We’ve long had a comment policy of sorts at iRunFar, but it’s always been in our heads. At it’s simplest, it’s been to let folks say what they will while very rarely steering a conversation back toward civility and cooler heads. We very much intend to keep that approach.
We’ve developed a written policy for two reasons. First, as a catalyst for us to consider internally what is and what is not appropriate commenting on iRunFar. Second, to provide iRunFar’s new readers with a guide to our community’s standards. We hope that this second point will be self-perpetuating, but the written policy also provides iRunFar’s moderators with a reference to point to should someone become unruly.
Let me stress that iRunFar’s moderation will continue to be extremely light. I’m sure we’ve removed fewer than a dozen comments for cause over iRunFar’s seven years and 55,000+ comments, so that’s less than one for every 5,000 comments. We also hope that iRunFar’s moderators will have to interject in comment threads even less frequently now that there are written guidelines, as you the iRunFar reader are further empowered to keep conversations civil and respectful by pointing others to these guidelines.
I copy our comment policy in whole below. Going forward, it will be found on the iRunFar Comment Policy page. Please let us know what you think.
Reader comments are a foundation of iRunFar. We’ve never seen an online community so ready to engage in civil, constructive dialogue. We the editors gain great enjoyment when a reader provides us with a new perspective and hope you do, too.
We encourage each of you to promote critical, in-depth, intelligent discussions on iRunFar both through your own comments and by helping steer discussion in a positive direction. Create a safe space for others to express their feelings. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
When we step back, we like to think of our readership as the largest of group trail runs. Each article and its comments is a discussion amongst fellow runners out on the trail. Chances are we’re talking about running, a topic that each of us cares deeply about. It’s also a topic that is deeply personal, as we each have our own motivations, fears, desires, and rewards when it comes to running. Still, we’re all runners out there on the same trail… so if and when you strongly disagree with someone… step off the trail for a second, take a deep breath, and make sure your response is a constructive, respectful one that you’d share face-to-face with a fellow runner out there, on the trail, in the company of your peers.
Creating a Community
With a hat tip to Lifehacker, which has a great comment policy, here are some pointers for being a good commenter on iRunFar.
- Be courteous.
- Contribute new information to the discussion.
- Make the tone of your comment clear.
- Own your comment.
- Do not feed the trolls.
- Avoid commenting when you’re angry or upset.
Keeping It Clean
To promote a positive, engaged, civil community, comments containing the following may be edited or deleted without warning.
(Note: On occasion a comment is temporarily caught in WordPress’s spam/moderation filter. We actively monitor these; however, during race coverage, travel, or *gasp* a few days off, such comments may linger for a few days.)
- Personal attacks on iRunFar commenters, writers, or those mentioned in articles or comments. There is never an excuse to abuse others.
- Slandering others. For example, doping allegations are not permitted.
- Hateful speech and slurs with regard to race, gender, nationality, sexual preference, and so on. These practices promote hate and disregard, not dialogue and exchange. (N.B. If someone has trouble with English, please be respectful. In fact, try helping them as that helps the entire community.)
- Impersonating another person.
- Using multiple personas in a deceptive manner.
- Excessive use of curse words or directing any such words at an individual or organization. Yes, we the editors and writers of iRunFar occasionally use a dirty word for effect, but we do so sparingly and never direct them negatively toward another.
- Intentionally inflammatory rhetoric (i.e., trolling and flaming). Leaving comments like “Zippy brand shoes suck! Duh!” or “Slowest known times are STUPID!?!” is both useless and blatantly inflammatory. Disagreement and alternate viewpoints are permitted; however, we require that they be thoughtful, well-constructed comments presented in a civil manner.
- Spam. If it reads like an ad, chances are it’s spam.
- Double postings, comments editing one’s previous comment, etc. We all mess up in commenting from time to time. When this happens on iRunFar, we may edit the original comment and delete the follow up to keep things tidy.
- Intentionally repetitive comments.
- Intentionally repetitive comments.
- Comments on spelling and grammar. We very much appreciate when you catch and point out such errors in our work. The best way to do so is to contact us directly. If you leave such a comment, we’ll make the change and then delete it (with no disrespect) to move it out of the way of discussion.
Do help our moderators by flagging comments that violate our comment policy.
If a reader consistently or intentionally makes this community a less civil or enjoyable place, that reader may have his or her comments pre-moderated and/or be barred from the site.
Please note that this is our first attempt at a comment policy. We WON’T get everything exactly right. Whether it’s a substantive point or merely how we communicate something, we’ll need to update and improve these guidelines. The vast majority of tweaks and changes will occur seamlessly and without notification. We will, however, let folks know if we majorly overhaul our comment policy.
If you want another take on commenting policy that fits iRunFar’s philosophy, AllThingsD’s comment policy is another that we could stand behind.
If you have any questions or comments about iRunFar’s commenting guidelines or feel that your comment has been unnecessarily deleted, you can contact us.