Comment Policy is a large and growing community centered around the federal workforce. One of the ways we foster this sense of community is through the use of comments on our articles.

While we appreciate all comments, they must adhere to our policy, otherwise they are subject to removal. Continuous abuse or disregard for this policy may result in individuals being banned from posting comments.

The software used to manage and post comments is owned and operated by a third party vendor (Disqus). Please note that technical questions about the operation of the software or gaining access to your account are the responsibility of Disqus and not within the purview of FedSmith.

Comment Policy Details

Keep Discussions Civil and On Point

Many topics that relate to the federal workforce often center around politics, a subject that seems to bring out the worst in people. Debate and disagreement with an article author or other commenters are fine, but sophomoric, ad hominem attacks are not. Profanity, personal attacks, name-calling, slurs, etc. are not acceptable. Remember there is a human being on the other side of the screen, so don’t write things you wouldn’t say to somebody in person. To put it succinctly: Be polite.

Ask and Answer Questions

This is a community of federal employees, retirees, current and former military, federal contractors and anyone with an interest in news impacting the federal workforce. You are welcome and encouraged to ask and answer questions in the comments that are relevant to the topic being discussed. Other FedSmith readers may have insights that can help you, and that’s what the community is all about.

No Spam

You may be enthusiastic about your dating profile, your work at home job, or your company’s product, but our community isn’t interested in hearing your sales pitch. Comments deemed to be spam or that appear to be written primarily to post a link or advertise are not permitted.

Don’t Violate Copyrights

Citing other peoples’ works in a comment when making your case is fine, but reposting a copyrighted work in its entirety is not. People work hard to produce their content; don’t steal it.

Don’t Impersonate Others

Most users choose an anonymous profile which is fine, but do not pretend to be somebody else to troll or denigrate others. Profiles such as these will be removed.

Use of Photos/Avatars

Any photos, avatars or videos that you post with comments should be in good taste and follow the same general guidelines for written comments. 

Word Filters

Some comments will automatically be held for moderation if they contain certain flagged words (i.e. profanity or known spam words). If your comment is held for moderation or does not appear right away, this is why; please do not repost it numerous times in an effort to make it appear faster (it won’t).

Deleting Comments

Sometimes you will see a number of deleted comments within a comment thread. These can appear for two reasons: FedSmith moderators have removed a comment for policy reasons or the original author of the comment has deleted it. Disqus users have the ability to delete their own comments and sometimes do.

Closing a Comment Thread

In some rare cases, we may decide to close the comments on an article if the majority of comments being posted are in violation of this policy, i.e. comments are off topic or making personal attacks. The thread may be closed either permanently or temporarily.

Flagging Comments

Disqus allows users to flag comments they feel may be inappropriate. If you find comments that you believe violate this policy, you are encouraged to identify them by clicking “flag” or “mark as spam.”

Here are some important things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to flag comments:

  • Only flag comments that are legitimately inappropriate, such as if they contain profanity, hate speech, personal attacks, or are blatant spam. Just because you do not agree with what the person is saying does not mean a comment should not be there.
  • Do not flag comments just to try to degrade or take revenge on other users. That’s not the purpose of this feature and it won’t work anyway.
  • Flagging a comment does not mean it will be removed from the site; it only ensures it will get brought to moderators’ attention. If enough users flag a comment, it will be removed, but it may only be removed temporarily depending on the outcome of a review by moderators.

Blocking Users

Disqus offers the ability for individual users to block other users whose comments they do not wish to see. The person you block will not receive a notification that you have blocked him or her, and it will not delete that person’s account from the whole system/site. It only means you will not see the person’s comments.

All Rights Reserved

FedSmith reserves the right, but not the obligation, to monitor, edit or remove any comments which it deems to be in violation of this policy. Any users that are repeatedly found to be in violation are subject to being permanently banned from posting comments with or without explanation from FedSmith.

Hold Harmless

You accept sole responsibility for any comments you post and agree that comments are your own and that you will hold FedSmith Inc. and any of its representatives harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.