What Happened To My Comment?EDITOR
Some of our readers have asked us to clarify sikhchic.com’s policy and practices with respect to its handling of the comments posted on the articles that appear on these pages.
Central to our mission to provide a free and open forum for the discussion of issues of interest to us all is our commitment to abide by the highest standards of journalism.
It is our credo that both Form and Substance are integral to the practice and celebration of Sikhi.
Accordingly, we at sikhchic.com reserve the right:
- to edit comments before posting them
- to not post any comment.
However, we do not have the staff or the resources to advise you, one by one, as to whether or not your comment will be posted or of the reasons thereof, or discuss with anyone the rationale behind any decision, including the nature and extent of an edit.
We simply cannot get into a dialogue over the why’s or the how’s and the wherefore’s. We receive hundreds of e-mails every week - it is simply not practical to answer any of your queries or to offer you any specific explanations.
Hence, this detailed guide as to why we do what we do, and as to how you can help us in serving you better.
Edits are made for a variety of reasons, including:
- incoherence due to language, grammar, composition, spelling, typos, verbiage, rambling
- length of comment
- drift from focus of article
- lack of decorum and observance of basic decencies
- use of non-English words or passages, with no translation
- personal attacks
- factual errors
- purporting to speak on behalf of community
- promotion of unrelated projects or causes
- support of unlawful acts
In editing a comment, every attempt is made to retain the original meaning and intent of the writer.
However, sometimes - especially when the language in the comment is unclear or ambiguous, or when a comment needs to be truncated - there is a distinct danger that we may fail in capturing your original meaning. Hence, in such a case, more often than not, a comment is simply not posted.
Sometimes, when we try and save as much as we can of your comment, despite the best of intentions, we fail in trying to capture what you think you may have been trying to say.
Accordingly, please read the following carefully. It’ll make it easier for you to share and exchange your ideas with other readers - accurately and effectively! And it’ll make our work easier.
1 Keep your comments short.
2 Use short sentences, simple words.
3 Address the issue(s) raised in the article, not anything else.
4 If you are not clear in what you’re saying, it doesn’t help you any. And it ends up in unnecessary back-and-forth exchanges. Please re-read what you’ve written and ensure that it says what you want it to say, before you click ‘send’ on your mouse.
5 Try and focus on one issue in each comment, not fill it with every thought you have at that point.
6 Repeating something doesn’t make an argument better or stronger. State your point … and move on.
7 Please refrain from putting words in CAPITALS for emphasis. It reads like SHOUTING.
8 Avoid esoteric terminology. This is not an academic journal.
9 This is an English language magazine. Please try and avoid using non-English words. If and when it is necessary, provide an accurate translation.
10 When quoting from gurbani, for example, please give us an accurate page-and-line citation from the Guru Granth Sahib, and an accurate English translation. You needn’t give the Gurmukhi or Roman version.
11 Avoid regurgitating materials you have lifted from Google, encyclopaedias, text-books, etc. Tell us about what you think, not what ‘the experts’ have said.
12 Do not enter into an argument. If you present your position, and someone else responds to it, it is not then necessary to reiterate your position. If there is anything new to say, please do. Otherwise … you’ve already said it!
13 Do not claim to speak on behalf of others. Just give us your perspective.
14 Do not be judgmental in declaring others ’good’ or ‘bad’ Sikhs. Please stick to telling us what you believe, etc.
15 Please give your full name, and the city and country where you're writing from. Disclosure of authorship points to the strength of your convictions. Your location gives context to what you have to say. Comments are often thrown out because of anonymity, especially when it dilutes or questions the veracity of the comment. However, if and when the situation warrants it, you can add a note to the editor requesting that your name not be posted, with brief reasons.
This list is not exhaustive. When in doubt, resort to common sense.
Above all, a reminder! This is a website that strives to present a Sikh worldview, and central to it is observing the high values of Sikhi.
And to do so, a healthy dialogue takes us a long, long way. However, this can only happen if we are straight-forward, coherent, articulate, respectful and open to new ideas and differences of opinion.
