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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or telephone at 905-335-7607.
Best Practices and Guidelines to consider when commenting online:
- Be civil and respectful to all users. Don’t resort to name calling or labelling others. 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. Rumours, gossip, accusations and allegations without benefit of evidence will be removed.
- 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. Threats of any nature will not be tolerated.
- 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!