Let’s start off with two tips on using the comments effectively.
Photos or Graphics In The Comments
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 No Spurious Accusations of Bias
If a person is being paid in money or in kind to have a given opinion, that’s indeed bias and deserves to be called out, particularly if not disclosed.
But we at AAC do not accept money from anyone except you members. No advertising1, no kickbacks from YouTube—advertising by another name—no nothing. Heck, we don’t even use affiliate links (another type of kickback), even though they are often offered to us.
If we like, or don’t like a piece of gear, that’s based on experience and/or analysis.
That said, we do occasionally get free or discounted gear from vendors for evaluation. In this case we always disclose on the relevant articles. If you want to question us (politely) about that, fine, let’s talk about it.
But it has become common on forums to accuse others of “Bias” just because their opinion about a product is different from the accuser’s, and that trend has spilled over to AAC in a few comments.
This type of accusation is almost always intellectual laziness: resorting to righteous indignation, rather than taking the time to present a cogent argument to support a different opinion, which is always welcome at AAC.
#4 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.
#5 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.
#6 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.
#7 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.
#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 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.
#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 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.
#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.
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.
- For about four years we had several “corporate members” including Spade Anchor, Boreal Yachts, Ocean Brake, and Fortress Anchor who paid a monthly membership of about $150 and received a small space ad in the sidebar.
In 2019, when membership income started covering our expenses, we canceled all “corporate memberships“. ↩︎