Updated Rules & Regs…And Introducing “The Pols Penalty Box”

After the jump you can read our updated Posting Policies and Rules & Regulations. Along with these updates, we’re excited to introduce a new and fun way to “enforce” these rules: The Colorado Pols Penalty Box.

Users who violate our Posting Policies and/or Rules & Regulations may be suspended from Colorado Pols and banished (temporarily) to The Colorado Pols Penalty Box.

Think of the Colorado Pols Penalty Box as something of a virtual “time out” room. Colorado Pols rule-breakers can spend their suspension period essentially sitting in the “Box” by themselves. They can comment on their suspension, or on Colorado politics in general, but there will be nobody there to respond to them (unless someone else has been “banished” during the same time period). At the end of any suspension period, the user’s account will be re-activated at Colorado Pols. [MORE AFTER THE JUMP]

Each “guest” of the Penalty Box will receive their login information by email, and will have a thread posted to commemorate their suspension. In the case of multiple simultaneous suspensions (i.e. flamewar cooling-off period), we may create one thread for all parties at our discretion. Either way, only suspended users may comment in the Penalty Box — and only while they are suspended.

Couldn’t we just suspend users who break the rules at Colorado Pols and not temporarily banish them to a separate site like “The Pols Penalty Box”? Sure we could, but this seemed like a lot more fun.

Suspensions can range in length, including:

Penalty Box Violations

  • “2 Day Minor”
  • “5 Day Major”
  • “10 Day Super Whammy”

    Now, click below to read the full list of Posting Policies and Rules & Regulations. And don’t mess up!

    Reminder: Please email us at webmaster@coloradopols.com if you see something amiss on Colorado Pols. Believe it or not, we don’t actually sit here all day and read every one of the hundreds of comments that people leave, so we’re bound to miss things.

    Looking for the Terms of Use & Privacy Policy? Here it is

    This section is intended to explain both the Posting Policies and Rules & Regulations for Colorado Pols users. Posting Policies are more about basic rules for links or citations, for example, while Rules & Regulations cover everything else.

    For the most part, we don’t care what you write at Colorado Pols, and we certainly don’t care about who or what you support. We try to let people say whatever they want here, which is quite different than most political or news websites that screen comments that the site administrators might just find disagreeable. We give you a lot of leeway here, and in return, we ask only that you try to act like responsible adults and abide by some simple policies, rules and regulations that should seem like basic common sense for most folks. By and large, we have very little problems with commenters or diarists here; but as with most things in life, 1% of the people end up causing trouble that affects the other 99% of you who weren’t raised in the basement of a barn inside a cave.



    Not only are these important policies that will keep you out of trouble on Colorado Pols, but following these policies will make it much more likely that a diary you write will be promoted to the front page.

    *Please note that the Colorado Pols site administrators reserve the right to make grammatical or style changes to any diary. We don’t do this often, but we will do it on occasion. For example, we will at times reduce the length of a headline or adjust it so that it more clearly reflects the content of the diary.

    1. Make the Headline Relevant and Short

    Don’t write two sentences in the headline, and please try to capitalize all of the words. Your headline should be a summary of what a reader expects to see; the headline is not to be written as essentially the first sentence in your post.

    Do NOT use ALL CAPS in a headline. All caps should be reserved for BREAKING NEWS only.

    Make sure that the headline actually portrays the contents of your diary. If your headline is “Senator Jones and His Terrible Vote Today,” then your diary had better not be about your opinion of how the current Governor is performing.

    2. Where’s the Link?

    Don’t just talk about a story that you read somewhere else – provide the link (unless it’s a link to one of the websites listed above). The whole point of these here internet tubes is to share information. If you don’t know how to include the link, click here for instructions.

    3. Keep Citations Short

    When citing an article written on another website, be it a news outlet or another blog, please cite only as much as is absolutely necessary to get your point across. There is no specific number of paragraphs that is permitted – just please use common sense. For example, in a 10-paragraph story, you don’t need to cite 9 of them to make your point.

    We encourage the use of ellipses to make citations briefer. For example:

    The first paragraph says this…

    …And there are another interesting couple of paragraphs here.

    The ellipses comes at the end of the first “snipped” section and at the beginning of the next “snipped” item, which lets the reader know that you skipped ahead and that the original article was not ordered in this manner.

    If you don’t know how to use “blockquotes” (putting things in the cool shaded box), then follow these instructions.

    4. Colorado Pols is About (drumroll) Colorado Politics

    This is Colorado Pols, which is short for “politics.” We talk about national politics if they affect Colorado, or if there is a particularly interesting story to follow. If you want to talk about something in another state, it had better be REALLY interesting or have some relation to Colorado. If you want to talk about something other than politics, it had better be freakin’ amazing, and it had better relate to Colorado somehow. But please…just stick to Colorado politics.

