Commenting Rules

We believe the comments added to an article reflect this website’s quality, reputation and character. So, we hold commenters to standards that elevate and advance discourse respectfully.

Unfortunately, we don’t have time to ensure each reader receives an individual explanation for why we rejected a comment. We hope the following guide helps explain our editorial judgment.

Our profound thanks to the New York Times for articulating its own commenting rules clearly because they have been very helpful to the development and articulation of ours.

Here goes:

Don’t use a fake name or e-mail address. We seek to work as transparently as possible and do not hide our identities. We don’t publish anonymous comments. Yes, your fake names often amuse us — for only the second before we delete your comment.

Don’t call people names or hurl personal insults. We do not tolerate personal attacks. Be civil. The producers of this website have kids of their own. They are busy refereeing their bad behavior and have no time to engage or address yours.

Don’t use profanity. Just don’t even think about those words — not even the relatively mild vulgarities all over TV and the Web these days. And yes, this includes veiled word configurations that combine letters and symbols. Here’s your chance to elevate civic discourse.

Be coherent and stay on topic. We’re not holding your comment to the strict editorial standards of a newspaper — but we do care about spelling, grammar and logic. When those things are so confused that we don’t understand your point — or we do understand your point, and it has nothing to do with the topic we’ve raised — we have to move on.

Repetition is tedious — and boring. Please avoid it. If someone has already made the case you wish to, please don’t write it again. And please don’t repost your comment on multiple posts. We allow for some back-and-forth between readers, but we put a stop to that when we see such exchanges are driving others away from the thread.

DON’T SHOUT ENTIRE SENTENCES IN ALL CAPS. OTHER READERS FIND THAT IRRITATING.

Stick to the facts, and substantiate your comments with reputable, credible sources. Please note that there are some factual errors and outlandish claims we’re simply not going to debate. We consider our work an act of public service, and we strive to focus on the latest, peer-reviewed findings in medical science and public policy. We also strive to support our posts with an array of public records and citations obtained from the world’s most respected professional journals. One of the fastest ways to have your comment deleted is to write that marijuana is not addictive — or it’s “safer than” alcohol or another substance — or it has cured disease XYZ — or it helps you maintain a 4.0 GPA and/or six-figure salary. Ain’t nobody here got time for that. Another way to ensure your comment is trashed? Write something we can easily debunk using multiple sources in a matter of minutes. Our society is already awash with bogus information about many of the topics we address in this forum, so we won’t be running it here, too.

Shorten your post. We don’t impose a word count, but a long and rambling comment takes a long time for us to review, and, as the New York Times states, it “taxes the patience of other readers.” Also, please don’t post long excerpts of content published elsewhere — or even in the post to which you’re reacting.

Don’t try to pass off someone else’s writing as your own.

All the world needs an editor — including us. However, the best way to point out grammar, spelling and factual errors is by contacting us here, on our contact page, and not by leaving a comment in a post.

Please be patient. We work on this website and moderate comments as we can. We will read all comments and post those meeting commenting guidelines — but you may not see your feedback immediately.

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