When you leave a comment on a post or our social media channels, you are joining a conversation. Being part of a conversation means engaging with others by adding to the discussion, bringing forth new information, or being funny or clever. Just like in other social situations, we ask that you follow etiquette when commenting. Whether you’re a seasoned commenter or you are commenting on Planet Princeton for the first time, following are some guidelines for joining the online conversation and adding to the Planet Princeton online community:
Don’t change the subject.
Imagine you’re in your chatting with a group of people about a new development in town. Then someone walks in, interrupts and says “How about that sale at Macy’s?” Don’t be that person. Comments are open on a specific blog post to generate discussion about that subject. Wait for an open thread or better yet, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us to post a story about a subject you think should be written about.
Share something new.
Think you have an original thought? Maybe you do. Or maybe a dozen other people have left the same insight in their comments. Before you hit the publish button, take a moment to see whether you can add something new to the discussion.
Mind your manners.
Planet Princeton is not your a place for rants, personal attacks and nastiness. Poor behavior, name-calling and profanity will result in you being banned from the site. Any comments accusing someone of doing something illegal will be removed unless the accusation has been proven. The comments section is not a forum for slander.
Point out mistakes gracefully.
We love to know we’ve gotten something wrong – a typo, an errant semi-colon, a misspelling – and we appreciate your help in pointing out errors. But there’s a right way to do it. Either leave a comment like “heads up – typo” or “FYI – incorrect information”, or send an email to email@example.com pointing out a mistake. If you don’t like a particular story, ignore it. Every post might not be for you but might interest someone else.
Take extra care to make your message clear and avoid making unintended attacks. Sometimes a lack of clarity results in misunderstandings that can be interpreted as attacks.
Don’t hide behind anonymity.
It’s fine to have an online name and decide not to use your real name (especially since your boss would have a fit if he/she saw how much time you spent online). It’s not alright to attack others or out them when you are hiding behind the cloak of anonymity. Don’t say it if you can’t own it. If you do, you will be banned from commenting. Plus, you don’t want to experience commenter’s remorse, that regret you feel after you post something and your anger, crankiness, etc. has subsided. Comments will live in Google’s cache forever. Sorry, but we can’t go back and delete comments at a user’s request, so think before you post.
Be civil. We don’t agree on everything, and sometimes people say dumb things. You can voice your opinion and disagree with someone without insulting the person.
Planet Princeton will delete comments that use bad language, comments editors consider racist, comments that are harmful to others (example is comments insensitive to others who are experiencing tragedy), and spam comments with links. Our commenting system holds comments with images and links for moderation before they are posted to avoid spam.
It’s a conversation.
It’s not a monologue. Leave space and breathing room for others to comment. We are happy you are engaging in the online community discussion. But don’t shout and constantly post to drown out other voices. Do you really want to be known as the troll who needs to get a life? We didn’t think so.
Use one screen name only.
We have and will continue to ban users who use several screen names to try to make it look like there is more than one person representing their point of view, when really it is just them. Don’t be that person.
In summary, be civil like you would or should be in a face-to-face conversation. We know our community members can discuss things and disagree in a civil manner, even if politicians and the rest of the nation can’t seem to at the moment. We know you are better than that.
If you think someone has crossed a line with a comment or if you have trouble posting a comment, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
If you want to post a comment that is more than a few sentences or more than 100 words, consider submitting an opinion post/letter to email@example.com. If you want your headshot or a photo to appear with the post, please attach images as jpegs.
This post can also be seen on our permanent comment policy page, which is updated occasionally.