Some rules for this blog

Here are some rules for this blog. They may differ somewhat from the standards on other blogs, both on and otherwise. If other rules become necessary, I will add them. I will not be able to enforce these rules 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for obvious reasons. But I will enforce them, including through regular periods of comment moderation when necessary. (Note: These rules have been modified to incorporate the ones from this list of July 2012.)

1. A variety of four-letter words and racial, ethnic and other slurs are not allowed. If you wonder whether a particular word is allowed, don’t use it. I will remove comments that include abbreviations or variations on the spelling of certain words (e.g., f@ck) at my discretion. Repeat offenders are subject to moderation or a ban.

2. No name-calling. This rule applies chiefly to other commenters. I will have very high tolerance when the subject is a public figure (e.g., President Obama or Gov. Deal) or me — though I reserve the right to take down comments that include gratuitous name-calling about anyone. I will also have high tolerance for labels (e.g., socialist, fascist, wingnut) regardless of political orientation, if only because they reveal weakness on the labeler’s part. But again, there is a line. If you think you might be crossing it then you probably are. And remember, there is no obligation to respond to someone else’s childishness.

This is a rule that I regret having to make, but experience has proven that the blog won’t operate properly without it. People who come onto the blog with personal attacks and little to nothing of substance to say will be subject to a permanent ban.

3. Similar to No. 2, but different: No unfounded criminal accusations about anyone, public figure or otherwise. You can call the president (Obama, Bush or any other one) a liar, or make some other sufficiently vague charge. But nothing specific about any specific person. There will be no tolerance for this. If you think you have evidence of such a crime, call the police (or a reporter…) but don’t post it here.

Along these lines, I have a decreasing amount of patience for posters who deliberately and consistently misrepresent my or others’ comments, or writings/statements from other sources. If you can’t make your argument without resorting to this kind of deception, you may find your comments going through moderation before they’re posted.

4. Anyone who refers to another commenter by anything other than the handle the latter uses will be subject to a ban of at least one week. This may sound like an extraordinary measure, but it is the source of many commenter fights. A shortened version of the handle may be acceptable, but only if there is no obvious intent to insult. As I will be the sole judge of that intent, I recommend you err on the side of not being too cute. The ban will also be applied to anyone who refers to commenters by previous handles they used.

5. Anyone who steals another person’s handle will be banned indefinitely.

6. Any comment that is plainly irrelevant to the discussion will be subject to removal. More specifically: Any comment that refers to discussions on another AJC blog’s comments thread will be subject to removal. These comments only serve to distract from the discussion on this blog and to start fights among commenters. If you have something to say in another blog’s discussion, say it there. If you have been banned from that blog, my blog is not a place for you to air your grievances, or a mirror site for you to try to participate in it anyway.

7. No cutting and pasting lengthy tracts of text from other publications. You can quote a couple of paragraphs as long as you cite the source, but do not paste the entire text into a comment. It not only makes the blog a difficult read; it’s also a potential copyright violation. Feel free to include links to any articles you find interesting (but note that any comment with more than one link will be held for moderation as part of our spam filter). Along these lines, if you have very lengthy (i.e. more than 150 words or so) thoughts of your own to share, please break them up into a couple of comments…it’s easier for everyone trying to read the blog, and people will be more likely to read what you have to say.

8. Commenters who violate any posted rule for this blog will be subject to temporary or permanent bans, or indefinite moderation. These and other penalties for inappropriate commenting not mentioned here also will be issued at my discretion.

My preference would be for these standards to be self-enforcing, for readers to call out any violators. I do not, however, want this to become a tactic for discouraging particular people — the equivalent of nuisance lawsuits. Should you feel it necessary to bring a comment to my attention, please do so by emailing me.

I will try to refrain from taking down comments or banning people from commenting on this blog, but I have and will do so if necessary. My goal and responsibility is to make sure the blog is a public forum, not a place for one or two people to monopolize space and thereby dissuade other people from participating.

I’m open to hearing your concerns or suggestions about these rules and the blog generally.


Updated and revised Feb. 8, 2011

Updated and revised again July 25, 2012

27 comments Add your comment


November 11th, 2009
5:35 pm

You tell ‘em, Kyle! Thank you! Let’s cut out the crap. (can I say that?)


November 11th, 2009
5:47 pm

So to describe President Obama’s and David Axelrod’s policies as fascist or socialist is showing weakness?

Is describing Berni Sanders as a socialist is a weakness?


November 11th, 2009
5:53 pm

Burn the Books !!!!


November 11th, 2009
5:59 pm

Good way to kill traffic Kyle but there is none.


November 11th, 2009
5:59 pm

Good regulations, and since it is your arena, you should be in charge of the rules. Now, enforce them (unlike congressional regulators) and we will have us a real good dialogue.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

November 11th, 2009
6:03 pm

Well, he just took away all of the liberal arguments.

Kyle Wingfield

November 11th, 2009
6:09 pm

I think it’s stronger, jt, to use details rather than labels…but I was mostly referring to labeling other commenters.

