Dear Pickering Posters,

Some of you may be aware of the recent defamation action against our larger media companies. They have been found guilty of defamation because some unknown person wrote comments on their facebook pages (I intend to write about this case if I get time).

These are multi-million-dollar corporations who can afford to pay moderators, lawyers and all the rest of the bells and whistles. We can’t.

This is beyond messed up, but unfortunately, it is the new normal. Welcome to the 21st Century.

When I write or edit articles, I am as careful as possible to avoid leaving myself open to attack. I do this in part because I have no wish to be dragged into court.

The other reason is because I believe that the Pickering Post is a valuable asset in the fight for our disappearing freedom.

Until recently, it was also a place where you could go and whinge about the situation using language which wouldn’t be tolerated elsewhere. I understand how gratifying that must feel.

It is like sticking two giant fingers up at authority under the cloak of complete anonymity. If any legal ramifications are felt, it won’t be by you, it will be by those running the Pickering Post.

Unfortunately, that isn’t sustainable, so in the future, if you feel the need to express yourself without restraint, could you please set up your own blog. You can do this for free at Google Blogger. You will of course, need to supply your own name and address.

Having done that, you will be free to express yourself in whatever way you please and we are happy for you to post links to your outpourings, however you wish to express them. This is a win-win so please don’t think we are censoring anyone.

We are simply asking for you to take responsibility, and liability, for whatever you post.

Apart from the possible legal ramifications, there is also the issue of the reputation of the Pickering Post itself.

Our intention is not simply to whinge about the current situation (even though we are originally from the UK). We wish to change the situation and the only way that can be done is by influencing important people.

In order to influence people, we need credibility. Unfortunately, it’s hard to retain credibility when the comments section looks like a cross between The Daily Stormer and Tourette Sufferers Quarterly.

As I have said before, this isn’t the Women’s Weekly. We don’t mind occasional profanity provided it is not overdone. We try hard not to censor people for their opinions. However, there are ways to say things – and there are ways to say things.

We are trying to raise the tone slightly and we hope you can appreciate that. We aren’t doing this because we are prudish or precious. We want to advance the Pickering Post, and we want you all to come with us.

We love our community and we want to grow it. We love the comments section; it is what makes this site so great. We want to keep it that way and even improve it if possible.

The best way to do that is to encourage more people to comment. We want to encourage people who have interesting and inciteful things to add to the conversation.

I suspect that such people would be put off if the tone of the site is lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut.

For all these reasons, we will be taking a more active role in moderating comments. Please do not take this personally – we don’t.

If we CENSOR a word or phrase, then please use it as a learning experience. We aren’t being stupid about this. We don’t mind you for instance referring to people by their colour. However, if you describe someone as a f@#king White piece of s%&t we will likely censor it.

The use of strongly derogatory terms such as the N word will also be CENSORED of course.

Use common sense and common decency. Please respect Nurse Ratched. She is tough but fair and dislikes putting people in the naughty corner (moderation).

We will not have time to go back through all the hundreds of thousands of previous comments. We can only apply these standards to the newer comments so don’t feel that you are being unfairly singled out.

Whilst we are setting down guidelines, we have a couple of other requests. Firstly, could posters please refrain from cutting and pasting long articles into the comments section.

If there is an article that you would like people to read, please give your own introduction to the article and maybe a SHORT sample and provide a link. If people wish to view the article, they can follow the link.

Lastly, could people use some discretion when discussing conspiracy theories. We are not ruling out the idea that the pyramids could have been built by aliens. The fact that someone on the internet says that it is true, however, does not constitute proof.

Insisting that aliens really did build the pyramids will diminish your credibility with most ordinary people. You will also diminish the reputation of The Pickering Post.

By all means discuss these matters but please qualify your statements slightly. By using phrases like “Could it be possible?” or “According to Dr Stevens who has an online degree from the University of Burkina Faso,” you are demonstrating a degree of scepticism rather than blind acceptance.

This will do wonders for your credibility as well as for ours. We have the power to remove any comment. By leaving it up, we are giving it a certain degree of approval. Please consider this before hitting the “Post” button.

This is a very sad time and it affects us far more than it affects you. All we can do is make the best of the situation and hopefully use it to improve the Pickering Post so that we can hit back.

Thanks for your understanding

Harry