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.
#1 Stay on Topic
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.
#2 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.
#3 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 original publication date. This is only fair since they are paid on a per-article basis only.
In a perfect world we would pay them an annual fee to monitor and answer comments on older articles, but unfortunately our revenue stream does not run to that. Also they are all very busy with other things.
The result is that if you comment or ask a question on one of the other author’s articles it is unlikely they will answer. That said, I will give it my best shot.
#4 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”.
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#6 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.
#7 No Politics or Attacks on National or Ethnic Groups
I don’t need to expand on this one.
#8 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 becoming a corporate member.
#9 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.
#10 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.
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.