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How To Comment On Defector

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It has been almost two years since we launched this site, and since we have welcomed a lot of new people into the commentariat during that time, we figured now would be a good time to recirculate our commenter guidelines for the sake of maintaining a robust and healthy comment section. For those of you who have been with us for a good while, now would be a good time to reacquaint yourselves with these guidelines. Finally, we made some additions to the Some Things That Are Expressly Forbidden section, which are highlighted below in bold. - (6/7/2022)

Welcome, Defector commenters! If you have purchased a Pal, Accomplice, or Mysterious Benefactor-level subscription, you are entitled to post at least one (1) and as many as infinity (∞) comments on If you have not purchased one of the aforementioned subscription packages, you will not be allowed to comment on this website, and this post will have no bearing on your life. You may stop reading this post!

For those of you who have purchased a subscription package that includes commenting privileges, here are some guidelines for your journey.

Some Guidelines For Your Journey

Funny comments are welcome, even if they are dumb puns. Smart, serious comments that enrich the discussion of a blog's topic are just as good. Informed and thoughtful disagreement, especially when rooted in subject-matter expertise, is extremely welcome. Commenters who can engage with a blog, and with each other, in ways that are smart and not obnoxious, are good commenters.

A good rule of thumb is this: If you can imagine a smart and good-smelling reader—one who has never heard of you before and has no particular curiosity about your thoughts simply by virtue of their having originated inside your brain—reading your comment and then thinking, "Dang, I'm really glad I scrolled down and checked out the comments," then it is a good comment and you should post it. If the only person you can imagine reading your comment and having that thought is someone who has a power drill sticking out of the side of their head, then it is a bad comment and you should not post it.

The person who benefits the most by your commitment to only posting funny and/or smart things in the comments is: You, ya big goof (whom we all love)! If you want the comment section to be a lively and fun community of funny and smart people, then you need to be funny and smart in it. If you want it to feature engaging discussions of today's big issues in sports and culture (and/or the proper ranking of sock shapes or whatever), then you need to foster those kinds of discussions. If you want to see dizzying threads of cascading wordplay jokes, then you have to start them. The comment section will be as good or bad—as rewarding of the cost of joining it, that is to say—as the commenters make it, give or take as little hands-on moderation as we can get away with.

In short, use your brain. Post good stuff that makes the website better and not stuff that makes it worse. Here are some things that are expressly forbidden.

Some Things That Are Expressly Forbidden

You are not allowed to post bigoted shit in the comments. "Bigoted shit" is defined however whichever Defector staffperson happens to be looking at your comment defines it; err on the side of extreme caution.

You are not allowed to post obviously inappropriate shit, like porny GIFs or whatever, in the comments. People who wish to view porny GIFs have no shortage of places online where they may do so.

You are not allowed to give other commenters a hard time. Everybody down there paid for the privilege, and you are not permitted to spoil it for others. If you think some doofus's comment sucks, leave it alone. If you see abusive behavior down there, email a Defector staffer and flag it for us. We do not need vigilantes.

A good way to avoid the urge to give other commenters a hard time is to maintain a clear idea of what the comments section is supposed to be. It is important to remember that this is not a forum, and though we welcome lively discussions between commenters, it must be said that no website in the history of the internet has been ever been improved by the presence of a 187-reply thread in which everyone is taking turns developing increasingly tortured ways to call each other assholes.

Try to imagine a scenario in which a new Defector reader has just ponied up a hard-earned $12 because they have decided that they enjoy the site a lot and would like to become more involved in the community you've built around it. Now imagine that person scrolling down to the comments below a post, all fired up to submit their first contribution, and then immediately being confronted a long and exhausting thread bursting with phrases like, "Listen up, fuck face" and, "Ummm, thanks for the sarcastic reply, douchenozzle!" That person might not want to stick around after reading all that, and that's not an outcome any of us want!

You are not allowed to harass the people who work at Defector dot com. This website is our workplace, and we literally own it. If you walk into a friggin' Burger King, first of all why, and second of all I hope you have remembered to wear a protective face covering. Where was I going with this. Oh right. You are not allowed to go into the friggin' Burger King and start ranting about Oh, there goes Jeff again, fucking up the Junior Whoppers like always. Another fucked-up Junior Whopper from Jeff. More liberal Junior Whopper bias from Jeff, the worst Junior Whopper chef of them all. If you do that, eventually you will be escorted to the exit of the friggin' Burger King and instructed never to return to the friggin' Burger King. You see the point. The people who work here have even more workplace privileges than Jeff, including the right not to be harassed in their workplace, and the right not to have their work share a page with personal attacks and insults lobbed at them by people who do not work here. If you do not like the perspective and set of priors that So-And-So brings to blogs about such-and-such topic, you may address this by thoughtfully and respectfully challenging So-And-So's points or by not reading those blogs. You may not address it by popping up under each of So-And-So's blogs to call So-And-So an idiot.

The most important thing to know is: We reserve the right to ban you from posting comments on Defector dot com for any behavior that any of us judge to be in violation of either the letter or the spirit of these guidelines. Now go forth and post like the wind.

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