Comments: A moderator’s view

Moderator at work

Since 2015 Rye News has been inviting readers to comment on stories. The editorial team believe that they make an interesting and enjoyable addition to the editorial content. Please consider adding your comments – the more the merrier.

As you may know, the comments are “moderated”. They have to be approved before they are published. It has been my job to do this (and I am pictured above). Many people would consider me far too old, white and middle class, but I hope the criteria I use are fairly uncontroversial.

I have recently come in for some flak for editing comments and in some cases cutting out whole paragraphs, so I thought I would try and explain my actions.

In making my decisions, I refer to Rye News comment guidelines. There is a link to this on our website and I copy them below. I will occasionally edit a comment and remove those parts that do not meet our guidelines –  as quite often the comment is still well worth publishing.

I feel very strongly that comments should be “generally polite”. I do not think I am being over sensitive about politeness. Social media – which includes the comments on Rye News – is so often characterised by unpleasant and offensive personal remarks. There are many reasons to get irritated and frustrated by events in and around Rye.

It is right that we should speak out and occasionally condemn some of the worst examples in the strongest possible terms, but it is not necessary (or helpful) to be rude to anyone. I often share this frustration and anger – Mr Angry is an old friend – but I do not let him take over when writing anything that is going to be published (though in conversations he sometimes butts in).

I hope that this approach is supported by the readers of Rye News.


From October 2015 Rye News has been inviting readers to comment on stories.

The Comment form will appear at the foot of the story – once submitted the comment will only be published and appear below the story if it is first approved.

If a story is not published Rye News will, in most cases, give a reason to the person submitting the comment.

The Editor has the final say on whether comments can be approved and published or not.

The Editor can ask someone to approve and publish comments on his behalf.

If this person has any doubt about the suitability of the comment they must seek advice from the Editor and act on this advice.


Comments will be published if the opinions expressed and the language used to express them is suitable to a rational, informed and generally polite debate on the topic contained within the original story.


Vigorous debate is still to be encouraged. But personal remarks are not – for instance in some circumstances it might be acceptable to say something as strong as “I think the views expressed in the story are ridiculous/ ignorant/ prejudiced etc” but it would not be acceptable to say “the author is ridiculous/ ignorant/prejudiced etc”


Any comments made about other people or organisations whether they refer to the story or not must be based on evidence and justified. They should also generally be expressed in a reasonable and considered way.

Image Credits: Christopher Strangeways .


  1. Is that why you didn’t publish my criticism of ESCC over the stopping the free school bus service for Rye Harbour children. The A259 /Rye Harbour seemed pretty topical in your paper? No reply to my letter to Rye News?

  2. Likewise I have had posts refused without any explanation, I have no problem in the way you moderate your site, after all it’s yours to run how you see fit but I do think that it would be common manners to inform the offender.

  3. You are right. It is Rye News policy to inform commenters when a decision is made not to publish. I try and do this most of the time and apologise for the times when I have not done so. Will try and do better.

  4. Oops!
    Looks like I’ve been caught out by the internet grammar police, possibly one reason why some are reluctant to post their thoughts on this and other sites.
    There’s always someone ready to pounce on the smallest mistake.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here