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Freedom of Expression is an important and underlying principle here. It does get a bit sticky when trying to balance Freedom of Expression with the intensity of emotions that some discussions inspire. Unpopular opinions and passionate debates are welcome here. Personal attacks, hateful rhetoric and spamming talking points are not.

So, thanks to our years of being on the other side of the fence, we have come up with these Terms of Use and mechanisms for applying them which we believe will be more effective in encouraging thoughtful, constructive exchanges here while protecting Freedom of Expression.

PlanetPOV.com reserves the right to change the Terms of Use at any time and members agree to abide by the Terms of Use in any and all cases without exception.

To begin…

All material published at this site is the property of PlanetPOV.com

What this means is that by posting articles or comments at this site, you are agreeing that PlanetPOV.com exclusively owns all rights to all material you contribute to it.

At the same time, PlanetPOV.com allows all members the right to cross-post their own articles or comments on any other sites that they wish to with the understanding that PlanetPOV.com still retains all rights in any case.

If you have created a poem, short story, drawing, music, photography or video and share it on PlanetPOV.com, no worries, that does not affect your ownership of that material in any way. In these particular cases, you are granting PlanetPOV the right to exhibit your work without limitation but you would of course continue to retain the copyright.

If a member wishes to close their account, we will of course respect their wishes however comments and articles made by members will always remain at the site as the property of PlanetPOV.com.  FYI, if an article or comment is deleted, all comments and replies connected to it would be deleted so doing so  would be a severe violation of Freedom of Expression for the many members who wrote comments  in reply to an article or other comment.

Review and Publication of Articles

When a member completes an article and submits it to be published, it is first reviewed by the site’s administration. All articles are required to be complete and not violate the site’s rules. Articles need to be spell checked and previewed to check paragraph formatting, include a graphic that’s uploaded to the site and appears at the top of the article (all graphics need to be public domain and not owned or copyrighted), the image also needs to be selected as the article’s Featured Image (unless the member prefers a different image), all appropriate categories need to be selected, a minimum of five appropriate tags need to be added and an excerpt needs to be provided.

Fully prepared articles with all of the above completed will be published more swiftly than those requiring editorial assistance so members are encouraged to fully complete their articles before submitting for publication.

To provide for diversity and opportunity for all members as well as a window of time for each article to receive a period of exclusive attention, each member may have one article published per day. Depending on the subject matter and/or quantity of articles submitted on a particular day, publication may in any case be scheduled for a day other than that on which the article was submitted, at the discretion of the site’s administration.

Articles that are submitted multiple times will not be published, all articles will only be published once. Articles that are mostly redundant (recycling the identical opinion on the same issues, situations, people, etc. which have already been expressed in one or more previously posted articles by that member) may not be published.

The editorial staff at PlanetPOV may select articles to appear on the front page at their discretion. Typically, the front page is for articles that address a meaningful and timely issue, have a substantial length and are solely or mostly original material.

PlanetPOV presents original opinion posts by real people. Articles that are not primarily original opinion articles (i.e., cut and pastes from other articles or web pages) will not be published as articles. Members may instead post excerpts from outside articles and web sites in a Comment along with a link to the web page or Admin may convert such an article into a Comment on their own.

Articles that are excessively hateful or angry may not be published. The goal of PlanetPOV is to inspire thoughtful conversation about a variety of issues and topics. Anger is sometimes a great motivator to write and has a place in articles. If it becomes excessive however, to where strong hatred is expressed towards individuals or groups of people, it undermines The Planet’s purpose of discussing issues using reason and facts.

Author’s Responsibilities

Authors are expected to fully complete all of the steps described in this document to fully prepare their document for publication. As mentioned, not doing so will delay publication. Authors are expected to participate in the articles they post, primarily by responding to members who show the courtesy of reading a member’s article and supporting it by posting  comments about it. If over time, a member displays a pattern of not supporting their own articles in good faith, if they don’t or rarely respond to comments posted on their articles, their articles may not be published in the future.

Trolls will be banned immediately

We define a troll as someone who comes to the site solely to upset, outrage and/or antagonize members and/or disrupt threads. Opposing views on issues are always welcome but harassment and sabotaging conversations and this site are not. Our years of experience with trolls have given us a keen sense of who’s here just to cause conflict but we will try to err on the side of Free Expression if there’s doubt. Troll behavior includes creating multiple socks (accounts) here or user names that are insulting, hateful, harassing, baiting and/or intentionally offensive.

