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General News    H2'ed 3/14/13

Opednews Policies On Content, Behavior and Banning; Comments Encouraged

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We're happy to celebrate 10 years building a thriving, activist community and publishing liberal, progressive, socialist, and revolutionary content.  We thank you for your involvement and support, donations, writing, volunteering and participation in the community

We members of the Senior Editor and Managing Editor teams have collaborated on this article to provide more clarity about policies and guidelines at Opednews. 

We're proud to be one of the most widely-read progressive sites on the Internet and one of the 4500 news sites Google news indexes. We have not wavered in our vision-- to be a unique, open venue for all types of writers, from the famous to the novice, and to cover a very wide range of topics -- topics often banned from other sites. 

Rob Kall and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders
Rob Kall and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders
(Image by rob kall)
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Rob Kall and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by rob kall

We are also proud to be allied with people like Bernie Sanders, Cindy Sheehan, Dennis Kucinich, Ray McGovern, Ann Wright, Paul Craig Roberts and David Swanson; as well as organizations like Code Pink, Psychologists for Human Rights, The World Can't Wait, RootsAction, Coalition for Voting Integrity, PA Healthcare for All, the Public Banking Institute, Healthcare-NOW!, a number of national whistleblower organizations, and a multitude of other leading activists and organizations. 

Opednews has evolved its journalistic and community policies through much work, discussion, and soul-searching by a volunteer team of extraordinary editors and advisers. This is how a site sculpts its own, unique identity, and that identity has as much to do with what the sculptor removes from her carving, as it does with what she chooses to retain.

Over 30 years ago, Rob Kall, our publisher and editor in chief, wrote an article for Writers Digest on how to generate hundreds of article ideas. The magazine used it as their cover story. He started with a line that Readers Digest ended up quoting:

"Guido the plumber and Michelangelo obtained their marble from the same quarry, but what each saw in the marble made the difference between a nobleman's sink and a brilliant sculpture."

Actually, when he first drafted the quotation, he used the word toilet instead of sink. The editor at Writer's Digest changed it. Now, the quote is listed on over 90 websites, and little did Rob know that it would become a metaphor for some people about Opednews.

For some, Opednews is like Michelangelo -- creating a great work, exposing the truth within the stone. For others, we are a toilet. So be it. C'est la vie.

Opednews.com aggressively covers...

  • Activism -- positive, progressive, socialist movements and actions, occupy, anti-war, peace, animal rights, civil disobedience, revolutions...
  • The problems, misdeeds and deceptions of the duopoly -- both Democrats and Republicans.
  • Corporate globalization, economics, corporate crime and abuses, corporatism and its influence on politics.
  • Politics -- Constitutional rights, Congress, the Supreme Court, the White House.
  • Media -- right- and left-wing, as well as right-wing extremist groups who wield influence on the media.
  • Ecology, energy.
  • Education-- issues of dumbing down, privatization, affordability, student debt, vouchers...
  • erosion or taking away of rights, bigotry, racism, inequality, gender, etc.
  • World issues -- Israel/Palestine, Iran, Egypt, Arab Spring, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Greece, Europe, China, Africa. 
  • The arts, living, health and science, religion, notable quotations.
  • solid writing on JFK and RFK assassinations. 
  • New, visionary, revolutionary ideas, and so much more.

There are some topics, after long debate and even some periods of coverage, which we have decided not to explore, discuss, or give our attention to. These include:

  • HAARP and Chemtrail conspiracy theories. (See our FAQ on other conspiracy theories)
  • Claims that all vaccines are dangerous or a conspiracy to kill or maim people. (See FAQ)
  • 911 Truth Re-hashes and old news (See FAQ)
  • Theories that Sandy Hook was a government black operation or theories that mass murders are really coordinated by the government, or, believe it or not, that Hurricane Sandy was a government operation.

There ARE people who want to focus their attention on these kinds of theories. We choose not to--and instead-- to leave those topics for other sites. Therefore, content on those subjects will not be published here. That's our right and responsibility as a publisher: to set policy, as it is every publisher's responsibility.

Opednews is not for everyone. To complicate matters, because of our open door policies and bottom-up approach, it is not always immediately obvious to editors or to readers and contributors, when there is a fit that doesn't work. 

When a poor fit between Opednews and a commenter, submitter or editor becomes apparent, we try to deal with it as quickly, fairly and kindly as we can.  Sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes people get really angry. 

As most major sites do, Opednews continues to fine-tune our policy about unpleasant or nasty users. We don't want them to be part of our community. We welcome well-thought-out, alternate viewpoints, presented with common courtesy. But folks who are argumentative (in their relationship with the site, not because they disagree on an issue) cranky, or mean set their own fate for losing privileges and access to the site via banning.

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