The FYI.org.nz team are deeply saddened by the needless loss of life in Christchurch on the 15th March.
We understand that people desire answers from public agencies, the purpose for which FYI.org.nz was created. As a politically neutral and independent project, we operate a generally permissive approach to requests regardless of the personal opinions of our volunteers. However, this must not get in the way of protecting the public and showing respect to all of the victims and their families.
Since Friday we have closely monitored use of our platform. We decided to unpublish three requests which we felt were inappropriate for publication at this time, and redacted references to a website that has shared footage of the shootings. Requests which are unpublished are otherwise fully functional for the requester, and of course anyone can still make a request direct to an agency without FYI.org.nz.
Abuse, threats, and harassment have never been acceptable on FYI.org.nz, with such content being fully hidden and users suspended when it comes to our attention. Thankfully such behaviour is rare and did not happen in this event. However, other undesirable activity in recent years had already led us to begin considering new moderation policies and this work will now be brought forward.
Until our full moderation policy is in place we will, effective immediately, unpublish certain requests which we consider harmful to the public good. This specifically includes requests that:
- make allegations which may be offensive, rather than reference notable source material (such as news reports);
- use inflammatory or disrespectful language;
- target or discriminate against groups such as those protected under Section 21 of the Human Rights Act;
- appear to primarily be intended to publicise opinions in the request, rather than make a good faith attempt to obtain Official Information in response.
We feel that these requests are not in the spirit of open government or FYI.org.nz. This policy will be retroactively applied to some requests. Requests which bring the project and the Official Information regime into disrepute harm us all.
FYI.org.nz will remain a politically neutral platform. Upholding decency, respect and fairness does not change this.
If you see content on FYI.org.nz that you feel does not belong, you are encouraged to report it using the “Report this request” link on the right side of the request page.
We are proud to have handled nearly 10,000 requests. We hope that these and upcoming changes ensure the project will be fit to handle the next 10,000.
Oliver & Nigel
FYI.org.nz Administration Team