No Personal Attacks

We know how heated debates on important issues can get and how strong feelings can grow towards those with opposing opinions but at this site we want to keep a minimum level of respect between members. Despite what we see in the MSM and on other sites, it is indeed possible to debate different points of view without resorting to yelling or personal attacks. Posts or comments that contain personal attacks and/or insults will be deleted and any member posting them may have full moderation applied to them. If moderation is ineffective, as a last resort, a member may be banned from the site.

No Hate Speech or Threats

Racism, sexism, gay bashing, anti-semitism and any and all types of prejudicial hatreds in a post or comment will result in their deletion and possibly the moderation or permanent banning of that member. We certainly recognize the big difference between differing opinions on religions, Israel, immigration, etc. that are welcome on this site and nakedly hurtful and/or hateful speech which will not be tolerated. The same applies to any threats made against public officials, members of this site, etc., such people will have to find somewhere else for such behavior to be acceptable.

In the instance where a post is written that is determined not to be hate speech but containing a high degree of hostility, it will be published as a comment as opposed to an article. Posts that contain libel, potentially actionable defamation or threats of or incitement to violence will not be published. The editorial point of view at PlanetPOV is that highlighting thoughtful opinions encourages the thoughtful discussion of meaningful issues, which is the site’s raison d’etre. Highlighting hostile articles is more likely to encourage very emotional and hostile exchanges which are rarely constructive and don’t reflect the sensibility and purpose of the site.  At the same time, PlanetPOV greatly respects freedom of expression, thus even some posts that are perceived as containing excessive hostility are still published as comments.

Disruption of the Site, Personal Conflicts and “Fighting Words” Are Not Allowed

Conduct that disrupts threads or undermines the integrity of the site and/or its members in any way will not be permitted. Disrupting a thread or the site to carry on a personal campaign or a personal conflict will not be permitted. Posting articles or comments that contain “fighting words”, meaning, that there is a clear intention to instigate a conflict with one or more members, is also not permitted. The focus here is on discussions about any meaningful issue, this is a think tank, not Thunderdome. One need not respect any particular opinion but one must respect the right of each member to have their opinion.

No Advertising or Soliciting in Posts or Comments

Our posts and comments are solely for the discussion of issues and topics by members. PlanetPOV is happy to provide advertising services for anyone or any business that is interested but we can’t afford to allow free advertising in comments or posts. Advertisements and/or solicitations that appear in posts or comments will be removed and if posted by a member on an ongoing basis, that member will be moderated. This includes solicitations by a member for others to donate money, services, labor or personal information to him/her or their personal business. Solicitations that are connected to political activism, disaster relief or any other legitimate social action are always permissible.

A remarkable community has voluntarily come together at The Planet. We believe that the least we can do to show our gratitude for all of their dedication and contributions, is to do our best to keep them from being frequently solicited as a bank of free money and/or free labor for the personal benefit of any other individual(s) or company(ies).

Refrain from Off Topic Comments

Authors and Contributors here invest a great deal of time and thought into the articles they post and those commenting on their articles are often just as thoughtful. Though there may be no harm intended, posting Off Topic (OT) comments do interfere with the ongoing conversation and are disrespectful towards the Author of an article.

We don’t intend to be too rigid about this but if OT comments start hijacking a thread, the comments will be moved to an “OT” post in Speakers’ Corner, where members can continue that conversation without disrupting a thread. Members should feel free to start or continue conversations on any topic in Speakers’ Corner (as long as they respect the other Terms of Use aside from OT…since nothing is OT in those areas).

Profanity

Profanity is allowed, we’re not bullshitting you. This is a site for adults and straight talk. You are indeed truly free to express yourself as long as you are not attacking someone.

If profanity is used directly towards a member, that is of course a personal attack and a violation of the Terms of Use. As with other personal attacks, using profanity towards another member will result in a comment or post being deleted and potentially a period of moderation for that member.

Moderation of Repeat Offenders

Some members can be as strong minded about their blogging style as they are about issues. We try our best to work with members so they will participate constructively with other members and the site but if a member repeatedly violates the Terms of Use or does so at any time in a profound way, they may have all of their comments and posts subjected to moderation. This means every comment or post will have to await the review of a moderator before it is posted or unapproved.

The intent here is to encourage, not punish. We want a diverse and inclusive community here and we will use moderation as our main tool to accomplish that.

Banning Members

Aside from trolls (who we are happy to ban immediately!), this is an absolutely last choice for us to ever exercise. We’d like to think that members would ultimately choose to converse respectfully than be banned but if moderation and all our efforts prove  ineffective in encouraging a member to simply show others and the site the minimum amount of respect that member would expect, that member may be banned.

Banned members are permanently banned and may not return, not even under new user names so we take this step very seriously and sincerely hope we can resolve any issue with a member short of banning them.

Except trolls of course.

We love banning trolls.

It smells like…victory.

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