Following are policies set by SPN. These policies serve as explanations to our readership on why we do certain things (eg remove comments containing foul language), and they serve as our promise to you (eg, we will always obtain permission before printing a post obtained from a private group on Facebook). It will also serve to explain what posts we embed from the public realm, and why.

This is a living document, meaning that it can be updated and improved at any time.

Comments guidelines

  • Challenge the point of view, not the person: We request that people keep their comments focused on the issue at hand. While you can challenge other peoples’ views, we request that you do not attack other people for posting their views.
  • Swearing: Foul language can result in your comment being removed.
  • Exported FB comments onto the main SPN news page: All Facebook comments are shared on the main Sooke PocketNews website. To follow the full stream of any conversation, we recommend you click the article link and read the comment (and subsequent comments) there. Believe it or not (I know!) not all people in Sooke are on Facebook.
  • Defamatory statements will be removed: While SPN is a huge proponent of free speech, as a publication we are ultimately responsible (and legally liable) for publishing your comments. This means that any libelous of defamatory comments will be removed. To view the conversation from Facebook on the matter, click here.

Cross posting from other people’s posts on Social Media

  • We do not lift any posts from a private group.
  • If there is something we think would be of interest to the SPN readership, SPN will contact the owner of the post and request permission (and a No is always respected).
  • We will also always give credit to the group from where the information was obtained. This is to help the group grow their membership.

Embedding content from social media

  • SPN will post things from social media. The parameters are pretty straight forward:
  • If it’s posted with public permissions, available to all (ie, common Twitter posts), we embed them, using the embed code provided by the social media source (eg, Twitter or Facebook, Youtube, CBC, CTVNews, etc).
  • Where feasible, we attempt to contact the content owner, but given that they have posted a comment in the public domain, we may publish the item in question even if individual permission has not be 0btained. This is only when the permissions are already set at public.
  • We honour requests to not publish something on SPN, even though it’s been published in the public domain.
  • Ultimate ownership of embedded posts always belongs with the owner, as they can change the permissions or remove the post—in both cases, they will no longer be visible on SPN.

Embedding content from public service groups

  • We also post things from public service groups, like Sooke’s Search and Rescue, the Fire department, and the RCMP.

Publishing content with Standing Agreements

  • With some groups, like Meanwhile in Sooke, we have standing agreements.

Accountability, and SPN removal of comments

  • When you post via Facebook, your username will be attached to your post.
  • When you post directly on the SPN News site, you have the OPTION of leaving your real name. You are, however, required to provide an email address.
  • SPN reserves the right to remove posts that don’t have either a Facebook account attached to it or a real email address.

Readership requested removal of photographs

  • We will remove photographs on request. If your photo appears in SPN from some public event (in which case, any media can take and public photos), we will remove it on request.

Scrutiny of public lives

  • The only lives we scrutinize are those of our public officials (elected and hired), and then only in their public capacity. What they do in private is not our concern.

What SPN will NOT publish

  • While we will publish proven events (eg, court outcomes, legal results) and while we will publish things a person might say about themselves, we will not publish opinions one person migh have of another.

Removal of Posts

  • Posts (articles) are not removed except for expired job postings

Removal of Comments

  • Comments may be removed if they are defamatory (defined as untrue and damaging a reputation)
  • Comments may be removed for an excess of foul language
  • Comments may be removed if you submit a false or dead email address

Press release policy

Except for the arts in Sooke, the policy at SPN for printing press releases is this:

  • If a business has something to give to the SPN reader (awareness on an issue, information, point of view and counterpoint, or some other free offering), SPN will generally print your press release.
  • If a business has something to sell or promote (ie, you want something from the SPN reader), we ask that you either pay for the press release run or purchase an ad (contact us for rates).

Fundraisers

  • We post all fundraisers equally and without judgement
  • We do not ask for proof of terminal illness or proof of “legitimate” need.
  • We do not “recommend” any fundraiser.
  • We do not prefer one fundraiser over another.
  • We leave it to the individuals to determine if they want to do further research and/or donate.
  • Readers should practice caution, do their own research, and donate to fundraisers that they feel comfortable with.
  • Our official view on fundraisers is available here.

SPN Modification of content within SPN articles

  • Except for typos and minor edits, we will always indicate when content has been modified
  • We cross out content when it’s wrong, like this
  • We issue public apologies when we get our facts wrong
  • New insertions are indicated with red text, like this

We reserve the right to not publish certain things

  • We publish a lot, but not everything.
  • We will give you an explanation of why we opted not to publish something, if asked.

Use of article images

  • Permission is obtained for use of personal images
  • Where generic images are used, they are always images identified as labeled for reuse. Creative Commons licensing information and links location are in the Description section (and sometimes the “alt” section) of the images.

Use of mailing lists

  • If you subscribe to SPN, in any capacity, your information will only be used in the capacity for which you have given permission. We do not and will not sell our subscriber lists. Ever.
  • All newsletters come with an Unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email. You can also contact us directly and ask to cancel your subscription.

Got questions? 

Any questions or concerns about social media, your privacy, and SPN policies, please contact me and ask! I will always answer.

Occasionally, we miss something or make our own mistakes. Feedback from the readership is always appreciated. Email your comments to publisher@sooke.pocketnews.ca or just leave us a message or comment.

Thank you, as always, for your continued readership. You are at the centre of our existence.