AAC Comment Guidelines


One of the very best things about this site is the huge amount of wisdom and experience that you, our readers, share in the form of comments. And by far the majority of the time you are reasonable and self-policed—thank you.

But even so, here’s what is, and is not, acceptable in the comments to this site.

Stay on Topic

The best way to find the relevant post for your comment is to use the search box at the top of the site. (Free posts and Online book chapters are searched.)

Please stay on the topic of the parent post you comment on.  And further, please don’t just dump your comment on any old post and expect us to move it.

Not A Forum

AAC is not a forum where any participant can start and drive a conversation. I’m not just being pedantic here. This difference is the major reason that the debate here remains civil and useful instead of degenerating into the flame wars and general silliness of the forums.

Think of commenting at AAC as attending a well-run meeting, with a strong chairman who sets an agenda (the article) and guides the debate, rather than being subjected to a mob all shouting at the top of their voices.

Be Nice

Feel free to disagree with an AAC author or another commenter, but be nice. And understand that we have a more old fashioned and strict definition of nice than many forum moderators.

These are some of the actions that can result in comment deletion:

  • Any sort of personal attack, said or implied.
  • Any indication in your comment that you think that someone else’s opinion or way of doing things is stupid—wrong is fine, but stupid is not.
  • Please be careful with and use sparingly forum language like LOL (laugh out loud). If you are expressing a different opinion from another person and use LOL in the wrong place, what are you saying? Yes, you got it, that their opinion is laughable—not nice.
  • Watch out for expressing an opinion as a fact. (I know I need to improve on this one.) Starting a comment disagreeing with someone else with “that’s interesting, but my thinking is” is far less likely to turn the debate hostile than “you are wrong and this is the way it is”.


We require you to enter your email address, but it does not display, we will never share it, and we won’t spam you.

If you would like to grace your comments with your smiling mug—a good idea we think—you can set that up by clicking here.

Don’t Put Words In Our Mouths

One thing that just drives us authors up the wall is when someone who has clearly not read the post properly starts arguing against something we never said or even implied. Nothing, but nothing, makes my delete finger more itchy.

No Politics or Attacks on National or Ethnic Groups

I don’t need to expand on this one.

No Veiled Advertising or Promotion

Please don’t try and promote your services or products in the comments. Phyllis and I have spent ten years and tens of thousands of dollars building AAC to what it is today. If you want to leverage that effort and reach our audience, please consider advertising with us.

You Grant Us Rights to Your Comment

When you make a comment you retain the copyright but you automatically grant us world-wide rights to edit, publish and move that comment as we see fit.

And yes, that means that your comment may become part of a chapter of an Online Book that is available to members only. If that bothers you it may help to think of it this way:

We are, in effect, running a nice club full of civilized people in a tough neighbourhood (the internet) by policing the door and making sure the roof doesn’t leak. And, like a club manager and doorman, we deserve to make a salary for doing that.

So perhaps you who benefit from the “club” can recognize that the wisdom you share at AAC makes the site a more desirable “club” for new members, which, in turn, keeps the lights on.

Members Only

As of February 2015, only members may comment. There are a lot of good reasons for this policy, but the bottom line is that answering comments and questions is very time consuming and therefore it’s only fair that we focus our time on the people who support this site, our members.

Thank You

A huge and heartfelt thank you to all of you who comment, and particularly to you regulars who have become friends, even if we have never met.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dick Stevenson Nov 10, 2013, 3:40 pm

    John, Eminently reasonable and well stated.
    Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

  • Chris Nov 11, 2013, 12:25 pm

    Good on ya!

  • Judy and Bob Bailey "Pooh Bear" Nov 11, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Very nicely stated and solid ideas.

  • Pete and Jane Corbett Nov 11, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Being newbies this latest post is very encouraging and certainly welcome – well done

  • Svein Lamark Nov 11, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Hi John, I agree with you on most of your editorial points and I find them wise. However I will make one remark on your demand “No politics”. This one is not explained. In my opinion most statements has a political implication, some of them rather strongly. If I say I choose to use only 50 gallons of fuel in my sailboat annually and not 50000 gallons in my yacht, this statement has clearly political implications. So I will ask you to define the “No political” command. In the Scandinavian tradition this is very difficult, because we often say everything is political.