We value your comments because they are central to our growth as a community. We look forward to serving you better.
First published: November 17, 2011
Re-published: September 9, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Harinder (Uttar Pradesh, India), November 17, 2011, 9:58 AM.
There should be a mathematical scale of how much freedom of expression you allow to your commentators. It could include variables like: 1) Number of sentences deleted; factoring in the redundancy of statements. 2) Number of words deleted - this could be expressed in percentage. Over the years, you will be able to know who was a liberal editor and who a dictatorial one.
2: Akal Singh (Portland, Oregom, U.S.A.), November 17, 2011, 11:03 AM.
I understand and agree with most of the guidelines given. Could you reply with a short confirmation or decline? Then one knows why the post does not appear. Just a suggestion. It adds a personal touch, plus other sites do this. Thank you for a great service!
3: M.K.S. (New York, U.S.A.), November 17, 2011, 3:03 PM.
I've noticed sometimes the Editor responds or clarifies a comment which is done within '[....]', square brackets. I think that's fine but it would help if you made it explicit that it is the Editor's interjection. Thank you for providing a meaningful discussion forum.
4: Aman (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), November 17, 2011, 3:19 PM.
When the reader making the comment gets no feedback as to why the specific comment was not posted, he/she is left to assume that the editor did not agree with his opinion, points, or values being expressed by the comment.
5: Sangeet Kaur (Chandigarh, Punjab), November 17, 2011, 7:23 PM.
I appreciate the difficulty sikhchic.com has. If they write back to say that a comment is not being posted and give the reasons, it will be the beginning of an escalation of the dialogue, not the end of it. I don't know of many Punjabis who have the discipline needed to handle criticism or rejection. If sikhchic.com says it has neither staff nor resources to handle even that initial notification, how will it grapple with an endless stream of irate correspondents? Those who want to participate in the discussion forum should simply abide by the guidelines! How can staff be more clear? And, if rejected, accept the decision gracefully, without reading too much into it. That's the course of action I expect will unfold every time I send a letter to the editor of any newspaper.
6: Harpreet Singh (Shillong / Bareilly, India), November 18, 2011, 7:28 AM.
I had given comments a while ago on sikhchic.com article titled "Who'll Be The Chic Sikh Of The Year 2011", as follows: "RAJPAL SINGH, the former captain of the Indian Hockey Team and current player. He is sabat surat that is keeps his hairs intact and hence is a better option than other young sikh sportsmen who go for cutting their hairs." My comment on hairs part was edited/removed, and this was published as "RAJPAL SINGH, the former captain of the Indian Hockey Team and current player! He has been a great role model." Now, all players can be role models but I wanted to highlight the fact that he keeps his hairs unshorn. I don't think this goes against the forum's policy in any way.
7: Kanwarjeet Singh (Franklin Park, New Jersey, U.S.A.), November 18, 2011, 11:06 AM.
Thank you for clarifying. I think these guidelines are close to perfect except if we can be assured that the editor is neutral to the comments, i.e. posts without his / her views - and I think I have seen this happen. So good work, Editor ji. I do agree with Sangeet Kaur ji - many of us read gurbani and read to be humble and without ego but not many of us practice it and are not too open to rejection and criticism. Perhaps this may be a forum topic sometime.
8: EDITOR (sikhchic.com), November 19, 2011, 3:54 AM.
Harpreet ji (# 6): We at sikhchic.com too believe that being 'saabat soorat" is something all Sikhs should aspire to, but we also believe that according it public recognition with an award merely cheapens it, not honours it. Certainly it should not be, and is not, a criteria for the selection of The Chic Sikh of The Year. If we were to give an award for this singular achievement, even when coupled with another worldly accomplishment, it would easily qualify a million Sikhs around the world as The Chic Sikh of The Year! Taken to its logical conclusion, we would have to seek input as to whether nominees do their nitnem every day, or meet their daswandh obligation fully, etc., etc. If you will carefully review the nominations to date, please, you will note that even though most of the persons named are indeed "saabat soorat", none have been nominated for being so. We believe that your holding forth that description of S. Rajpal Singh as the reason for nominating him for public recognition, albeit well-intentioned, only demeans him as well as the very idea of being 'saabat soorat'. One's spiritual observances must be allowed to remain a private matter, and not be diluted or turned mercenary by being bandied about like a 'billaa' or pennant. Certainly, S. Rajpal Singh's accomplishment as a world-renowned sportsman makes him worthy of the nomination, and we therefore edited and posted the text of your testimonial accordingly.
