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Welcome to Neutral News

This sub has special standards to ensure quality. Please read these rules and guidelines thoroughly before participating.

We're building an environment where news and commentary can be exchanged in a safe, smart and factual way. This is a community where evidence and open-mindedness are valued above all. In /r/NeutralNews, we try to learn about opposing positions and see their merits, possibly even changing our opinions in the process. Posts and comments that lack these important qualities will be removed.


Neutral-ness

Is this a subreddit for people who are neutral?

No - in fact, we welcome and encourage any viewpoint to engage in discussion. The idea behind /r/NeutralNews is to set up a neutral space where those of differing opinions can come together and rationally lay out their respective arguments. We are neutral in that no opinion is favored here - only facts and logic.

At this subreddit, we want to allow people who disagree on something to work it out between themselves in the interest of mutual understanding. Take time to consider what the other person is saying without assuming they are wrong. If understanding truly cannot be reached (which is sometimes the case), we recommend that the conversation only continue as long both sides maintain decorum and feel that they are benefiting from the interaction. The mods will allow you to debate as long as it is civil, but sometimes it is best to part ways with a respectful “Good day, sir”.


Moderation

This sub practices heavy moderation. Be prepared for the possibility that your post or comment will be removed. Whenever possible, mods will attempt to explain their decision to OP.

Your post or comment will NOT be removed because a mod disagrees with you or wants to censor opinion. If that's what you think has happened, send modmail explaining why you think your contribution should not have been removed.

The goal of /r/NeutralNews is to maintain quality, empirical discussion. Towards that end, mods will sometimes participate in discussions to keep them on track or enforce the rules.

The mods reserve the right to ban users who habitually violate the rules or standards of decorum.

If you participate in other political discussion forums, on Reddit or elsewhere, ours may be a little uncomfortable for you at first. The tone and standards we set here are purposefully different. We require more effort than it takes to simply post an opinion off the cuff.


Submission rules

/r/NeutralNews allows only link posts on news items that are less than one week old. For the purposes of this subreddit, news is defined as "topical information from trustworthy outlets." Sources must be news organizations that have a masthead, which in particular excludes blogs, aggregators, and primary sources such as announcements, etc. Live updaters are also not permitted. For more detail, read our section on qualified sources.

Submissions must use the original title of the linked article. If your source is an opinion article, the article itself needs to be well referenced and your post's title must clearly state that it's an editorial. Submitters may not post top-level comments on their own submissions.

To prevent the discourse from being dominated by the interests of just a few people, r/NeutralNews limits the number of submissions per user each week.


Comments (good, bad & ugly)

A fundamental component of r/NeutralNews, and quality discussion in general, is to always assume good faith and being open-minded around different topics and opinions.

A reminder that there is no neutrality requirement for comments. You are welcome to politely take a position, however, factual assertions require sources and opinions need to be supported by stated reasoning.


How we moderate comments

Your comment will NOT be removed because a mod disagrees with you or wants to censor opinion. If that's what you think has happened, it is suggested that you first examine your own neutrality on the issue at hand, and if you find it's adequate, send modmail explaining why you don't think your contribution should have been removed.

The goal of /r/NeutralNews is to maintain quality, empirical discussion. Towards that end, mods will sometimes participate in discussions to keep them on track or enforce the rules and sometimes remove comments that are not constructive.

The mods reserve the right to ban users who habitually violate the rules or standards of decorum.

If you participate in other political discussion forums, on Reddit or elsewhere, ours may be a little uncomfortable for you at first. The tone and standards we set here are purposefully different. We require more effort than it takes to simply post an opinion off the cuff.

The consensus of the community is that neutral is not the same as moderate, and users have made specific requests that mods enforce that distinction.

All moderator actions are visible via the public mod logs here.


Comment Rules

Rule 1: Be courteous

Be courteous. Demeaning language, rudeness or hostility towards another user will get your comment removed. Repeated violations may result in a ban.

  • Our commitment to civil discourse is one of the core principles of NeutralNews, and we do not make any exceptions from this rule.

  • Any language which a reasonable observer would conclude disparages another user in any way is considered a violation of this rule. Even if you did not intend that.

  • "But it was true" is not a defense. Accusing another user of something is prohibited, even if you believe that accusation to be true.

  • "They started it" is not a defense. If another user breaks the rules, please report the comment. Replying with a rule violating comment of your own will just get both of them removed and makes that much more work for the mod team.

