Our readers are at the heart of what we do, and we strive every day to cover the stories and topics that matter to you.
But we understand that there are a variety of views and opinions on our patch, and people want their voices to be heard.
Commenting on or reacting to our articles as a registered member of our site is the best way to achieve that.
Whether it's a debate about the football team you support, an issue that affects your local community or you just want to engage with one of our journalists or commentators, we want our site to be a place where a variety of views can flourish.
However, we are keen to ensure that the site remains a space for polite, respectful and lively debate, so we ask all of our users to follow our community guidelines, as well as our terms of website use and acceptable use policy.
Our moderators will always try to consider context when making decisions.
But the large number of comments means it is not practical for us to enter into long conversations about our moderating decisions.
We reserve the right to delete comments and ban users without explanation or notification.
To leave a comment on the website, you will need to sign up for an account here.
When signing up, you will be given the opportunity to choose a username to be displayed on the site.
We reserve the right to ban any user whose online name we consider to be abusive, sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory and/or offensive.
Impersonating another user will not be tolerated by our moderators.
If a comment is unacceptable and includes an insult or personal attack, you can 'flag' it.
This alerts or brings it to the attention of our moderators.
You can do this by clicking the 'flag' option with each comment.
Any user can flag an inappropriate comment.
Please remember that 'flagging' is not a tool to use on comments you simply disagree with. If you disagree with another user's comment, feel free to reply or not as you see fit.
Do not use the 'flagging' function to undertake personal grudges against other users.
Deleting & Editing Comments
You have the ability to delete your comments indefinitely.
If you want your comment to stay on the site, but need to change something, you have two minutes from the moment you publish to change it.
The Moderation Process
Some of the moderation process on on our site is automated in that our system refers comments that contain certain words and links for moderation.
A comment that has been automatically referred to our moderation team will not appear on the site until a moderator has approved it for publishing. Depending on the volume of comments, this can take 24 hours or more.
If you can't see your comment on the site, this will usually be what has happened.
Comments that are abusive to other commenters or our journalists are not allowed under any circumstances. Our moderators make a distinction between fair criticism, intelligent debate or argument and comments that constitute personal attacks on people.
For instance, we understand that some football fans have strong antipathy towards other teams and their fans. But our comments section is not the place to express this.
While lively banter may be considered part of the football fan experience, we want our comments section to be a comfortable place for all users to enjoy without victimisation.
Any abuse towards fans for their support of any team will not be tolerated.
We also will not tolerate users who impersonate other users or pretend to be fans of other clubs in order to incite trouble.
Hate Speech & Inciting Violence
Sexist, racist, homophobic, or other discriminatory language or views are not tolerated in our comments section.
Neither are comments that are defamatory, malicious, threatening, false, misleading, abusive or offensive.
Comments that incite violence or appear threatening or harassing will also be deleted.
Any users responsible for such comments will be banned.
Likewise, we reserve the right to delete comments that we consider potentially harmful to public health and/or safety.
Bad language & Indecency
If you swear in a comment, it will automatically be referred for moderation and our moderators will usually delete it.
Any swearing aimed at another user will automatically be deleted.
There are advantages to banning bad language, we've found, as it tends to raise the quality of the debate and simply makes the comment section better. Please keep your comments clean.
In addition, please do not post any content that might be seen as indecent, obscene or of a sexual nature.
This is a simple set of rules: Please respect the privacy of other users and commenters, and don't include personal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers or full names in anything you post.
Off-Topic Conversations & Arguments
It is not unusual in any online community for regular commenters to get to know each other. Please do not break off from the topic or article being discussed to engage in personal chats or rows.
If you can't get your point across in 1,800 characters, you probably won't be able to get your point across at all. Our moderators believe that any comment over 1,800 characters would also disrupt the flow of debate, so try and keep it as brief as possible.
We want our site to be an easy-to-use space for the exchange of views and ideas. Comments attempting to sell products or promote commercial interests will be deleted, as will multiple/spam posts.
Please Write In English
We are not, at this time, able to moderate comments in any other languages. This includes HTML code. With that in mind, we ask that users only comment in English.
Technical & Malicious Content
Comments containing content that is technically harmful, including but not limited to computer viruses, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software, are not allowed on our site. Any activity that attempts to circumvent any protections we put in place for the security and operation of the website is also not permitted.
Copyright & Libel
We reserve the right to turn comments off on articles concerning ongoing court cases and other reports for any reason.
We will delete comments deemed to be potentially defamatory, in breach of copyright or otherwise unlawful.
Commenters using another thread to open discussion on a topic closed to comments will be banned.
Please note that you are responsible for your posts and we will not accept any liability for their content or accuracy.
We also reserve the right to republish your posts, and accept your contribution on the clear understanding that your posts are your own work and not copied from others.
By contributing comments/posts, you are agreeing to all of the above and warranting that your comments are not defamatory, obscene or in breach of anyone else's rights.
This usually means that you must own the rights to everything you submit or must obtain permission from the rights owner to submit the material.
What Happens If You Breach These Guidelines?
Do not leave any comments that are in breach of these community guidelines, our terms of website use, our acceptable use policy and any other policies we might have in place.
If you would like to report what you feel is a breach of violation of these community guidelines, please in the first instance 'flag' the comment. This is the best way to bring matters to our moderators' attention.
If you have further questions regarding moderation or the community please contact us.
If, for whatever reason, a user is banned from our site, we reserve the right - if we establish or have reasonable suspicion that they have signed up under a new identity - to extend their ban to their subsequent identity.
We reserve the right to update these guidelines periodically and recommend you to refer back to them regularly.
Last updated February 23, 2023