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SF Bay Area Indymedia Editorial Policy
by SF Bay Area IMC Web Collective (indybay [at]
Sunday Aug 4th, 2002 2:22 AM
After months of discussion and debate, the SF Bay Area Indymedia Web Collective has consented upon the following editorial policy. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are as always welcome. Updated: January 2004.


The SF Bay Area IMC newswire operates on the principle of Open Publishing, an element essential to the global IMC network. Simply put, Open Publishing is to news and information what open source code is to software. In practice, the Open Publishing newswire allows anyone to instantaneously self-publish their work on, a web site accessible from around the world.

People are encouraged to "become the media," to use their own skills and abilities of observation, writing, and creativity in posting text, analysis, videos, audio clips, photos and artwork directly to the website. The post is then viewable at the top of the Breaking newswire, and will move down the list as more people post news.

The use of, and belief in, Open Publishing rests on several central assumptions:
  • People who post to the newswire will present their information in a thorough, honest, and accurate manner.
  • Readers are intelligent and aware, skeptical and inquisitive of the posts they read and videos they watch, and are able to distinguish for themselves what is content of value and what is not.
  • The means to an end is as important as the end itself.

Our Philosophy and Your Responsibility

We hide and classify in a way that we think helps promote the usefulness of the site. If you have any suggestions on how we could make the site more useful (e.g. by hiding more or less things) we are open to hear your suggestions.

Please be civil in your posts; if an editor sees a flamewar starting that seems to be overly personal or to just contain insults, the comments may be hidden. We want to keep this site a friendly place for people to post news and discuss issues and our goal is to facilitate that. Feel free to email us any suggestions. This site is here to serve your needs and we would love to hear from you.

Administration Overview

The editorial collective is responsible for updating and maintaining the various "center-column" feature pages and the "right-column" newswires. While the center columns are compiled and edited by the editorial collective, the right-hand, open-publishing newswire is designated as an open space for publication of news, media, and commentary by SF Bay Area IMC reporters, participants, and readers.


The newswire is divided into three separate sections:
  • Local News: This section contains posts that are substantially local in nature, and that the editorial collective reasonably believes to be accurate and newsworthy stories fitted for syndication.
  • Global News: This section contains posts that are not locally focused, and that the editorial collective reasonably believes to be accurate and newsworthy stories fitted for syndication.
  • Other/Breaking News (Open Publishing Newswire): This section is where a post will appear immediately after being published. Items that remain in this category will have been deemed unworthy of promotion to any of the above wires. Items targeted to remain here include, but are not limited to, articles which are not news stories, likely or factually inaccurate stories, unverified stories, postings of very poor writing quality, repostings of corporate media articles, and bulletin board type posts.
The process for the classification of a posting is quite simple: Any participant in the editorial collective may do so based upon her/his understanding of the SF Bay Area IMC Principles of Unity, this policy, and her/his personal judgement. Editors will not promote (syndicate) articles which could undermine the newswire service, e.g., articles containing (not reporting) hate speech, etc. A classification of a post is contestable and subject to review by members of the editorial collective. Challenges must be based on our Principles of Unity.

Linking and Editing

Editors may link related posts together in order to occupy less space on the newswire. Editors may also make typographical, spelling or grammar corrections and formatting improvements and may remove extraneous, false, illegal (threatening, libelous, etc.), or abusive (pornographic, etc.) material and hate speech, and particularly with regards to syndicated articles, are encouraged to do so. As appropriate, explanation of any modification may be inserted.

At any time another Editorial Collective member may dispute the editing of a post or comment, based on our Principles of Unity or this policy.


SF Bay Area IMC is founded on the principle of open publishing. Reality dictates that the editorial collective will at times decide to hide posts and comments. This is not a decision that is taken lightly, however, and the editorial collective does its best refrain from hiding. Our vision for the function of the newswire, and the general framework in which all decisions to hide will be made, are as follows:
  • The newswire is intended to be a community media resource, a space free from spam and abuse in general; and
  • That space will not contribute to the oppression of traditionally oppressed and marginalized groups.
Members of the Editorial Collective are permitted to hide posts or comments as long as that person's decision is based on at least one of the following three points:
  • The post or comment constitutes abuse of the newswire (see note below);
  • The post or comment undermines the Principles of Unity of the SF Bay Area IMC; e.g., right-wing propaganda or hate speech; or
  • The post or comment constitutes a spam attack (see below) on the newswire.
The editorial collective may remove copyrighted material on request of the copyright owner. At any time another Editorial Collective member may dispute the hiding of a post or comment, based on our Principles of Unity or this policy.

Comments, questions, and feedback regarding this policy are highly encouraged. Please write us at


Commenting on posts is an essential feature to the democratic nature of Indymedia. It allows points to be refuted, ideas to be expounded upon, arguments to be had, and discussions to be hashed out. If you disagree with the content of a particular post that someone has posted or can provide further relevant information, you can say so by commenting via the "add your own comments" link at the bottom of each post.

The process for hiding and editing comments will be the same as that for posts. Special care will be taken to not stifle rational debate and dialogue. To be clear, flame wars are not generally considered debate and/or dialogue, while cogent arguments and analyses are.

Spam Attacks

A spam attack is defined as a pattern of abuse of the newswire by a particular poster or posters. If the editorial collective reaches consensus (at a meeting or on the mailing list) that an individual is launching a spam attack on the SF Bay Area IMC newswire, the spammer's posts and/or comments may be hidden from the newswire by a member of the editorial collective. Alternately, the posts may be linked together so as to occupy only one spot on the newswire.

Each instance of recognized spam will be considered individually. In cases of recognized spam, editorial collective members are empowered to immediately hide the post or comment.


Contact the SF Bay Area IMC editorial collective if you have any questions or comments:


As of the latest update of this document, the current Principles of Unity can be found here:

The phrase "abuse of the newswire" is necessarily vague. Editorial collective participants each have different conceptions of what this means, so each proposal to hide/edit posts or comments will be taken on a case-by-case basis.

The term "post" refers to anything that is self-published by a reader/participant and which appears on the newswire in the right hand column of the front page and feature pages.

This document, as are all SF Bay Area IMC policies, is constantly up for review and debate. The editorial collective invites suggestions, comments, criticisms and ideas to improve this editorial policy.
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I Miss the Bay Area So Much!David H. BradshawSunday Mar 3rd, 2013 4:48 AM