We invite all readers to contribute as we encourage wide debate. For more information and guidelines on how to submit your comments, see below.
Please note - comments are moderated and must be on-topic and not abusive. They may be edited for length and clarity.
1. Who can submit comments?
All readers are welcome to submit comments when invited. We try to post as many comments as we can but cannot guarantee every comment will be posted. We encourage wide debate. However, as in any community, there have to be guidelines and rules. Submissions that do not follow those rules will not be considered for posting.
2. What are the main rules?
This is a public forum so people have various shades of views. Be courteous, respect other readers' viewpoints. Make others feel comfortable about expressing their thoughts.
- Lively debate is encouraged but your comments must not be personally abusive about people, including others who have had their comments posted. Never use threatening language or terms.
- Do not use swear words.
- In keeping with NZ law, do not use language or make comments that can be considered discriminatory on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual preference, nationality, age, disability, etc. Your comments must not contain, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, or otherwise illegal material.
- To facilitate the process at our end, allowing the maximum number of submissions to be processed, a submission is limited to 1200 characters (about 250 words).
- Putting whole words or sentences in CAPITAL letters is considered shouting in the internet world. This is unacceptable. Our moderators do not have the time to correct comments that use this method of getting a strongly held point across. Lots of exclamation marks are also annoying for readers. One used sparingly is enough, please.
- Do not use text messaging short forms. Our moderators will sometimes change spelling or grammar so everyone can understand a submission. It would be appreciated if you could run your comments through a spell checker to speed up the posting process.
- Do not waste your time using the forums to try to spread gossip, breach court orders or make allegations about people. This is one of the reasons we have to moderate the forums.
- If you are a business, please do not use the forums to try to slip in free advertising.
- By submitting a comment you are consenting to its display on the site and for any related online and offline use we choose - including publication in the NZ Herald print edition. In submitting the comment, you are agreeing to abide by the rules, take responsibility for your comments and accept that these comments may be edited, deleted or not used.
- We may add guidelines here from time and time as our community develops.
3. Why do the comments I submit not appear immediately?
Currently all submitted comments are reviewed by a moderator before any are posted online. There are a number of reasons for this.
Unfortunately NZ is not as liberal as some countries when it comes to online defamation laws meaning that the owner of the website can be held legally responsible as well as the author of comments and articles put online.
Also, many sites where comments appear automatically have sadly become the victims of spammers who hit the site with spam, knowing it will be automatically published for everyone to read in the comments section.
4. How can I report a comment I think breaks your rules?
Having read our rules, if you think a published comment has stepped over the line, it is a simple process to report it to us. At the bottom of the comment, simply click on the link labelled 'Report" and give your reason why you think the message should be removed. Remember, just disagreeing with someone's opinion is not a good enough reason for us to remove the comment.
We are trying to ask the bare minimum, as we want to encourage free debate. We generally ask you only once for your details, then send you an email to select a password and confirm your registration. It'll only take a few moments and once you've registered you can submit a comment whenever you like.
We would prefer you to allow your full name to be published with your comments as happens in letters published in the newspaper. However, we appreciate that this does not suit some people so we give you the opportunity to opt for your first name or nickname to be used if the comment is published.
There are times when we need to clarify something and if we can't contact you we won't be able to post the comment. Providing your email address and a phone number during the registration process allows us to do this if necessary. We also feel that this is a show of good faith that you are genuine in the views you have submitted. We will not publish your email address or phone number. If you want to change your nickname at any stage you can go back to your registration and change it.
6. Can I make suggestions or submit a complaint?
Enjoy the opportunity to engage in healthy debate. We look forward to reading them.
If you have any general thoughts about our community offerings, or consider something published inappropriate, let us know.
You can contact the Forum Editor here.
8. How do I contact the person in charge?
Send an email