Removing content on The Conversation: a new policy

Every so often, someone asks us to remove something from The Conversation – a comment or their account, for example. While this doesn’t happen very often, we thought it important to develop a set of rules so requests are managed consistently.

We’ve worked with our editorial board on a draft policy and we’re opening it up to public feedback for the next week. Your comments will be taken into account in the final policy we adopt in coming months. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.

DRAFT POLICY FOR CONSULTATION: Removing Content on The Conversation

We believe it’s important to maintain an accurate record of public discussion – it’s part of our goal of providing informed, transparent debate. That’s why we won’t remove any content from our site unless it breaches our community standards or there are exceptional circumstances.

What we’ll remove and why


We will only take down an article if we are legally required to do so (if the article is found to be defamatory or in violation of copyright, for example), or if it contains major flaws or inaccuracies that warrant complete retraction. In most cases factual errors will be able to be corrected and readers notified of the change. Readers will always be notified if an article is retracted in full.


Comment threads are a record of a live conversation as it unfolded. For that reason comments that comply with community standards will not be removed, save in exceptional circumstances such as:

  • the comment poses a risk to someone’s health or safety
  • an account has been compromised
  • the comment identifies a minor
  • it raises a legal issue that requires removal

This is not an exhaustive list, but the general principle is that what is said cannot be unsaid so please think carefully before you post.


If you no longer wish to use your account on The Conversation you may request it to be locked so it’s no longer viewable by the public. Your comments will remain on the site with your name attached to them but your name will no longer link to your profile. If you are an author your name will continue to appear on any articles you’ve previously published.


Photographs on our articles will only be removed if they violate our editorial principles or if they are licensed incorrectly. If you believe a photograph of yours has been used inappropriately or without permission please email us.

Please contact our community manager or editorial staff if you would like to submit a removal request.

What we’ll do to notify readers

We’ll make a copy of this policy publicly available on The Conversation. We’ll include a link to this policy when people create a profile on The Conversation.

We’ll provide a brief summary of this policy in our community standards (e.g. “We won’t remove any content that adheres to our community standards”) along with a link to our policy.

When commenting, users see the text “Review our community standards before posting” underneath the text entry box. We’ll add the line “Comments remain on the site indefinitely so please think carefully before you post” with a link to this policy.