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A few comments regarding reader comments

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At a time when most websites' comment threads are filled with spam, trolls and off-topic attacks, FCW's commenters consistently show themselves to be a thoughtful and well-informed bunch.  We do, however, get the occasional mudslinger, or offers of GREAT DEALS on [insert product here]!!!  And since all comments are moderated before publication, we do our best to keep those comments out of the otherwise-insightful mix. 

What follows here is a refresher on the types of comments that will tempt the moderating editor (usually yours truly) to hit "delete" rather than "publish." 

Obvious spam or self-promotion. We want you to express your opinions; we don't want you to use our comment space to sell your products, promote your blog or company, or entice our users to click on links to who knows where.

Foul language. If you can't express your opinion without using dialog from a Quentin Tarantino script, you can't express it here.

Personal attacks. Many FCW stories focus on specific senior executives at various agencies, and sometimes draw comments aimed directly at those individuals. If you want to criticize an official based on documented facts you cite, we'll likely publish it -- especially if it helps to put the story in context. If, however, you simply want to label someone as incompetent, unethical or "weird" (as one commenter put it), go elsewhere.

False identification. We do not require our commenters to identify themselves, but do require them to identify themselves truthfully if they do at all. One's email address is never published, but including a valid address will help us to verify your identity or answer other questions that might be holding up approval. (Including your email is also a good way to connect with a reporter on a given story if you are interested in doing so.)

Conversation Domination. When we see multiple, nearly identical comments from the same person in the same day, we will probably pick one to approve and delete the rest, even if they otherwise meet the criteria for acceptance. The comments section should be a conversation among readers, not one or two voices holding forth.

Off-topic comments. There are comments that do not include any of the above transgressions, but still don't pass muster. If your comment is not germane to the story to which you're posting it, we likely won't use it – not because there is anything wrong with it, but because it doesn't further that particular conversation.

As a general rule, if your comment is on-topic, cordial and focused on the issue rather than swiping at people, it will appear. Moderated comments serve the reader by ensuring the comment threads provide a useful and engaging discussion, not just a series of tirades. We hope you appreciate it, and we hope that those of you who read without commenting will consider joining the discussions.

And finally, please remember that moderation is not instant.  FCW's editorial staff is small, and working hard to produce the stories on which you all comment.  And as wonderful as our interns are, this is not a task that gets delegated to them -- senior editors read every comment that's submitted.  So if you're wondering why your on-topic, fact-filled and profanity-free comment has not been published, please be patient -- a deadline crunch, not censorship, is likely the issue!

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Jul 09, 2014 at 4:22 PM


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