The "zap" in Newszap.com is symbolic of our desire to empower regular citizens to get involved —;; so they can provide a counter-balance to Big Business, Big Government and Big Media. The Founders envisioned a government "of the people" —; not governance by an elite "political class" of career bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians.
We do not take sides. Instead, we are committed to providing a platform where citizens control the discussion. We focus on local communities because that's where citizens learn their skills and where most business is conducted. Participants pledge to exercise their free speech with civility —; which means sticking to the issues and not lapsing into bullying, personal attacks, name-calling or profanity.
We welcome your ideas about how to improve newszap.com and make it more useful to you and your community. Please email your suggestions to email@example.com.
Newszap.com was founded by a small and fiercely independent publishing company that invests all after-tax profits in its First Amendment mission. Providing newszap.com community websites for "Free Ads & Free Speech" is part of that mission. To request a community website for your community, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To advertise on newszap.com, click on "Advertise Online" at the top or bottom of your newszap.com community homepage or send an email to email@example.com.
2. Anonymity: Why are anonymous comments allowed?
This dimension of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution goes all the way back to the days of the American Revolution, which might never have occurred if anonymous opinions against the British government had not been published. Courts have upheld that speech over the Internet is entitled to First Amendment protection and have said that protection extends to anonymous Internet speech in blogs or chat rooms. This speech has been equated by the courts to be the equivalent of political pamphleteering, which is a protected and time-honored right of every citizen. It would have a chilling effect if citizens were not permitted to express their opinions anonymously. Sometimes legal action is threatened to reveal a poster's identity or to intimidate other posters. Newszap.com usually resists such attempts, with the possible exception of Violations. Individuals posting libelous or defamatory comments are not welcome at this site and are granted no right to anonymity should a court of law seek a poster's identity.
You can post items to the newszap.com Community Calendar by going to your community's homepage at www.newszap.com and clicking on Calendar. If you would like to make changes to or delete a calendar item, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, providing specific information on what you would like changed (i.e. headline, dates or event description). Please be sure to identify where the calendar item is located; the best way to do so is by copying and pasting a direct link to the calendar item.
4. Civility: Why free speech with civility?
A. Because our Public Forum members believe that citizens can disagree about issues without being disagreeable with one another —; and that name-calling, bullying, profanity and character assassination undermine the intelligent discussion of public issues.
B. Because a few hateful people shouldn't be allowed to spoil what is intended as a safe and open public forum where people can discuss the issues that are important to them without opening themselves to vicious personal attacks and threats.
C. Because free speech shouldn't give people a right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater, to shout down or intimidate those who disagree, or to go beyond the bounds of fair play and decency.
D. Because, as the great modern philosopher Emmylou Harris put it: "The frightening thing is when we lose our civility, which I think is happening across the board, and I find disturbing. As citizens we have to be more thoughtful and more educated and more informed. I turn on the TV and I see these grown people screaming at each other, and I think, well, if we don't get our civility back, we're in trouble."
E. The First Amendment —; bolstered over time by rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court —; specifically defends every American's right to free speech. However, there are also laws that limit free speech, such as those against libel and slander. Members of the Public Forums at newszap.com have made it clear that they favor free speech with civility. With civility as a standard, the forum members set the agenda, pick the topics to be discussed and help uphold the forum's standards. Those who are unwilling to abide by these standards are welcome to exercise their free-speech rights elsewhere but not in the newszap.com forums.
5. Complaint, how to: How can I complain about a posting?
Nobody other than the registered members and visitors to the Public Forum monitors the postings. The webmaster team can only react to complaints about specific postings. To complain, copy & paste the offensive comment (including the posted date and time) into an email to email@example.com. You must also mention the name (state or community) of the Public Forum, and the name of the topic under which it is posted; this is most easily done by copying the blue & black line that appears immediately under the newszap.com Public Forums logo at the top of the page and begins with "Newszap Forums>" and pasting it into the Subject line of your email. Webmaster@newszap.com cannot accept or return telephone calls because of our need to document all communications in writing.
