Community Standards

The intention of these rules is to provide guidelines that are accessible to our users rather than a legal document.

Site Rules

Aim:  We aim to be as inclusive as possible and give people the opportunity to have an equal say whilst protecting them from being abused in any way for what they say.

We ask our users to keep to the standards and rules for participating on the site as set out below.  It is these, along with the context of points and comments, which inform our moderating decisions.  Edits, comments or points may be deleted and your account may be deleted or suspended if you break either these rules or terms and conditions.

Unless otherwise stated you should assume that these rules apply across the whole website. Microsites may have additional rules and standards of their own, unless they specifically state to the contrary it should be assumed these apply on them as well.

IDEA maintains absolute discretion over what content is allowed on, where it is posted and how it is managed. We will delete or move content as we deem necessary.


Legal – essentially don’t post anything that is against the law such as but not exclusively:

  • Libel: don’t post anything that may be libellous: ie defamatory comments which damage the reputation of an organisation or person.
  • Contempt of Court: don’t post anything that may influence or prejudice an ongoing court proceeding.
  • Incitement to commit a crime: do not incite anyone to create a crime, particularly incitement of hatred of any kind.
  • Don’t break a court injunction.
  • Don’t break copyright: don’t post any links to pirating sites. Text from other sites may be posted but it must be quoted and attributed with a reference.
  •  Don’t post your own or anyone else's contact details, including address, place of employment, name of educational establishment, telephone or mobile number, email address, etc.

Standards to facilitate reasonable debate:

  • We aim to encourage debate and opposing views, however we will not tolerate personal attacks whether this be towards the authors of articles, other users or any other individual.
  • We wish to be as open to views from everyone as possible so will remove anything that users might find offensive, threatening or that can be interpreted as trying to prevent others posting their views.
  • We aim for debate to be as constructive as possible, so all posts should be considered, well thought through and civil. Opinions and points should be backed up and explained.
  • Criticism of others points, arguments and views are encouraged so long as it is focused argument.  However you should not smear people, misrepresent their views or impersonate anyone.
  • Keep the debate relevant: you are debating a particular question or subject, keep the discussion and debate on topic; don’t spam or flood, and don’t advertise.  If posting links give some reasoning for their relevance.
  • To prevent misunderstandings keep your views as clear and well explained as possible.  Sarcasm and comedy often do not come across in the way we wish them to; not everyone who reads the site will have English as a first language.
  • No double posting, the only exception is where there is new information that affects the topic. Topic bumping is not allowed.
  • No profanity or obscene content, it does not belong in any reasoned discussion which is what IDEA stands for.

Our approach to moderating:

  • We will delete or edit points or comments that breach our debate standards.  This is in the interest of the community as a whole.
  • We will delete any point or comment that breach the terms and conditions of
  • It may be necessary to delete comments that quote or refer to a comment that has broken the debate standards or terms and conditions.
  • We aim to be fair and even handed to all; we will not be biased against any viewpoint or user and will allow everyone to have their say so long as it meets the standards.
  • We aim to take account of the context of the comment when moderating. Some subjects of debate are inevitably more controversial than others and may need closer monitoring than others.
  • Breaking rules will result in a warning for the first offence; this will usually be by private message on Users who seriously, persistently or wilfully ignore the standards of debate or terms and conditions will have their privilege to post revoked. Failure to heed warnings will result in temporary bans and ultimately a permanent ban.
  • Users that have not contributed anything constructive and break the rules will immediately be banned.

If another user posts a comment, point or edits a point in a way that you believe is against the community standards or terms and conditions ‘report’ the comment this will alert the administrators to the post. We will respond to these reports as soon as possible. Don’t try to deal with it yourself or threaten the other user with the rules or terms and conditions as this may well descend into a flame war and will be off topic. The moderators will look at the post and the surrounding context in order to decide what, if any, action should be taken.

Harassing administrators about punishments is not allowed. You may provide a reasoned complaint to me to explain why you believe your punishment is too harsh and I will look at it.

There are no excuses for breaking the rules.