    5. Can’t Cite It? Don’t Write It

    If you can’t cite, with links, other sources for a detailed accusation or salacious rumor, then DON’T WRITE IT HERE. Not only will a post like that not be promoted, it will be deleted, and you may be permanently banned from the site. We are not the place for you to attempt to float negative, damaging rumors about candidates, no matter the party. It’s wrong. Period.

    Don’t bother trying to justify some action by saying, “Well, the Colorado Pols authors did it!” We take full responsibility for anything that appears under the byline “Colorado Pols,” and we take that responsibility very seriously. Anything we write has been sourced and verified. We do not, and will not, take responsibility for anything you write.

    6. No Embedded Video That Plays Automatically

    Some video clips can be embedded into a blog like Colorado Pols with instructions to start playing the video as soon as the page is loaded. This is absolutely not allowed, because it’s annoying. Everybody can relate to hearing a video start up on their screen out of nowhere; it can be embarrassing, or worse, for people reading Colorado Pols at work, and it’s generally just a total pain in the ass. We will immediately delete any video we find that is set to auto-play.

    7. Turn off the CAPS LOCK Button

    People who write entire sentences or paragraphs in ALL CAPS are pretentious assholes. Don’t be a pretentious asshole.


    You just read the Posting Policies & Guidelines, but now it’s time to get into detail on our Rules & Regulations. You can think of breaking the Policies & Guidelines as misdemeanor crimes. But breaking the Rules & Regulations constitute something more akin to felonies. We have created the Pols Penalty Box to enforce some of these rules, but we will still, on occasion, permanently disable your account (or “ban” you from the site) for particularly egregious violations.


    SENTENCE: This is one of our most steadfast rules, so breaking it almost always leads to an immediate and permanent ban from Colorado Pols.

    First off, it is your right to post anonymously at Colorado Pols, and we take that right very seriously. At Colorado Pols, you are allowed to sign up under any pseudonym you choose; we don’t care if you want to use your real name or not. We will do our best to protect all posters against anyone who tries to reveal or hint at someone’s real name.

    If you happen to have a firm belief that all people who write or comment online should do it under their real name, then you are certainly entitled to your opinion; but that absolutely does NOT give you the right to reveal someone else’s true identity here. We don’t care if you think our policy is wrong — this is our site, and if you want to participate, you have to play by our rules.

    Anyone who attempts to “out” someone by posting information or hints toward their identity will be banned from the site. We want everyone to feel comfortable posting in the manner in which they are most, uh, comfortable. Polsters who try to make others un-comfortable by trying to expose their real identities are not welcome here.

    Our definition* of “outing” is as follows: “Outing” occurs when any user intentionally and maliciously discloses information in a comment or diary that may help other readers discern the identity of a person writing under a particular pseudonym.

    Example: “What’s the matter Joe123? Are people being mean to you in your third floor office at the Capitol?”

    Now, most readers probably wouldn’t be able to discern the real name of “Joe123” based on this statement (although that may be enough for some people to narrow it down), but that’s not important here. “Outing” is a type of harassment or intimidation that is often used to make someone who comments under a pseudonym to feel uncomfortable. In essence, we look at what you are trying to do more than what you may be literally accomplishing in an attempt to “out” someone. In other words, we don’t look to see if you succeeded in outing someone’s real identity; the fact that you even tried to do it is a violation in itself.

    For this reason, it also doesn’t matter if someone has previously disclosed personal information linking themselves to their pseudonym at some previous point in history; the point isn’t whether or not you are revealing any new information — it’s about whether you are revealing this information in a manner in which another user may become uncomfortable. “Outing” is a type of intimidation, and we won’t put up with it here.

    On occasion, someone may accidentally reveal a little information about another Polster, and that’s where we take “intent” into account. Again, we’re not looking at the amount of information you reveal about someone else or how accessible it might be through a Google search; if you’re putting out that information on purpose in order to “out” someone, then you can take your blogging elsewhere.

    *Pols Note: We don’t care if you don’t agree with our definition of “outing.” This is how we define it, and this is how we’ll enforce it. We’re not going to argue over semantics, so please don’t bother trying.


    SENTENCE: Ranges from permanent ban to temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box

    We are not the place for you to attempt to float negative, damaging rumors about candidates or individuals, no matter the Party. We will be diligent about this. We’re not getting sued over some rumor you tried to start, but besides that, we don’t want to be a place where people can just throw out terrible personal rumors with the only goal of trying to discredit someone or something.

    The basic rule of thumb for this is as follows: If you can’t cite, with links, a detailed accusation about something, then don’t write it here. Just don’t do it. Period.