6. Complaints, upheld: How are violations handled?
Strict enforcement of the Member Pledge is the only way to ensure that citizens will have a forum in which to discuss public issues without being subjected to personal attacks, harassment or bullying. The Webmaster's role is limited to dealing with complaints about specific postings. The webmaster team sincerely strives to do so in a consistent and even-handed manner, without playing favorites and without considering extenuating factors such as "he started it first". A posting either violates the Member Pledge or it does not. If there is no violation, the posting remains. If there is a violation, the posting is edited or deleted and the violator's registration is cancelled. If a posting needs to be edited, the webmaster inserts the following text to accompany the actual post: Note from the Webmaster: While the essence of this post has been retained, parts of it that violated the Member Pledge have been deleted after a complaint. Let's work together to keep your Public Forum dedicated to free speech with civility. If a posting is deleted, the webmaster inserts the following text to replace the actual post: Note from the Webmaster: A posting that violated the Member Pledge has been deleted after a complaint. Let's work together to keep your Public Forum dedicated to free speech with civility. Also see Violations.
7. Complaints, denied: Why wasn't my complaint upheld?
Please understand that everybody seems to have a different opinion about what constitutes acceptable discourse. We can't please everyone, but we sincerely try to defend each participant's freedom of speech while also holding everybody accountable for living up to the Member's Pledge. Also see Disputes between Members.
8. Content responsibility
All postings posted on or linked from the site, including uploaded files, PDFs and other documents and materials, are the sole responsibility of the person or entity from whom the content originated. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, posting, linked material, photo or any content placed here by users of this site. By registering with this site, you agree that you are solely responsible for the content of your postings, uploads and/or links; and that you indemnify and hold harmless these forums and all their agents and employees with respect to any claim based upon the appearance and/or transmission of your postings, uploads and/or links or any other material you cause to appear on this site.
You also agree that:
(1) you own or otherwise have all necessary rights, including but not limited to copyrights, to the content you provide and the rights to use it;
(2) you will not post or upload any material, or link to any material, which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise in violation of any law;
9. Copyright policy
Newszap.com text, photos, graphics, and formats are protected by copyrights. Except for "fair use" (e.g., forwarding a news article from the site by email to a few friends or associates, or downloading a page for use in a classroom setting only), any reproduction, transmission, or editing of newszap.com materials by any means mechanical or electronic without express written permission from Independent Newspapers Inc. is strictly prohibited. Authorization also is required for linking remotely to newszap.com. Users wishing to obtain permission to reprint or reproduce any materials appearing on these sites should email the webmaster team..
10. Disputes between members
If you have complaints about — or are having a dispute with — another Forum Member, you might want to consider the following:
1. Remember to keep your postings focused on the issue, not the individual. It is all right to disagree with other Members, but you can do this without criticizing the individual. If you steadfastly refrain from personal criticism, it makes it less likely that others will criticize you personally.
2. If another Forum Member violates the Member Pledge (including attacking you personally or attempting to bully you), please report it to Webmaster@newszap.com. To avoid subjecting yourself to retaliation, you may not want to reveal to others that you have made a complaint.
3. If you sense that another Forum Member seems particularly unreasonable, disruptive or vindictive, you might want to refrain from responding to his or her postings. (Ignoring such individuals is often the most effective form of rejection.) You can also click "ignore member" so that individual's postings will no longer appear on your screen.
4. If you are concerned that another Forum Member may attempt to harass you, you might want go to "My Account" and "Profile" to make sure you haven't checked the "Allow other users to view my email address" box. You might also want to disable "Private Messaging".
5. Forum Members should use caution in revealing personal information about themselves in Private Messages; and they should refrain entirely from mentioning personal information about other Forum Members.
6. If you feel somebody may have obtained your password, you can go to "My Account" and "Password" to change your password.
7. If another Forum Member claims to have access to personal information about you or your account, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Often this is an attempt to intimidate others, and we consider it a form of bullying. (We believe our Forum processes are secure; no "I have access" claim has ever been validated.)
