Notes on Story Comment Forums

Want to post your comments to an SCAtoday.net story? Here are some tips that will help you make the most of this feature. Stories on the SCAtoday.net newswire allow readers to post their comments online in a moderated discussion forum. Recently, we've seen a lot of activity as people discuss some of the stories, but there has been some confusion as to how the feature works. Hopefully these tips will help you to understand and use the comment feature more effectively.

Q: Why does my contribution appear as "Anonymous"? Why can't I put my name into the form somewhere?
A: Some online forums allow posting under any name you wish. We've chosen not to do that at SCAtoday.net, because it would be easy to use someone else's SCA name in a controversial post. Most people are honorable and honest, but a very small minority are not. You can state your name within the text of your comment, if you wish (we suggest SCA names, not modern names), but the only way to have a comment attributed to you "officially" in our database is to create a personal login account (see below).

Q: I posted a comment, then went back to the story page. My comment is missing! Did it get lost?
A: No. These are moderated discussion forums, and your comment is stored in our database when you post it but will not appear on the public section of the web site until one of our editorial staff members approves it.

Q: So, if I want to post under my own identity, rather than anonymously, how do I do this?
A: If you have a personal account, go to the home page and login. Once you're logged in, any comments you submit are automatically attributed to you. If you don't have a personal account, look for the login prompt in the upper-right area of the home page, and click on the button to create a new account. You'll receive an activation code by email, with a URL on which you click to activate the account. We do this to make it more difficult for spammers to set up bogus accounts with fake email addresses.

Q: Do I have to login every time I visit the site?
A: Yes, if you want your contributed stories and comments to be properly credited to you. You can, however, go to the Profile page (see the link from the login prompt at the home page) and ask our server to send a login "cookie" to your browser, so that your computer will login automatically on every visit. We use cookies only to support personal logins and your ability to customize the site's behavior, not for any kind of demographic or advertising database. We're non-commercial and do not have advertisers, ergo, no need for that sort of thing.

Q: If my comment doesn't appear right away, should I post it again?
A: No. If you got a message saying your comment is in the database, then it is waiting for our staff to approve it. If you have a personal account, and were logged in when you posted the comment, your Profile page will tell you the status of the most recent few comments you have submitted.

Q: How long does it take for my comment to be approved?
A: It depends. We run this site with a staff of volunteers, most of whom are in the U.S. Eastern time zone. Depending on the time of day when you post, it could take a couple of hours before your comment appears, or even longer if you post in the middle of the night. We would love to see moderators in different time zones -- if you're interested, contact us at webmaster@scatoday.net to volunteer. Commercial sites pay people to moderate forums around the clock; we don't have the resources to do that.

Q: I'm having problems posting my comments. What should I do?
A: Copy and paste any error messages from our site into your email software, and send an email to webmaster@scatoday.net explaining what happened and what you were trying to do. Give us as much information as possible to try to duplicate the problem in our test environment, so that we can fix it.

Q: Do you censor comments?
A: Yes, but only in a very limited sense. For legal reasons, we will refuse comments that we consider to be libelous, profane, or in violation of copyright law (e.g., material copied from another web site without permission). We also reserve the right to refuse comments that are egregiously off-topic. Our readers don't want to see comments advertising Viagra or Make Money Fast. We do not, however, censor political opinions, however controversial, as long as they are related to the topic of the story and do not fall into the category of libelous or slanderous personal attacks on an individual. Our Terms of Service (http://scatoday.net/info/tos.php) page covers this in detail. We encourage everyone to remember that we are a Society founded on the principle of courtesy, but we do not specifically censor inflammatory remarks, relying instead on our readers' good judgment and civility.