Simmons for Congress intends to moderate comments with a relatively light hand, believing that knowledge is best obtained through the open clash of conflicting ideas. However, comments and commentators that focus on topics unrelated to the article in question, who substantially indulge in profanities or personal attacks, or whose grammar or spelling constitutes an embarrassment may see their comments trashed; and advocating illegal activity is prohibited. Individuals should also avoid cluttering up threads with repetitious or completely non-substantive remarks; craft your comments carefully. Please avoid multiple, successive remarks on a given thread. Spending a bit more time and thought in order to produce a single, more comprehensive comment is much better for everyone.

Given the wide-ranging discussion, often on highly controversial topics, the overwhelming majority of commenters prefer to maintain their anonymity behind a personal “handle,” and this is perfectly acceptable. However, commenters are absolutely prohibited from using multiple handles, which would allow them to engage in “sock-puppetry” and mislead others as to the widespread nature of their views. Also, the system makes it easy for visitors to place particular commenters they find useless on their “Ignore” list and this cannot be done if those commenters are freely switching their handles. Commenters who utilize multiple handles should not be surprised if their shared identity is later revealed or all their commenters are relabeled “Anonymous.”

The system implements various automatic checks to discourage or prevent multiple identities, let alone attempts to “false-flag” another commenter by stealing his identity. Given that our website does not require password registration for commenting, these methods are hardly foolproof, but still reasonably effective. Commenters are urged to select the “Remember My Information” checkbox when they leave a comment, which will save their input values in a permanent cookie, reducing the strain on their memory. In addition, frequent commenters who have checked that box are allowed to leave Agree/Disagree/LOL/Troll indicators on other comments, though no more than three times during any eight-hour period.

Clicking a commenter’s handle-link will provide access to a complete archive of all comments under that handle, allowing other commenters to better judge the views of the individual in question. This mechanism allows commenters to gradually develop a “reputation,” which they would put at risk by ignorant or unfair comments.

However, any commenter may also freely leave comments under the Anonymous/Anon handles, which are absolutely anonymous. But such totally anonymous comments may easily be misused for back-biting or malicious, unfair attacks on others, and should be taken much less seriously than comments that come “have a return address,” perhaps coming from individuals with established credibility.

To insert images or videos into a comment, merely add the external URL and the system will automatically expand them. All other website URLs provided in comments are automatically converted into clickable links.