h2g2 Guidelines for Discussions During the Iraq War Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

h2g2 Guidelines for Discussions During the Iraq War

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Please note that these guidelines are no longer in operation. They are left here for discussion.

BBC are hosting a number of debates about the war in Iraq. It is essential to the continuation of these discussions that they are conducted responsibly and with the sensitivities of all parties in mind. In order to ensure that the debate remains balanced and informed BBC have started a dedicated discussion area on The Great Debate message board which is being hosted by BBC News for the duration of the conflict.

Postings and Entries on the subject of the war posted to h2g2 will be removed, please discuss the war on The Great Debate message board only.

Discussions are being directed to this board in order to enable BBC to concentrate its moderation and hosting resources, thereby ensuring that conversations can be carefully monitored and editorially balanced. It will also ensure that users can easily find other people interested in debating the same subject.

During the crisis we do ask for your co-operation. The moderators have been asked to err on the side of caution, as this is a very sensitive time; this means that some decisions will have to be made that would not be made in other circumstances. Please see the 'Recourse' section below for information on how to query moderation decisions.

We would ask you, as ever, to respect other Community members and to be especially aware of the sensitivities of other people. Do not post inflammatory messages and please try not to respond to or cause aggressive behaviour.

The following guidelines will help to explain moderation decisions made during this time. They should be read in conjunction with the House Rules.

  • Please note that these guidelines may be subject to change as the situation continues to develop; if we make changes to our policy, we will announce them on the Announcements page. It's a good idea to subscribe to this page, new announcements will then be shown within the conversations on your Personal Space.

Naming People or Groups

Be extremely careful when naming anyone with regard to events, in case your naming of them puts them in danger (this includes the BBC and BBC staff). This applies to companies or locations as well as individuals; anything that might possibly lead to the identification of someone as a potential target will be removed.

Viral Propaganda or Barracking

It's important that rumours and viral propaganda, such as those circulated by email, are not published on any BBC Community. We will remove anything that appears to be propaganda or false rumour.


Community members will not be allowed to mention the war in their nicknames, or impersonate any key people involved in the war, as this could inflame any heated discussions on site. Although it is unlikely that anyone on any BBC Community would actually be believed if they said they were a key person on the political scene, for the duration of this crisis we will remove any Nicknames or Personal Spaces that claim to be held by a key person, or relate to key people or their relatives.


As always, if you have had some content failed that you feel should remain visible, then you should reply to the email sent when the content is removed. We will endeavour to answer your questions, and if the Editors agree that your content should not be failed, we will reinstate it.

If you have had a piece of content referred rather than failed, then it means that the Moderators have requested a decision by the Editors. The Editors will endeavour to deal with referrals as quickly as possible, but please remember that some decisions cannot be made instantly and require input from BBC advisors outside of the individual editorial teams. The various sites' Editors also only work during normal office hours, so material referred over the weekend or during UK public holidays may take longer to be reviewed.

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