Community Guidelines

When establishing or maintaining online communities, it is the producer's responsibility to set the proper tone and maintain a high level of quality content and conversation on site. Your site must include community guidelines text describing what is expected of community members, similar to this sample text:

We welcome your comments, and hope to host energetic, civil discussions. As you post, please keep the following in mind:

  • Keep your comments focused on the topic at hand.
  • Do not use profanity, personal attacks or hate speech.
  • Do not promote a business or raise money.

We reserve the right to remove posts that do not follow these guidelines. By submitting comments, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which include more details.

For further examples and guidance, be sure to also read the Engage best practices document titled Managing Blog Comments ( ) for more information about setting a moderation policy.

Community Moderation and Transparency

All user generated content, including but not limited to comments, ratings, reviews, text, images, video, and other forms of public submission of content should be moderated on a daily basis. PBS Interactive may provide tools and best practices to facilitate efficient moderation and controls but will not be responsible for any content submitted to producer sites or into PBS supplied tools.

Moderators are required to adhere to the three following guidelines:

  • Moderators must define and communicate to users at the outset acceptable standards of behavior in the forum. (See "Defining and Communicating Community Standards" for more information)
  • Moderators must review all the new posts on their sites at least once each day.
  • Moderators must remove topics that violate the site or PBS's guidelines.

The use of community moderators is encouraged to lessen the workload of moderation duties; it does not however exempt the producer or official moderator from checking content at least once each business day.

Community moderators should be trained and provided as much information as possible about the nature of their responsibilities and duty to maintain order in online conversation and community spaces.

Users should also have the opportunity to "Flag as Offensive" content, this is an effective community policing tactic, it is then the site producer's responsibility to follow up and determine whether or not the "flagged" content actually needs to be removed or not.

Unacceptable Posts

Although each site may set their own standards for acceptable conversation, certain categories of posts warrant immediate deletion without comment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Commercial solicitations, promotion or advertising
  • Pornographic images
  • Abuse, defamation, direct attacks, or threats against another user.

Social Media Channels

PBS encourages producers to leverage social media platforms to promote their programs and engage the audience. For yearly on-going series, PBS supports producers creating program-specific social media channels (ex: Frontline on Facebook or NewsHour on Twitter). For all other NPS programs, PBS requires producers to utilize the established PBS social media channels. This policy was put into effect January 1, 2012. For all programs with established social media channels prior to that date, those producers will be grandfathered into the new policy.