Community standards and participation guidelines

We want SOPTV’s social media
forums to be a place for intelligent discussion. We want the discussion of an article to be, if anything, more illuminating than the original article and we need your help to do that. Follow these guidelines to help keep things on track.

In brief:

  • Don’t attack people
  • Keep your comments & posts on topic and constructive
  • Take responsibility for the quality of the conversations you take part in
  • Above all, respect others and their opinions.

What we’re asking of you:

Be considerate

We’re here to talk about ideas, not the people behind them.

We’ll delete:
personal attacks directed at anyone; all forms of discrimination (or posts that could be interpreted as such); posts or comments we believe exist only to provoke or mislead.

Be respectful

Treat people with the respect you’d like to receive. You may come across opinions you disagree with. That doesn’t make them invalid.

Be constructive

Explain why you disagree or agree with something. Your reasoning is as important as your opinion.

Unacceptable Comment: “This article sucks.”
Acceptable Comment: “I disagree with this article because…”

Unacceptable Comment: “You’re an idiot.”
Acceptable Comment: “Have you considered…”

Back up your ideas with evidence and fact where possible. If you’re claiming something as scientific fact, try to provide credible references. Ask any questions you have for the author or your fellow commenters.

We’ll distinguish between constructive comments and smear campaigns. We’ll remove any deliberate attempts to misinform, distort facts or misrepresent the opinions of others.

Be Legal

Don’t post anything that may put us in legal jeopardy – nothing defamatory, nothing in breach of copyright.

Be Proactive

responsibility for the quality of the conversations you participate in; only reply to things you consider worth your attention.

Report posts and comments you think violate these standards.

What we’ll do:

Be Transparent

We will be transparent in our posting and strive to offer accurate and fair information. We will present information in a respectful and responsible manner — without favoritism or
discrimination. Fairness does not require that equal time be given to conflicting opinions or viewpoints. Fairness does, however, require SOPTV and it’s active social media audience to be open-minded when evaluating the merits and assessing the credibility of all opinions or viewpoints while also managing their own personal opinions and biases. One purpose of fairness is for audiences to appreciate and learn from content, even if they disagree with its

SOPTV strives to contribute to informed debate by presenting, over time, content that addresses a broad range of ideas, information, and perspectives. Inclusiveness means that content should reflect the views of people from different backgrounds, such as geographic areas, ethnicities, genders, age groups, religious beliefs, political viewpoints, and income levels. SOPTV will strive to facilitate a civil exchange of ideas and learning.

Be Accountable

We will remain accountable and responsive to the audience. We will implement rigorous fact-checking procedures to verify the accuracy of all factual assertions. We will also pay careful attention to the accuracy of names and titles, dates,
places, statistics, and foreign language translations.

SOPTV is responsible for correcting errors in a timely manner that is abundantly clear to the audience. We will treat errors on our social media platforms as seriously as on any other media. In the event of an error, SOPTV will promptly put out a new social media post with the correct information and clearly explain what was wrong with the prior post. In the interest of transparency, the audience also should be able to view the edit history of the post whenever possible, depending on the capabilities of the social media platform where the post occurred.

SOPTV will also be responsive to the public when errors are brought to their attention, and in doing so, will communicate any necessary corrections to the public.

Provide Quality Content

SOPTV seeks to provide
content that illuminates, inspires, and entertains. We strive to be a beacon on thoughtful and thought-provoking media. SOPTV will also provide disclosures for the audience about graphic images or language that they might wish to avoid.

SOPTV will avoid material that is gratuitously offensive (e.g., extreme violence, racial epithets, sexism, graphic language, or nudity) unless it is essential to understanding the matter at hand and does not violate federal law against broadcasting indecent and profane content. Material that is included merely to shock or draw
attention and that does not impart valuable information is gratuitous and will not be posted or shared.

Adequate Context

When posting information,
particularly information that is sensitive or controversial, SOPTV will consider whether particular social networks allow for proper context. If they do not, the content will not be posted.

SOPTV will also avoid sensationalizing content or providing misleading headlines in an effort to artificially generate interest.

Content Policy

When sharing information
from third parties, SOPTV will be transparent about where the information came from and judicious about what information is appropriate to share. Every effort will be made
 to prevent the transmission of false information. News generally will only be reported from legitimate, bona
fide sources (e.g., other news
organizations such as the Associated Press) after exercising due diligence to verify that the information originated from an authentic account. Care will also be taken to ensure that the sharing of opinions and commentary is not viewed as an endorsement by PBS. When using a video or photograph from a third party, producers and SOPTV staff will strive to ensure that it has not been
manipulated — for example, by checking the metadata.


We reserve the
right to remove comments that breach these standards and ban accounts of commenters who breach them repeatedly. We take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.  Users who violate these
standards may be banned from the page without warning.

Replies to comments that have been deleted may themselves be deleted, either to remove the thread or because they don’t make sense out of context. Comments may be closed if these standards aren’t met.

Moderation disputes are handled by our Communications Manager, Heidi Lanier. She may be contacted directly at