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Forum rules

We've updated and clarified our rules to ensure that this remains a place for intelligent discussion and debate, where posters can expect to be treated with respect, no matter their point of view. As a rough rule of thumb, think of the forum as the online equivalent of a spirited social evening in the pub (lively, but not drunk) - passions can be stirred, but anyone engaging in abusive, intimidatory or bullying behaviour will be dealt with severely by the staff (that's us, the moderators...bad behaviour will usually mean you lose "live" posting status). And please don't demand we explain/justify every decision: the popularity of our forum means we don't have time to engage in dialogue. To borrow another metaphor: the ref's decision is always final. So:

  • First off, don't hide behind a pseudonym

    Register using your real name (first name and surname) and a valid email address (we'll keep your email secret).

  • Be relevant

    Obviously your comment must relate to the article concerned, and to the inherent issue(s). Wherever possible, avoid cutting'n'pasting the same opinion repeatedly...that leads to dull threads.

  • Intelligent debate means just that

    We won't post comments that in our view aren't adding to the debate. Criticism of public figures is acceptable as long as it can be deemed fair comment...but don't resort to childish insults or unfair comparisons.

  • Keep it clean

    Religious bigotry, sexism, homophobia, racism and references to disability of any kind won't be tolerated. Comments using vulgar and abusive language won't be posted.

  • Be nice...

    Robust debate is encouraged, but personal attacks on individual posters and any personal squabbling between posters isn't permitted. Don't attempt to post personal information about other contributors. Material which we consider to be defamatory, inflammatory or offensive in any way is liable to be deleted. Threads may be closed at any time at the discretion of the moderators.

  • Football fans - don't flaunt your colours

    We know that our national game stirs deep feelings, but please don't use the site to bait your football rivals. Posts which are purely provocative or include club slogans will not be published. However, we don't insist that individual threads are restricted to fans of the club(s) featured in the related articles.

  • Don't shout or nitpick

    Please don't use CAPITAL LETTERS to try to make a point, as lots of readers find it the written equivalent of shouting. And don't try to score cheap points off other posters by highlighting a spelling or grammar mistake (we all make them from time to time!)

  • Limit your links

    Because we can't check the content or technical robustness of other websites, you shouldn't post live links. Official sites, such as those run by Governments or councils, are acceptable. In the same vein, please don't introduce material wholesale from any other site into our threads...if you want to comment about that material, go to the other site instead.

  • Direct any complaints

    Don't attempt to use the forum to criticise our publications' general editorial policies or individual journalists. We'll always strive to protect our brands, and have a duty of care to our staff. If you have an issue you want to raise, or see something that you think needs correcting, please contact the editor by email

  • The MSM and us

    Hint: if you believe we're just a part of the mainstream media (MSM), and you want to launch a virulent, unqualified attack on said MSM, please don't be surprised if your criticism doesn't appear on our (MSM?) site. Wider discussion of the role of the media will usually be acceptable, but please don't point readers to other sites which are not under our control.

  • In moderation...

    Don't try to post public comments about the moderating process - if you've a genuine query not covered by these rules, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

  • No Spam

    Don't post anything which is designed to promote your business or website or whatever. They won't go live. Instead we'll hand your email details to our advertising sales team.