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Mayor Meed Ward Online Community Commenting Guidelines

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Online Commenting Guidelines

Across the Mayor’s blog and social media properties, the overarching goal is to foster environments of respect and civility where every voice can be heard, every idea can be shared, and every question can be asked. The Mayor’s digital communities have had commenting guidelines since 2016, evolving and adapting over time as new platforms and circumstances require.

We live in a democracy where different points of view are welcome and we can challenge the decisions of our leaders, ask questions, and provide feedback.

We don’t all have to agree. We do need to be respectful of each other.

Mayor Meed Ward encourages intelligent and respectful dialogue on all of her online platforms. Profanity, personal attacks toward others, racism and other forms of discrimination, and the spreading of misinformation via comments will be removed without warning. Messages viewed to be spam or trolling, or from bots/anonymous users will also be removed.

These guidelines are similar to those found on the social media platforms themselves (have a look at those for twitter, facebook, instagram, linkedin), as well as those employed broadly by other public figures (ex: Prime Minister’s Office, Government of Ontario).

As a member of Burlington City Council, Mayor Meed Ward is required by the City’s Code of Good Governance (item 13) to monitor her online communities to ensure a high level of courtesy and respect, to not impugn the motives, integrity or competence of council colleagues, other members of the public, or staff, and address false or misleading information. You can read more about that expectation here.

To best support the goal of avoiding the spread of misinformation, especially during times of public emergency (such as COVID-19), content that cannot be easily verified for accuracy and credibility in a timely manner due to limited resources may be removed without warning and/or commenting may be turned off. This is in keeping with some of the additional precautions being taken elsewhere on social media, including, for example on twitter. Any comments and/or concerns can always still be emailed to mayor@burlington.ca and our team will respond as soon as possible.

Any commenter who violates these guidelines may be temporarily banned from commenting on the Mayor’s social media platforms without warning. This does not prevent users from continuing to share their points of view to their own network of connections, but rather limits the ability to leverage the audience the Mayor has built through her own accounts. The Mayor’s community strives to be one where all voices can be heard without fear of bullying, intimidation, misinformation or disrespect. The Mayor’s online community strives to be a trusted source of information where all voices can be heard without fear of bullying, intimidation or disrespect.

Please keep in mind that any member of our community is always able to share feedback and concerns directly with the Mayor through via email at mayor@burlington.ca or telephone at 905-335-7607.  

Best Practices and Guidelines to consider when commenting online:

  • Be civil and respectful to all users. If you would not say your comment in person, it is likely best not to say it online.
  • Focus on the issues being discussed and use facts and research from trusted and credible sources to support your point of view when possible.
  • Remember the difference between opinion and fact. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but facts are a shared and agreed-upon reality.
  • Accept that others may not agree with you and are entitled to their own point of view.
  • Stay on topic. Relate your comments to the original post and avoid unrelated tangents.
  • Be concise. Avoid lengthy posts that cannot be easily understood by others.
  • Consider moving a conversation to private messages with another user to continue a lengthy or heated debate.
  • Avoid all profanity, personal insults, and any language of a racist, obscene or hateful manner.
  • Avoid posting any private personal information such as telephone numbers or addresses. Use email, telephone or private messages for such info.
  • Be open and honest about who you are. Use your real name and stand behind your words the same as you would do in person.
  • Avoid selling products or services of any kind in others’ online communities without explicit permission to do so.
  • Be open minded and listen to others. You might learn something new or make a new friend!

 

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5 thoughts on “Mayor Meed Ward Online Community Commenting Guidelines”

  1. How will seniors who live in their own homes, or anyone for that matter, know when it’s time for their vaccinations? Will it be in the form of a text or email from Halton Health? Will it be by Ward? Is OHIP tracking who is what age and where they live? I think it would give seniors piece of mind if they knew a place had been allotted for their vaccination in their particular area, if they knew how they were going to be notified. We know we are in stage 2 and we know we’ll be vaccinated when vaccines become available. But it would be nice if the Mayor could say for example: “When vaccine is available, all those seniors living in a 4 mile area of the Burlington Curling Club, Seniors Centre and Library on New Street will be vaccinated in the following order 80,75,70,65 etc etc. Please call 123456789 when notified to make an appointment.” Very simple. We know the vaccine is delayed but this would show that there is organization in place to make it run smoothly when the time comes.

    1. Hi Janice, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. Thank you for reaching out — the vaccination rollout is an issue many have expressed concerns over and we understand where the community is coming from. We’re asking the public to please email us their questions, concerns, issues and feedback to mayor@burlington.ca as it not only helps us keep track of them all, but also assists us in determining how best Mayor Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office can assist. Thank you in advance.

  2. My neighbours elderly aunt is in tansley woods home and as of yesterday had not been vaccinated. Who checks articles for validity ? We in the community trust nothing but truth. Please follow up on this.
    We want to continue to trust .

    1. Hi Marion, this is John Bkila, the Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist. Could you please email us at mayor@burlington.ca? Not only does it help us keep track of all questions, requests, comments and feedback, but it also assists us in determining how best the Mayor and Mayor’s Officer can assist. Thank you.

    2. Hi Marion, John from the Mayor’s team here again. We checked with the Region of Halton and they let us know the following:
      “In Halton, we have completed our first round of vaccinations in the long-term care homes. We have begun to vaccinate the high-risk retirement homes, as of Sunday and the goal is to complete these homes by this weekend. With respect to Tansley Woods, the long-term care side has been vaccinated and the retirement home will be vaccinated this Thursday.”

      I hope this helps and thank you for reaching out to the Mayor’s Office.

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Here are guidelines before you comment, and our expectations before we will post:

  • Be civil. Would you speak this way to a good friend? If not, rewrite.
  • Focus on the issues. Build your argument and make your case in support of your opinion from facts, research or other sources. That way we can all learn. “I disagree with so-and-so because…” is fine; “So-and-so is naïve/stupid  for thinking the way he/she does and here’s why…” is not acceptable.
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Don’t assume motives of those you disagree with, make unfounded allegations, spread rumours, or engage in any other behaviours that would discourage you from participating if someone said this to, or about, you. The Golden Rule applies: Do unto others as you would have done to you. We will edit or not post comments with this type of content.
  • Say it once: When comments from the same individual or individuals become repetitive, going over ground already stated, we reserve the right to close commenting.
  • Use your full, and real, name. If wish to make a comment in public, we expect you will publicly stand behind it with your name. If you don’t want to publicly reveal your name, that’s fine; you are always welcome to share your thoughts with me privately via my email below. I welcome and consider all feedback in making decisions for the community.
  • Have fun, consider and learn. Share your views and read those of others. May we all benefit from a healthy exchange of ideas, and learn a little more about the people in our community, what you think, and what’s important to each of you. You may end up changing your mind about an issue; even if you don’t, we hope everyone will gain a greater understanding of why people have different perspectives.
Administrator

Administrator

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600