11. Error messages
If you are getting an error message when you try to post a new topic or respond to an existing topic, first check to see if the message is posting despite the error message. If so, ignore the error message. If not, make a copy of the error message and send it to email@example.com along with your user name and password, the Forum you were trying to post to, and/or the topic you were trying to respond to. Do not hit the "Post" button more than once! Some errors still allow your text to post, so hitting the "Post" button multiple times could result in your text showing up several times on site.
12. Facebook Comments
We are using Facebook comments for our stories to promote free speech with civility. You are encouraged to leave relevant comments on stories, but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. Points to consider:
1. You will need a Facebook account to comment. If you don't have one, signing up is free and easy. Go to Facebook.com. Once you have signed up, you will be able to comment on stories.
2. Without a Facebook account you will not be able to comment on stories published on newszap.com. You can, however, email our reporters; you will find their email addresses at the end of every bylined story.
3. If you want your comment also to appear on Facebook, then check the "Post my comment to my Facebook profile" box in the settings for Facebook account.
4. Your privacy settings on Facebook will determine what others can see when they click on your name or picture on our site. To change your Facebook privacy settings go Facebook's privacy settings page.
13. Free ads: why?
1. To provide an effective and popular local marketplace where people can find goods and services. 2. To encourage people to do business locally. 3. To encourage local businesses to create and promote their own useful websites. 4. To offer everyone a free ad, but also to allow individuals through the freedom of the local marketplace to enhance their pitch with paid advertising (which also helps us pay our bills).
14. Free speech: why?
1. To enable free speech as America's founders intended, by giving everybody a forum for discussing public issues. 2. To encourage people to get involved in their community in a meaningful manner. 3. To give citizens a place to counteract corporate media and career politicians. 4. To reinforce the message of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who said: "The most important office is that of citizen."
15. Legal issues
Members are reminded that an irresponsible post could lead to legal action by an aggrieved individual or business. It is clear that we as citizens have the right to criticize our public officials. Attacks on private individual or businesses, however, can lead to lawsuits. You might be able to win in court, but do you really want to run the risk? Individuals posting libelous or defamatory comments are not welcome at this site and are granted no right to anonymity should a court of law seek a poster's identity. Also see Violations
For all material, you grant newszap.com and its affiliated newspapers a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, store, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works from such information, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now existing or developed in the future.
Newszap.com provides links to third-party blogs and web sites, which are not owned or operated by us. Complaints about the content of a website should be directed to the website itself. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel a website should not be included among the newszap.com links, or if you have a new link to suggest, or if you find an inactive link.
18. Member Pledge: What is it?
When individuals register to become eligible to post comments in the newszap.com public forums, they agree to abide by the following pledge: As a Member of the newszap.com forums, I will: 1. Share comments about public issues, and not engage in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam. 2. Keep my comments within the bounds of fair play and civility. (I can disagree with others in a courteous manner, without being disagreeable about it.) 3. Express my own opinions but keep an open mind to find value in what others have to say. 4. Uphold the forum's standards by encouraging others to raise the level of discourse, and by alerting email@example.com of postings that violate this pledge. Strict enforcement of the Member Pledge is the only way to ensure that citizens will have a forum in which to discuss public issues without being subjected to personal attacks, harassment or bullying. Also see Violations
19. Newspaper delivery
For questions about newspaper delivery, please email ReaderServices@newszap.com. To become a subscriber or e-subscriber to popular community newspapers in Arizona, Delaware, Florida or Maryland, go to circulation.newszap.com or call 302-741-8298 or 800-282-8586. Also see Feedback & contacts.
20. Newspaper stories
You can see some local newspaper stories --- but not all --- posted at your community's newszap.com homepage in the News Summaries, Public Forum or Post Your News section. If you want to see the entire newspaper, you may be interested in becoming an e-subscriber. With an e-Subscription, you will receive an email with a direct link to the newspaper as soon as each issue is ready. To become an e-subscriber, go to circulation.newszap.com or call 302-741-8298 or 800-282-8586. Also see Feedback & contacts.
21. News releases/letters to the editor
Please do not send news releases or letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have added email@example.com to a distribution list for news releases, please remove it. At newszap.com, you can post all of your news releases in the Post Your News section. You can include links to your website there, as well. You can also post your public events in the Community Calendar up to a year in advance --- which is a good way to "reserve" the date. Letters to the editor may be posted in the appropriate Public Forum (community or state) at newszap.com. If you want to contact a particular newspaper, click here: Feedback & contacts.
