Community Guidelines

The Independent is one of thousands of news outlets across the world that has been assessed by NewsGuard for credibility (Alamy)
The Independent is one of thousands of news outlets across the world that has been assessed by NewsGuard for credibility (Alamy)

You, our readers, are at the heart of what we do.

You shape The Independent by making your voices heard, sparking new ideas and offering alternative perspectives.

As a registered member of you can comment on and react to a whole host of news stories, opinion pieces, features, and videos, brought to you by our team of journalists and commentators around the world.

We are keen to ensure that The Independent forum remains a space for intelligent, free-ranging debate, and so ask everybody to respect the following guidelines.

We don’t assume that you support all the views expressed by our writers and contributors. Not making assumptions about you is, we hope, a sign of our respect for your views - and we hope you will extend the same courtesy to other users of our site. That ethic is behind our moderation, too.

Our moderators strive to be sensitive to context when making decisions. However, large volumes of comments mean it is impractical to enter into prolonged conversations over moderating decisions.

We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.


To leave a comment on the website, you need to sign up for an account here.

Deleting comments

If you’ve left a comment you want to delete, just click the […] below the word ‘share’  in the top right corner of the comment, and then click ‘Remove comment’ - it will be deleted. There’s no way to restore a comment that’s been deleted, and deleting a comment also deletes all of the replies to it. Bear this in mind when you’re leaving a reply; the person who left the first comment ‘owns’ that thread, and can delete your comment along with their own if they don’t like the tone of the thread. This is another reason to be respectful of your fellow commenters.

Flagging comments

If a comment is beyond the pale, and includes a personal attack or insult, it’s possible to flag it to bring it to the attention of the moderators. You can do this by clicking the 'flag’  option above the comment. Any user can flag an inappropriate comment.

The moderation process

Our moderation programme automatically refers for moderation comments which contain certain words. When a comment has been referred for moderation, it is suspended from the site until a moderator has approved it for publication. This process usually takes less than 24 hours.

If you notice a comment you've made does not appear on the site immediately, this is likely to be the reason why. Unless it contains abusive language, or in any other way contravenes our community standards, it will reappear on the site within 24 hours.

Personal attacks

We make a distinction between lively criticism of an argument, belief or style of writing, and attacks on individuals. Comments that are abusive to other commenters or our journalists will not be tolerated.

Hate-speech and inciting violence

We will not tolerate sexist, racist, homophobic, or other discriminatory language or views, nor comments which are defamatory, malicious, threatening, false, misleading, offensive or abusive. Comments which incite violence or appear threatening or harassing will also be deleted - and those users banned.

Bad language or indecency

Comments which include swear words will automatically be referred for moderation and usually deleted. Any swearing directed at another user will automatically be deleted (see: ‘Personal attacks’). Experience has taught us that banning bad language raises the level of debate, so even though we know you’ve heard it all before, please keep it clean! It’s always frustrating to have to delete an otherwise great comment, because it includes swearing.

Please also refrain from posting any content which could be seen to be indecent, obscene or of a sexual nature.

Privacy & impersonation

Respect the privacy of other commenters and don’t include personal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers or full names in your post. Do not impersonate another user in your post.

Off-topic spats

In any online community it’s usual for regular commenters to get to know each other and each others’ views. However please refrain from breaking off from the topic under discussion to engage in personal chats or spats.

Flagging wars

Flags are an important way for commenters to communicate with the moderator. Please don’t abuse the flagging function by using it as a weapon in personal vendettas.

Keep it brief

We think 200 words is enough to develop your argument without disrupting the rhythm of debate.


Our moderating system will automatically flag comments from the same user in a single thread if they exceed the frequency limit. This is intended to encourage interaction and prevent a single user from dominating the debate.

Links and urls

If you include a link to another site, please be sure the content complies with these community guidelines and is relevant to the topic. Any comments including unsuitable links will be deleted, but we should not be assumed to endorse any link which has not been deleted.

Copyright and libel

We reserve the right to close comments on reports concerning ongoing court cases and other articles for any reason. We will delete comments which we deem to be potentially defamatory, in breach of copyright or otherwise unlawful.

Commenters using another thread to open discussion on a topic closed to comments will be banned.

Please note that you are responsible for your posts and we will not accept any liability for their content or accuracy. We also reserve the right to republish your posts, and accept your contribution on the clear understanding that your posts are your own work and not copied from others. By contributing posts you are agreeing to all the above and warranting that your comments are not defamatory, obscene or in breach of anyone else’s rights. This means generally that you must own the rights in everything you submit or must obtain permission from the rights owner to submit the material.

Spam is intended as a platform for the exchange of views and ideas. Comments intended to sell a product or promote commercial interests will be deleted, as will multiple posts.

Write in English

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to offer a moderation service for comments in languages other than English. For simplicity, therefore, comments in languages other than English will be automatically deleted. This also applies to html code.

Technical Issues

Comments containing content which is technically harmful (including, without limitation, computer viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software, harmful data or conduct) are not permitted. Nor is any activity which attempts to get round any protections we put in place for the security and operation of the website.

Breaches of these guidelines

Please do not leave comments which are in breach of these guidelines, our Terms of Use, or any of our other policies.

If you choose to be part of The Independent’s Whatsapp Community, you can reply to our posts, but we may remove posts or block members from the WhatsApp Community if they breach these guidelines.

If you wish to report what you feel is a violation of these community guidelines, please flag the comment first. This is the most efficient way to bring matters to our moderators’ attention.

If you have further questions regarding moderation or the community please complete the online form.

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