Since its inception in 2008 HarpinOnRugby (HoR) has evolved from a basic blog to a full social media presence comprising a blog, a twitter account and pages on both Facebook and Google+.

Over time the amount of people leaving comments in the various places (particularly the Facebook page) has grown, and there have been many, shall we say, “heated” exchanges.

I have felt the need to put together a “code of conduct”, as once or twice we have had issues regarding some comments, so here it is.


We would like HoR to be a place where people are free to leave their opinions on the great game of rugby. There are already several “mainstream” places where one can do this like, RTE, national newspapers, etc, so we'd like posters to feel they can have a degree of latitude when it comes to language. In other words, once we can find some context, we won't mind the odd “f” bomb now and again.


This deserves its own heading IMO. If you intentionally go online to provoke, you generally get called one of those two things. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to carry on like that, but such people are a reality of the online world. Well it is a HoR policy that to be referred to as a troll or a WUM is a BAD thing, and trust me if we think you are one, we'll let you know, and if you think it is somehow a badge of honour, then good luck to you.


Of course we want to reserve an element of privacy when we go online, but to leave a comment, especially a negative one, without leaving any means to identify yourself is nothing short of cowardice.  All comments left on HoR blogs without a name (doesn't even have to be an online ID, just add a name/initials/handle to  the comment if you'd prefer) run the risk of remaining unpublished.


Pretty much every comment space will follow a post, be it on the blog or on the Facebook page, so the subject matter will have been chosen by HoR.  It is therefore assumed that the comments which follow a post are somehow related to the original post.

There are various ways we can go off topic...
  1. Another rugby issue. Not a problem really, but if the post is about the Heineken Cup and you have thrown in something about the Greystones J3 team, it will look pretty silly and thus be its own punishment!
  2. Non-rugby issue. It's a rugby blog. We welcome external references to make your point but there are of course areas like religion and politics we want kept away.
  3. Personal attacks. Talking about other commenters constitutes going off topic. If you're unhappy with something said, there are ways to deal with it that are explained under “MAKING COMPLAINTS”

We want to make sure you have recourse to point out any concerns you may have over HoR content, but we also hope you appreciate the need to establish protocols when it comes to making those concerns known.
  1. Criticising HoR. If you don't agree with what we have posted, feel free to say so in the comments section. We can take it! BUT...that does not mean there won't be a reply or clarification forthcoming! If you choose to make criticisms in the public comment space, prepare yourself for a response in the same space if we feel one is necessary. If it is a factual error on our part, you can be sure the response will come in the form of an apology and/or amendment if possible.
  2. Concern over another commenter. We do our best to moderate the site around the clock but it is not always possible. Comments to the blogs must be approved before they are added to posts, but comments to the Facebook page may go unchecked for a period of time.

    If you feel you have seen something that violates the above standards, or perhaps you feel they fall short of your own, we would appreciate that you let us know, but only privately (see point 3 under “STAYING ON TOPIC”).

    We can be reached (a) by email, (b) by DM on twitter via @HarpinOnRugby, or (c) by private message via the Facebook page. Only complaints made using one of those three methods will be entertained. 

    It is our policy that should such a complaint be made against another commentator, one of two outcomes will result in a timely fashion: (a) Sanction against the offending commenter (see below), or (b) If no sanction is taken, a detailed explanation will be provided why.

    We do ensure that complaints made privately will be kept as such whether a sanction is applied or not.

When an issue arises over a particular comment and/or commenter, it is up to HoR to make a judgement using the above guidelines, and where necessary, apply sanctions.

The HoR sanctioning policy comes in 3 forms....
  1. Removal of offending comment – self explanatory, though the commenter will have the reason for the removal explained to them by HoR, privately where possible.  
  2. Warning of ban – repeat offences will push a commenter close to a full ban but they will generally be afforded one final chance.
  3. Full ban - instant removal of content, with vigilance taken to the possibility of returning using different accounts. We of course really, really hope it never comes to this.
Please note that the above does not constitute a cast-iron “sequence”...depending on the severity of the offence it is possible for a commenter to go straight to sanctions 2 or 3.

To date only a handful of comments have been removed from posts on HoR content, and nobody has been banned. A few, we freely admit, have vowed never to return, and that is of course their choice to make, however regrettable.


When a moderation issue arises, we will make a judgement based on the above guidelines, and once it is made, it will be final. JLP


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019