AIDSvideos.org Policy for Comments on Video Sharing SitesTo 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:
- Racist, sexist, or homophobic comments
- Personal attacks on presenters, AIDSvideos.org volunteers, etc.
- Duplicate or excessively numerous comments by a single poster
- False statements already refuted on our Myths page
- Links to HIV denialist web sites, statements promoting HIV
denialist books or videos, etc.
- Statements that express a scientifically and/or medically incorrect opinion without supporting evidence or peer-reviewed scientific journal reference citation, such as "HIV does not cause AIDS." Such comments express an individual's personal opinion but add nothing to the discussion about HIV/AIDS. The world is well aware that there are HIV denialists just as it is aware that there are Holocaust denialists and a Flat Earth Society. We don't need a dozen repetitive statements to that effect in the comments area of our videos to remind us.
- Rhetorical questions from HIV denialists who are really seeking
to promote their own videos, web sites, and views
The following kinds of comments will generally be deleted:
- Statements purporting to make a scientific or medical claim that
is dubious or unproven and lacking a supporting citation from a
published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The mere fact that an
HIV denialist's web site or video says something by no means makes that
statement true any more than the presence of statements on the Flat
Earth Society web site mean that the Earth is in fact flat. Publication
of a reproducible scientific research study of a testable, falsifiable
hypothesis in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is the best gauge of
current scientific understanding; independent replication of the
research study confirming the result is the acid test.
Everyone should keep the following things in mind:
- AIDSvideos.org is under no obligation to review all or any of the
comments that are posted on our videos on the various video sharing
sites. There are too many videos, sites, and comments and we have other
things to do than spend all our time refereeing and refuting comments.
- The fact that AIDSvideos.org allows through a comment on a
moderated site or does not delete it on an unmoderated site in no way
means that we endorse or agree with a comment or consider it
appropriate, acceptable, or accurate. We may not have seen a comment or
we may have felt that the comment was so obviously ignorant, paranoid,
or offensive that leaving it in place was the best way to debunk the
- The fact that AIDSvideos.org does not post a refutation to a particular comment at all or within a certain timeframe doesn't mean that the comment is "correct" or that we have "no response" to the comment. It simply means that the volunteers who run AIDSvideos.org have other things to do than act as a 24x7 on-demand free research and rebuttal service for HIV denialists. (Like earn a living, for example.)
- Neither AIDSvideo.org nor any of our presenters provide personal medical advice over the Internet. If you need personal medical advice or have a question about your own situation, make an appointment with a medical doctor so you can be appropriately examined in person.