CiF commenter banned for noting that Sunny Hundal essay is inconsistent with CiF “standards”

A CiF commenter wrote the following beneath the line of Sunny Hundal’s essay (“Privatising Margaret Thatcher’s funeral would be a fitting tribute to her legacy“) which argued that the future funeral for the still living former British PM should be privatized.

Here are a few extracts from the Guardian’s “community standards” policy

1. We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining the Guardian website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

How precisely is a jokey article about a living person’s impending death consistent with this community standard?

By my count, about half the comments here should be deleted on this ground, alone. But nasty comments about somebody dying – as soon as possible – have been invited by the tone of this piece.

3. We understand that people often feel strongly about issues debated on the site, but we will consider removing any content that others might find extremely offensive or threatening. Please respect other people’s views and beliefs and consider your impact on others when making your contribution.

Again, it is hard to think of a more offensive thing than glorying in the prospect of somebody’s death. But that’s a fair characterisation of about half the comments on this thread.

5. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such. We recognise the difference between criticising a particular government, organisation, community or belief and attacking people on the basis of their race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.

I would have thought jokes about a very old person being about to die constitutes “attacking people on the basis of their … age”

In short:

– If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems. 
– Don’t be unpleasant. Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess.
– Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this an intelligent place for discussion and it will be.

Joking about a living person’s death is a wonderful display of intelligence, wisdom and humour, and is in no way unpleasant .

I’d be interested to see if the Guardian actually applies its own moderation policy.


Then, if you look for the user’s profile, you get this.

That’s right. A user was completely banned for questioning whether ‘Comment is Free’ was abiding to their own “community standards”.

Perhaps the paper is a little on edge in light of recent highly embarrassing revelations that the biggest “scoop” of their obsessive phone hacking coverage – which claimed, in a sensationalized cover story, that a News of the World reporter deleted messages left on the voicemail of Milly Dowler’s mobile phone – was patently untrue!

Indeed, two days ago, the Guardian published a correction, noting that no less than 37 Guardian stories had been revised due to the above false report.

And, they’re worried about a single commenter under a CiF thread, questioning whether the institution is abiding by its own stated guidelines?

Thin-skinned and hypocritical are two terms, among many, which certainly seem apt in characterizing the ethically challenged “liberal” broadsheet. 

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