The Cornwall Free News Announces its new User Comment Policy – PROFANITY WARNING – December 6, 2011

CFN –  Wow we had a ton of feedback on our story about Online Anonymity and our future policy regarding comments here on CFN.   It’s been interesting and I think will help our evolution and growth.

With nearly 14,000 comments in three years I personally see the impact both positive and negative that your words can have, and the integral part that you, our valued viewers, have on the success of CFN.

The thing about public posts whether here or on facebook, or websites is that we all aren’t professional writers.    And of course what offends some doesn’t offend others.

My goal has always been for us to create a platform that we can share with people who might not have a platform to voice what’s important to them.     I think that’s important.

With that being said I’m proud after consulting with many of you to present our new comment policy for the Cornwall Free News.

Online Anonymity.  

That’s staying.   It’s a canard and as emotional as it is for some we are going to support the reason why some people have to post anonymously.   It’s important that certain voices not be dimmed and the sad reality is that we live in a world where whistle blowers and their families suffer immensely.    We live in a world where what you say can be used against you outside of a court of law.

That being said this isn’t about freedom of speech.  This is about informing and entertaining the public and with that being said we’re not here to smear people or hurt them.





the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.

the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging thequality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, artexhibit, dramatic production, etc.

a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.

any of various methods of studying texts or documents forthe purpose of dating or reconstructing them, evaluatingtheir authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.:historical criticism; literary criticism.
Now there’s a huge difference between criticism, which we allow, and viscous personal attacks which we don’t, and never have although yes, a few slipped through.   There’s nothing wrong with saying that you think taxes are too high and if only they’d stop buying $700 office chairs at City Hall you could afford a new car in 15 years.   It’s quite another to spout unfounded slurs against people. (none of that here)
Vulgarity.   That’s a no no too for the most part.   Obscenity.   Nope; not here.   Revealing detailed personal info.  Nope.  The incitement of violence or hatred.  That’s against the law people.
Going off topic.  That’s my big pet peeve personally.   Stay on topic.  If you want a topic to be discussed send in a Letter to Editor  to  You see that’s where I think people get into trouble. Debate the topic, not the person posting it.     At the end of the day that only turns off viewers and that’s not good for anyone.   This is CFN.  It’s not Parliament!
I think that 99.99% of our posts and users get this and don’t even need a policy.
Of course this is part of our and the internet’s growth curve.  We’ll always be open to hear your suggestions and comments and we will be adapting and improving our policies as time goes by.    Please note that we also will be issuing warnings and alerts for stories where profanity or certain content is present.
CFN will continue to pre-moderate posts prior to releasing them on the public; something that we’ve done from day one.  That’s something that doesn’t happen at most media sites.
And that costs money so please support our many sponsors and show them the love that they truly deserve.
After all our goal is to share words.  Words are powerful.  They mean things.  They paint pictures and change our lives.   Your words are as important as any I can write.  Your words help make CFN what it is today and I thank all of you who have shared your voices.
If you have any comments please leave them below, and if you really want to show your support for CFN, no matter where you live or what you believe,  please leave a comment in this story and share what you feel about this whole process.
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News
Choose Cornwall


  1. I see no need for profanity among intelligent and civilized people. If we can’t make a heated case for what we stand for without resorting to vulgarity, we need to learn how to express ourselves better.

  2. “The incitement of violence or hatred. That’s against the law people”. Is that true? It is interesting that the Supreme Court of Canada, at this time, can not come up with a useable definition or what constitutes “incitement to hatred”, nor even a workable definition of hatred!

    If you copy and paste this link, you can watch the proceedings before the Supreme Court about free speech – religious free speech vs. the right to the activity of sodomy. The link is:

    Also, just to bring us up to what the law says now –
    Canadian Criminal code section 319.2,3 on Public incitement of hatred:

    2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against and identifiable group is guilty of

    (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
    (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

    (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
    (b) if, in good faith, he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject;
    (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
    (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

  3. And by way, I think it is a good practice to have a “profanity warning”. Some of the posters, not mentioning any names (Mr. Anonymous), need to clean up their vocabulary for sure!

