Comments policy

This site doesn’t always have comments open – dealing with them is time-consuming and too often, comments tend to come from those who have not taken the time to read the story in question. In general, they can detract from the value of the website.

But comments are often opened when a story would benefit from a right of reply or an opinion from somebody with experience of the topic, such as on a Viewpoint column or for Mercury Man.

When comments are open, here are the rules:

All constructive contributions are gratefully accepted. But to maintain a civilised and welcoming space for people to talk about issues in, and one that’s easy to follow, it has some rules.

So comments are published at our discretion and the editor’s decision is final – please don’t take it personally, we’re just trying to keep the comments on topic and easier to handle.

It won’t publish comments that are…

* anonymously posted
* defamatory
* abusive (go and shout at the bins by the off-licence instead)
* off-topic or not addressing the subject of the post
* contain ad-hominem attacks (“play the ball, not the man”)
* tediously pedantic (nobody likes a smart-arse)
* promoting hate of any kind
* obviously spam

We hugely prefer it when comments move the discussion on with something new, rather than banging on about the same old stuff. If you state a theory and claim it as fact, expect to be asked for first-hand proof. Your own anecdote, or something you read in the Mail or Telegraph, isn’t necessarily proof.

Comments from those create multiple identities will be deleted (“Sockpuppets“) – please use one name and stick with it. For this reason, please use a proper e-mail address too. And please think before you comment – we won’t retrospectively edit it for you.

Those who have caused trouble on other sites may also be blocked from appearing here.

Don’t like these rules? Go and start your own site, or moan on Facebook.

Thank you.