Ducksnorts Community Guidelines and Moderation Policy

Ducksnorts is a daily column written by me, Geoff Young. As such, I make the rules, and everyone who participates in our community (myself included, of course) abides by them. I reserve the right to change the rules at any time, for any reason.

Comments are an invaluable part of the Ducksnorts community — we all thrive on the energy of information exchange. To ensure that the quality of conversation remains at a high level, all comment submissions are moderated before they appear online. Generally I try to go through the moderation queue at least once every 24 hours — depending on what else is going on in my life, some days it may be a little more, some days a little less.

(To learn more about the philosophy and motivation behind this model, read my article Comments Returning… Sort Of; be sure to follow the links in that article’s sidebar.)

If you would like to increase the chances that your submission will be accepted, here are some do’s and don’ts:


  • Have a point worth making or a question worth asking. This is intentionally vague, but in general, we’re looking for the type of thing that lends itself well to discussion of ideas. “The Padres are lame for taking Matt Bush with the first overall pick in 2004″ isn’t a point worth making (thousands of people beat you to it), but “How have the Padres adjusted their draft strategy as a result?” could be a question worth asking.
  • Add something new to the discussion. Give us a fresh angle, an alternate perspective; be interesting. “Jake Peavy is great” isn’t fresh or interesting. “I’ve noticed a change in the way Peavy approaches left-handed hitters…” might be.
  • Challenge assumptions. Why do you think you know what you think you know? What if we looked at a familiar issue in a different light? Are we sure something is true just because experts say it is? Smart people used to believe that the earth was flat. Oops.
  • Respect your fellow readers and contributors, as well as the web site and its owner. When you’re here, imagine that we’re all in the same room together. If you can’t, then imagine yourself leaving.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Minor errors may be corrected if time permits and the ideas are strong, but in general, if you can’t be bothered, then neither can I.
  • Stay on topic. Occasional straying is acceptable, so long as it adds value to the conversation (as judged by me).
  • Be clear and succinct.
  • Use and cite sources. This is a great way to build credibility and expose people to different ways of thinking. Remember to respect copyright laws. Provide only brief excerpts or, if readers would benefit from the full article, a link that we can follow. Do not reproduce entire articles (or even large chunks) in the comments. When in doubt, just link to the source and let folks check it out for themselves.
  • Attack positions, not people. Debate is great; we learn a lot from each other by discussing issues and trying to understand various viewpoints. But we learn nothing of value by launching insults, personal attacks, etc.
  • Argue coherently. If you’re not sure what this means or how to do it, Paul Graham has an excellent primer on debating that you should read.
  • Study other comments to see if your idea has been discussed, question answered, etc. This also will give you a sense of what gets published here and help you in formulating your own comments.


  • Repeat yourself or someone else. Be sure your comments advance the discussion in some way. Saying the same thing over and over again isn’t civil discourse, and it isn’t welcome here.
  • Make assertions that cannot be supported with some kind of evidence. You’re better than that (and so are we).
  • Feed the trolls. Every once in a while someone will leave a comment whose sole purpose is to inflame or offend, without making any effort to join in a genuine conversation. I’ll try to catch these before they happen, but if you notice one slip through, let me know; do not acknowledge the offender.
  • Use profanity. Although I personally don’t have a real problem with swearing, my goal is for everyone — including children — to feel welcome in my house, so find other ways to express your passion. If you see me on the street, go ahead and impress me with your vocabulary, but let’s keep it clean here.
  • Be rude or abusive. Seriously, go for a walk or take a cold shower if you’re that angry.
  • Spam the site. If you are selling or promoting something, clear it with me first. I’m a pretty reasonable guy, but I do appreciate a little courtesy.
  • Agree for the sake of agreeing. Nobody likes a suck-up. Tell us why you agree. Demonstrate some depth of thought.
  • Piss me off. This is a handy little catch-all that provides me with as much leeway as I need in determining what gets past the gate. It’s impossible to envision every possible scenario that might arise at some point in the future; this allows me to uphold any community standards that aren’t explicitly mentioned elsewhere. My job is to protect the community, and I will do so with great vigilance.

Anyone who repeatedly engages in one or more of the “don’ts,” eventually will be banned from even attempting to participate. What do I mean by eventually? This varies depending on my mood, but generally there will be no warning, and it will be quite obvious when it happens.

That may sound overly strong, but if you’ve read this far, you most likely are not part of the problem and need not worry. When in doubt, err on the side of caution or ask me.

If your comment is rejected, don’t take it personally. This stuff happens in publishing all the time. Re-read the do’s and don’ts, and figure out how to improve your writing so that you increase your chances of seeing it published at Ducksnorts in the future.

Finally, by participating (reading, commenting, etc.) in the Ducksnorts community, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and agreed to abide by its governing policies (that would be this here document that you’re reading now). Each of us is responsible for the upkeep of our community. If you cannot or will not meet these terms — for whatever reason — you are welcome to leave now; we wish you well in your endeavors.

To the rest of you, I offer my thanks in advance for your continued partnership. If you have any questions or concerns about Ducksnorts or its policies, email me and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you.

[Last updated: 29 Aug 08 3 Feb 11]