Terms and Conditions: User submitted content and comments

(Updated May 2019)

We (Stuff Limited) invite our readers (you) to post comments and profile information in a number of areas of the website.

These include but are not limited to the comments sections of stories published on the website, your public profile, and Stuff Nation assignment submissions. If you submit any material to the website, these terms and conditions apply.

The views expressed in the comments areas are not our views or opinions, nor the views or opinions of any of our staff or our related entities. We accept no liability in respect of any material posted in the comments areas, nor are we responsible for the content and accuracy of that material.

If you place reliance on material posted on this website you do so at your own risk, and you indemnify us (and our related entities) from any liabilities, claims, costs, loss (including consequential loss) or damage suffered or caused by reason of your reliance on any material posted in the comments areas.

Please direct any questions or comments about this policy to comments@stuff.co.nz, after reading the policy and the FAQ below in full.

Comment policy

Stuff welcomes comments from readers on our website.

We invite you to discuss issues and share your views. We encourage robust debate and criticism provided it is civil. But our comment section is a moderated online discussion, not a public forum.

We reserve the right to reject comments, images or links that:

  • are offensive or obscene;
  • contain objectionable or profane language - including use of symbols (we maintain a list of banned obscenities and comments featuring those words will be automatically rejected);
  • include personal attacks of any kind (including name-calling; insults; mocking the subjects of stories or other readers; or abusing Stuff journalists or contributors);
  • are discriminatory or express prejudice on the basis of race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability;
  • constitute harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment;
  • are body-shaming;
  • contain spam or include links to other sites;
  • are clearly off topic;
  • are deliberate lies or attempts to mislead. While we cannot review all comments for accuracy, we reserve the right to reject comments we consider, on the balance of probabilities, to be deliberate falsehoods;
  • impersonate an individual or organisation, are fraudulent, defamatory of any person, threatening or invasive of another's privacy or otherwise illegal;
  • are trolling or threatening;
  • advocate or endorse violence, vigilantism or law breaking;
  • infringe on copyrights or trademarks;
  • are self-promoting;
  • violate the law or breach court-ordered suppressions or have the potential to breach future suppressions; or
  • constitute a contempt of court or that contain details of cases and individuals before the courts;
  • violate our terms and conditions for user generated content;
  • promote, advertise or solicit the sale of any goods or services;
  • nitpick other commenters' spelling or grammar;
  • deny anthropogenic climate change;
  • deny the Holocaust;
  • add nothing to the debate;
  • just generally aren't very nice.

Usernames are also bound by these Terms and Conditions and offensive usernames will be blocked. Using your real name is preferred best practice.

We reserve the right to cut, crop, edit or refuse to publish your content. We may remove your content from use at any time.

With rare exceptions, we will not usually enable comments on stories concerning:

  • 1080
  • allegations of criminality or misconduct
  • animal cruelty
  • beneficiaries
  • Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019
  • court cases
  • domestic violence
  • fluoride
  • funerals
  • immigrants or refugees
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Kashmir
  • missing people
  • personal accounts of abortion
  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • suicide
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • transgender issues
  • vaccination
  • vulnerable children

Comments are limited to 1300 characters in length.

Our rights

We retain the right and discretion (but not the obligation) to edit, delete, reject or remove any comment which you post or seek to post in the comments or Stuff Nation areas.

You grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide licence to republish any material you submit to us, without limitation, in any format.

It is our policy not to remove stories from the website and Stuff Nation submissions published more than 12 months ago will not be edited. If there are particular issues with a submission you would like to discuss, email stuffnation@stuff.co.nz.

We retain the right and discretion to terminate your account if we believe you are abusing the services in any way, or have breached these terms and conditions. Commenters who repeatedly or egregiously breach our terms and conditions or post offensive comments may find their username has been permanently blocked. Users who post illegal material or hate speech may have their details - including IP addresses - reported to authorities.

You consent to our collecting and storing your email and IP address for security purposes.

Your obligations

In addition to adhering to the comment policy detailed above, you will not post any material:

  • Which is not original work in which you own the copyright, or which in any way violates or infringes (or could reasonably be expected to violate or infringe) the copyright, identity, registered trademark or intellectual property rights of another person;
  • Which is (or could reasonably be expected to be) obscene, offensive, pornographic, vulgar, profane, indecent or otherwise illegal;
  • Which is (or could reasonably be expected to be) defamatory of any person;
  • Which racially or religiously vilifies, incites violence or hatred, or is likely to offend, insult or humiliate others based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or any physical or mental disability; or
  • Which you know or suspect (or ought reasonably to have known or suspected) to be false, misleading or deceptive.

You will not use the comment or profile areas for the purpose of:

  • advertising, promoting or soliciting any goods or services, or otherwise engaging in trade or commerce; or
  • providing any financial advice, or advice of any kind in relation to any financial product.

