Reminder about the comments policy

At Slugger we encourage political debate. We thrive on it and love seeing it on our site. You have no idea how refreshing it can be to log on to the site and a commenter has posted such an insightful bit of information, it totally changes your perspective on an issue.

Our current readership know the score in this regard but we have noticed some newbies in the comment sections and our readership has ticked up over the Summer period (thank you!) so this is just a re-stating of the comments policy on this site.

We may also delete and/or moderate comments, though we we will usually leave a note to this effect.

So try and stick to these rules:

  1. Stay on the subject. Try not to go off topic in a comment thread. If you do, we may delete or ban.
  2. Don’t make personal attacks on other commenters, Slugger’s bloggers or the subjects of posts on the site. By all means challenge the things people say or do, but don’t be personal and keep it civil.
  3. Play the ball and not the (wo)man. Connect with the subject in hand, and avoid making the person you disagree with the object of your argument.
  4. Negative comments that bring nothing to the conservation maybe deleted. Examples include ‘This is crap’, ‘you are talking’ nonsense etc.
  5. Writers do not get paid and it can be a thankless task. We encourage users to let a writer know if you enjoyed their post.

If you break these rules:

  • we may delete your comments and maybe ban you from the site
  • in extreme cases, we may contact your Internet Service Provider or pass on your details to the appropriate legal authorities

We reserve the right to change these policies without notice.

There is a moderation team on the site (Mick, Brian, Alan, Pete and myself), if you are having any problems you can get in touch with any of us and we will do our best to intervene.



Alan- alaninbelfast AT gmail DOT com

Mick will be running an online seminar on comments/moderation on the site in the Autumn. Please stay tuned for further announcements about this.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you David, a most timely reminder. The bad habits that newer posters (and a few others who should know better) have developed on other less disciplined sites are clearly showing, for who, before they are actually moderated, simply reads the policy!

    Let us hope that a knowledge of these guidelines goes some way to chasten the comments posted back into “civil” honest and productive debate, rather than the all too current sterile point scoring and showy but irrelevant invective that smothers such real debate.

    The ability we now have in Disqus to delete such tit for tat comment as we may post when we see red at an insult from an undisciplined poster is a most useful tool in keeping the discussion (as it should always be) relevant and informative. I look forward to Mick’s seminar.

  • David McCann

    Micks seminar will be done via video, we will posts links etc closer to the time

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I will keep checking. Mick’s expansion of the “Play the Ball” rule deserves being mentioned again here, too, as a timely reminder:

    “The most important is a golden coaching rule in Soccer: players must ‘play the ball and not the man’.

    In other words, people should be judged on what they say, not who they are! Or on how others view their motives.

    The aim is twofold: to encourage higher quality outputs from commenters and to retain a competitive edge to the dialogue. Played well it can greatly enhance the speed and quality of the game!”

    Recently all too many comments have been second guessing blogger’s or poster’s motives and intentions instead of engaging with what is actually written, with a lot of “man playing” by imagining more than is actually said or inferring motives back from what has been written in other postings. All of this avoids direct engagement with what is actually written.

  • Zeno

    Don’t forget it’s ok to attack a whole community. There is plenty of that.

  • David McCann

    No it isn’t , they why I put up contact details for the mod team. Sometimes things get missed with a lot of comments

  • tmitch57

    I remember when Mick was handing out yellow cards and red cards and I tried to discover the logic behind them and wasn’t quite able to wrap myself around it.

  • Davros64

    Hmm, short of advocating personal physical attacks, take more of a ‘libertarian’ stance that ‘anything’ goes…
    Sometimes debate can be very sophisticated and sometimes it just isn’t…

    It’s called human nature.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    This is done by both “sides”, and is equally offensive when it homogenises complex things down into crude caricatures. The problem is reification, the attribution of agency to something abstract. Personally, I find it just as offensive when one side claims particular credit for one portion of our community, such as when Unionism claims the Battle of the Somme as its own particular accolade. But the habit of generalisation dies hard, and we all end up speaking about things in broad sweeps sooner or later. The core problem is that rather than argue against issues stated, all too many commentators simply want to score cheap points and are non too scrupulous about how they make an effect against something. Sincere debate requires serious thought, slamming someone or some group of people down just requires a lot of testosterone.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Personal attacks, against either the other commentator or the subject of the blog, if it were a person. Inconsequentiality, sometimes, although Mick et ala have been very kind to me on that one. Pretty much anything that drops the tone of debate to that of the broadsheet’s comments columns, where the misogyny, for example, frequently reaches dangerously high revs! And, of course, anything that might make the site liable for legal action, such as defamation (one recent example cut while I was watching a thread) and breach of copyright. I’m hoping Mick covers some of this in the seminar, and does not simply hope that people know that such things are unacceptable practice.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Remember you can report a comment by clicking the down arrow in the top right of a comment.