Archived Story

Ideological, political discussion can still be civil

Published 8:49am Thursday, July 24, 2014

If you had any doubt that it is political season all you have to do is pick up a newspaper, go through the propaganda delivered with your mail or even just glance at the political signs you are bombarded with while driving along the highways of Michiana.

But a sometimes-overlooked indicator of the battles within small-town politics is online message boards and social media.

The back-and-forth debate has started to heat up as we come down the stretch to the Aug. 5 primary election, so now is perfect time to talk about the etiquette rules when it comes to posting comments on Leader Publications’ ¬¬websites.

Here are the high points of the new Terms of Use readers must agree to in order to post:

We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. But if you use inappropriate language (even when typographically obfuscated), or make potentially slanderous or libelous comments when using this site and its features, or engage in ad hominem attacks on fellow commenters, people mentioned in stories or any employee of Leader Publications, we reserve the right (but assume no obligation) to remove any and/or all of your contributions.

If you become a problem for us or our site’s other users we may ban you from using our services and Websites. If your account has been banned, and you have a reasonable case to make regarding reinstating your account, contact the site staff on our problems with comments and banned accounts page.

We believe it is absolutely possible for people from a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that foster incivility.

It is important to know that we do not review every contribution made on this Website. More than likely, you will see user contributions before anyone on staff here does. This may include information and opinions from a variety of individuals and organizations other than official content from this Website and its staff.

We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any user contribution, regardless of whether it comes from a user, celebrity, “expert,” or other source.

Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this Website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others.

You agree to not use this Website to violate any copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property. By contributing to this Website, you are representing that you are the owner of the material, or are making your submission with the explicit consent of the owner. Submitting material that is the property of another without the specific consent of its owner is not only a violation of this agreement, but may also subject you to legal liability for infringement of copyright, trademark or other intellectual property rights.

Any user who feels that a contribution to this Website is objectionable is encouraged to click the “flag as inappropriate” link related to the specific post or posts. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

The full Terms can be found online but following these general guidelines will ensure civil discussion and sharing of ideas this election season and beyond.

Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at


By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

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