Comments Policy

Update: Nov 29th, 2009

One reason for moving to the new site is the ability to have better interactions within the comments.

The CAHSR Blog comment policy is based on the one used at the Seattle Transit Blog, with several modifications.

What will get a comment deleted or edited

1. It’s spam. If your comment gets caught in our spam filter (by, for instance, having more than 2 links), it may not show up until a human being has looked at it.

2. Ad hominem attacks. This has been a standard rule at the California High Speed Rail Blog dating back to 2008. Personal attacks are out-of-line here. Feel free to disagree with people based on their ideas – vehemently if warranted. But keep it civil. If Robert can disagree civilly with Morris Brown at a Peninsula HSR meeting, you can easily disagree civilly with someone on this blog. This includes attacks based on race, age, sex, orientation, etc.

3. Sock puppetry. Don’t pretend to be a person you aren’t. Obviously our ability to detect this is somewhat limited, but if we receive evidence of it we’ll come down hard. Please refrain from picking a name that has been “claimed” by a regular commenter.

4. Using “Anonymous” as your username. Everyone needs to pick a unique pseudonym. It can be “anonymous” in a foreign language, like my good friend wu ming. But you can’t use “anonymous,” “anon,” or any other similar derivation.

5. Scurrilous or extraordinary claims that lack evidence. The best example of this are the frequent charges that the CHSRA is “corrupt.” If you have hard evidence of such a charge and can provide a link to it, you’re welcome to post it. But if you can’t substantiate such a claim, it will be deleted.

6. Posting personal information (addresses, etc.) about a blogger, commenter, or public figure.

7. Sexually explicit or violent material, unless it refers to a real-life incident related to high speed rail. The occasional curse word is tolerated but frowned upon.

What a deleted / edited comment looks like

Spam will just disappear, but deleted comments will be replaced with text in brackets (eg, [deleted, off-topic]). If there’s solid substance in the comment, only the offending portion might be deleted.

Comments that deliberately spoof this syntax will be edited or deleted.

Arbitrary, Capricious Moderation

Rafael and I reserve the right to be inconsistent in our application of these standards. I will continue to use a light touch.

This blog will not, and has never, evaluated or deleted comments based on their ideological content. You should be aware that this blog has a basic editorial position of support for the HSR project approved by voters in November 2008 and being overseen by the California High Speed Rail Authority, and that most commenters are project supporters.

Valid E-mail Addresses

We don’t really care if the email address you use to post comments is valid or not. We consider the email information confidential. However, if you use a valid address it will be easier for us to verify that someone has hijacked your alias. Secondly, there may be the occasion that we might want to contact you with information related to your comment (this is not intended to imply we’ll use that email address for any marketing, third-party, or other purpose other than blog-related communication).


It is our strong preference that comments on a given post remain related to that topic. However, we have always tolerated some thread drift, particularly when there is an interesting CA HSR-related link to share, or breaking news that hasn’t yet made its way to the blog’s front page in the form of a post. We will continue to tolerate this. Usually there will be open threads on the weekend, and in those threads anything goes, as long as it’s related to HSR and doesn’t violate any other part of the site comment policy.

Our site has threaded comments, which should help the flow of discussion. If you want to respond to a point made by a specific commenter, click the “reply” button on that comment and add your reply there. The threaded feature doesn’t integrate well on the comment threads brought over from Blogger, but I’m sure we will manage.

Comments are closed.