The Berkeleyside comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. We took great inspiration from the thoughtful folks over at Boing Boing, and have taken up many of their policies verbatim. We’ve pared down and adapted some of the material, but otherwise have drawn from Boing Boing with permission.

We screen all comments that come in. When you post a comment, it will go to an editor for review. This usually doesn’t take long, but there may be a delay if editors are busy, taking a weekend or asleep.

In a nutshell

  • Please use your real name when you leave a comment. We also hope you’ll take a moment to add a photo to your profile to help make our community a friendlier place.
  • Imagine you’re in the same space as the people you are addressing — how would you talk to us if we were together?
  • Be cool. Don’t post insulting, bullying, victim-blaming, racist, sexist or homophobic remarks.
  • If you disagree with a comment, address the issue, don’t attack the person.
  • Stay on topic. Don’t hijack threads, repeat yourself or post generic talking points.
  • Like the good, flag the bad, and avoid comments without content.
  • Do not post personal contact information or links that obscure the target, or lead to porn or gore.
  • Do not post stuff you do not have the right to post.
  • Comments that include threats of violence, or incite violence in any form, will not be approved.
  • Comments that are simply a URL with no explanatory text will not be approved.
  • Comments about our commenting policy will not be approved. Please email us instead.
  • If you cite data, statistics or quotations include link to sources, otherwise the comment may not be approved.
  • Don’t be snide, sarcastic or overly cynical.
  • We have the right to delete content at any time.

This is a civilized place for public discussion

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely aids to the human judgment of our community. Use these guidelines to keep this a clean, well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the conversation in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds value, or think it might detract from the dialogue, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed on Berkeleyside matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

Be agreeable, even when you disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid name-calling, ad hominem attacks, responding to a comment’s tone instead of its actual content, and knee-jerk contradiction. Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

Your participation counts

The conversations we have here set the tone for everyone. Help us influence the future of this community by choosing to engage in discussions that make this forum an interesting place to be — and avoiding those that do not.

Disqus provides tools that enable the community to collectively identify the best (and worst) contributions: likes and dislikes, flags, replies, edits, and so forth. Use these tools to improve your own experience, and everyone else’s, too. Let’s try to leave our park better than we found it.

Berkeleyside does not require that commenters use their real names, or even real email addresses. We respect readers’ desire to remain anonymous. We prefer that you do use a real email address, however, as it allows us to correspond with you should we decide to moderate or delete your comment.

If you see a problem, flag it

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken via moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

Always be civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness.

• Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive or hate speech.
• Keep it clean. Don’t post anything obscene or sexually explicit.
• Respect each other. Don’t harass or grief anyone, impersonate people, or expose their private information.
• Respect our forum. Don’t post spam or otherwise vandalize the forum.

These are not concrete terms with precise definitions — avoid even the appearance of any of these things. This is a public forum, and search engines index these discussions. Keep the language, links and images safe for family and friends.

Your feedback

We welcome feedback about our comments policy and our comment moderation. All such feedback will be handled via email at, not in the comments section.

We need you to help us improve Berkeleyside comments (12.15.15)
Help us keep comments on Berkeleyside civil (01.07.15)
Commenting on Berkeleyside: A new approach (10.10.13)