Blogger and community guidelines: An update

"I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Voltaire's
is one of the many quotes carved into the walls here at the Tribune Tower
and it seems like a good one to kick off this post.

I have written about our blogger and community guidelines here at the Staff Blog. As I said, my thinking was heavily influenced by this post from NYU professor Jay Rosen.

I called the guidelines a start because I knew the ideas would be tested early and often by circumstances we couldn't predict.

We are still in our beta version of ChicagoNow, but some points in our guidelines are worth more amplification and discussion.

Our ChicagoNow community managers don't edit posts before they go live on the site.

That's how it was working for the ChicagoNow bloggers before they moved their sites here.

That's the way it is working now.

And that's really the only way this could work.

We're
providing the platform. We're offering new ways to promote their blogs
within a network and outside of it. We're giving help and advice on
search-engine optimization and social media if needed. We're
compensating bloggers for their work based on their traffic.

But all that isn't worth giving up the freedom to say what you want to say.
 

If you disagree with what a blogger says or feel they got something
wrong, you should contact him or her first. Send an e-mail to the blogger or
post a comment in the comment thread of the relevant post.

We
really want to encourage these open dialogues between ChicagoNow
bloggers and fellow community members. Many ChicagoNow bloggers come to
us with large and active audiences already in place. That's part of the
reason we ask them to join this network.

You should speak up in a way that is in keeping with that blogger's
community and the ChicagoNow guidelines. Not surprisingly, Da'
Bears Blog
and Chicago Garden provide different atmospheres. That level of discourse has been settled over
time (or will be) by those communities.

We
have made it clear in our talks with bloggers that we want them
to address community concerns as quickly as possible. For the
well-established bloggers with local followings, they already are used
to doing that as a matter of course.

If you don't feel like the blogger has addressed the issue you've
raised with him or her, then e-mail the community managers at ChicagoNow.
We'll discuss it with the blogger and come to a resolution that we hope
lives up to our guidelines and maintains the online sense of
family--even in disagreement--we want to cultivate here.

Are there circumstances in which ChicagoNow community managers will intervene immediately?

Absolutely. They are
outlined in our terms of service and are fairly standard.

Our community guidelines, on the other hand, are a work in progress.

Your help in shaping them is welcome.

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