Imagine the feeling of sitting with people you feel comfortable with, of purposefully entering a space where you can lean in to enjoy a conversation – or simply sit back and listen. Somewhere to seek out when you need a sense of community, when you’re looking to discuss shared values or be challenged by an original perspective.
Our correspondents have already gathered in this home that you’ve helped build for us with your generous membership donations. Over the next year, more voices will join them.
Through collaborative ‘memberful reporting’, we will exchange ideas on the most important developments of our time.
As your conversation editor, my mission is to make our contribution section the space where members from all over the world can share their knowledge and experience with our correspondents in a constructive way.
How can we make the most of this opportunity to be both collaborative and truly global?
The following tips are designed less to be ‘rules of engagement’ and more to set the bar for the kind of flexible space we hope to share together. These reflections have been thought through with the rest of our team at The Correspondent. Please let me know if you see any room for improvement; I will keep updating this piece as we learn from our interactions with each other.
Our contribution section is an inviting, inclusive and safe space
We come from different cultures and backgrounds. As a global community, our journalism is designed, with members, to cut across national mindsets or partisan thinking. We don’t look or sound the same. Bear in mind that another person might not have the same perspective as you, because of their cultural norms or education or lived experience.
We promote tolerance and the desire to understand where other people are coming from, and we encourage trying to find out more rather than being quick to judge. This is also one of the prerequisites for our correspondents: to be ready to change their minds. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t fundamentally disagree with one another. But we’d like to do so in a way that makes everybody feel safe and respected.
Contribute under your real and full name
All members publish under their real names on The Correspondent, just as our correspondents do. Their sources are also named in full, unless there’s a compelling reason to preserve their anonymity. We uphold the same rule for our contribution section.
If you’re jumping into a conversation and someone else replies to your thread, you will be notified with an alert on the platform. You can also choose to switch off your daily digest of email notifications in the settings page.
Share what you know or have experienced
Correspondents are looking for two kinds of communities to share their ideas with: those who have expertise, and those who have experience. In the first instance, this can refer to experiential as well as educational or professional expertise.
Please share your ‘expertise’ - and do so in English.
Expertise is a good way to show the perspective from which you are joining the conversation. You can fill this in when you are contributing on the platform. You can mark your expertise for example as being a parent, or a professor of behavioural therapy, or a bus driver - all in the context of the contribution you are writing.
Even if you have no official expertise on a topic, this is a great place to share your experience, knowledge or curiosity. A good question can also be a very valuable contribution.
Where necessary, back up your contribution by linking to sources
Correspondents are expected to substantiate their journalism as much as possible with sources. We hope you will do the same when contributing. Where possible, provide a link to sources that support or illustrate your claims.
These can be articles or research reports. Of course anecdotes from personal experience are also welcome.
Stay on-topic, stay substantive
As contributions are an extension of our journalism, you can make the most of this lively space by contributing to the topic that is mentioned in the article. Responding off topic or repeating yourself won’t help move the conversation along. Check the callouts section of the site, which is a good indication of the kind of contributions that the correspondent hopes you will share with him or her.
Plus, if you have ideas for an altogether new topic or theme, you’re very welcome to share them in the contributions section, or by emailing the correspondent(s) in question. Correspondents might even work with you to proof-read a story in advance. Anything is possible in the pursuit of our memberful reporting!
A word on tone: we like our conversations constructive and fun
At The Correspondent, we encourage you to respond to a story in a constructive way. After all, a published piece is never the final word on a topic – another premise of our journalism. If you have knowledge that puts a story in a different light, or you’ve noticed any factual inaccuracies, we are most helped if you indicate this in a way so that it helps the correspondent, other members, and the story. After all, even though our platform is online – it still has a community atmosphere. Let’s keep it a place where you want to be.
As a member you can flag inappropriate contributions
What happens if the conversation is falling by the wayside? The Correspondent’s editors may in certain cases decide to remove a contribution. We can do this in the following cases:
- Your contribution does not follow the community tips listed above
- You are not moving the conversation along
- Your contribution is racist, discriminatory or threatening
- Your contribution contains obvious untruths
Should a member repeatedly violate the rules, we can take away their right to contribute. Complaints about moderation in the contributions section itself will always be removed.
You can flag an inappropriate contribution by clicking on the arrow in the top right hand corner of a contribution and selecting ‘Report’.
Let’s treat each other online as we would offline
If you want to sum up these tips in one sentence, it would be this: let’s behave online as we would offline. We certainly hope to be meeting our members in person and discussing our ideas, whether or not they’re shared. We welcome a spirit of exchange, and debate. And we do so by approaching each other online as we would in person. Keep in mind that what is shared may be something vulnerable. That great rush you get from having a fantastic conversation - where you learnt something new, or put across your different perspective - is something we hope to be stoking every day.
That’s it! If you’ve scrolled this far, thank you. With you, our members, The Correspondent aims to be an exciting, original and stimulating platform.