Our Community Guidelines

Published November 27 2018

We strive to provide a forum for civil conversations on tampabay.com. Our guidelines are simple:

  • Be courteous. Don’t threaten or verbally abuse other users or use obscene profane or defamatory language.

  • Use respectful language. You cannot use language that abuses or discriminates on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, region, disability, etc.

  • Debate, but don’t attack. In a community full of opinions and preferences, people always disagree. Differences of opinion make for great discussion, but please do not abuse other users through name calling or attacks. Personal attacks are a direct violation of this agreement and are grounds for immediate suspension of your commenting privileges.

  • Your comments must be truthful. You may not impersonate another user or a tampabay.com staff member by choosing a similar screen name. You must disclose conflicts of interest.

  • Do not post commercial material. You cannot, without the express approval of tampabay.com, distribute or otherwise publish any material containing any solicitation of funds, advertising, or solicitation for goods or services.

  • You are solely responsible for the content of your messages. You cannot knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party, and you must remove the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you cannot post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party’s right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, or that is otherwise inappropriate.

  • Report bad behavior. We are counting on you to keep our commenting threads a safe and respectful place for discussion and debate. Please flag comments that violate our community guidelines. †

We welcome any feedback. Please let us know how we are doing by emailing comments@tampabay.com.

Below are some frequently asked questions:

†Will you moderate or edit comments?

Our staff will moderate some of the commenting threads but not all. We’re using Artificial Intelligence to filter out toxic comments. Our reporters and editors will occasionally moderate comments and engage with readers. We won’t edit comments that appear. But we do reserve the right to delete comments that violate our community guidelines.

I don’t think my comment violates any rules, but I still don’t see it posted. Why?

We’ve set our moderation filters to be more restrictive in an effort to encourage better dialogue. When comments are blocked by our filters, we will be able to review them to determine if they should be posted. But that may result in a delay in posting if we deem that it meets our community guidelines.

Do I need to register in order to comment?

Yes. And there are three ways to register. You can register directly on our site or you can register using a Facebook or Gmail account. †We require registration so we can improve our ability to moderate the commenting threads.

Why do some articles not allow comments?

We are enabling comments on most stories for the first 24 hours after the story publishes. But not all stories allow comments. We’re going to disable comments on some topics that are less likely to result in a fruitful dialogue. ††

What else should I know?

We want our readers to know we are listening. Our reporters and editors are encouraged to interact with commenters. †


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