  4. When Russell Barth had a few pieces published here last summer, he was attacked personally and viciously by a bunch of commenters. Quite unbelievable, really, and I doubt that he’ll be back, and for good reason.
    I’ve yet to see or notice any profanity on this site, but that might be because it wouldn’t particularly bother me within reason. What I do find very offensive is any kind of religious preaching and passing of judgement on non-believers, different-believers, etc. This is the only moderated site that I frequent that allows it.
    Just my $0.02.

  5. Fair comment, Jamie. BTW – vicious not “viscous”. Sorry, previous life kicking in.

  6. Absolutely, Furtz – using biblical quotations to fill these threads with hatred, hell-fire and damnation is not helpful…and, in fact, potentially hurtful. Besides, no religion or faith has a monopoly on salvation or how to live a decent life.

  7. I think the preacher equates free speech with hate speech. In any case, religious preaching and judgement is normally not tolerated on sites that allow comments. If you allow somebody to say that people are sinners and will burn in hell because of their beliefs or sexual orientation or whatever, then you pretty much have to let those people fire back with what ever they want against the accuser. Those are very personal attacks. And as we all know, it just degenerates into nastiness. Unfortunately for everyone, the preacher seems to lurk in the bushes, and hurls a hate-bomb whenever his bile pressure reaches a certain level. It just poisons the whole atmosphere.

  8. Furtz and all: My source of authority for what I write is found solely in the Bible – the inspired, preserved Word of God. True Biblical Christianity, as far as one wants to look back at, has always covered the topics such as morality, sexual morality, right from wrong, and of course hell, sinners going to hell, judgement to come, and the need for repentance from sin, and the “rebirth”. Salvation by grace through faith alone. And of course the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Yes, it is true that some forms of so called “Christianity” cater to the World in order to be liked by the World, in order to fill their offering plates. So their message becomes compromised in order to please men. That is nothing new, even Judas (you know who he was?) betrayed the Lord Jesus for 30 pieces of silver – get my point? But there has been, and always will be men, like the Apostle Paul and others, that will preach the truth as it is revealed in the Holy Bible. If you would take time to read the book of Acts, and do some research into church history, you will find that human kind has always hated the message of Christ, the Cross, and the Gospel.

    What is your reaction to such words recorded by Luke concerning the Lord Jesus Christ – Luk 5:31 -32 ” And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. Also Luk 13:5 “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about hell and eternal damnation more than all His apostles. The Apostle Paul never mentioned hell.

    Most of the time, one will run to the argument that the Bible was written by men, so it can’t be from God. How was the Lord Jesus born of a virgin? a miracle, such is the case with the Word of God. God has promise that He would preserve His Word, and He has done just that. How He did it, a miracle is the answer. It is not my fault you don’t believe in miracles, or in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. The fact remains the same whether you believe or not.

    You can complain all you want about me, the message, my mannerisms, etc, but the simple fact is, where the rubber meets the road, all of us hate God’s Word by birth. So many of your reactions on this blog doesn’t surprise me a bit – they said worse things about the Lord Jesus, and did worse to Him also – they crucified Him!

    But God’s love, mercy, and grace are also topics found in the Bible. But God’s love, mercy, and grace is for those that see themselves as sinners, lost, hell bound, haters of God, His Christ and His Word. The Apostle Paul sums it this way – “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy….”(1Ti 1:14 – 16).

  9. Author

    Now Tom that was a bit abusive. You know this is an online newspaper. No need to be name calling 🙂

  10. “the simple fact is. . . all of us hate God’s Word by birth” (sic) What does that mean? And where do you get it from? Pure fiction, pure assumption, rubbish.

  11. Tom
    I have a biblical question, or maybe two. Why do Catholics and Christians alike celbrate Christmas? It is not truly the date of Christ’s birth.

    When you quote the bible where are the words coming from, Could they not be interpretations lost in the translations. Some of the original testament was written in Hebrew as a few chapters written in Aramaic, then the New Testament written in Greek. In each case these were people scribing the words of god. Could there have been political and ethical conflict when they were scribing the words?
    As well by the time the Greeks wrote the New Testament about 50AD many Jews could no longer even read Hebrew. Now we believe the Greek version or Septuagint is accurate.
    What about you can you read Hebrew or are you a lamb led to slaughter.
    And finally, in the bible it all begins with Adam and Eve. They bore three children as defined in the bible, they being Cain, Abel, and Seth. Does that mean well ya know where this goes

  12. Author

    man there are days I don’t like my job….guys this isn’t really on topic, right? There are people watching how we moderate.

