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Guidelines for Civility
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
While the City of Kitchener will always take a balanced approach between reaching out to citizens in the ways that you’re used to – through venues like public meetings, and surveys – we also recognize that real-time platforms, like our Engage Kitchener platform provide us with a great way to reach you where you are – rather than you coming to us.
- This forum will be used for public consultation with our citizens on the decisions that impact you most. We will post topics where public input is important to our decision-making process.
- The outcome of the public consultation will be shared with participants/the public, along with next steps in the process and the final decision.
- We will strive to be current and responsive to comments that contain inaccurate or inappropriate content.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
We encourage and look forward to you to sharing your thoughts and ideas with us on the Engage Kitchener 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 City reserves the right to remove any posts or content that do not meet the guidelines noted below.
- Posts containing personal attacks on any individual or group
- Posts 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
- Comments not related to the particular topic being commented upon
- Profane language or content
- Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination based on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation
- Content that defames, abuses, harasses or threatens others
- Sexual content or links to sexual content
- Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
- Content related to non-city related sales, advertising or promotions
- Content for the purposes of promoting a candidate for municipal, provincial or federal election
- Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
- Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party
- Content that is believed to be inappropriate in the opinion of the City of Kitchener’s Director of Communications and Marketing
- Content that violates the personal privacy of another individual or individuals
Notwithstanding the criteria listed above, the city reserves the right to refuse to post, or remove, any event from its Engage Kitchener platform at any time, without notice.
These rules might sound strict and contain a bit of legal-sounding jargon, but please keep in mind, the overall goal is simple: to ensure that we can all participate online in a respectful, relevant way.
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 City 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
ABOUT YOUR PRIVACY
We take your privacy very seriously.
When you registered for your Engage Kitchener account, you provided personal information to Peak Democracy – the vendor of the platform. Neither the City of Kitchener nor Peak Democracy will share your contact information with anyone without your consent, unless we are required to do so by law or a court order. Additionally, third-party advertisements will never be displayed to you on any channel – not on your browser, not in your email, not on your phone.
Engage Kitchener is an online forum for public engagement where you can read what others are saying about important City 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 Kitchener so that users know which statements are from local residents.
Engage Kitchener 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 Kitchener is voluntary; City 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 City 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 City Council, third party consultants or Advisory Committees), but will have no names or individual personal information included.
ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Personal information, which includes your Internet Provider (IP) address, is being collected, managed, processed and or stored by a third party service provider and is therefore, not in the sole domain, custody and control of the City of Kitchener. Additionally, although storage of your personal information is within Canada, your personal information may cross the border to a foreign jurisdiction and will therefore, be also subject to the governing laws of that jurisdiction.
Please remember that while we take every precaution to protect your privacy, online communities aren’t private so even posts/user content to a limited access (password protected) community may be accessed by a wider audience than originally intended or by someone not expected to have access to the community.
YOU SHOULD ALSO KNOW…
Any articles or content posted to the Engage Kitchener platform are subject to public disclosure. This means that the City of Kitchener could be compelled to disclose information from Engage Kitchener - if it were ever called for in connection with a matter before the courts or in response to a request for access under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).
The City of Kitchener makes no representation about the accuracy or truthfulness of postings made by third parties. The City will not be responsible for any loss, damage, liability or expense suffered in connection with the use of this site or any of its content.
Any legal dispute arising out of the use of, or posting to, this site will be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario.
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 Josh Joseph, Community Engagement Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-741-2200 ext. 7221.
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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.