AAC Comment Guidelines

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One of the very best things about this site is the wisdom and experience that you, our members, share in the form of comments, as well as the fact checking you do.

And by far the majority of the time you are reasonable and self-policed—thank you.

However, there have been a few exceptions, so please read on for what is, and is not, acceptable in the comments.

But first, here’s how comment moderation works at AAC:

  • Comments are displayed immediately with no moderation delay—we trust you. (Occasionally our spam filter holds a legitimate comment by accident, but we fix this every few days.)
  • Comments that contravene these guidelines will be deleted without warning.
  • All comment moderation decisions are final and will not be debated.
  • If we think that parts of a deleted comment had merit we will email a copy so the commenter can edit it to comply with these guidelines and re-post it.
  • If I (John), or any other author, breaches these guidelines, feel free to point that out (gently)—I know I’m far from perfect.
  • Those that repeatedly breach these guidelines will be banned.

Good news. Since restricting commenting to members we have deleted less than 20 comments and never banned anyone.

#1 Be Nice

Feel free to disagree with an AAC author or another commenter, but please be nice.

The key to keeping the discussion collegial and friendly is to put forward your own opinion about the subject at hand in a clear and well-reasoned but non-confrontational way, rather than attacking the opinions of others.

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

  1. Any sort of personal attack, said or implied.
  2. Even the slightest indication in your comment that you think that someone else’s opinion or way of doing things is flawed or worth less than yours.
  3. Inappropriate use of 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.
  4. 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”.

#2 No Straw Man Arguments

Please do not argue against the opinions of others. This is particularly destructive since it is always tempting to twist another’s words to make our own points.

Instead, put forward your own opinions and experiences in a clear, but non-confrontational way.

#3 Not A Forum

AAC is not a forum where any participant can start and drive a conversation.

Think of commenting at AAC as attending a well-run meeting, with a strong chairperson who sets an agenda (the article) and guides the debate.

#4 Stay on Topic

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

The best way to find the relevant article for your comment is to use the search box at the top of the site.

#5 Author Availability

Generally, although I (John) am here pretty much 365 days a year, AAC writers only monitor comments to articles for a couple of weeks after the original publication date. This is only fair since they are paid on a per-article basis only.

Therefore, if you comment or ask a question on one of the other author’s articles two weeks or more after the publish date, it’s unlikely they will answer. That said, I will give it my best shot.

#6 Your Public Profile

Our system shows your first and last name above your comment. We know that’s unusual, but we have found that this use of real names contributes materially to the friendly and collegial nature of the discussion.

However, if you have a valid security reason for not wanting your name displayed on your comments, please email us and we will change it manually.

That said, understand that nothing else shows about you, so displaying your name is not going to put you at risk unless you have a very high profile and a unique name. Think Justin Trudeau—no, he’s not a member, but we live in hope.

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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.

#7 Photos or Graphics In The Comments

We use standard WordPress comment code, which does not support photographs or graphics in the comments. The reasons are that:

  • Allowing people to upload graphics to our server would add a big risk of being hacked.
  • We go to a huge amount of trouble to optimize our images so that they are as small as possible and therefore don’t slow down page loading.

All that said, there’s an easy way to share your images or diagrams with other AAC members:

  1. Upload the image to an image sharing site. Here’s a list and many of them are free.
  2. Make sure the image is public.
  3. Copy the URL from the bar at the top of your browser. Here’s how (scroll down to tip #7).
  4. Paste it into your comment at AAC, where it will automatically become a clickable link.

#8 No Politics or Attacks on National or Ethnic Groups

#9 No Religion

Faith is important to many of us, but please keep yours to yourself. This is simply not the place.

#10 No Veiled Advertising or Promotion

Please don’t try and promote your services or products in the comments. If you want to reach our audience, please consider becoming a corporate member.

#11 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 be 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.

#12 Members Only

Only members may comment. 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.

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.