Open letter: why we’re getting tougher on Facebook comments

By Paul Johnston at

Dear readers,

Over the last three and a half years, we’ve derived a huge amount of pleasure reporting news and happenings in West Kirby, Hoylake, Caldy and Meols.

We’re committed to responsible and balanced reporting that reflects life in our amazing part of the world.

Your tip offs, ideas and stories means our website now receives up to 10,000 visits per month and reaches tens of thousands more through our social media channels.

Regrettably, a few months ago we were forced to introduce ‘community rules’ on the West Kirby Today Facebook page, outlining an acceptable behaviour policy.

This followed an increasing trend whereby comments on links to stories had descended into abuse, name calling and harassment.

We had anecdotal evidence that people had stopped following our page altogether, or were being intimidated into not posting.

In some cases we have been contacted by people who feature in our stories, or their friends, very upset at comments that have been made.

We are determined that our online community should be a safe space, where people can express their views without fear or insult.

While the situation has improved, we are still being forced to moderate comments and, unfortunately, ban people who don’t want to play nicely.

We don’t want to stifle discussion, but if people are rude or abusive, or make unsubstantiated or libellous comments about individuals or organisations, the offending remarks will be taken down. Repeat offending will lead to an indefinite ban.

West Kirby Today is something we fit in around our full-time jobs and our young families – we want to spend our spare time writing stories, not moderating comments.

So our plea is: think about the impact of what you are typing before you post. If what you have written wouldn’t be acceptable in your workplace, the chances are it isn’t acceptable on our forum.

You can read our community rules below.

Kind regards,

Emma and Paul
West Kirby Today editors

Things we hide or delete

  • Name-calling.
  •  Long back and forth arguments, especially if they get snarky, surly or rude.
  •  Bullying & harassment of individuals.
  •  Calls to violence.
  •  Calls to boycott.
  • Libellous/defamatory comments about individuals/organisations.

Earning a ban 

  • Repeated, frequent violations of the types of things we otherwise hide.
  • Endangering others.
  • Encouraging violence or criminal behaviour.

Remember: A ban is generally forever. We don’t have the time or patience to go back and reinstate people who had so little regard for the community as to violate these basics. We move on.