Let’s start off with two tips on using the comments effectively.
Photos or Graphics In The Comments
You can upload one image on each comment with a maximum size of 1 MB. If you need to make an image smaller this free online app will do the job and here’s another that will optimize it further.
For decent image quality aim for at least 1000 pixels on the long side. There is no point in making it any bigger than 1400 pixels.
Your image will display as a thumbnail in the comment, but enlarge if someone clicks on it.
Make sure that you do not upload copyrighted images and that you have the right to upload an image made by another person. If you are in doubt, don’t upload. Remember, an image is automatically copyrighted the moment it is made, even if there is no copyright text and it’s not registered.
Please do not abuse this feature by uploading a bunch of images to a bunch of comments. This is not a photo-sharing site.
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), breach these guidelines, feel free to point that out (gently)—I know I’m far from perfect.
- That said, please don’t take others to task for breaches, that’s my job, and trust me, you don’t want it.
- Those who 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.
Here are the details of what is, and is not OK in the comments:
#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:
- Any sort of personal attack, said or implied.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
#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.
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 No Politics or Attacks on National or Ethnic Groups
#8 No Religion
Faith is important to many of us, but please keep yours to yourself. This is simply not the place.
#9 No Advertising or Promotion
Please don’t try and promote your services or products in the comments.
That said, we are perfectly happy with, and even encourage:
- Comments from gear manufacturers that explain features or rebut criticism.
- Links to papers you, or others, have written, or images that explain your thinking on the subject at hand in more detail.
#10 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 and any associated images 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.
#11 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.
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.
John, Eminently reasonable and well stated.
Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy
Good on ya!
Very nicely stated and solid ideas.
Being newbies this latest post is very encouraging and certainly welcome – well done
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.
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.
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.
Yikes, you found be out…I’m a closet politician. Seriously, thanks for the kind words.
And more photos coming up soon.
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.
Thank you for the kind comment…to comments.
Is it possible to use HTML tags in the comments?
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.
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:
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.
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.
Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to AAC.