Syria Comment: Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Last Updated: Sunday, June 2, 2013

Disclaimer: Syria Comment is administered by Joshua Landis with the help of Matthew Barber and others who wish to remain anonymous. Syria Comment has no connection to the University of Oklahoma. The views expressed on it or in the comment section are those of the authors themselves.


The purpose of the comment section is to promote informed debate, share pertinent information and news items, and encourage constructive criticism and analysis. Although we avoid censorship, it is sometimes necessary. The comment section is monitored. The purpose of moderation is to promote healthy dialogue, not to suppress any voice.

There is a tragic war taking place in Syria that claims lives on a daily basis. Many sides have suffered and perceive the nature of the conflict differently. This forum is a place to discuss and observe, but not to engage in the war. Many users are understandably emotional and may have lost friends and relatives in the conflict. All voices and opinions are welcome, as well as open discussion about the injustices, but sensitivity is essential, as well as respect for differences in opinion. Anger must be expressed without dehumanizing the other. If you’re going to meet here and sit across from your enemy and engage in communication with him/her, please bring your white flag and prepare yourself internally to use it.

Messages containing any of the following will not be tolerated:

  • Personal attacks and insults against other users;
  • Racist, sexist, obscene, or otherwise discriminatory or hateful language;
  • Provocations designed to derail discussions away from substantive debate into dead-end arguments;
  • Threats of death or violence;
  • Language or terms that dehumanize groups;
  • Sectarian attacks and calls for violence against political opponents;
  • Expressions of glee or delight at the deaths or suffering of others;
  • Links to commercial sites or posting of commercial messages.

Also, as a participant in a discussion community, you bear responsibility to fairly represent yourself and your views. Posting with multiple identities will not be tolerated. This is a place to engage in discussion, not to spread propaganda by over-representing one’s position with multiple names.

Some considerations about moderation:

1)  If you have a problem with a user or feel that a posted comment was inappropriate, don’t post a comment complaining to the moderator; send the moderator an email at the moderation email address: The current moderator is Matthew Barber.
2)  Moderation will not be perfect. The moderator will endeavor to enforce rules, but may not penalize every instance that you consider a violation (or personal slight). Moderation will resemble quality-control “spot checking.”
3)  Moderation is a combination of automated and human processes. Occasionally a perfectly normal comment (even from a regular user) is quarantined for moderation for unknown reasons; these comments will always be approved, but sometimes by the time they are seen, a new post has been created and discussion is no longer taking place on that thread. This means that a comment enters the conversation after everyone has moved on. This can be inconvenient, but there’s nothing that can be done about it. Bottom line: it’s never a conspiracy against you; comments are never deleted for the viewpoint they contain, but only for being inappropriate in some way.
4)  Requests for the deletion of a comment you’ve posted will usually be honored, but not necessarily in a timely fashion. Please be aware that requests for comment deletion represent a loss of time on the part of the moderator.
5)  This forum should be friendly for new users. You have a responsibility to welcome those who post comments for the first time and encourage their participation.


Syria Comment’s Fair-Use Policy

Fair-use concerns copyright. Most works available on the internet are subject to copyright. There are no hard and fast rules for all situations, but we suggest using only limited portions of material that is originally published elsewhere. A good rule of thumb is to observe these DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Do not reproduce offsite material in its entirety (a couple paragraphs, rather an entire page of text, is sufficient).
  • Do identify the source of the material (with a URL if possible).
  • Embedded videos can slow down the loading of a post, particularly problematic for readers using their mobiles or for readers in places lacking a fast internet connection. We ask that you only occasionally post comments containing embedded videos, and certainly not more than one per discussion thread.


Comments that violate these rules and guidelines may be edited or deleted at the discretion of the moderating team. Furthermore, commentators who repeatedly violate the site regulations may be warned, temporarily suspended from posting, limited to a set quantity of daily posts, or permanently banned. The moderators reserve the right to ban anyone who annoys or badgers them excessively.

Finally, we ask that commentators bear in mind that even well-intentioned humor or sarcasm can be “lost in translation” on an online discussion forum. As such, commentators should maintain a respectful tone with others and be tolerant of opinions that may differ from their own.

Please address questions, concerns, and complaints to

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