This page discusses how comments are managed on this site.
Why you should make a comment
Many people in Cobourg are interested in what you have to say – even if they don’t agree with you. This includes Councillors, Town Staff, Police officers, and citizens like you. It’s easy and as anonymous as you want. If you need instructions or more details – keep reading.
What pages have comments
New comments are enabled for news items for 90 days. Old comments will not be deleted.
How to Comment
Under the heading “Leave a Reply”, click in the box where it says “Start the Discussion” or “Join the discussion – just start typing here – be sure to use your real email address”. Be sure to use your real email address. Or click on reply under a specific comment. Enter your comment then be sure to enter a name and your real email address. The email address is not published but must be provided. It is used to give a degree of legitimacy and for the rare occasion that a moderator communicates with commenters. If a false email is used, all comments from that person will be deleted and the user will be banned.
Note that if you make multiple comments, leave at least 15 seconds between posting them. Similarly, you may be asked to “slow down” if you post less than 15 seconds after someone else.
In general, if a comment does not immediately go online, that means that it has been held for moderation so I will have to manually approve the comment. See the rules below for info on when moderation is required. ReCaptcha happens but it is now not visible and usually no check box is required. You can get an indication that it’s active by a small icon in the bottom right hand corner of your browser. There are automatic spam catching measure used and some comments may be held for moderation that are in fact OK. These will be released in due course. There are three systems checking for spam and hackers and while they are mostly successful, they are occasionally over-zealous. Unfortunately, the comment management system does not notify me of all spam that is held – I have to check every now and then.
- Comments should be related to the subject of the post or to the previous comment. Unrelated comments will be deleted (unfortunately, this is sometimes a grey area, as is libel).
- If all new comments are off topic for several days, then new comments will be disabled on that post.
- Your name should be unique – don’t use “anonymous”, “anon” or similar or any other name already used. If you bypass these requirements, your comment will be deleted. Many blogs require 100% registration – the only thing I ask is that you identify yourself – is that so hard? Once a name is chosen, continue to use that. If you pretend to be two (or more) different people, your name may be edited and you risk being banned – it will also help you with repeated comments if you use the same name. If you are caught using a name implying you are someone who you are not, your comments will be deleted. Using “Pope” and “Donald Trump” would be obvious, others are not so easily spotted. If spotted, they will also be banned.
- If you include 2 or more links, your comment will be automatically held for moderation – but if there are no other problems, it will likely get approved.
- This blog does not support any cause or business although letters to the editor may support a cause. Comments that are a blatant promotion of a business will be treated as spam.
- Sometimes a comment will deserve to be deleted and perhaps the commenter banned. If the offensive comment is part of a string, then the whole string may get deleted.
- If a comment is particularly offensive, and the person writing it has previously written similar comments, then the offender will get banned without warning.
- I have a strong aversion to conspiracy theories and extremist views – left or right – comments promoting conspiracy theories or extremist views will be deleted. This site is NOT a forum for promoting these – even if there is a grain of truth in them.
- If a comment is factually wrong – that is, putting forth a falsehood – unless it is clearly corrected by other comments, this is treated like “Fake News” and will be deleted.
Any visitor to the site can vote a comment up or down – but only once per comment. Since some weird people delight in voting down comments at random, one should treat a single down vote as being meaningless.
A Word about Free Speech
Free speech is one of Canada’s cherished freedoms but there are limits imposed by Law and by this blog. It’s OK to criticize an idea with virtually no limits even if the idea offends someone. But there are some exceptions. Comments asserting ideas that promote hatred are not OK. It’s also not OK to incite violence or make accusations about someone that would harm them by damaging their reputation (that’s called libel). The key factor is “harm”. Harmful comments are not allowed.
Remember also that criticism of a person is “off topic” and such comments are anyway subject to deletion by the rules of this blog.
If you break one of these rules, you will be warned (if possible) and if the rule continues to be broken, you will be banned from the forum.
- Your Email must be real (that is, it must work and be valid) – if not your comment will be deleted and you will be banned from further comments. If you email me (this means you would be using a valid email), and in future use a real email, I will likely “un-ban” you.
- Comments that include libel (If defamation is spoken, it’s called slander. If it’s written, it’s called libel), spam or hate messages will be deleted. Spam includes any attempts to sell products or services or soliciting votes in an election. (Soliciting votes is a grey area – comments are opinions so bias by commenters is allowed). Libel includes any personal attacks. For example, don’t call someone a liar or a racist. Most attempts at spam are automatically deleted – others will be manually deleted. This is not a forum for back and forth criticism of individuals. Some of this is tolerated (it can be a grey area) but excessive personal criticism will result in deletion of the comment(s).
Rich Text Editor for comments
Available for Desktop users only, users can access a number of tools to enhance their text. Tools are represented by icons with their names visible as a tooltip (hover over to view). In order they are:
Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout, Ordered list, Unordered list (bullets), Blockquote, Link, Source Code, Spoiler.
With the exception of source code, each is implemented by first highlighting the text to be formatted then clicking the icon. Source code allows comments to be written in html for those who are familiar with that. Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout, Ordered List, Unordered List are straightforward but here are explanations for the others:
- Blockquote – makes text slightly enlarged, indented and with a black bar at left. Used to highlight text as you might do in a quote.
- Link – if you want to insert a link that is accessed by text, then this will do this for you. Paste your link into the box provided.
- Spoiler – allows text to be hidden until a covering text is clicked. Type hidden text, highlight it, click spoiler then type covering text.
Comment Technical Rules and Features
- Comments are limited to 2500 characters.
- If you include more than one link in your comment, it will be held for moderation.
- If you do not wish to comment but would like to have a say, click one of the voting buttons under each comment to approve or not.
- New comments are disabled after 90 days.
Because of abuse by a spammer, this feature has been disabled.
Note that because spammers are aggressive, counter-measures must also be aggressive – so don’t be surprised if you occasionally get mistaken for a spammer – or if you are a spammer, that you got blocked.
Note that I actively monitor all comments (that’s 100%) – if you break the rules (e.g. use an invalid email address, go way off topic or abuse others) I will delete your comments.
One of the tools used to stop spam on comments is the ReCaptcha service provided by Google. The checkbox and 2nd chance feature are no longer available. Instead Version 3 is used which is “invisible”. If you have a problem passing the test, be aware of the following;
- Make sure your browser is up to date – old browsers will more likely have a problem. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc. are all OK – just be sure to have the latest version, or at least a recent version. If you are using Internet Explorer, be sure you are not using compatibility mode. It’s recommended that you do not use Internet Explorer – it’s fast going obsolete.
- Do not disable cookies – if you have banned cookies or have recently cleared them, your “reputation” may be questioned. If you don’t know what cookies are, it’s 99.9% likely these are enabled.
- Your email address is irrelevant to ReCaptcha
- Your IP address (your computer electronic address) IS relevant – maybe someone else using your WiFi has a bad reputation or maybe your Internet provider condones spam.
- You can confirm it’s operating by the presence of a small box at the bottom right of your browser with the ReCaptcha symbol and the words “Privacy Terms”
Register and Login
If you prefer, you can register and then login for a better experience. But self-registering is so prone to spammers that I ask that you email me your user name, password and I will register you.
You can login on the post page using “login” at the top of the comments. This allows immediate posting of a comment and you will not be subject to ReCaptcha. You can also login using the link in the side bar (near the bottom). If you do that, you can change your password, the “nickname” and/or the “Display Name”.