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Guidelines for Civility
Civility and Privacy Guidelines
Public input is important to us at the Region of Waterloo. We encourage and look forward to you to sharing your thoughts and ideas with us on the Engage Region of Waterloo platform but we do expect everyone who participates in online dialogue with us to follow a few simple rules. Most of all, please keep your comments clean, constructive and respectful.
All posts to the site will be monitored. The Region reserves the right to remove any posts or content that do not meet the guidelines noted below.
What is a disruptive statement or post?
A statement or post:
- containing personal attacks, profanity, commercial advertising or content which is entirely off-topic;
- from a user who has falsified their registration information with the intent to post multiple statements in one topic or to misrepresent their city of residence;
- that defames, abuses, harasses or threatens others;
- is bigoted, hateful or racially offensive;
- advocates illegal activity or discusses illegal activities with the intent to commit them;
- contains material that infringes and/or violates any right of a third party or any law;
- has vulgar, obscene, discourteous or indecent language or images;
- contains a virus or other harmful component;
- from a user impersonating other participants or public figures.
Why does Open Town Hall monitor for disruptive statements/posts?
Peak Democracy monitors all statements and posts. It is a non-partisan company dedicated to building public trust in government and broadening civic engagement. Many people will not participate if the forum has disruptive statements.
Does Open Town Hall find many disruptive statements?
No. Disruptive statements are quite rare - less than one in a thousand statements are disruptive.
What does Open Town Hall do if they find a disruptive statement?
- moves the statement to a different web page,
- describes the problem in an email to the author, and
- invites the author to change the statement.
Does Open Town Hall ever edit or delete statements?
Peak Democracy does not delete or edit statements but the Region reserves the right to remove any posts or content that does not meet our civility guidelines.
If a user continues to post messages that violate the guidelines, the user may be blocked from using the site.
If I disagree with someone, can I post my opinion?
Yes, we encourage open dialogue which, by necessity, includes disagreements.
How do I know if my statement is a 'disagreement' or a 'personal attack'?
Personal attacks are disparaging remarks which impute motives to a person's action. Statements of fact or of your own opinion are generally not personal attacks.
Here are some examples of statements which are, and are not, personal attacks.
Intellectual Property Rights
Engage Region of Waterloo is an online forum for public engagement where you can read what others are saying about important Regional topics and post your own comments. Your feedback is important and will help inform the decision-making process for our projects and plans.
When you post your first statement, you will be asked for your name and home address. This confidential information is only used to identify statements from residents in and near Waterloo Region so that users know which statements are from local residents.
Engage Region of Waterloo is run by Peak Democracy, a non-partisan company whose mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government. They will keep your information confidential per their strict privacy agreement.
As with any public comment process, participation in Engage Region of Waterloo is voluntary; Regional Councillors and staff will consider input from this forum along with all other channels for participation. Any information that is posted by you is available in an open forum and is not confidential. All information disclosed by you on this site will become public information and therefore you should exercise caution in disclosing any sensitive information in your posts. The Region will not use or retain personal information that you provide for any purpose, unless you consent to a secondary use, or unless the use is required by law. Otherwise, your comments on this site may be used in the future (reports or memos to Regional Council, third party consultants or Advisory Committees), but will have no names or individual personal information included.
To the extent that the foregoing information constitutes personal information as defined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, chapter M.56 as amended, the information is subject to provisions of that Act and will be used to collect community feedback on the topics posted on this forum. Questions about the collection of personal information should be directed to Melanie Garbarz, Service Planning Associate, Citizen Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-575-4757 ext. 3861.
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A statement is registered if it is claimed, verified and civil:
- It is claimed if its author has claimed the statement by signing in before or shortly after submitting the statement.
- It is verified if it is claimed and its author has provided their street address in their registration and verified their email address by clicking the verification link emailed by Open Town Hall.
- It is civil if it is verified and it meets the guidelines for civility.
If any of these conditions are not met, then the statement is unregistered.