AIDSvideos.org Policy for Comments on Video Sharing Sites

To get our educational videos to the widest possible audience, AIDSvideos.org publishes our videos to numerous video sharing sites. Most of these sites include a "comments" feature that enables viewers to post text comments in response to the videos. Many of the comments by HIV denialists have proven to be offensive, ill-mannered, and inappropriate including obscenities, personal attacks on presenters and anyone associated with AIDSvideos.org, racist, sexist, and homophobic comments, references to bestiality, and more. There are also numerous scientifically incorrect and unsupported statements such as blanket statements that "HIV does not cause AIDS," groundless allegations of bias and conflict of interest, bogus pseudo-scientific claims derived from the misinformation from various HIV denialist web sites and videos, repetitive postings by the same commenter, and lots of questions that the commenters wouldn't have asked if they had read our Myths page or any of the free online references on HIV/AIDS it links to in the resources section.

We request as a timesaving courtesy for all concerned that commenters, particularly "HIV dissidents," read our Myths page and the free online references on HIV/AIDS it links to in the resources section before posting comments on our videos. In particular, any person who wishes the freedom to post multiple comments must do that.

So the question arises: which comments will we delete and which comments will we take no action against?

Free speech is a wonderful thing and includes the freedom to say things that are incorrect. However, AIDSvideos.org is under no obligation to turn the comments area of its videos into a bulletin board for people to promote the misinformation that we are working so hard to debunk. HIV denialists are free to post their own videos and web sites and promote their ideas there. Nor are we under any obligation to tolerate offensive comments.

Following are some guidelines we'll typically apply when evaluating whether to delete, respond to, or ignore a comment on one of our videos.

Comments including the following will generally be deleted and the commenters may be blocked as well:
Note that we say "will GENERALLY be deleted" and that commenters "MAY be blocked." AIDSvideos.org is not trying to whitewash the world or the people in it and pretend that racism, sexism, homophobia, paranoia, conspiracy theory, and other forms of irrationality don't exist. Far from it. Sometimes, the most effective way to undermine a commenter's credibility is simply to let their comment stand (and perhaps post a reply) because the comment's ignorance, irrationality, or outright hate speaks for itself. Allowing some such comments through educates the community by highlighting the continued existence of these problems and by providing both AIDSvideos.org and others the opportunity to publicly refute the comments. It also creates a permanent electronic record of their ignorant or offensive comments that may have consequences for them in the future.

The following kinds of comments will generally be deleted:
We encourage people to post honest, non-rhetorical questions, particularly if they take the time to read our Myths page and the free online references on HIV/AIDS it links to in the resources section before posting.

Everyone should keep the following things in mind:

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