(Image by Keith Cassatt.)

These guidelines are not meant to be comprehensive, rather focusing on the most commonly shared principles we believe are critical for setting a foundation in a community to enable it to thrive.

Keep it civil aka don’t be a jerk

We’re going to get into the thick of a lot of heated discussions and that’s okay. These discussions often entail topics that we all personally care a lot about and will passionately defend. But in order for discussions to thrive here, we need to remember to criticize ideas, not people.

So, remember to avoid:

  • name-calling
  • ad hominem attacks
  • responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • knee-jerk contradiction

Comments that we find to be hateful, inflammatory, or harassing may be removed. If you don’t have something nice to say about another user, don’t say it. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

And, of course, any comments that include bad language will go immediately into the moderation queue.

Always strive to add value to every interaction and discussion you participate in

If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

Will your comments make people say, “Hmm, I never thought of that,” or “That’s interesting, I should check that out,” or is it just you venting?

Please don’t vent. Listening to someone vent is work. Find a therapist or religious counselor if you really need to get some things off your chest, or one of the online communities set up specifically for that purpose.

But reviews are okay. So, for example, if you hate puppies, and a book we talk about on the site is all about puppies, you can say that you didn’t like the book because of all the puppy talk. That way, other people who dislike puppies will know to avoid the book. This is useful information. But don’t go on a rant about why specifically you hate puppies. Nobody needs to hear that.

Keep it tidy

Help make moderators’ lives easier by taking a moment to ensure that what you’re about to post is in the right place. That means:

  • don’t post off-topic comments or discussions
  • don’t cross-post the same thing multiple times
  • don’t post spam

If you see something, say something

Moderators are at the forefront of combatting spam, mediating disputes and enforcing community guidelines and, so are you.

If you see an issue, contact the moderators if possible or flag any comments for review.