Indemnities

You agree to fully indemnify and hold us (and our related entities) harmless against any liabilities, claims, costs, loss (including consequential loss) or damage incurred as a result of any material you post in the comments areas, or as a result of any breach by you of these terms and conditions.

Notwithstanding any indemnity provided by you under these terms and conditions, we and/or our related entities retain the right to assume the conduct of any defence to a claim brought against us, and of any proceeding or appeal issued by us, and you agree to provide all reasonable cooperation (including by making available relevant documents) that we may require from you in relation to any such claim, proceeding or appeal.

Additional Terms and Conditions

All content that you submit or display on our website is subject at all times to the Website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Governing law

These terms and conditions shall be construed and applied in accordance with the laws of New Zealand, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand Courts to determine any matter or dispute which arises under these terms and conditions in accordance with the laws of New Zealand.

Comments on Stuff Facebook posts

Stuff does not pre-moderate comments on any of our Facebook pages, but reserves the right to remove offensive comments or those which breach our rules or Facebook's Community Standards when they are brought to our attention. As the publisher of your comment, you are responsible for ensuring it complies with the law (including defamation laws).

We welcome our Facebook fans to discuss issues and share their views and we encourage robust debate and criticism - we just want it to be civil. Stuff reserves the right to block users who engage in distasteful or offensive content.

If you have specific examples of a user breaching the rules or Community Standards, you are welcome to report them via the 'report' function underneath any offensive comment, or by sharing screenshots with us via comments@stuff.co.nz

Frequently Asked Questions for comments on Stuff:

Do I have to use my real name?

Commenting under your real name is not required, but is encouraged. We hope readers who comment under their real names, rather than a pseudonym, are more likely to engage in intelligent, respectful discussions and debate.

Do you edit comments?

No. Comments are reviewed against our Terms and Conditions and either approved or rejected.

Why do you let other people's mean comments through but not mine?

It's ok to disagree with the subject matter of a story, as long as your comment is well thought out and adds value to the debate. Bear in mind, your comment must meet our terms and conditions for publication.

Why has it taken so long for my comment to appear?

We receive thousands of comments every day. They are manually moderated by our (human) editors, in addition to other duties. While we try to get through them as quickly as possible, at peak times there can be a delay between when your comment is posted and when it is published to the website.

Why are comments not open on certain stories?

We reserve the right to decide which stories we open comments on. A range of factors might inform that decision - including staff resourcing and the topic of the story.

When considering the topic, we'll be particularly mindful whether the story is likely to elicit a high volume of comments that would breach our terms and conditions. For instance, we rarely open comments on stories about court proceedings or other legally contentious topics.

Why can't I add a comment to an existing thread?

In order to keep comments at a manageable level for our editors, when readers have had fair and reasonable opportunity to discuss or debate a particular news story, the ability to comment will be switched off - at which point we will move to newer discussions.

We appreciate this means some threads may not be active as long as you would like them to, but is the only way we can realistically maintain a civil comments community.

Why are my comments never approved?

Provided your comment meets our terms and conditions, it will be approved for publishing to the Stuff website. Readers who repeatedly or egregiously breach our terms and conditions or post offensive comments may find their username has been permanently blocked.

Can I criticise Stuff?

We welcome strong opinions and critique of our work and critical comments of the article in question will be approved. However, we will not approve any comments which attack our staff or contributors, or which are abusive of the subjects of stories.

Comments which discuss or critique our moderation policy will be considered off-topic and rejected.

Why did you reject my comment calling you out for fake news?

We consider that term trolling.

Why did you reject my comment about the climate change conspiracy?

Stuff accepts the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity. We welcome robust debate about the appropriate response to climate change, but do not intend to provide a venue for denialism or hoax advocacy. The Media Council has ruled on this, stating: "The Statement of Principles preamble also states that publications have the right to adopt a forthright stance or to advocate on any issue. Stuff is well within its rights to adopt such an approach, particularly since it has advised its readers it is doing so." You can read the decision in full here.

Another user's offensive comment has been approved, what can I do?

If there is a comment posted by another user which you feel is in breach of our T&Cs and should not have been approved, you can 'report' it underneath.

Where you believe a comment posted by another user which breaches one or more of the Digital Communications Principles set out in the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, you may lodge a complaint by emailing comments@stuff.co.nz. Where you have submitted a valid complaint, Stuff will respond within 48 hours. You can find more information on the Harmful Digital Communications Act here.

I want to link to an external site, why won't you approve it?

We do not allow links to websites, with the exception of Stuff articles or Govt-owned domains, or for the duration of the election period websites of political parties. This is as much as to protect our readers from malicious / pornographic websites as it is to protect Stuff's reputation.

I want to talk about Donald Trump. Why didn't my comment pass moderation?

Comments must be related to the article and the debate. Anything that goes off topic will be rejected.

I have more than 1300 characters to say on a subject, where can I post it?

You are welcome to write us an opinion piece of 300 words or more for Stuff Nation. You can submit that here.

Did you reject my comment because you're in thrall to Jacinda Ardern?

No.

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