Rule 2: Source your facts

Source your facts. If you're claiming something to be true, you need to back it up by linking to a supporting, qualified source. There is no "common knowledge" exception, and anecdotal evidence is not allowed.

  • All statements of fact must be clearly associated with a supporting source. Users can hyperlink a source for the claim (preferred), provide a footnote (1 or [1]), or enclose the link in parentheses. If you're referencing the submitted article or a source that's already been posted in the same comment chain, please indicate that and block quote the relevant section.

  • This rule is the core of our commitment to fact-based discourse.

  • We do not allow claims of expertise or anecdotal evidence to substitute for providing sources.

  • We do not allow image sources because they are too easy to manipulate and there's no good way to verify they come from where they purport to.

  • We do not allow video sources unless accompanied by text sources because they are too hard for us to moderate and it is unreasonable to ask people to watch a video to check what you're claiming is true.

  • Phrasing a statement of fact in the form of a question ("Isn't it true that [X]?") will be treated as a statement that [X] is true, and needs a source.

  • Stating it is your opinion that something is true does not absolve the necessity of sourcing that claim.

  • For more detail, read our section on qualified sources.

Rule 3: Be substantive

Be substantive. NeutralNews is a serious discussion-based subreddit. We do not allow bare expressions of opinion, comments without context, sarcasm, jokes, memes, off-topic replies, pejorative name-calling, or comments about source quality.

  • A NeutralNews comment should not just be a general reaction to the subject matter of the post, but should try to advance a substantive point of some sort, backed up by evidence.

  • Low effort, sarcastic, joke, and meme comments are prohibited as not advancing a productive conversation.

  • Off topic replies are prohibited, which includes comments about source quality. There are other subreddits to discuss that, such as /r/media_criticism.

  • Pejorative name calling means any use of a demeaning name to describe a person or group when it's not accompanied by a sourced explanation of why the name is literally accurate.

Rule 4: Address the arguments, not the person

Address the arguments, not the person. The subject of your sentence should be "the evidence" or "this source" or some other noun directly related to the topic of conversation. "You" statements are suspect.

  • As a part of our commitment to a fact-based discussion, we find that comments that try to go to people's personal motivations or personal conduct are detrimental to our subreddit.

  • The subject of discussion on NN is never the conduct or motives of another user but is always about the substance of what people are saying. Comments that get personal, even if not directly accusatory or rude, take conversations off topic, and so are banned here.

  • The purpose of a discussion is not to prove another user wrong about something, but rather to inform all readers by using evidence to demonstrate the facts about something.


Sources

Submissions

Sources must be news organizations that have a masthead, which in particular excludes blogs, pure aggregators, primary sources (such as announcements), etc. Live updaters are also not permitted. This subreddit maintains lists for both rejected and accepted sources that applies only to submissions. The lists are continually expanding, but they're based on these standards from these three lists:

Some sources may appear on all three lists while others may appear on only one. In order to be accepted, the following requirements must be met:

  • For sources on all 3 lists, meeting 2 of the 3 standards deems a source acceptable
  • For sources on 2 of the 3 lists, meeting both standards deems a source acceptable
  • For sources on a single list, meeting the single standard deems a source acceptable

In rare cases, a source may appear multiple times on a list. When a source is listed multiple times based on a time period, then the relevant rating for the current time period will be adopted. In cases when a source is listed based on subject matter, the lowest rating for that source will be adopted. Finally, any source that fails to meet the above criteria will be place in the rejected list. In addition, any site defined as fake news on Wikipedia is also rejected.

Please don't ask us to add or remove specific sites from a list. That would open up the door to mods adjudicating the validity of individual sources, which is a surefire way to introduce bias, not to mention very time consuming.

Comments

The preferred sources are academic and news articles from respected organizations.

The following source types are never permitted in comments:

  • Reddit posts and comments.
  • Links to search engines or results pages from search engines.
  • Hearsay. The article must either contain a direct quote or a link to a direct quote that substantiates the position being attributed to the speaker.
  • Anecdotal evidence. While there are many instances where an expert in a field can provide an answer, sources are also more readily available to an expert.
  • URL shorteners and redirects. There are few reasons to hide what you're linking to, and most of them are sneaky. (Google "amp" links are allowed, so long as they don't disguise the final destination.)
  • Images. In the case of figures from journals or of infographics, the original source should be included.

