The Three Rules All Commenters Must Follow
To ensure our comments section is a nice place to be, there are some basic guidelines we expect commenters to observe. Anyone who violates these guidelines may have their comments removed at the discretion of the editors. Repeat violations may lead to restrictive filtering or a permanent ban. (However, if you don’t see your comment right away, it doesn’t mean you were banned. See Moderation and Latency section.)
Please note that using polite phrasing doesn’t exempt you from any of these rules.
Either say something nice or contribute to the discussion.
We do not allow comments that are both negative and empty of meaningful content. This would include a comment saying nothing but “this article is terrible” as well as comment saying “I disagree with every point you made but I won’t say why because the other commenters have already said it better.”
We will delete these comments without any kind of editorial notice. If you don’t put any effort into your comment, we won’t put any effort into explaining why your comment was deleted.
Don’t express or promote bigotry.
While we’re happy to host discussions on various forms of discrimination, we are not a venue for arguing how bigotry is justified. That puts an unfair burden on underprivileged people to defend themselves, and that’s not what we want on our site. For example, it’s perfectly fine to discuss whether a TV show has engaged in the Bury Your Gays trope. It is not acceptable to say that gay people shouldn’t be on television.
Promotion of bigotry includes but is not limited to:
- Using slurs aimed at marginalized people.
- Denying the existence of marginalized people.
- Slut shaming, fat shaming, etc
- Promoting stereotypes about marginalized people.
- Spreading philosophies designed to support oppression.
Don’t make personal attacks.
Criticism should focus on the substance of what others are saying and not make statements about them as people. That includes comments on:
- Someone’s experience (“You clearly haven’t read it”)
- Intent (“You’re lying!”)
- Tone (“You didn’t need to get so upset.”)
Comments insulting a post’s author or another commenter are obviously not acceptable. We do not allow name calling or using adjectives like “delusional” or “stupid.”
Malicious Patterns of Behavior
While the three rules govern how we judge comments in isolation, we also notice when commenters exhibit malicious patterns of behavior across comments. If we observe that a commenter is violating the spirit of our rules, making subtle attacks on other commenters, demeaning our team members, creating an unpleasant discussion environment in our comments section, or otherwise showing a pattern of malicious intent toward or harmful impact on the website or the people here, we will start holding that person’s comments to a higher standard than we would normally.
If your comments are often being filtered out, it’s up to you to earn back our trust by consistently sending us comments that constructively discuss topics in good faith. If we always find your comments are constructive, we will stop filtering them after a while.
Occasionally an editor will post in the comments section with advanced warnings about specific topics or threads. In most cases, this is to clarify what we consider to be in violation of our rules or to proactively prevent discussions from becoming hostile. Please abide by these directions to avoid having your comments deleted.
Getting Our Attention
While we see all of our comments, we do not always have the time or interest in replying. In particular, we don’t usually respond to critics because we prefer to let our content speak for itself. You are welcome to pose questions in the comments, but we may not answer them. We invest lots of our time producing content, and we don’t owe anyone a response.
Calling us out by name or interrupting our conversations with other commenters or will not make us more likely to engage with you. If you reply to a comment we left for someone else when you should have posted a reply to the article, podcast, etc, we may choose to move your comment so it is on the main thread where it belongs.
Moderation and Comment Latency
We have automated spam and content filters that may cause your comment to go into moderation. If you include any links or swear words in your comment, it will need to be approved by us before it appears.
Even when comments are not sent to moderation automatically, for technical reasons comments may not instantly appear on the page once you submit them. This can look like the comment you submitted just disappeared into the ether.
We apologize for the confusion, but please be patient. If you have not violated any of our rules, your comment should appear soon. If 24 hours pass and you think your comment may have ended up in the spam folder by mistake, contact us.
Comment Deletion Requests
If you would like us to delete or modify a comment you left, you can either leave a comment with your request or submit our contact form. We do our best to support commenters who need changes to their comments, as long as it doesn’t invalidate replies that have already been left by other commenters.
Thank You to All of Our Regular Commenters
While we put a lot of work into making our comments section a nice place to be, we don’t do it alone. Thank you to everyone who regularly leaves kind and thoughtful comments on the site. You keep us going.