By participating in our online commenting system, you agree to abide by the following rules. Failure to abide by these rules can lead to having your comments not approved, removed and in extreme, repeat cases, your loss of commenting privileges. We reserve the right to update these rules at will.
We seek to moderate all Comments. That means that we try to personally review each one, then either approve it…or not. Be patient please, as this means that we take our time. This is not a promise or guarantee that your comment will be read, approved, or published.
We reserve the right to not approve or delete any comments, or close commenting at anytime. This blog is a private system – we do NOT have any obligation to publish any comments. The First Amendment gives you the right to express your opinions on your own blog (or other medium), not ours. If, in our sole discretion, it appears that you can’t play well with others (or with us), you will lose your access.
You may post anonymously or with a pseudonym. We don’t recommend this, but you may do so if you wish. For now we allow anonymous comments because we understand that some of our readers aren’t comfortable using their real names. However, if you abuse this privilege to spread rumors or attack other commentors, you will have your comments removed and potentially lose your access altogether.
This post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation reflects our current stance on the issue:
“Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.”
You may disagree with others. We welcome healthy, civil debate. However, we ask that if you disagree with others that you do so in a civil, informed manner that is respectful. You are free to share dissenting opinions or present opposing facts, but please cite your sources. What you may not do is insult others (including children!), or post rumors, misinformation and innuendo. We carefully review each comment, and if we believe it contains misinformation it will not get approved.
You can vote other comments up or down. We have implemented a self-policing system where Readers are encouraged to vote up or down on other comments. Please participate – especially if you like someone’s comment!
If you read a comment you find offensive, please email us a request (firstname.lastname@example.org) to remove it. Include your reasoning, and we’ll review it and consider your request. Please note that we reserve the right to remove offensive material, but we do not promise that we will actually do so.
If you read a comment that has mis (or dis) information, please correct it and email us. We are cracking down on Trolls who purposely try to spread false information, but if you see something that is false, please help us by emailing email@example.com. If you make a claim about an issue, you’d best back it up and cite your source(s); otherwise, your wild, misinformed ideas/opinions will not be published on our websites.
We highly recommend that if someone makes a comment about you, that you respond to it with your own comment immediately. There are Trolls out there (and sadly, on our blogs) that like to target others. The best defense is for YOU to respond to them promptly, either as a Comment, or if it’s a bigger issue, as a Letter to the Editor.
If you criticize the blog or its hard-working staff in a comment or other public forum, yours will likely not get approved. Mean people suck and we don’t want them playing in our sandbox – so please find somewhere else to troll!
We will delete posts at anytime that we believe are…libelous, defamatory, racist, sexist, abusive, harassing, threatening, include hate speech (or are affiliated with any “hate-filled” person or organization), profane, pornographic, offensive, false, misleading, totally off-topic, troll-like, or which otherwise violates or encourages others to violate a sense of decorum and civility or any law, including intellectual property laws; or “spam,” i.e., an attempt to advertise, solicit, or otherwise promote goods and services.
In other words, we retain full control over what comments get approved and posted. If yours didn’t and you’re wondering why, perhaps you should re-read it and try again, using a more civil tone…
NOTE: We are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which immunizes websites from legal liability for the comments (or Letters to the Editor) by/from their users. Therefore, if you see a Comment on our site that defames/slanders someone, please note that we are not liable for it (even though we’ll likely remove it).
We may use Your Content, including Comments, in a number of different ways, including publicly displaying it, reformatting it, incorporating it into advertisements and other works, creating derivative works from it (including in different mediums), promoting it, distributing it, and allowing others to do the same in connection with their own websites and media platforms (“Other Media”). As such, you hereby irrevocably grant us worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable rights to use Your Content for any purpose. You also irrevocably grant the users of the Site and any Other Media the right to access Your Content in connection with their use of the Site and any Other Media.
You grant us a license to post your comments. This license is worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, and royalty-free. You grant us the right to store, use, transmit, display, publish, reproduce, and distribute your comments on our blog network.