Kyle Wingfield

November 11th, 2009
6:09 pm

Crap is OK, Sarah.


November 11th, 2009
6:11 pm

Roger Wilco Sir.


November 11th, 2009
6:15 pm

Good ideas…I was getting tired of some of the comments. The lengthy ones, I just skip. Most are dull.


November 11th, 2009
6:41 pm

Good move. If someone does not want to comment on the issue at hand, without using names, then they should probably stay off the forum.

Conservative Beauty Queen

November 11th, 2009
9:30 pm

Why is u messin’ with my freedoms and free speech and stuff.

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 11th, 2009
10:17 pm

Good move, Kyle; hope it works out. I would offer one suggestion to all posters, many times you get back what you give. I’ve had disagreements with people on here but few unpleasant exchanges. If you treat the other side with respect, they just might return the respect to you. Do unto others.

Hillbilly Deluxe

November 11th, 2009
10:19 pm

PS: As usual I’m late posting so I’m at the bottom and probably no one will ever read this. ;-)


November 12th, 2009
8:57 am

- Good work. Although the majority of message boards in
cyberspace have had these rules for years (in the form of
policy violations and abuse reports), I suspected that the
AJC boards would have them soon enough, based on the
unusually sparse options of the interface.


November 12th, 2009
8:58 am

- I also agree with Hillbilly Deluxe. The Golden Rule
also applies in cyberspace as well.


November 12th, 2009
2:56 pm

Kyle, while I generally disagree with your comments, this is good and constructive and I, for one, appreciate the civility of it. I hope it works.

Sewage treatment worker

November 13th, 2009
9:28 am

Crap is better than OK, Kyle. It’s a living. Ahhhhh, smells like money.

Sewage treatment worker

November 13th, 2009
9:29 am

I guess innocent comedy is OK, as long as you don’t overdo it? Maybe the sports blog guys can learn from you. They are often unreadable because of the racist stuff, name calling, inuendo, etc.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
10:13 am

Innocent comedy is fine. Just keep it within the bounds described above.


November 14th, 2009
1:35 pm

You are the only contributor I know that reads the comments. You actually care about your followers. I don’t wear a hat, but if I did, I would take it off just for you.


November 27th, 2009
11:42 am


Do you have an automatic length rejection in place? I wrote a lengthy piece for you this morning, it took me an hour, posted it, and it disappeared into the bit-bucket, looks like.

Doesn’t say it’s in moderation, just disappeared.


Hi Kyle

January 22nd, 2010
9:55 pm

Could someone please tell Cynthia Tucker to practice item # 4 above in her copy-and-paste articles?


February 27th, 2010
7:29 pm


February 27th, 2010
7:31 pm

woops, posted the wrong link above.

Troy Grooms

March 4th, 2010
1:11 pm

You and many others frequently use terms: liberal, conservative, & big government. What exactly is the definition of these terms? I consider myself conservative because I pay my bills, I am not head over heels in debt, I do not engage in unlawful activities, I do not engage in dangerous activities, and I try to lead a reasonbly healthy life. However I more often than not vote democratic, (not because I think they have all the answers but at least they do seem to think that doing something is better than doing nothing), I believe that my religious beliefs are personal and are basically are not anyone else business, I believe that what people do in thier bedrooms is private, I believe that consenting adults have a right to live with whomever they please, I believe women have a right to make their own decision regarding abortion. Am I liberal or conservative? I believe that the government is an agent of the population and should operate efficiently but at the same time “we” the government must pay it’s bills so if we need to tax ourselves to do that then do it. I do not believe that cutting taxes will cause any business to hire anyone. I spent 43 years on the administrative side of a distribution company and not one time in 43 years did anyone even mention hiring or firing anyone because of anything to do with tax policy. Am I liberal or conservative? Is government really big? We have over three-hundred-million people living in the US so how much government do we have for each person? How much government did we have for each person in lets say 1800? I don’t know the answers to these questions but perhaps your research people could help us out. Either way I personally don’t care how big it is as long as it is efficient and funtual. I am amused that we usually hear about how big the government is when we are discusing something on the social side of the agenda, like health care or social security. We seem to never use the term big goverment when discussing the military. I will hush as I am sure I have violated the space available rule. Maybe I am an old millennial? I am 67.

C. Keith Brasher

April 15th, 2010
10:33 am

April 15th-
Commenting not just about this blog, but on taxes in Georgia. Never thought I would say this, but the state income tax is too low. With the retirement income exclusion, I got so much money back that was afraid to ask Sonny Perdue for it; so rolled over enough to probably pay for 2010.

I have grandkids, and I want Georgia to continue to be a great place to live.. potholes fixed; vital services rendered; access to health services; and most importantly- adequate education. Be glad to pay more to get more.

And thanks for the heads up on government employees being 55% ahead salary-wise, of the private sector including benefits. Now they need to do their jobs to diminish their number as a ratio of private citizens. When probating a will in Fulton County, we had to pay extra to get them to do their job in a timely fashion– while numerous employees sat around– for example.