Dear Readers and Commenters,
I posted the original guidelines nearly five years ago. So time for an update. I added a few new guidelines and clarified others. I also added a new privacy and screen-name section at the bottom.
The comment section is a living room where interesting and knowledgeable people share views and disagreements in a fact-based and civil manner. It’s a key part of WOLF STREET, thanks to the many informed and thoughtful commenters. It’s where people add their experience, knowledge, data, or points of view, or where they ask related questions that we as a group can try to answer. Many readers come to just read the comments — that’s how good the comments are.
I answer many questions in the comments, and I try to explain stuff, and I let my hair down and go out on limbs to talk about stuff I wouldn’t talk about in the article.
So if you haven’t read the comments yet, it’s time to check them out.
The comment section can also be used to point out errors and typos in the articles. I appreciate that. I use autocorrect to save time, but the results can be hilarious. Humor is always good.
When I moderate comments, I routinely tread fine lines, navigate gray areas, cling to slippery slopes, and walk across thin ice. And not always successfully. But that comes with the territory, as they say.
1. Do not comment on what you imagine the article says based on the headline or the first paragraph. If you haven’t read the entire article, do not comment on the article itself because you don’t know what it says, and your imagination is likely wrong. A comment will go into the shredder if it’s clear to me that a commenter is discussing, or especially arguing with, what they think the article said, when the article didn’t say it (the shredder replaces the tag “RTGDFA”).
2. If you didn’t read the article and want to comment, great, no problem, many commenters do, but make sure it’s not about what you think the article said. Your comment could be an anecdote, experiences, or observations related more or less to the topic, and that’s always welcome.
3. When commenting, we check our political views at the door. WOLF STREET is a business, finance, and economics site, not a political site. Readers from across the political spectrum are invited and should feel comfortable. It’s OK to mention politicians and policy issues. It’s not OK to descend into partisan bickering.
4. Try to stay somewhere near the topic, if possible.
5. The comment section is not a link dump. A link to a source when needed, or when asked for by another commenter, is encouraged. I remove most other links. When a comment is a one-liner and a clickbait link, the entire comment gets shredded.
6. If about 5% of the comments under one article are yours, it’s time to back off. So if the article has 80 comments and 4 are yours, it’s time to slow down. If you’re in a constructive discussion with another commenter, some back and forth is OK. But once this discussion is starting to hog the comment section, or becomes argumentative, both ends may get blocked.
7. If comments by the same commenter keep saying the same thing, they become a “broken record,” and broken records are tossed out. They may also be “trolling,” which would violate guideline #11.
8. Comments that are in bad faith, badger other commenters, or attack other commenters ad hominem may go into the shredder. If you criticize, please target the comment, not the person.
9. Comments that insult our authors or other commenters are shredded. This includes terms of endearment, such as “libtard” or “fascist.”
10. No name-calling of officials, politicians, cities, and states. Use the correct names. Stay away from descriptors, nicknames, and pejoratives. Comparisons of current figures to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, etc. are automatically deleted.
11. Industry propaganda, market propaganda, other propaganda, trolling, trying to abuse the comments section to spread lies and BS, promotions of any kind, “etc.” are not tolerated. But what the heck is “etc.”? I know it when I see it.
12. Don’t point out typos in the comments posted by other commenters. But it’s OK to point out typos in your own comment, especially if it’s important for the understanding of your comment (a missing “not” can be very confusing).
13. WOLF STREET is not a history website and it’s not a war website. It’s not the place to discuss theories about 9/11, assassinations, CIA actions in the 1970s, the Civil War, WW 1, WW 2, WW 3, a “coming” civil war, nuclear war, etc., what might have caused them, or what might cause the next one. No Hitler-ing, no Nazi-anything, no tank battles.
14. Other triggers for blocking: Religion, race, sex, and similar topics; generation-bashing; calling for, or threatening, violence against anyone.
15. WOLF STREET does not tolerate hateful speech or bigotry. Violators will be permanently barred from commenting.
Please be patient if your comment ends up in moderation.
A set of tripwires occasionally sends perfectly good comments into moderation where they may languish until I get to them.
The spam filter, which I don’t control, also sends some perfectly good comments into moderation. Among other things, it looks at how the comment is routed through the internet. If the comment is routed through an internet server that has been flagged for issuing spam or malicious content, your comment may routinely end up in moderation. My apologies. And please be patient.
Screen names, logins, and your privacy.
Please use a screen name that is somewhat unique. If you want to use “Mike,” it gets very confusing because there are other “Mike” commenters. Add something to “Mike,” such as “Mike001.”
To protect your privacy, I recommend: Use an alias to log in, instead of your real name. Use an anonymous email that is used exclusively for comments, etc. but is not for personal use. A fake email to log in works just fine.
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