Comment Policy

Thank you for being part of the community! Briefly is an educational news site for debaters, parents, and teachers. So, while speech is free, Briefly is moderated.

Rules

We reserve the right to delete comments for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • defamatory or libelous content
  • uncharitable or insulting speculation about people’s thoughts and motives
  • gossip or hearsay, especially when the phrasing attempts to convey authority on facts that we have no reason to believe the commenter has
  • bullying or threats (including threats of legal action)
  • offensive, inappropriate, or extremely annoying comments
  • words that you can’t say in school
  • off-topic comments—especially hijacking discussion by introducing some tangentially related controversy
  • sock puppets (accounts created by previously banned users to avoid a ban)

We will ban users that egregiously violate the above rules. Please email us if you object to our moderation. We aren’t perfect, but we’ll do our best to moderate comments fairly.

Regarding off-topic comments, we have a forum where you can create your own topics!

Anonymous commenting

We recognize that anonymity is valuable in this community. As a student, you might want to ask a question about a case idea but not tip off competitors that you’re pursuing this idea. Or you might want to stand up for an unpopular view. So we allow anonymous commenting.

The anonymity here is genuine. Other debate news sites have access to your email or IP address when you comment. We don’t. Our commenting system does not share your personal information with us. We couldn’t access it even if we wanted to. (But we don’t want to.) So you don’t need to worry about us knowing who you are. Please, though, don’t take advantage of this by violating our rules.

With that said, we encourage and prefer signed comments. Part of good conversation is knowing the person you’re talking to. There is a humanity in that. When everyone knows each other’s names, we are less likely to have knee-jerk reactions, or to think the worst about each other’s intentions.

The bottom line: anonymity is permissible, and we offer real anonymity, but we prefer signed comments.

A pre-commenting thought experiment

Adapted from one of our favorite philosophy blogs (DailyNous):

Before you comment, imagine the following. You are seated in a comfortable chair at a table with all of the other commentators. You have gathered to discuss an issue of mutual concern, and you are aiming to learn something from the conversation. Take off your shoes if you’d like. Wriggle your toes. Appreciate the wonders of everyday life in the twenty-first century. On the table in front of you is your favorite beverage. Through the window is your favorite view. Seated next to you is a child, whom you brought with you for a lesson on how to discuss controversial issues with strangers. [You also brought your parents, to show them how great the debate community is.] Are you imagining all of that? Okay, now try commenting.