America welcomes thoughtful, respectful and well-reasoned comments from all of our readers. Our aim is to promote a civil and charitable discourse about topics of the day. To that end, we have a few rules:
- Introduce yourself. We ask commenters to engage as themselves, not under (potentially anonymous) usernames, by setting up your user profile with your name. And remember that you’re in conversation with other real people.
- Be brief. Keep your comments to a reasonable length (200-300 words should be the maximum). If you need to write more than that, you’re writing an article, not a comment, and those can be submitted here.
- Keep on topic. Squarely address the topic of the article. Do not use comments as a soapbox for your favorite issues or causes.
- Be charitable. Comments are for discussion, not for shouting down points you disagree with. Mercifully, it is not your responsibility, nor anyone else’s, to stop everyone who is wrong on the internet. Refrain from ad hominem attacks on authors and your fellow contributors. Be charitable even about those public figures with whom you may disagree.
- Use your own words. Do not copy and paste long quotes from secondary sources. A link, or brief citation, will suffice. (To reduce the likelihood of spam, comments with links are likely to require approval by a moderator.)
- Choose your spots. You should not comment on every article where comments are open, nor more than one or two times per article. Let other readers have their say. If you’re engaging in a long back-and-forth discussion with another commenter, consider shifting to email or direct messages on a social media platform.
- Don't soapbox. Engage the article and other commenters about the article. Don't use the article as a jumping off point to deliver a lecture on the article's topic or to rattle off a set of talking points.
There are a number of different reasons that your comment may be automatically held for moderation before it's posted publicly. Comments posted after hours and on weekends may not be moderated until the next business day. Any questions about moderation should be directed via email to email@example.com rather than posted via the comments box — they will only be removed and may increase the likelihood of the system automatically holding your other comments for moderation.
Comments that do not follow this policy may be removed at the editors’ discretion. Ignoring the spirit of these guidelines (especially by being uncharitable or dominating the conversation) may lead to your comments being held for pre-moderation before being posted. Repeated violations will lead to commenting privileges being suspended for a time or removed permanently.
Comments submitted on this website may be considered for publication wherever America features responses from our community (letters to the editor, articles collecting reader responses, etc.). We reserve the right to edit posts for length or clarity.
Comment System Features
Want to be notified when another reader replies to your comment? You can turn on notifications for this and more in the “My Profile” tab at the top of the comments. (This is not the same as the “My Profile” found under “My Account” in the menu bar.) When you first turn this on, you’ll need to verify your email so the comments system can send you notifications. Click “Verify your email now” and check your inbox for a link. After that, you can choose to be notified when your comment has a reply, has been approved for posting, is replied to by a staff member or has been featured.
You also have the ability to “ignore” other commenters. To do so, click on their name.
You can undo this later from the “My Profile” tab.
Sometimes someone writes a comment that really moves the conversation along and adds to everyone’s understanding. That’s what the “Respect” feature is for. It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the comment or “like” it. But you do respect it. We don’t call it the “like” button because experience has shown it’s important to use a different word in a discussion than we use in social media feeds.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes comments that violate our comments policy will slip through the moderation cracks. If you think we’ve missed one, please click the “Report” button on a comment to directly flag it for our attention. Again, this is for comments that violate our comments policy, not comments that you personally disagree with.
If you run into problems
Please report them to firstname.lastname@example.org.