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Readers’ Comments: A Refresher Course

The team here at FiveThirtyEight is going to be making an effort to post reader comments faster, hopefully making for a livelier discussion with more back-and-forth. So it seemed a good time to go over our policy regarding comments.

Here is The Times’ FAQ on readers’ comments. It’s pretty straightforward. Some things will automatically disqualify your comment. As it says in the FAQ: “A few things we won’t tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence and SHOUTING.”

The most important thing to remember is that self-expression is not the main goal of the comment section. So comments that add nothing of substance to the discussion, even if they are on topic, will not be posted. “The Republicans are bad for this country” is not a substantive contribution.

FiveThirtyEight is visited by insightful and articulate readers, so we are going to be setting the bar pretty high for comments to be posted here. But the end product should be worthwhile.

If you have a couple of free moments, please read through the FAQ. But, in general, comments should be concise, on topic, original and thoughtful. And last but not least: be nice to one another.

Micah Cohen is FiveThirtyEight’s former managing editor.