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Community Guidelines for

This is a list of things for you to keep in mind when participating in comment threads on I have lots of thoughts about the type of community I'd like to encourage here, but I'll try to keep this short (๐Ÿ˜ฌ). This document is as much for me as it is for you; I'll be referring back to it as a guide for my own conduct often.

  • First off: be kind, constructive, curious, and respectful when commenting, especially when disagreeing. Interpret the words of others as generously as possible.

  • Listening to each other is the invisible work we can do to improve any online discussion space. Sometimes not saying anything is the right thing to add to a thread โ€” and an opportunity to listen and reflect. That said, if you feel like you have something to share, go for it!

  • There are three types of feedback I get often via email or social media that I love: 1) when someone sends me a link related to something I've shared (often with a short explanation/summary), 2) when a reader with expertise about something I've posted about shares their knowledge/perspective, or 3) when someone tells a personal story or shares an experience they had related to a post or link. When readers share this sort of constructive feedback, it improves the original post so much...that's what I want to happen with comments on

  • The internet is full of places for people to go to express their opinions or argue about others' opinions, so I'd like to steer away from that here. If we can prioritize talking about facts, sharing stories, experiences, and expertise over opinions, it'll make for better, more informative threads.

  • I'd also like folks participating in threads to think a little bit less about what you might want out of making a comment and a little bit more about how your comment might help improve the community's understanding of the topic at hand.

  • Disagreement, even strenuous disagreement, is welcome. Just make sure you keep the other things on this list in mind when doing so. Civil and respectful disagreement is possible and we will practice it here.

  • Ok, having said all that Very Serious and Earnest Stuff, this isn't, like, grad school. Let's keep it casual and have fun. Joking around is great if a particular thread has that vibe.

  • A paid membership is required in order to comment here, but it does not guarantee the right to comment โ€” i.e. you can and will be banned for inappropriate behavior.

  • Please read/watch/listen to the post/article/video/podcast in question before commenting โ€” this is table stakes for online discussions. This is a pet peeve of mine, so I'm gonna be watching out for comments that, for instance, ask about something in the 2nd paragraph of a piece that is subsequently covered in the 5th paragraph.

  • Likewise, you should also be familiar with what others have previously shared in the thread. I'm not going to go so far as to say you should read all the comments before you post but at least skim through to make sure you're not repeating or starting a new comment when a reply under a previous comment would be more appropriate.

  • Linking to your own sites and projects is perfectly fine if it's relevant to the discussion and you disclose your association to what you're sharing โ€” we want to see your cool/weird stuff! But this is also not the place for any kind of PR or sales pitches.

  • I think about this aspect of improv comedy a lot when I am conversing with other people: err on the side of "Yes, and...", not "No, but..."

  • Moderators will hide comments in threads if they go against the grain of these guidelines. I might lock reply threads if they get out of hand. Having your comment hidden doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything wrong, so don't take it personally. I will be in touch via email if there's an issue we need to address.

  • Stay on-topic. Ignore inflammatory messages intended to bait โ€” that's an issue for the moderators. Email me directly if you have a question about why I posted a particular link, about the site or how moderation works, or if you notice some poor behavior or a typo.

  • When choosing a display name, I encourage you to use your real name (or at least your first name and last initial) but you can also pick something that you go by when you participate in communities online. Choose something durable and reasonably unique (not "Me" or "anon"). Please don't change this often. No impersonation.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any feedback on any of this โ€” I want this to be a living document that evolves with the needs of the community.