Over 100 reader comments using the term “ZioNazi” not deleted at ‘Comment is Free’

In our last post we noted that ‘Comment is Free’ moderators failed to promptly remove a comment, under a recent thread, which included the term “ZioNazis” – a vile epithet fancied by extremists which certainly seems to violate CiF’s community standards.

In fact, here are a few relevant passages from a Guardian page titled ‘Community standards and participation guidelines: 10 guidelines which we expect all participants in the Guardian’s community areas to abide by’. (Emphasis by the Guardian)

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.

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.

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.

Consequences:

If a contribution to the Guardian website is perceived as breaching the community guidelines set out above, then it will be removed by the community team.

Participants who seriously, persistently or wilfully ignore the community standards, participation guidelines or terms and conditions will have their posting privileges for all the Guardian community areas withdrawn.

However, a bit of research has revealed that use of the term “ZioNazi” was not a one-off at ‘Comment is Free’.  A search of ‘user contributions’ at the Guardian resulted in over 100 additional examples (dating back to 2006) of the abusive term not being deleted. 

zio

While some of the commenters were being sarcastic, and using the term to mock some of the extreme anti-Zionists found routinely at CiF, most were clearly using it literally as a form of abuse against Zionists. Here are examples from three different threads, in Dec. and Jan.

1

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Those familiar with our work at CiF Watch would understand that CiF moderators often demonstrate egregious double standards when determining which comments get deleted, and whose user privileges are suspended.  While there are indeed many grey areas where reasonable people can disagree over whether a term is offensive and morally beyond the pale, the word ‘ZioNazi’ – evoking the ugly, antisemitic comparison between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany – is inconsistent with even the broadest understanding of ‘Comment is Free’ community standards.

As much as it may strain credulity, let’s remember that the Guardian still claims that their “centre of gravity as a progressive, liberal, left-leaning newspaper is clear.”

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