dog breeding and so on.
I understand that people have strong views about these things, I do too! But I think it is important that we can discuss these views without it developing into World War III or going around in circles.
What you can post
- Your own stories and experiences, and photos of your dogs (Facebook & forum)
- Questions about your dog relevant to the topic or thread
- Suggestions for discussion on topics you think relevant to the group
- Your views on my articles or posts, including those that disagree with my view
- New evidence, new information, or a new viewpoint on a topic under discussion
What you should not post
- Rude or personal attacks
- Comments that contribute nothing to the discussion, or are completely off topic.
- Comments that recommend unproven and /or controversial therapies / treatments without accompanying evidence
Contentious threads can get personal very quickly. If you are commenting on the worth or value of a person, rather than on the views they are expressing, then that is a personal attack.
Please don’t tell people that they are ignorant or stupid. It is rude and likely to get you banned.
People are sometimes confused about what propaganda is. Here are some examples of common propaganda posts
“Adopt! Don’t Buy!”
Propaganda is the one sided promotion of a single point of view without any consideration to the complexities of the argument and without any recognition of the validity of the opposing viewpoint.
Propaganda posts are tiresome and boring to read. And they contribute nothing to any debate.
We usually remove this kind of post when we find it, and repeat offenders will be banned. Please think before you post. If you don’t have time to compose a reasoned argument as to why people should neuter their dogs or adopt rather than buy a puppy, please don’t post at all.
I can’t post!
If you find you are unable to comment on the websites, or to like or comment on our Facebook pages, or to get into the forum, it is possible that you have been put on our blocked or banned list.
If you wish, you can write to me pippa@pippamattinson to ask for the ban to be lifted.
Why have I been blocked?
If you have been blocked or banned from posting then it was almost certainly for one of the above reasons
If you write to me, and ask to be unblocked, I will usually do so. Apart from in the forum, our admins don’t have the power to implement a temporary ban, so the ban will remain until and unless you ask for it to be removed.
Why wasn’t I warned
It may seem unfair that we sometimes block people without warning or discussion. Especially as you may not have realised that you shouldn’t promote your own business on my websites, for example.
However, with nearly 200,000 Facebook fans, thousands of forum and group members, and over 300,000 people visiting the Labrador Site each month, I simply don’t have the resources to operate a warning system.
Polite and friendly – a few thoughts
The internet has encouraged a dramatic change in the way people greet and talk to each other. My own view is that this downward slide in online behaviour is the responsibility of those who provide a platform for others to express themselves. In other words, I feel responsible for what goes on, on my websites.
We all have our own definition of ‘polite’ and ‘friendly’. I think of my websites a little bit like extensions of my home. Where all the visitors are my guests.
I try to be polite and friendly and I hope that visitors will do the same. Essentially I would expect to be spoken to online as I would if I met you in person. This particularly applies to people that have actually met me personally in the past.
If we bump into each other in the pub we would exchange pleasantries before you took me to task on my views about ‘health testing’. Whilst the internet may demand an abbreviated form of manners, there is no need for them to be abandoned completely.
A simple ‘Hi Pippa’ before you tell me to check my spelling, or disagree with my views, costs you nothing and makes the world of difference to the ‘tone’ of your comment. Which brings me to mistakes.
Errors in my articles
I write around several hundred articles a year, and most of my articles are at least 1000 words long. So if you look hard enough you will find some mistakes.
I spend a great deal of time on research and try to get my facts right. But I have made errors in the past, and will probably do so in the future. I do appreciate you letting me know about these, and do my best to correct any errors promptly. However, comments like “Get your facts right” are just plain rude, and are unlikely to be approved.
Keeping on topic
This blog is mainly for me to write about my interests which are not covered in my other blogs. The interests covered on this site include science, health, social media and blogging. And sometimes other topical issues. It is helpful if comments keep to the topic being discussed. For dog training and gundog issues see The Labrador Site and Totally Gundogs.
Submitting an article
If you find your comment turning into an essay, why not submit it as an article? I welcome guest post submissions on all my websites. The criteria for publication are a little stricter than with comments. Guest posts must be well written, accurate and well researched. But if you know your subject well and want to have your say, by all means submit an article. Follow this link to read Guest Posting Guidelines for the Labrador Site.
Blogs can be a powerful means of information exchange and I see this as a good thing. I allow comments on all my blogs because I am interested in other people’s opinions. I support your right to have your own views and ask that you support my right to do the same.
I love a good discussion and am often willing to change my mind in the face of new evidence. New research is especially welcome and I look forward to hearing from you!