I went for several years without a comments policy. But after a round of nasty comments last week, I decided I needed something to establish the “rules of engagement.”
As you know, Web 2.0 is all about the conversation. But without a few simple ground rules, that conversation can turn into a shouting match that discourages others from entering into the fray.
So here is my comments policy for your consideration. (If you have a blog yourself, you are welcome to copy or adapt this policy for your purposes.)
- You may comment without registering. You can log-in via IntenseDebate, OpenID, Twitter, Facebook—or not at all. It’s up to you.
- You may post anonymously. I don’t recommend this, but you may do so if you wish. I may change this rule if it is abused.
- You may post follow-up questions. If you have a question, chances are you are not alone. Others are likely thinking similarly. Therefore, I would rather receive your comments on my blog than via email. It is a better use of my time to address everyone at once rather than answer several similar emails.
- You may disagree with me. I welcome debate. However, I ask that if you disagree with me—or anyone else, for that matter—do so in a way that is respectful. In my opinion, there is way too much shouting in the public square to tolerate it here.
- I reserve the right to delete your comments. This is my blog. I don’t have an obligation to publish your comments. The First Amendment gives you the right to express your opinions on your blog not mine.
Specifically, I will delete your comments if you post something that is, in my sole opinion, (a) snarky; (b) off-topic; (c) libelous, defamatory, abusive, harassing, threatening, profane, pornographic, offensive, false, misleading, or which otherwise violates or encourages others to violate my sense of decorum and civility or any law, including intellectual property laws; or (d) “spam,” i.e., an attempt to advertise, solicit, or otherwise promote goods and services.
- You retain ownership of your comments. I do not own them and I expressly disclaim any and all liability that may result from them. By commenting on my site, you agree that you retain all ownership rights in what you post here and that you will relieve me from any and all liability that may result from those postings.
- You grant me a license to post your comments. This license is worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, and royalty-free. You grant me the right to store, use, transmit, display, publish, reproduce, and distribute your comments in any format, including but not limited to a blog, in a book, a video, or presentation.
In short, my goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. I believe this simple comments policy will facilitate this.