Commenting Policy


Comment Guidelines

Thank you for being part of the community! Our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation, with “good” meaning fun, constructive, informative, entertaining, or all of the above. So, speech is free, but is moderated. Here are the kinds of comments that we look for:

• More information about the subject of the post! If we post something, it’s because we’re genuinely interested in the subject. If you know more about it than we do, please share!

• New developments about the subject of a post.

• Opinions that move the debate forward. Disagree with what we or another commenter has to say? Let’s hear it! But please be respectful.

• Comments that connect the dots. We appreciate you linking the subject of one post to other posts, even (especially!) when the connection isn’t obvious!

• Factual corrections! We make mistakes, we fix ’em.

And now, some less pleasant things that should be self-evident but we’ll note for the record:

• Offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted.

• Spam earns an instant ban.  If you have a history of junk comments, plus promotional copy in your profile, you may be considered a spammer.

• Astroturfers will be banned.  Cut-and-paste or nearly verbatim talking points are considered astroturf.

• Sock puppets (alias accounts created by previously banned commenters for the purpose of avoiding a ban) will be banned.

• If the bulk of your comments are whining, hostile, insulting or otherwise annoying, you may be banned.

• Please do not tell the editors what to write. Writing “But that’s not a wonderful thing” is lame. So is “topic [X] bores me,” or “subject [Y] sucks.”

• Please do not make racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.

• Please don’t personally insult, bully, threaten, or harass the writers or your fellow commenters.  Comments referring to other commenters as “idiots,” “retards,” or the like will be edited or not published.

• Please don’t make off-topic comments about political candidates or parties for the purpose of arguing.

• We are primarily ad supported, but advertisers have no editorial control. Please don’t make passive-aggressive insinuations or other tiresome, generalized accusations to the contrary. We are transparent about our relationships with advertisers.

• Please don’t include e-mail addresses, physical addresses, or phone numbers in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion, or for the purpose of harassing or publicly exposing the private data of others. Such comments will be redacted or removed.

• Please don’t drag topics from one post to another. The content of a post is the responsibility of that author, nobody else.

• Please don’t “hijack” comment threads to controversial topics.

• Please don’t make the same comment in more than one thread or repeat yourself (or anyone else) in the same thread. If you accidentally double-post, don’t worry, our moderators routinely try to tidy up those sorts of errors.

• Please bring meta-commentary, technical problems, etc. to this thread.

General notes

• Offensive or spam/commercial (website) user names may be banned.

Link Policy

• Links are allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. It’s generally OK to link to other sites if they’re relevant to the topic at hand.

• Links to opinion pages on news sites are okay, but we’d much rather that you coherently voice your own opinion here.

• Links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay (you can add this information in your user profile, instead). This helps us prevent the abuse of the comment threads for spam.  You may link to a specific post on your site if it adds to (rather than repeats) the post/thread.

• Links to commercial sites are okay if they are on-topic for the post/thread or likely to be interesting to fellow readers.

• Mislabeled links are not okay and will be treated as spam.

• Unidentified links (urls pasted without description) are not okay.

• Links to offensive material such as racist, anti-Semitic, etc. websites, images or videos are not okay.

• Unwelcome links will be redacted.

• Full URLs (http://…) are automatically hyperlinked, but you may also mask URLs.  Long URLs (over 75 characters) should be masked, please. <a href=”full URL goes here with no spaces”>Whatever you want to call the link goes here</a>. The URL must include the http part and don’t forget the “s before and after the URL.

• If you post a non-obvious link (masked) to a pdf file, please label it (PDF) in an obvious fashion.

Errata and attributions

• We welcome alerts about typos, incorrect names, factual errors, and the like.

• We generally do not correct quoted text.

• Factual errors will be corrected if verifiable documentation is available. The correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

• Requests for credit or attribution may be honored if verifiable documentation is submitted. This modification is at the discretion of the author/editor of the post and may not happen immediately.


 Posted by at 3:23 pm