Home Page

Community rules and standards

How to comment on Balkan Insight stories.

Readers can submit comments for publication by filling out the text-entry box located at the bottom of each article published on Balkan Insight.

Social sharing buttons are also located on each article, allowing readers to post links to Balkan Insight content on their own social network account profiles, share individual stories with their networks and add comments that will be read by their friends and followers if they wish. These comments are not published on Balkan Insight-branded pages.

Readers can also leave comments via Balkan Insight’s social media channels including, among others, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. The same commenting standards and rules apply to Balkan Insight social channels and websites, but each social platform also has its own community standards, which users are expected to uphold. Balkan Insight moderates comments published on its social accounts.

Pre-moderation and post-moderation

Balkan Insight moderators check readers’ comments and other user-generated content before publication to ensure all interactive sections of the website are safe, welcoming and constructive places for all readers to comment and debate the issues.

Balkan Insight actively encourages freedom of speech and debate among readers but it must also act responsibly in terms of ensuring readers’ comments and online debates do not break laws or our own editorial standards. In addition, moderators must ensure these discussions stay respectful, safe and relevant.

Comments published on BIRN’s social media outlets are post-moderated and will be removed if they breach standards or break publishing laws. BIRN has activated profanity filters so comments containing offensive language may be automatically marked as spam. BIRN moderators do not edit or remove parts of comments on social networks so if a comment fails to meet standards it will be deleted.

BIRN regularly updates its commenting standards and rules to ensure its debate and comment pages are properly managed.

Rules and standards

Balkan Insight reserves the right to edit, remove part of a comment or even decline to publish a comment altogether if the comment does or is any of the following:

Advertises products and services – this includes personal websites, details of charity and/or fundraising events, surveys/polls, company/commercial websites and non-BIRN forums and/or message boards

Abusive, offensive, designed to disrupt coverage – this includes sexist, racist, homophobic, sexually-explicit and otherwise offensive, discriminatory and objectionable material. Moderators do not publish comments that feature swear words, language or terms likely to offend or threaten others, attempts to impersonate others or attempts to cause technical problems or errors, trolling (deliberately offensive and provocative comments that do not add to the debate in a meaningful way) or flaming (comments designed to hurt others).

Contains inappropriate links – if posting links to related content make sure that content is from a reputable and free-to-use site. Balkan Insight moderators will not publish comments with links to unsuitable and unrelated sites, such as pay-to-use sites, unlawful sites, sexually explicit sites or any other spam-like content.

Off-topic – moderators will only publish comments that relate to the story content and will cease to publish comments if they stray off-topic. Commenting closes on specific stories one week after publication.

Election campaigning – moderators will not publish comments submitted by official campaigners for candidates standing for election, specifically where these are attempts to smear or support particular candidates. If candidate’s campaign teams wish to contribute or question content they should contact the senior editorial team.

Protests/activists/lobbyists – Balkan Insight reserves the right to remove comments posted by protest, lobbyist or activist campaigns if deemed inappropriate for publication on a debate page.

Defamatory – Balkan Insight is a responsible news provider and will not publish material that includes unwarranted or unproven allegations that damage a person or company’s reputation.

Breaches court reporting restrictions – moderators must ensure that all material it publishes, including readers’ comments, does not break reporting restrictions imposed by judges on specific cases or generally in law. These restrictions vary from case to case but may include identifying defendants, complainants, witnesses, children and other particulars of the case.

Infringes copyright laws – moderators will not publish comments containing material that might infringe copyright laws.

Contains personal details – moderators do not publish comments that include personal information about the user or another person. Personal details include addresses, telephone numbers, or any other information that might put someone at risk.

Inappropriate tone – readers submitting comments that contain sarcasm or ironic observations should carefully check their meaning could not be misinterpreted by other readers and that the tone remains suitable to the subject. Moderators might not publish or delete comments if there is any doubt about meaning and tone.

Quoting other comments – readers should be careful when quoting other readers’ comments. If readers quote a comment that has been removed by moderators because it did not comply with commenting standards, that comment will also be removed.

Clarity in English – moderators make every effort to publish comments including making very minor adjustments to spellings and grammar where absolutely necessary. However, moderators will not risk unintentionally altering the meaning of comments submitted that cannot clearly be understood. In these cases, the comment will not be published.

200-word limit – Balkan Insight is committed to ensuring debates are lively and enjoyable for everyone taking part. This means enabling fast publication to keep reader comments timely. To this end, moderators will only consider publishing comments that do not exceed 200 words.

How to submit complaints about readers’ comments

Readers can submit complaints regarding moderation or any comments they deem offensive or inappropriate to Balkan Insight by email to [email protected] or by submitting their complaint as another comment.

 The latter will not be published but will be read by moderators.