Here are our most frequently asked questions about comments. You can find more FAQs here.
• Do you moderate your comments?
• Do you edit comments?
• Do you ever suspend or ban commenters?
• Do you delete comments you disagree with?
• I left a comment for the author asking for details on a story. Where’s my response?
• I left a comment correcting an error in a story. Why did you remove it?
• What is your corrections policy?
Our comments section is the voice of our readers. We strive to create an open, engaging and friendly environment. We advocate for consumers and want them to feel comfortable sharing their problems with us without fear of being attacked. Commenting on this site is a privilege, not a right.
We offer the option of commenting to responsible readers who want to say something about the topic of a story. We only publish comments related to the subject of a post. Remarks about a headline, illustration, author, or an author’s approach to the topic — in other words, anything not directly related to the subject — should be sent to us as a letter to the editor.
Yes. Here are a few guidelines to ensure that your comments appear and remain on the site:
✓ Stay on topic. Please comment on the subject of the post or story.
✓ Be nice. We really mean it. Be nice. You know the old saying: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you disagree with a comment, feel free to respectfully and politely challenge that comment in a civil manner.
✓ No personal attacks, please. We don’t tolerate name-calling, particularly vicious and direct personal attacks. Please be nice to your moderators, authors and the site’s publisher. They have feelings, too.
✓ Don’t feed the trolls. If you think someone’s a nuisance commenter please don’t goad that person in the comments. That only makes it worse for everybody. Use the flagging system and let us know; we’ll take the appropriate action. (But remember that your definition of a “troll” and ours may be different.)
✓ No #&$*(& swearing! This is the comments section of a consumer advocacy blog, not a high school locker room.
✓ Stay out of trouble. Don’t post anything libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, harassing, or threatening. No messages containing viruses or other contaminating or destructive features. No trade secrets. You get the idea.
✓ Use an appropriate avatar. An avatar may be considered offensive if it depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the online medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.
✓ No free ads. Comments that contain spam, advertisements, business/self promotional content, campaigns, recruitments, or signature links are not allowed. We really don’t like spammers.
✓ Don’t break any laws. If you’re thinking about breaking any rules, please think somewhere else. This isn’t a place to violate any laws or to discuss illegal activities.
✓ Respect people’s privacy. You wouldn’t want your e-mail address, phone number, or other personal information plastered all over a public site, would you? Please do not share another person’s personal information.
Yes. All comments are placed in a queue and reviewed before being posted, ensuring that they make a positive contribution to the discussion. Posts that are off-topic, mean-spirited, or otherwise inappropriate are not approved. We will not notify you if your comment is rejected. If you have to ask why the comment didn’t pass muster, you’re probably visiting the wrong site. Efforts to invoke your rights to free speech or to “guilt” our moderators into approving your comment will be unsuccessful.
We reserve the right to remove inappropriate remark from an otherwise useful comment. For example, a statement that adds relevant information to the discussion, but ends with, “and that’s why you have no credibility,” could still be approved, but our moderators have zero tolerance for personal insults, so the attack would probably be deleted. We edit comments sparingly, and only to bring them into compliance with our standards.
Any reader whose comments are flagged repeatedly will automatically have his or her account reviewed by our moderators. If the commenter is found to have violated our comments policy, we may warn, temporarily suspend or ban the user.
No. We encourage a vigorous and healthy debate, and if you read the other comments, we’re confident that’s exactly what you’ll see. However, we will refuse to approve a comment if it doesn’t make a productive contribution to the discussion or if it violates our comments policy.
Comments are not an appropriate platform for correcting a factual error in a post. While our authors are grateful to anyone who wants to set the record straight, we would strongly prefer to handle such matters by email. There is a link in the author’s bio that will allow you to email that person directly.
It depends. Factual errors are corrected as quickly as possible, but without the self-flagellation that you’ll find on mainstream media sites. (In other words, don’t expect an enormous “editor’s note” above the post, declaring how flawed we are.) If it’s an error of interpretation — something more subjective — we’ll often let a reader comment serve as a de facto correction. Again, minus the sackcloth and ashes. We reserve the right to do one or the other — or neither. If you disagree with the way a correction was handled, please send us a note.
We do not encourage or condone anyone posting under a false persona, also known as “sockpuppeting.” We strongly encourage you to use your real name.
Got a question you’d like us to answer in the FAQ? Please send us an email.