A Comment Policy Reminder

I encourage open discussion and conversation here on my site, and I’m thrilled that readers feel welcome to share their viewpoints (even when those viewpoints differ from my own). To help foster this sense of free discourse, there are two rules upon which I insist for all comments:

  1. First, all comments should be courteous. There’s no reason to personally attack another reader or author—simply state your position, why that is your position, the facts you feel support your position, etc. Leave the personal attacks somewhere else.
  2. Second, all commenters should provide full disclosure. This helps avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing. Where a vendor’s products helps to address readers’ needs, I don’t mind a vendor mentioning their products. That vendor just needs to be sure to provide full disclosure. If you have a business relationship with an organization, disclose that. Be transparent and provide full disclosure.

Recently, I’ve had one commenter leave a series of comments on the site that blatantly and bluntly promote his employer’s products. Unfortunately, this commenter has failed to provide full disclosure. For that reason, I’ve been simply deleting this commenter’s comments. And I’m going to continue to delete this commenter’s blatant, outright comment spam as long as he/she refuses to provide full disclosure. Other readers deserve the right to know why a commenter is pushing a particular product or feature!

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  1. Vaughn’s avatar

    Scott, well said. If one has a business relationship with a vendor it should be disclosed in order to avoid any misrepresentation or conflicts of interest.

  2. Jimmy’s avatar

    How well does deleting comments work? People may already have read them.
    I would suggest editing comments to state something like

    [shameless plug for vendor X's products, removed]

    Do something that makes it obvious the comment previously seen was spam.

    If the comment was relevant to the discussion, and would otherwise have appeared legitimate, that is.

  3. slowe’s avatar

    Jimmy,

    All comments have to be moderated before they are published, so “shameless plugs” without full disclosure never even make it to the site. I’m a bit leery of editing comments, although that’s certainly an option. And if the comment is relevant to the discussion, I’ll almost always publish it–even when it does contain shameless plugs. Make sense?

    Thanks!