I’m not a rule breaker at all. There’s no question about it. Jaywalking across a street stresses me out so much that I generally need an entire bottle of Valium afterward — I’m that neurotic about rules. But for all you rebels out there, rules are made to be broken, right?
If you’ve read my headline, then you’re a couple steps ahead of the people who sat there and answered “Yeah.” The answer is … NO. There are some rules that are not meant to be broken, whether because these rules are legal rules and you could end up living in a maximum-security prison for the rest of your life whispering, “quid pro quo” to intrepid police detectives named Clarice, or just because it’s a rule that’s generally accepted by society.
So here at the Mustang Daily, we do have some rules that we (and you) are supposed to follow.
Recently, we editors were faced with a slew of problems relating to our lack of set policies. In the past, it has always just been up to the editors to choose how they felt about a situation and how they felt it should be dealt with. This led to a lot of inconsistencies in our policies, especially in our web commenting policy.
After the whole snafu with commenters going crazy over the Alpha Phi story (this is the last time I mention this, I promise) we had to decide how we would deal with sensitive issues in commenting. Do we require y’all to register with us before posting, thus confirming your identity, or do we allow you to keep on posting anonymously? Do we make it a policy to delete comments that are rude, crude and will get us sued, or do we just edit out the naughty bits? This of course raises a whole lot of ethical questions, as well as the simple question of what would be best for our readers. We, in the end, decided upon our new and improved web comments policy.
When a comment uses any language in violation of our new rules, we reserve the right to go in and edit the offending material. We chose to edit rather than simply delete a comment because we value commenters’ opinions, and oftentimes valid points are made in a post that otherwise violates the rules. Rest assured, we at the Mustang Daily do not enter into the decision to edit a post lightly, nor do we edit on a regular basis. Only when the post is an OBVIOUS violation of this regulation will we discuss editing.
Also, no matter the situation, if a post is found to be violating the rules, we will post a response to said comment informing readers that the post has been edited. Any questions about edits can be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will respond quickly as to exactly why the post was edited.
Another policy that needed addressing was our anonymous sources policy.
I HATE using anonymous sources. Most of the time it just looks sloppy on the newspaper, and it oftentimes takes away your trust in us. So approximately 99 percent of the time, when a source wants to remain anonymous, the answer is a big fat “No.” The 1 percent, though, is where the problems arise.
Every once in a while, anonymity is required when a particular source is invaluable to a story, and said story cannot be told without them. The reasons for this range from the possibility of direct harm upon the person to restrictions based upon the person’s job. In an effort to help inform readers about why we use anonymous sources, we’ve created a concrete anonymous sources policy, and posted it to the website for everybody to see. By doing this, we are hoping that you readers will be better informed about our decisions, and through this can let us know if you feel we are not following our policy to the best of our ability.
So, quid pro quo. What do all of you think of the new policies? Is there anything you want to see added? Comment below and let us know!