Editorial Policy

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Parent: Editors Team

Editorial Policy (DRAFT)

Team Leader - Editor-in-Chief (EiC)

The editorial team for SoylentNews.org is led by an experienced editor, referred to in this document as the Editor-in-Chief (EiC). He is responsible to the Management Group (MG) for providing editorial advice, ensuring that all editors are following the direction given by the MG, and for the day-to-day running of the editorial team. He is also responsible for ensuring that all editors are trained to an acceptable level. In any debate within the editorial team on how it should conduct itself or carry out its primary duties then the decision of the EiC is final.

For periods of extended absence of the EiC (more than 48 hours?), an Acting EiC can be nominated by the EiC before his departure, or by the MG. This should be confirmed to all members of the editorial team in writing (usually via email) in order to prevent any confusion or apparent loss of leadership from occurring.

Acting Editor-in-Chief (AEiC)

While filling the role as TL in a temporary capacity, the AEiC should fulfil all the duties of the EiC and he has the same authority as the EiC for the period of his appointment. However, he should resolve problems within the team without making long-term commitments or instigating major changes to procedures until the EiC has resumed his post. The EiC can then assess and approve, modify or reject the proposed changes.

Status of Editors

All members of the editorial team (ET) are volunteers. However, as the site depends on the stories displayed for information and discussion, the ET is responsible for ensuring that the stories are edited and displayed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This places a burden upon editors that might not be found in all other support areas of the site. Additionally, as the stories influence significantly the public view of the site, it is necessary that the editorial standards are maintained at a high level and that all editors are trained to an acceptable standard before being allowed to release stories without supervision.

While there will be varying levels of expertise and experience among the members of the ET, there is no formal distinction made to reflect this. All editors are in this respect considered equal and they can all be expected to carry out all the duties of an editor at any time, with the exception of editor training.

Training

Before a new volunteer is accepted into the ET they must complete a period of training. While the responsibility for this rests with the EiC, he can nominate other editors to assist in this task. Editors must not assume that they can conduct training without having first been informed by the EiC that he is content for this to happen. There is no limit to the number of editors that can be nominated to assist in training.

Access to the SoylentNews System.

Only the EiC can request that the necessary access to the system be given by a member of the System Team to a new member of the editorial team.

The EiC can also have access removed from a member of the editorial team should he decide that this is necessary for security, disciplinary or other reasons. Such action must be taken immediately that it is required and no prior approval from the Board is necessary. The EiC's reasons for his actions must be conveyed to the Board at the earliest opportunity and the editor affected must be given a copy of the reasoning in writing, usually via email. The subject of such action has the right to appeal to the Board within 28 days of the email being sent. In the event of an appeal, the Board's concurrence or otherwise with the EiC's actions must also be given in writing, usually by email, to the subject. If no appeal is received, the subject will be assumed to have accepted the action with no additional right of appeal. Appeals to the Board should be directed to ....(?)

Cooperation with Other Teams

Editors are not to simply consider their role in isolation. For some tasks, e.g. security, SPAM prevention etc, it is not possible for the ET to operate without the assistance of other teams. Editors should be prepared to notify the appropriate members of other teams and to cooperate with them to ensure that the site operates efficiently and securely at all times, while maintaining a professional appearance to the community.

Interfacing with the Community.

Any qualified editor may field questions from the community and help to resolve any disputes that may arise between community members or between a member and the SoylentNews Team. Editors must take care that they are able to do what they promise to community members or, if not, they should seek the assistance of the EiC or other appropriate Teams to help with resolution of the problem.

Editors are to take special care that they do not themselves become embroiled in a dispute with a community member. Such animosity can severely damage the community's perception of the site and could make an editor's position untenable. Tact, diplomacy and humour should all be employed as appropriate to defuse situations that occur in story discussions.

Editors should be quick to acknowledge to the community when a mistake has been made and, if possible, to take the appropriate action to remedy the mistake. They are not to make promises, assurances or take actions on behalf of others that they are not explicitly authorised to do. Editors can and should promise that the matter will be reported through the appropriate reporting chain for resolution if they are personally unable to remedy a mistake.

Financial Remuneration and Compensation

Because of the burden of 24/7 working in support of the site, the EiC can request that the Board consider some level of financial (or other) remuneration or compensation be considered for editors who achieve a certain level of effort and/or achievement.

Problem Management

Any problems that arise during the day-to-day working of the ET should be notified to the EiC as quickly as possible, commensurate with the severity of the problem. Editors are encouraged to exercise initiative in resolving problems wherever possible but, nevertheless, the EiC should be informed of the nature of the problem and the method of its resolution at the first reasonable opportunity.

Where new procedures are introduced to resolve a problem, an editor should be tasked by the EiC to document the process in the appropriate section of the wiki in order that it can become a standard procedure used by the ET.

Internal Dispute Resolution

Serious disagreements between editors should be a rare occurrence. Any such disagreements should be referred to the EiC immediately, or to another MG Member if the EiC or Acting EiC is not available. Disputes should be resolved within the Editorial Team wherever possible.

In the event of a disagreement between the EiC and 2 or more editors, and which cannot be resolved within the team, any of the editors involved may request that another MG Member intervene to assist in the resolution of the dispute. Such action is not to be taken lightly and must be reserved for only the most serious of disputes.

Where agreement regarding routine editing procedures or the editing of a specific story cannot be reached by discussion between members of the ET, the EiC has the authority to seek the advice of his experienced editors and to resolve the matter to their mutual satisfaction, regardless of whether this receives unanimous support. In such instances it would be wise for the EiC to seek the advice of an even number of senior editors so that no stalemate over the final outcome can occur. This requirement will also help overcome the difficulty in bringing all senior editors together at the same time resulting from their geographic spread. However, ultimately, it is for the EiC to decide with whom he consults on any particular matter.