22. Password problems
If you have forgotten your password, go to newszap.com, click on the appropriate Public Forum, then on "Log on", and then on "Forgot my password". To change your password, log in, click "My Account" in the top right hand corner of your screen, then click "Profile" and you will be taken to the "Edit Profile" screen. Click "Password" and follow the prompts on the screen. If the system isn't recognizing your user name or password, it could be because user names and passwords are case-sensitive. This means "user" and "User" are different. Check to make sure you are typing in your user name and password correctly; make sure the Caps Lock on your keyboard is off. If you are still having problems, use the "Forgot your user name or password?" link on the login page to receive an email reminder from the Newszap system. This will send the user name to the email account you used to register with the system. It will also reset your password.
23. Photos & Videos
You can post photos in many sections of newszap.com, including the Public Forums and Post Your News section. Many users choose to post their photos or videos at websites like www.Flickr.com, www.shutterfly.com or YouTube.com. Then, they can post a live link to their photos or videos in the Public Forum or Post Your News section at newszap.com.
24. Posting problems & how to post
To participate in any Newszap.com Public Forum or Post Your News, you must be a registered user. You can reach the Public Forum by going to your community's homepage at www.newszap.com and then clicking on the Public Forum. Then, look for the blue "Register" link on the top right hand side of the page. Clicking on this link will take you to the registration page. You must fill out the registration form completely, and then hit the "Send" button on the bottom right hand side of the page. You will receive a confirmation email from the Newszap staff shortly after you register. This email contains a link you will need to click on in order to complete your registration. Once you become a registered user, you will need to log in each time you visit the Forums. To log in, click the "Login" link on the top right hand side of the screen.
Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA will not collect through newszap.com any personally-identifiable information about you - for example, your name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address ("personal data") - unless you have provided it to us voluntarily. If you do not want your personal data collected, please do not submit it to us.
When you do provide us with personal data, we may use that information, unless stated otherwise, in the following ways: we may store and process that information to better understand how use of our web sites reflect users' needs and how we can improve our products and services; we may use that information to contact you; and/or we may provide third parties, especially advertisers, with data reflecting aggregate - but not individual - information about visitors to our web sites. We do not now and do not intend in the future to sell, exchange, publish or rent personal data about any individual.
This does not apply to news or advertising related submissions, such as articles, photographs, news releases, advertising copy or other materials clearly designated for publication. Access to your personal information is limited to people who need it to do their job. Authorized third parties may need access to some of your personal information. We limit such third parties in their access and use of your personal information. We do not otherwise share your personal information with third parties, unless you have granted us permission to do so. Newszap.com provides links to third-party web sites, which are not owned or operated by us. These web sites may have their own privacy policies.
In some cases, we may automatically (that is, not via registration) collect information about you that is not personally-identifiable. Examples of this type of information include the type of Internet browser you are using, the type of computer operating system you are using, and the domain name of the web site from which you linked to newszap.com.
As this policy relates to our forum members, we defend anyone's right to anonymity on the forum pages. We do, however, require each forum participant to register a user name, email address and password. This protects newszap.com AND the individual from false representations. Individuals posting libelous or defamatory comments are not welcome at this site and are granted no right to anonymity should a court of law seek a poster's identity. Also see Violations.
26. Private messaging
If you are receiving too many emails from newszap.com, we recommend you uncheck the box asking to be notified of responses, which is below the window into which you post comments for the forum. The "PM" (private messaging) feature can be turned on or turned off. Go to "My account" at the top of the newszap forum page (assuming you are logged in) and then click on "Preferences." In that section is a box to activate or deactivate private messaging.
