Burning Man Project values the spirit of civil community discourse. A lively, on-topic public conversation is one of the best reasons to write a blog and curate social media — without comments, they’re just another webpage.
As stewards of our online communities, the moderators at Burning Man Project have a responsibility to maintain this space for the benefit of all participants. Comments made on the Burning Man Journal and our social media channels have the power to add to or detract from the spirit of a conversation. It is our responsibility to ensure that they serve to enhance the experience of our visitors, rather than causing harm.
What does this mean? We expect participants to conduct themselves as they would as a guest in someone’s home — where spirited conversation is welcome, but unruly and rude behavior is not. It also means that our moderators can and will remove posts that they believe run counter to the spirit of civil discourse. This page is meant to give shape to what we mean by “civil discourse” on the Burning Man Journal, ePlaya, Beyond Burning Man, and our social media channels.
Trust us: comments will not be removed because they express a point of view that differs from our moderators’. We will, however, remove comments that are not in line with our comment policy. We also may choose to turn off the comments feature on a specific post (before or after it’s posted), due to a variety of factors including subject matter, intent and timing, or the author’s wishes and availability to engage. Should we decide to turn off commenting mid-conversation, we will offer a reason as to why this was done.
When We’ll Moderate
If you’re aware of expected behaviors in our forums and are respectful to post authors and other commenters, you’ll never find one of your comments removed. Because not everyone has the same understanding of civil discourse, we’ve created this partial list of violations for reference (and possible causes for a post’s removal):
- Overtly off-topic posts.
- Intentionally disrespectful or disruptive behavior.
- Spamming: our linking policy can be found below. Posts containing more than one URL, or any URL not relevant to the conversation, will be considered spam.
- Snide, rude, or threatening personal comments about or directed at any person, be they other users, moderators, Burning Man Project staff, volunteers…this isn’t the place to get personal. This applies to the Burning Man Journal authors as well.
- Impersonation of a member of Burning Man Project staff. It’s one thing to produce satire, but another to falsely impersonate another person with the intent to mislead people who trust our website and accounts as sources of information from us.
- Unnecessarily attitudinal or inflammatory language, or posts that attack a point of view without explaining why. Again, disagreement is okay, but there’s a difference between saying, “That idea will never work because I don’t think people will clean up after themselves the way you think they will,” and saying, “That idea will never work. It’s stupid, and anyone who believes that is an idiot.”
- Posts that contain vulgar or abusive language targeted at any individuals or groups, be they ethnic, racial, religious, class-related, communities specific to Burning Man, etc.
- Posts that promote a business or one’s own expertise or services. Burning Man Project spaces are decommodified; they’re not places to do business.
- Misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information: posts that contain false or misleading content that may mislead or cause harm to people’s well-being, safety or trust.
- Content that knowingly violates the intellectual property rights of any individual or entity.
- Repetitive comments by the same user: while dissenting opinions and debate are absolutely welcome here, dead horses should be tied up outside.
Note: repeat offenders may find themselves banned from commenting in the Journal or our social media channels altogether. All edits, post removals, and user actions are at the sole discretion of Burning Man Project and its moderators. Ultimately, it comes down to how respectful you are. If your comment is moderated, feel free to try rephrasing it and posting again — you’ll find your opinion may be entirely welcomed.
“Hey, I was just ‘expressing myself’! What about free speech??”
Burning Man Project supports open discourse. You are free to post what you want on your own website (so long as you don’t violate anyone else’s legal rights, of course) – and we have that flexibility too. Our aim is to be as hands-off as possible and let you enjoy a spirited dialogue, but we retain the right and the responsibility to maintain this space in a manner consistent with the atmosphere we hope to create for our visitors.
Policies specific to the Burning Man Journal
- Anonymous comments are not permitted. Our contributors will identify themselves when writing posts; in turn, we want to know who you are. We’ve seen what can happen in spaces that make it easy for “hit and run” comments: things can get toxic, fast.
- The Burning Man Journal has a limit of one (1) relevant URL per post. If your post contains a link, it automatically goes into moderation, which is monitored by humans, so it may take a bit of time before it gets approved. Posts containing irrelevant, off-topic, vulgar, commercial, or downright spamtastic links will be removed.
- If you feel you have a valid reason for asking to have a previous comment removed, you can contact the moderators and make your case.
This is a living document and is updated over time. We welcome your help in upholding these policies.