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From the Editors

The Conversation’s Community Council

We’re lucky to have a community of passionate, engaged readers and authors. That means our articles receive a lot of interesting comments. It also means our articles receive a lot of comments we have to review to ensure they meet our community standards.

That’s where our Community Council comes in.

What is the Community Council?

The Conversation’s Community Council is a group of readers and authors who help monitor comments and improve the quality of discussions on site. They do this in three key ways:

  1. Hiding comments that breach community standards from public view, for review by me
  2. Modelling and encouraging great discussions (including reminding people about our standards and nudging people towards them)
  3. Identifying issues in the community, like topics that attract a lot of problematic comments or technical issues, and discussing ways to address those issues.

The Council moderates according to our community standards and with guidance from me.

Here’s a list of the Council’s members:


Peter Fisher
Victoria Metcalf
Peter Christoff
Brad Farrant
John Cook
Christine Nicholls
Rosemary Stanton
Sarah Joseph
Jonti Horner
John Rice
Gavin Moodie
Patrick Stokes
Nial Wheate


Ron Bowden
Georgina Byrne
Suzy Gneist
Sue Ieraci
Edwina Laginestra
Ben Marshall
Robert Molyneux
Susan Nolan

What does “hiding” mean?

Comments that are hidden by the council are removed from public view and sent to me for review. I’m provided with the reason they were hidden and who hid it. This ensures a level of transparency.

I can then restore the comment if I believe it’s acceptable under our community standards or remove it. If I choose to remove the comment, the commenter will be alerted via email.

I, or another member of The Conversation’s staff, will always make the final decision about a comment being removed or being restored to public view. This is to help ensure editorial consistency across the site.

Helping and representing the community

The Community Council has helped our community in ways that go beyond just hiding comments – although they do a lot of that too.

They explain our standards to new community members. They alert me to problems I’d miss otherwise. And they offer insight into what The Conversation’s community is like for commenters.

The Council provides us with a community-based perspective. As such, it’s a vital part of ensuring our community continues to grow and improve.

We’re currently looking for new members for our Community Council. Leave a comment or send me an email if you’re interested in joining.

Update: Nominations for the Community Council will be open until Wednesday May 25, 2016.

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