Why we're here, moderation, and commenting guidelines.
Off-Topic Scotland aims to complement the work of other independence-supporting websites. We encourage discussion of any and all topics relevant to an independent nation.
We provide commentary on relevant news and feature regular guest writers covering economic, constitutional and cultural issues. We invite and encourage discussion of topics which are often excluded from independence debates but are vital in any nation with responsibility for making its own decisions: colonialism; franchise; war in Europe; vaccine-injury scandal; globalist influences on national policy-making; PPP/PFI scandal and so on. The list is long.
Having these topics in dedicated sections allows cohesive long-term discussion and we hope that, in time, each will function as a one-stop archive of sorts where readers may easily locate specific articles/links/comments.
We operate a simple yellow/red card system. There will be regular monitoring of discussion and cautions for commenters who are persistently rude or aggressive. The cards will be used only as a last resort. We trust that contributors will be civil and exercise common sense but we are not naive - we expect to be targeted by 'the usual suspects'. Over the years we have become accustomed to their methods and prose style. They will not be tolerated. It is important to us that readers come to OTS to find positive, encouraging, stimulating and educational material. Central to that experience is a safe, welcoming environment. Some of the issues up for discussion are difficult to deal with and trolling can make them much more so. If you feel that someone is being abusive, overly aggressive, or suspect them of being a troll, please e-mail us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We rely on readers to keep discussions going and encourage everyone to take part, even if it is only to use the range of reaction buttons - a 'like' is, in itself, a comment. Many people are very wary of commenting in a public forum, especially if they are using their real names, so we hope that more experienced commenters will bear this in mind and be welcoming to new contributors.
We do not insist on perfect grammar, spelling etc but we would very much appreciate the use of paragraph breaks - long chunks of solid text are unpleasant to read.
We are here to promote and discuss the case for Scottish independence. It is a fact that 'freedom of speech' as broadly understood, does not exist in this country. It never has. Certain topics are out of bounds. Indeed, they are, in effect, taboo. (Please see the Orwell essay 'The Freedom of the Press' in Resources)
In choosing to allow discussion of PPP/PFI, vaccine-injuries and 'the war' we are already pushing the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable discourse by the censors/security services. We believe that if these issues can be openly discussed on social media then there is no good reason why they can't be discussed here. By the same token, there is plenty of material on, for example, FB and Twitter which involves issues that we avoid for the simple reason that we do not wish to be summarily shut-down or subjected to the same forms of personal harassment and persecution as Craig Murray, Rev Stuart Campbell, Mark Hirst and others. If that editorial caution is disappointing to some, we should remind them that some perverse decisions by senior figures in the Scottish legal establishment in recent years have had a chilling effect on independent writers. In short, we cannot trust senior authorities to act in good faith and do not intend to give them a stick to beat us with. The very fact that we have to self-censor (and some of us will be using pseudonyms) tells a sorry tale about the current atmosphere in Scottish political discourse. The people responsible for the current baleful state of affairs know who they are. And so do we.
We have a 'donate' button if you would like to support us. But we don't need money. Not yet anyway. More important to us right now is spreading awareness of this place and ensuring that the discussion is a positive contribution to the national debate. Our short-term goal is to get OTS into the top five independence blogs within 3 months. If we can do that then we will launch an 'official' fundraiser. In the meantime, the most precious support we could ask for is that you tell your friends about us.
OTS can only succeed with your involvement. We welcome you warmly and hope you enjoy spending some time with our writers and fellow readers.
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