Why does The Varsity allow readers to comment on posts?
Much like how us journalists act as a constant check on power, The Varsity believes that the comment option on posts acts as a constant check on our work. By providing a space under articles for readers to voice their opinions, we welcome criticism, praise, and expertise to add to our journalistic process. As a byproduct of this, the comment section allows readers to engage with each other, delve into new ideas, and debate ones that they don’t agree with. We believe that in the digital age, one-way journalism doesn’t fly, and we want to give readers a chance to directly engage with our content through our website.
However, our comment section is not unfettered. This Community Guidelines page ensures that commenters are using the forums in an appropriate way, and that hate, spam, or misinformation doesn’t veer important discussion off course. That being said, comments posted on our site will constantly be undergoing constant revision by our The Varsity’s Online Team.
How can I comment?
You can comment by locating the comment block at the bottom of posts. In order to comment, you need to disclose your email address and name. Your email address will not be displayed on the site and The Varsity does not keep record of the email addresses submitted when commenting. The Varsity does this to ensure that commenters are readers of the paper and not malicious actors or spam accounts. After writing up your comment click the “post” button.
When will my comments be on the site?
Comments will be displayed on posts after they have been approved by the online team. Comments will be more frequently reviewed during peak hours of the day and less frequently overnight or on weekends.
Will there be articles I cannot comment on?
The Varsity will turn off comments on articles if we foresee substantial legal repercussions, or believe that comments could potentially harm sources or stakeholders involved in the story.
How are comments moderated?
Comments are moderated by the online team at The Varsity according to our community guideline standards delineated on this page. Additionally, the following comments will not be permitted:
- Personal attacks directed at other commenters, The Varsity’s staff, or The Varsity’s contributors. Try to direct your comments at ideas, not at people.
- Slander, libel, vulgar language, name calling, spam, advertisements, impersonations, irrelevant comments, and links
- CAPITALISATION THAT DENOTES SHOUTING
- Comments not specifically about the article at hand
- Racism, sexism, or any form of discrimination toward a group of people
- Self promotion
- Anything not outlined here that goes against The Varsity’s editorial standards
Will comments ever be edited?
You will not be able to edit a comment after it’s posted, so make sure you are 100% sure about your comment before you click the post button. Additionally, comments are never edited by The Varsity’s online team; they will either be displayed or deleted.
Can I be suspended or banned?
Regular breaches of our Community Guidelines will result in your account being banned from commenting in the future. The Varsity does this to ensure the protection of our online community.
Can I delete my comment?
Once your comment is posted it cannot be deleted. If you have concerns about your comment, email [email protected].
Can Varsity Staff respond to comments?
The Varsity’s staff are able to comment on posts as they please, barring any restrictions set out in our operating policy, or conflicts of interest between editorial sections. For example, a News writer is not able to comment on a post in the Comment section due to our News-Comment divide policy.
Can I report a comment?
Readers can report comments by sending an email to [email protected], or flagging the comment in the comment section under a post.
Who came up with these guidelines?
This document was created by The Varsity’s online team, and has been subject to changes after feedback from the masthead team, Varsity staff, and readers.
I have more questions, who can I contact?
Email [email protected] if you have any questions, concerns, or flags about specific comments. Readers can also send a letter to the editor if they want their comments to be published in out paper.
The opinions espoused in the comments on posts on The Varsity’s website do not represent the views of The Varsity as a whole. The Varsity holds full control over the comment section, including the ability to ban commenters, delete comments, and publish comments.
Modelled on research from
- Habermas, Jürgen. “The public sphere.” Media Studies: A Reader – 2nd Edition (1996).
- Mill, J.S. On Liberty, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing. (1978).
- Norris, Pippa. “Watchdog journalism.” (2014).
- New York Times “The Comment Section”
- Globe and Mail “Community Guidelines”
- Washington Post “Community Rules”
- National Post “Community Guidelines”