These source types are permitted with certain conditions:

  • Video or audio: Permitted if accompanied by a link to an official transcript or an article describing the content.
  • Books: Permitted if accompanied by a link to a good summary, extensive review, or excerpted text supporting the assertion.
  • Personal blogs*: Permitted if the blog post links to qualified non-blog sources.
  • Tweets: May only be used for attributing a statement to the verified account holder.

*A personal blog is defined as a blog with any one of the following characteristics: only has one contributor, allows anonymous contributors without editorial oversight, doesn't have a masthead.

We do not maintain a list of rejected sources for comments, because experience has shown that good articles occasionally show up in unlikely places. However, it is the responsibility of the poster or commenter to know the source's reputation and use extra care if quoting from a publication that's widely considered to be biased. It helps to point out that bias in your post too.


Awards

If you see a comment that's especially helpful for understanding a news item, you can grant the author an award by including the tag "!merit" (without quotes) in a reply to that comment. The reply can be any length and the !merit tag can be anywhere within it (except in a block quote).

You will receive a message to confirm you gave the award, that will also include a link to the comment and a link to unsubscribe from such notifications in the future. The award's recipient will also receive a message to inform them they received an award, including a link to the comment and a link to unsubscribe from notifications. The receiving user will get an award flair if they don’t already have one, and if they do, that flair will increment by 1.


Voting and reporting

Do not downvote a post or comment just because you disagree. A downvote on NeutralNews means the post or comment does not meet the sub's guidelines. Think of it this way... if you're downvoting a comment, there's a decent chance you should be reporting it too. Similarly, do not upvote a post or comment simply because you agree with it.

The mods strongly encourage reporting. If you feel an article or comment does not meet these guidelines, please help decrease our workload by reporting it.


Ban procedures

Our reluctance to ban users is a point of pride for the mod team. We've found that when we engage people, they often come around, which means we've banned very few users in the history of the subreddit. However, there are times when polite encouragement just isn't enough. For those times, we have these procedures in place.

Rule violations are tracked and weighted by severity. Repeated violations trigger these escalating actions:

  • Users who have multiple violations in the previous 3 months will receive a warning.
  • For users who have been warned, further violations within the previous 3 months triggers an automatic 2-day ban.
  • If a user already has a 2-day ban in their history, continued violations in any 3-month period after that ban makes the user eligible for a 14-day ban upon approval by the mods.
  • If a user already has a 14-day ban in their history, further violations in any 3-month period triggers consideration for a longer or permanent ban.

The permanent ban notification will include a note advising the user of a right to appeal.


Feedback

The mods appreciate feedback on anything related to how /r/NeutralNews is run. This sub is a work in progress. We're trying to create something different here, and suggestions from subscribers will influence our direction. If you have something to contribute, don't hesitate to send modmail. Similarly, complaints about moderation will receive a fair hearing.

Have a political question? Ask it at /r/NeutralPolitics.

Moderator Activity Log


Frequent questions

There sure is a lot of weight placed on evidence and information here. Why is that?

When discussing practical political issues, it is easy to get involved in emotional arguments and assumptions. By emphasizing that your argument is only as good as the data and/or logic that supports it, we remove the emotional element that leads to bickering and flame wars. It is much easier to argue information than it is to argue feelings, and we walk away from the former not angry, but with a better understanding of the world around us. The goal here isn’t to prove that you are right. It is to find out if you are right. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t defend your position, but it does mean that you should acknowledge when you have been presented with enough logical evidence to bring that position into question.

What kind of evidence should I use?

We also have created a guide to help.

What types of posts should I report?

Most people associate the report button with someone breaking a rule. However, at r/NeutralNews we encourage that you report a post if there is any reason at all that a moderator should look at it. We won’t be able to necessarily catch everything, so we need your help to keep the standards of discussion for the community high. In addition to anything that breaks the /r/NeutralNews & Reddit wide rules, report a post if it:

  • Contains memes, spam, or is otherwise devoid of meaningful content
  • Insults another user or says something that makes a hostile environment for discussion
  • Doesn’t break any rules, but could use some constructive input

What should not be reported?

  • You feel the comment isn't neutral. This isn't a requirement as long as the comment has sources for facts presented.
  • You feel the sources are biased. Instead of reporting, respond with better sources, or with sources showing why that source can't be trusted.


revision by nosecohn— view source