As many of you know, over the last month we’ve completely revamped the sign-in/comment system here at TPM. For details about it and answers to your questions, see this new FAQ. There are a slew of reasons we’ve made the change. But one is that we want to be able to more effectively moderate comments. We’ve always had a policy that comments and discussion areas at TPM should be like a coffee house. Freewheeling, lively, rambunctious. But if you wouldn’t say it to someone in person in a coffee house setting, don’t say it in the comments section here. The problem has been that up till now, because of the persnicketiness of the software platform and our own limited staffing, that policy has been more aspirational than real in terms of policing. But with the new changes in place, we’re trying to change that. And we plan to enforce it. After the jump, our newly restated, refurbished, rebuffed up comments policy.
TPM Comment Policy
We envision our comments sections as a place where you can have the kind of conversation you might have with a group of friends in a coffeehouse, one that is so freewheeling, impassioned, and well-informed that it spills over several tables and draws in strangers. That’s also been our guide star for what’s permissible in the comments: If you wouldn’t say it in a public coffeehouse, you shouldn’t say it in the comments.
The questions to ask yourself as you prepare to publish a comment include: Is this comment pertinent to the conversation? Would I want to read this comment if someone else posted it? Does this comment advance the conversation?
The comments sections are also an important way for TPM staff to engage with you. Our reporters read the comments on their posts and look for insights, tips, and perspectives in the comments that they might have missed in reporting their stories.
One final point: Comments are not the only way we interact with you. We are highly dependent on email from readers via our tip line. Our staff is required to read all the reader emails that we receive. Those emails are incredibly valuable to us. One of the reasons we don’t allow comments on the Editors Blog is to preserve the special relationships we have developed with so many readers via email.
Whether it’s the comments sections or the tip line, we want your feedback and your input. Engage with us, and we’ll engage with you.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.