  13. Jamie, I can’t believe that you continue approving and publishing the preachers hateful bile, while at the same time imploring the rest of your commentators to be civilized and respectful. Now if you will allow me to respond to the preacher, because he addressed me in his last post. (Sadly moderated this part)

  14. So Jamie, I respect your authority and right to squelch my rather vicious retort to the preacher. My question to you is, Why do you allow seriously hateful comments on your site? Why is it OK for this twisted little hate-monger to post his bile, but it’s not OK to post my full response?

  15. Author

    Furtz I gave this some thought. If it were Smee asking that question I wouldn’t answer 🙂 Frankly if you reread Tom’s 2nd to last post there simply nothing that fits any comment policy past or present on CFN. While you may disagree with Tom; dislike him; the simple fact is that what he just typed didn’t violate. Now you’re way too smart to know that what you typed simply could not go through.

    I guess that’s you making your point. You’ve been a valuable contributor to CFN from nearly day one and I hope you continue, but your dislike for Tom I think is personal and I think it clouds your normally attuned judgement on most issues.

    Seeing what he just posted I have a hunch that none of this will be much of an issue any further.

    Happy Thursday!


  16. admin – if honest debate is the goal of CFN threads, there may be posts, statements, assertions – both on and off topic – that cannot go unchallenged.

  17. Author

    That’s 100% true PJR, but the comments still need to fall between certain boundaries. If it becomes a personal dislike issue it’s just not productive to the debate of the point. If Furtz wrote a LTE for instance about facets of his issue with Tom then it’d actually be on topic. Tom made a clear point regarding his position and background in reference to the policy. If he gets attacked for his beliefs even when he’s crossing the line then we’re no better than those who attack many of us. It’s a fuzzy and tricky slope and sometimes people just need to take a deep breath or a break and come back when they’re back on track.

    There is a difference between a criticism and a vicious personal attack. There is a difference between debating the point and just attacking the debater. I’m not pointing fingers when I say that. Just some food for thought as we all evolve through this process. Honestly; even though we’ve lost a few regular commentators I think we are above the bar when it comes to quality of comments. I certainly don’t want it to be like on the Free Holder; do you?

  18. Happy Thursday to you too Jamie.
    And a lousy Thursday to you, preacher.

  19. Yes, of course, admin. I stress honest debate: informed, reasoned, courteous dialogue. An endangered art, I fear, these days, to go by the adolescent performances of Harper & Co in Parliament.

  20. Jamie you are a big joker *l* that is in no way what you would have said to me and I have proof .

    But you are right it is off topic and apologize, however when a person hides behind a belief that in itself says to live and let live then chastise those with an eye for an eye for not agreeing….it will raise debate.

    Preacher has proven his faith to be similar to a environmentalist. They have a model built by someone but no empirical evidence to explain….

  21. “admin – this is were I log off for good. Thanks for the space!”

    Maybe there is a god! No, just kidding.

  22. The preacher is merely a cut and paste man. He thinks that just because it is in one of his bibles, then it must be the truth. He thinks that everyone who does not interpret his cut and paste the one he does is wrong. The preacher is (MODERATED). That is what blind faith does to a person.

  23. Any community, be it on line like CFN or real towns and cities like Cornwall, should be encouraged to, and be congratulated for ridding themselves of hate-speechers. The first hate-group to disappear from Ontario was the KKK, followed by the Orange Order., and others. Thankfully, the last holdouts of hate seem to be a few crazy “churches” attended by fewer people than ever, I hope.

  24. About forty community newspapers in B.C. and Alberta, owned by BlackPress, have effectively shut down the commenting by requiring people to log in through their Facebook accounts. The Red Deer Advocate, one of my favourite sites to hang out, had lively and humorous and generally intelligent discussions going on for at least seven or eight years. As of a few days ago, there is nothing. Sad really. It’s like losing a bunch of good friends.

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