    • John Nov 11, 2013, 6:35 pm

      Yikes, Svein, you’re making my head hurt, and I have cold, so I’m already in trouble on that front. 🙂

      How about I take refuge in that old saw: it’s like pornography, hard to define, but I know it when I see it?

      No, not good enough?

      How about a real world example. Phyllis posted on an inappropriate response from a Canadian Government Department—no problem.

      Others commented on experiences they had had clearing borders in several countries and made suggestions for how to behave—all good.

      But then someone said that all bureaucrats were…well it wasn’t nice. And then someone else suggested that there was a fundamental problem with the policies and attitudes of a particular country—that’s when I stepped in—rather late, I’m ashamed to say—and deleted a bunch of comments and closed the post to further comments.

  • Svein Lamark Nov 14, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Hi, John, I must inform you that I and many persons in Europe find AAC and you to have a highly political side. You criticise manufacturers of expensive, but low quality boat equipment, you attack many boat builders when they make a bad boat, you inform us of the low fuel economy in modern trawler yachts and you try to develop a well sailing, cheap yacht. You make a fool of many boat journalists and yacht magazines who does not tell the real fact of a boat. And above all you try very hard to increase the safety of sailing in a small boat.
    The yacht industry of Europe is in trouble because of the general economic situation. And you make the pain harder. This AAC activity is in my opinion very political, what is important to me is that you are a very honest man and you are always telling the truth. I ask you to continue your (political) work and I hope that it will give fruits. That is why I read AAC. And finally John, please show us more of your beautiful photos.

    • John Nov 15, 2013, 9:43 am

      Hi Svein,

      Yikes, you found be out…I’m a closet politician. Seriously, thanks for the kind words.

      And more photos coming up soon.

  • Craig Nov 17, 2013, 11:09 pm

    I just couldn’t resist commenting on comments :)You run a great site where the comments are generally a great appendum to the article. The whole place is a must read for my wife and I.

    • John Nov 18, 2013, 9:04 am

      Hi Craig,

      Thank you for the kind comment…to comments.

  • Enno Jun 2, 2016, 8:02 pm

    Hi John
    Is it possible to use HTML tags in the comments?
    Is it, for example, possible to use links like this
    Or even use inline images.

    <img src="http://sv-inua.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/pilotvane.jpg&quot; width="400" height=„300" align="left"

    • John Jun 3, 2016, 7:01 am

      Hi Enno,

      Yes, you can use HTML tags in the comments, but unfortunately not image tags. We have tried various options for images in the comments several times but each has been a big performance hit and several have had bugs too. The best way to post an image is to upload it to an image site like Flickr and then link to it here.

      • Enno Jun 3, 2016, 9:43 am

        Hi John
        What you could do is to allow externernaly hosted images. Impact on performance would be minimal. I am doing this on my site with Videos. Thats what I tried with my tag above but I forgot to copy the closing bracket. Correct it it would be:

        • John Jun 3, 2016, 10:30 am

          Hi Enno,

          I’m afraid that does not fix the problem because if someone links to an external image that is huge and forgets the size criteria in the HTML the entire image size is loaded and then downsized by the browser as a result of our CSS. This makes it an even worse performance hit. Also all of our images are hosted on a CDN, but an external image that is hosted in say the US, would be a big hit for an Australian reader. And finally, most people don’t know how to optimize an image properly for loading, so that adds time too. Bottom line, one image in the comments with the above problems could double, or even worse, page load time for every user.

  • Brice Jun 12, 2016, 12:06 am

    Today, I joined the site, My thoughts are to learn as much as I can from others who have done it before me. I feel I have almost gotten my moneys worth on the first day. Fantastic site with such great info. I have been sailing many years, recently got the dream boat for my budget, physical ability’s and expectations. At 57 the time to pull the anchor and head south to the Pacific via Panama from Florida is coming soon. I really appreciate your effort and no bs info on your site. Thank you so much,

    Popeye. 1988 s/v 37 Ft. Tayana Pilot house Cutter.

    • John Jun 12, 2016, 8:51 am

      Hi Brice,

      Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to AAC.