    The most extreme example of this would be something like this:

    “I heard that Candidate Smith has been having an affair with his secretary for two years.”

    Without some sort of corroborating evidence of this, you will be banned immediately. This has happened a few times, affecting both Republican and Democratic candidates, and we have no tolerance for it whatsoever. We don’t care if “other people are talking about it” or if it’s a prevalent rumor. As long as it is only a rumor, it doesn’t belong here.

    A less egregious example would be something like this:

    “Rumor has it that Candidate Smith was running a pyramid scheme that bankrupted a lot of people.”

    If you don’t have facts to back this up, including links, the comment will be deleted and you may be banned from the site. Note that we don’t consider a link to another blog that has the same rumor an example of factual support; just because some other website or blog chose to publish an unsupported rumor doesn’t mean that it is now verified as true.


    SENTENCE: Ranges from permanent ban to temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box

    Please limit unnecessary vulgarity or unnecessary and childish name-calling. We  understand that sometimes discussions get heated, but please don’t let it get excessive. This is a hard thing to quantify, but we think the old saying about pornography is a good example: You may not know how to explain it, but you know it when you see it.

    We suppose you could argue that all cuss words are unnecessary, and you could also argue that any vulgarity is just a way to strengthen your point. But there’s a difference between saying, “What the f*** is Senator Smith doing?” in order to emphasize a point and in saying, “You’re a f***ing worthless piece of s*** you f***ing a**hole.”

    If you’re just going to use vulgar language to call people names, that’s boring and pointless (in addition to being unnecessary), and we will take action to put a stop to it. In general, most of us know when we are crossing the line from anger to cruelty.

    This also includes posting graphic images meant to advocate your cause (for example, images of abortions or executions-gone-wrong, meant to promote pro-life or anti-death penalty positions, respectively). Nobody wants to scroll through the comments and come across a jarringly graphic and inappropriate image. You can always provide a link to a page without actually posting the image itself.

    And finally, this definitely applies to overt racist, sexist or discriminatory comments of any sort. If you can’t make your point without saying something racist, then make your point somewhere else.


    SENTENCE: Temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box

    Also known as “The Libertad Rule,” so named after the long-time Polster who has an irritating penchant for posting irrelevant comments, videos or non sequiturs under inappropriate threads.

    If you have something off-topic you want to talk about, then go to the daily “Open Threads.” But nobody wants to scroll through comments about the Senate race and have to skip past your diatribe about a flat tax. Unless the diary is called “Senate Candidates Discuss Tax Options,” then take your comments or embedded video elsewhere. If your comment is totally off-topic, it will likely be deleted. Repeated abuses of this will lead to temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box.

    “Keep it Relevant” also applies to posting diaries. Colorado Pols is a website about Colorado politics. We don’t mind veering off-topic from time-to-time, but we’re not going to be happy if you continually write diaries about the trade deficit in Lithuania. We’ll usually let it slide if you write about something that is either about “Colorado” or “politics” (but preferably both); if you can’t make a case that your post is really about either, then you probably shouldn’t hit ‘POST.’


    SENTENCE: Temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box

    Also known as “The Harvey,” for a former Polster who would return over and over again in attempts to get the last word on something…even if he had already done so and was thus just responding (again) to himself.

    Please try to be conscious of limiting excessive back-and-forth discussions between you and one other poster. No matter the issue, inevitably this becomes a pissing match between two people, both of whom are responsible for 99% of the words written during a specific diatribe. Can you guess how many people are interested in reading a two-person flame war like this? Yup: Zero.

    If you find yourself engaged in a back-and-forth “You’re wrong, I’m right” bitchfest, flamewar, or whatever you want to call it, then maybe you should exchange emails and yell in all caps at each other privately. If neither of you can manage to walk away without getting in the last word, we’ll assist your departure.


    SENTENCE: Temporary banishment to the Pols Penalty Box; permanent ban for repeat offenders

    Because Colorado Pols has grown so big and become so popular of a destination for Colorado politics, occasionally we’ll get someone who wants to promote their own website through a diary or comments. We don’t mind so much if you can make it part of the conversation, but this kind of comment will not make us happy:

    Check out what Joe123 wrote over at MyNewColoradoBlog.com!

    In our view, this really isn’t any different than just posting a link to an erectile dysfunction website. Colorado Pols is a political blog — we’re not Craigslist.

    Now, if you can work the link into a comment in a post on a similar topic, then go ahead. But remember to keep it relevant.

    And finally, please email us at webmaster@coloradopols.com if you see something amiss. Believe it or not, we don’t actually sit here all day and read every one of the hundreds of comments that people leave, so we’re bound to miss things that may violate these and other policies. But we do try to keep things civil and relevant as much as possible.