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A final update on comments

Scottie and I have still been hearing quite a bit from some of you about comments and trolling. So, we wanted to write with a final update regarding comments.

Continue 90 Comments June 11, 2014

One year later: a reflection on Prop 8 and DOMA from ‘The Campaign’ director Christie Herring

Nearly a year ago, Prop 8 and DOMA bit the dust.

Continue 6 Comments June 10, 2014

A follow-up to my earlier post on comments here at EqualityOnTrial

Hi everyone–I wanted to write here to thank you all for your thoughtful responses on my earlier post about commenting and to follow up on that post.

First off, I want to assure you all that everyone at EqualityOnTrial and Courage Campaign cares about this community and cares about making it a place that people feel engaged and encouraged to participate. We want the comments sections to continue to be a productive place for discussion, as it has been for so long. The policies we’ve put in place–and that I outlined in my post–are important to us.

To clarify an earlier point, the vast majority of the community — including Scottie and myself — believe deeply in marriage equality.  However, we will not ban commenters simply because they have views against marriage equality. The site exists first and foremost to dissect the legal arguments being made as marriage equality makes its way through the courts. Often times, it’s actually helpful to understand the anti-equality argument, in order to make a better pro-equality case. That means that we will allow comments that many of our readers may disagree with as long as those views are being presented without threatening or aggressive language.

One adjustment we will make is to take action if a commenter is intentionally distracting from the discussion or stirring up animosity, even without necessarily using threatening or aggressive language. If a commenter posts the same message over and over or posts comments that are irrelevant to the post, we may take action if other users complain. This is inherently subjective, and we will do our very best to be judicious. In the end, as it says in the community guidelines: “ moderators reserve the right to terminate the account (ban or delete) of a user of the service for any reason at any time.”

We understand that trolls that are truly offensive can make the comments an unpleasant place for everyone. After corresponding personally with several members of the community, I understand how strongly people feel about this issue. I want you all to know that we have banned the user in question for that user’s crude and personally offensive remarks, and we have also deleted those comments.

Moving forward, we want to a better job about moderating comments on the site.  Obviously, we have to do within our limited budget (and thank you to everyone who has donated–this is the kind of work your money goes towards!), so we have hired a moderator who will work part-time to help enforce the rules.  In addition, some of the tools that allow readers to alert us to issues like this had been broken and are now fixed.  We apologize for the slowness over the long weekend in our replies, and we will work to get back to you more quickly!

I want everyone to know that you can reach me personally at if you think that a specific commenter is breaking the community guidelines or if you disagree with what we’re doing as moderators of the site. You can also reach Scottie at  Until then, we ask everyone to make a good faith attempt to maintain a constructive dialogue in the comments while also respective a variety of viewpoints. And please, keep in touch with us about your thoughts and concerns!

29 Comments June 2, 2014

A message from the EqualityOnTrial regarding site comments

We’ve had a couple of readers write in about trolls in the comments section of EqualityOnTrial, and I wanted to reach out to the community to clarify our site’s policy on inappropriate comments and banning commenters.

Continue 178 Comments May 27, 2014

At heart, today’s Fourth Circuit hearings are about one crucial question: what is marriage?

A big-picture look at today’s arguments in Richmond.

Continue 188 Comments May 13, 2014

Our exciting new collaboration with The Civil Rights Clearinghouse

A quick housekeeping note.

Continue 17 Comments January 14, 2014

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