27. Purposes: What are newszap.com's purposes?
The purpose of newszap.com is to provide citizens with a vibrant marketplace where they can conduct business, exchange community news and discuss public issues. Newspapers traditionally filled this role in America's communities, but too many of them are now owned by huge profit-driven Wall Street-controlled corporations. The "zap" in newszap.com is symbolic of our desire to empower or "zap" regular citizens to get involved --- so they can provide a counter-balance to Big Business, Big Government and Big Media. We believe the country has drifted too far from its brilliant beginnings, in which The Founders envisioned a government "of the people" --- not the elite "political class" of career bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians that governs us today. Newszap.com was founded by a small and fiercely independent publishing company that invests all after-tax profits in its First Amendment mission. Providing newszap.com community websites for "Free Ads & Free Speech" is part of that mission. The company does not "take sides". Instead, it is committed to providing a platform where citizens control the discussion. And it focuses on local communities because that's where citizens learn their skills and where most business is conducted. The only rule is that participants must pledge to exercise their free speech with civility --- which means sticking to the issues and not lapsing into bullying, personal attacks, name-calling or profanity.
28. Registration agreement
By registering as a user of newszap.com, you agree that the information you provide to us, including the personally identifying information, is true and accurate. You accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account or password, and agree not to sell, transfer or assign your user rights. We reserve the right to terminate your use at any time for any reason. If you believe someone has accessed newszap.com using your member name and password without your authorization, email us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
29. Registration confirmation
The confirmation letter will be sent to the email address you gave when you registered. If you have not received it within a few hours, check your SPAM or Junk-Email box. If it's not there, contact us via email@example.com. Please include your user name and password in this correspondence. You should also set your email software to accept all emails from the newszap.com domain.
30. Registration removal requests
A Forum Member can email firstname.lastname@example.org to request removal of his or her registration, and we always fulfill such requests. The request must include the individual's user name and the email address that was used at registration. We hope members will let us know if forum participation was a bad experience. We want the forums to be a safe place for people to connect with the community. (Bad experiences usually result from members not following the advice about Member Disputes.)
31. Requests: How can I request newszap.com for my community?
We can't serve every community, but we are willing to consider requests from citizens who agree with our purposes and believe their community needs its own local newszap.com website -- especially if there is a need locally for "free speech with civility." Requests for new local newszap.com websites should be emailed to Webmaster@newszap.com, and should include the reasons why you believe your community needs its own newszap.com website. When the request is from Arizona, Delaware, Florida or Maryland, we will create a new Public Forum for your community. There will be a link to it from the newszap.com directory page. If there is enough participation in your community's Public Forum, we may later add a newszap.com homepage dedicated to your community. Perhaps you will jumpstart interest in the Public Forum by posting your comments there and spreading the word about it in the community. At this time, we have not expanded beyond the four states currently being served by newszap.com. However, we are willing to consider your requests.
32. Spamming: What about commercial spamming?
These are community forums, and local businesses are an important part of the community. Public Forum members have made it clear they don't mind an occasional "plug" for a local business. However, they resent it when the plugs are too frequent, obviously mass-produced, or not local. In those cases, such postings can actually hurt the business among forum participants. When members see commercial postings that violate these standards, they are encouraged to send a complaint to email@example.com; such items will be removed. Also see Violations.
Members whose registration has been cancelled can re-register, but the registration process requires that the individual reads and agrees to abide by the Member Pledge. We insist that they refrain from participating in the Forums if they are unwilling to abide by the Member Pledge. This is not a denial of anybody's First Amendment rights; they are free to start their own blog or find some other outlets that don't share the stated standards of our Public Forums. In cases in which a Member violates the pledge (regardless of whether it is with the same or different screen names; and regardless of whether it is a first or second offense), newszap.com reserves the right to take any or all of the following actions, at its sole discretion and without the need for any further notice: a) Reveal the true identity of the abuser b) Cooperate with other Forum Members who seek to take legal action against the abuser c) Take legal action to protect the Forums and uphold the Member Pledge d) Ban the user's IP address (When we are forced to ban a violator, it may mean that other users of the same IP address are also banned. This is regrettable, but there is nothing we can do about it.) Newszap.com does not take any of these actions lightly, but believes the dynamism of vibrant public forums should not be diminished by a few bad apples.
34. Other Questions
If you have a question not covered above, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to tell us your city and state. If you're commenting about a posting in a Public Forum, please also include the information that's requested in FAQ #5.
Visit our help page for additional contacts.