There has recently been a great deal of discussion here about how best to ensure civility and constructive debate on this site, while not interfering with the vigorous exchange of ideas that we all want. This is an evolving issue, and policies will no doubt change over time in response to conditions.
The purpose of Blue Mass. Group is to develop ideas that will invigorate progressive leadership in Massachusetts and the nation. Robust debate is an important means to that end. We welcome bold, constructive observations. To us, this means commentary typical of thoughtful discussion between acquaintances who may hold differing views on important issues, but who debate those issues in a respectful manner. Insults, personal attacks, rudeness, and blanket unsupported statements reduce the level of discourse, interfere with our basic objective, and are not permitted.
We expect contributors to adhere to the fair use doctrine, which means at a minimum that all direct quotes must be linked or otherwise identified and that copyrighted works should not be reprinted in their entirety if an excerpt will suffice. A useful discussion about fair use can be found here on Wikipedia.
Users who consistently violate our policies will receive a warning. Users who fail to heed our warning may be banned from the site.
We have found that commentators who disclose their real names are in general more likely to be constructive than those who are anonymous. We encourage users to add their real name, profession, age, the jurisdiction where they vote, and conflicts of interest to their profile. Anonymous commentators are allowed, but we encourage such users to provide as much of this information as they can manage. Impersonation of real people is not allowed and user accounts that do this will be deleted as soon as we become aware of any such practice.
There is one exception to the “anonymity is OK” principle: if you write a post, or leave a comment, about a candidate (or someone who is running against a candidate) with whom you have either a financial or a personal relationship, please disclose it. It won’t detract from the point you’re making – arguments on the merits stand or fall on their merits, not on the basis of those kinds of relationships. And it will be a positive step in the direction of establishing the internet as a credible source of information on politics and candidates. That benefits all of us. If we determine that you have failed to disclose a relationship of this kind, we may disclose it for you. Disclosure of relationships applies to issues as well as candidates.
Limitations on posting
Posting commercial links on Blue Mass Group as a form of advertising is forbidden and will result in the immediate deletion of your account without warning. Note: At present, users cannot embed iframe videos. Editors can embed iframe videos and will do this on request as practicable.
– Bob, Charley, and David