9: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), November 19, 2011, 6:09 AM.
Thank you for good guidelines and using them accordingly. I would like to ask a question: if the writer of some of the articles provides his/her e-mail address(es), but they do not response to the e-mail, then what is the purpose of posting their e-mail address? Some people may not want to discuss things in an open forum. [EDITOR: We cannot speak for the individual authors. All we can do is provide you an open forum. For the reason you have outlined, and some others, we'd rather not post individual author's e-mail addresses.]
10: Harpreet Singh (Delhi, India), November 19, 2011, 7:23 AM.
I fully agree with Sangeet Kaur ji. However if such a good site needs staff and/or money, then it is our basic duty to contribute. After the 1984 genocide a great Sikh writer, S. Mahip Singh, very courageously started a monthly Hindi magazine "Sanchetna" to put forth the Sikh viewpoint. But I'm sorry to say it ran for only a few months and my guess is it closed only because of financial constraints. Can you or some of your esteemed visitors put forth the Sikh viewpoint in the Indian and international media (newspaper and television), especially on the major historical days/gurpurabs or incidents like the Vienna saga where there is much negative and erroneous reporting about us. For example, at the time of the Vienna incident, "mailtoday.in" published an article from some big official who wrote that Sikhs nowadays do not sing gurbani shabads by Bhagat Ravidas ji. Or is it possible that we all contribute regularly and some good programme can be telecast in some countries even for a short time daily. Sadly, for this I have no hope from the existing and rich Sikh bodies! [EDITOR: We direly need your help with finances - you can contribute via the Donation Box on the top right-hand corner of the sikhchic.com HomePage. With respect to disseminating info, let's attend to first things first. I think we will go a long way if you can encourage your contacts - family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances - in Punjab, India and around the world to check out sikhchic.com at least once. This site will become more effective and will be better equipped to help vis-a-vis our other needs if a sizeable population reads it every day - it creates an open line of communication between all of us, and a commonality of purpose. A unity!]
11: Sahib Singh (Fremont, California, U.S.A.), November 20, 2011, 4:29 PM.
I feel that every individual has the right to practice freedom of speech as long as it does not contain vulgarity or obscenity or promote hate, but if that speech or comment tries to get other people to think outside of the box or it raises an important or vital point, then it should not be censored at all.
12: M. Kaur (New York, U.S.A.), November 20, 2011, 8:05 PM.
In the case of Harpreetji's comment (#6), I don't think it was necessary for the editor to add his own value judgement to it. Perhaps the person in question does do all that's required to qualify him to be the Chic Sikh of the year, but we're just not aware of it. The same argument could be applied to a whole bunch of other nominees. While I agree in principle that a back and forth approach to comments is most often meaningless and a waste of time, sometimes it's okay to allow comments that don't necessarily fit the criteria we're aiming for. And yes, we don't take criticism well (#5)! On the whole, though, sikhchic.com is a wonderful site and hats off to the editor for doing a great job. I'm totally hooked and need a daily dose or my day's not complete!
13: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), September 09, 2012, 2:01 PM.
Hmm-mm-m ... let us get you the staff you need.
14: Harpreet Singh (Delhi, India), September 10, 2012, 12:26 PM.
Yes, I fully agree with S. Baldev Singh ji (#13). It is our basic duty to collaborate with a person who is disseminating Sikhi-related as well as other useful information/ news/ articles in such a nice way without the help of adequate staff. We must offer some part of our contribution (financial as well as physical help or whatever help is required) to share the burden.