Commenting on Slate: Frequently Asked Questions

How to Comment on Slate Articles

How to Comment on Slate Articles

The inner workings of Slate.
March 22 2016 7:00 PM

Commenting on Slate

Everything you need to know about our discussion threads.

What are the rules for commenting on Slate?

You can find the complete rules in our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, but here’s a quick summary, starting with some definite no-nos:

  • No hate speech.
  • Don’t use offensive or obscene language.
  • Don’t personally attack any person or group of people, including the writers, the moderators, minorities, majorities, and members of political parties with which you disagree.
  • No spam or advertising.
  • Don’t post content that you didn’t create without crediting the source.
  • Don’t repost the same comment multiple times.
  • Don’t impersonate someone you’re not.
  • Don’t comment from multiple accounts.

Our moderators’ decisions are subjective. They are trying to improve the overall quality of the comment threads for all readers. They have to work quickly and efficiently. They have broad discretion to remove comments, and their decisions are final.

  • If you believe a moderator has deleted your comment in error, don’t debate their decision in the thread. Email with questions and concerns.

Avoid the following:

  • Really long comments.
  • Going too far off topic.
  • Moving from your specific beef with an article to a general indictment of Slate or the media as a whole.

Why avoid these kinds of comments? They’re just not what we’re looking for. Slate welcomes criticism, debate, and disagreement. But we want the comments section to have value to all readers, and we don’t think readers want to wade through off-topic threads and lengthy monologues.

Accordingly, we will sometimes cut off a discussion that feels unproductive. In doing so, we are exercising editorial judgment, much as print newspapers and magazines do when they choose which letters to publish in their Letters to the Editor sections.

In some cases, comments won’t appear on the site until a moderator can read and approve them. We often have a backlog of comments awaiting review. When clearing that queue, our moderators give priority to comments that make their point succinctly and clearly.

Can you summarize that for me? TL;DR.

  • Make your comments civil, succinct, and relevant.

You deleted my comment! That’s censorship! Aren’t you violating my right to speech?

If you disagree with our decision not to publish your comment, we encourage you to publish it elsewhere. Twitter, Facebook, and other relatively open platforms make it easier than ever to express your views.

There are also other ways to send feedback to Slate:


I posted a comment but it’s not appearing on the site. What happened?

Your post may have been directed to a pre-moderation queue, in which case it will not appear on the site until it has been approved by a moderator.

Comments can end up in pre-moderation for a variety of reasons. They may have been flagged by a moderator or an automated filter for further review. In some cases, Slate pre-moderates all comments on an article if the discussion has generated an unusually high number of comments that violate our commenting policy.


It’s also possible that your comment was deleted by a moderator. If you believe your comment was deleted in error, please review our commenting policies. Do not repost your comment or debate the deletion in the thread. If you have a question about why your post is not appearing, email

How do we enforce the commenting policy?

The philosophy of our moderation team is to delete offensive content quickly but to issue bans slowly and, whenever possible, after repeated warnings. If a post or even several posts of yours have been deleted, there is no reason to assume that you will be banned from commenting.

Because of the high volume of comments we receive, we do not and cannot review every comment or catch every infraction. We trust our moderators to make judgment calls.

Ultimately, we reserve the right to remove any posts that we deem unacceptable, and you remain solely responsible for the content of your posts.

What happens if my account is banned?

To facilitate a healthy exchange of ideas and combat spam, we occasionally ban commenters who repeatedly violate our commenting policy. We do our best to work with commenters around minor rule violations, and to issue warnings when possible before moving on to outright bans.

If you believe you were banned by mistake, or if you have been banned but would like a second chance to enter the discussion in a constructive way, contact

We may contact you directly about your commenting activity, and ban your account if you fail to reply in a timely manner.

Ultimately our moderators have broad discretion to ban users, with or without notice.

Why are the comments sections closed below some articles?

Some comment threads require more attention than we are able to give them. We have a limited number of moderators, and our goal is to deploy them where they will have the greatest impact. To that end, we may determine that a conversation has run its course and close comments on an article, or decide against allowing comments on a particular article in the first place. In certain cases we may also temporarily close comments on a breaking-news story when no moderator is available.

In those cases, you can still send feedback to and factual errors to Questions about commenting can be directed to

You might also find a discussion about the piece in question on one of Slate’s social media accounts.

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Other Stuff


All of the guidelines for commenting also apply to the creation of usernames. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited.


Alert our team to violations of the rules by clicking the flag below a comment. Using the flags abusively is prohibited.

Fine Print

Slate reserves the right to modify these rules at any time.

By commenting on Slate, you agree to be bound by the foregoing moderation policy and by Slate’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.

While Slate is committed to respecting your privacy, we reserve the right to report unlawful behavior and vandalism of our website to your Internet service provider or, in extreme cases, local law enforcement.