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We welcome as much interaction and vibrant discussion between our readers as possible -- but we do want the website to be a mature and thought-provoking environment, so some guidelines apply for posting comments.
1. All comments first have to be approved by the editorial team before they appear on the website. This may take anything from one minute to 24 hours.
2. Stick to debating the issues and respect other people's views and beliefs. Comments launching personal attacks or that are hurtful and insulting will not be accepted.
3. Keep your comment as brief as possible: up to 350 words maximum. If you want to refer to an article on another website, place a link to that article in your comment; do not paste the whole article into your comment.
4. When you have finished crafting your comment, read it again before posting it. Consider whether others will understand your arguments. Something that you meant to be satirical or humorous might not be clear to another reader. Also, take into consideration that your words will remain on the internet for a very, very long time, if not forever.
5. A swearword in the right spot can work well, but gratuitous profanity won't do. If you really have to swear, make sure it's justified.
6. Don't write your whole comment in capital letters only.
7. Comments that contain racist, sexist or homophobic remarks -- or that may be interpreted as such -- won't make it on to the Mail & Guardian Online.
8. There is a difference between criticising a political party, a religion, an organisation, a cultural group or a community and unreasonably attacking such bodies. Try to motivate your comments and explain your arguments as much as you can. Above all, make sure your words represent fair comment.
9. A comment that is obviously off topic -- that is, unrelated to the article or contribution in question and the comments that precede it -- or that clearly doesn't contribute to the ongoing debate may be deleted by the editorial team.
10. The editorial team keeps a close watch on legal matters too: defamatory comments, for example, will be deleted.
11. Unacceptable comments will be deleted without notification.
12. The Mail & Guardian Onlineis mainly an English site, though we don't mind the odd word or sentence in any other language. Just ensure that the average English-speaking reader won't feel completely lost.
13. No comments that advertise companies, businesses, services or such will be accepted. We do sell advertisements on the site, though -- contact our sales team to find out more.
14. If you feel that someone else has not taken these guidelines into account, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will deal with such issues as soon as possible. If it is necessary to remove or change published contributions, parts of contributions or comments, an explanation will be given on the page where possible.
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