Your Community

CBC News Community raises the bar on personal attacks

Categories: Community

hi-584-comment-bubbles.jpg CBC News Community is raising the bar on personal attacks (iStock)

In the past few weeks we hope you have noticed that the tone of the conversation in the CBC Community is even more constructive.  That's because we've tightened the rules about what constitutes a personal attack in our story comments.

This is the first step in an initiative we announced in February. That's when we began a systematic review of our commenting guidelines and policies. 

We have never allowed personal attacks in our comments.  But the challenge comes in defining what is an attack.  We don't want to stifle honest criticism, but we want to create a safe environment for Canadians to engage in conversation about the issues that are important to them. We want to encourage diverse opinions, but we ask that you consider how it may impact others and draft a contribution that does not antagonize, dismiss or demoralize others.

In our review of the policy, we identified a few areas we thought we could improve on.

  • Pejoratives: We will be even stricter with any words or statements that could be interpreted as having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force.  In particular, we will give greater weight to the context of a comment.  Sometimes a comment can seem neutral on its own, but in the context of a specific conversation it can take on a pejorative meaning.  We will make greater effort to identify these types of comments.

  • Public figures: We used to be a little more lenient with criticisms targeted at public figures.  This is no longer the case.  Everyone will be treated equally regardless of how big their public profile is.

  • Liar:  We will no longer tolerate the use of the word liar, unless it is a factual statement.

This is the first step in our review. We will keep you posted as the process continues. We hope that you continue to find is the best place to have open and fair-minded discussions about the stories and issues that are important to you. So, if you have any ideas around this, you can send them to the same address,

Comments are closed.