Consortium News’ Comment Policy

We are republishing our Comment Policy to remind readers to please adhere to it. We do not practice censorship based on political views but comments that violate the Policy will be removed to maintain a dignified and fact-based comments section. 

At Consortium News, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid ad hominem attacks, abusive language toward other commenters or our writers, sexist, homophobic, ethnic, racial or religious slurs (including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia), and allegations that are unsupported by facts, as well as gross or misleading factual errors.

If we notice violations of this Comments Policy, we will either edit or take down such comments. If readers spot such violations, they can bring them to our attention at [email protected]. Repeat offenders will be placed on a watch list requiring case-by-case approval of their comments. Violators can be blocked.

Obviously, our preference is for commenters to show self-restraint and to make their observations in a respectful, thoughtful and factual way that is on-topic. We have plenty of work to do without having to police the comment section.

Also, because of annoying SPAM, we have installed a SPAM filter that uses algorithms to detect SPAM. The filter does a good job at this, but sometimes catches legitimate comments by accident. During the day, we try to recover these comments, but please do not be upset if one of your comments suffers this fate.

In addition, we use an automated system that pulls out questionable comments for manual review. Those comments that do not violate our Comments Policy will be restored. Do not be dismayed if there is a delay before your comment is approved or permanently removed.

We also strongly encourage commenters to use their real names and avoid pseudonyms unless there is a legitimate reason to do so.

–Written by Robert Parry

If you have any questions about this policy please contact us at [email protected]

43 comments for “Consortium News’ Comment Policy

  1. Dave Parker
    October 21, 2018 at 20:05

    Thanks for everything you do. CN. There’s a lot of angst on my other favorite site, Naked Capitalism, about comments that don’t show up. Allowing comments is a courtesy, not an obligation, IMO. As well noted, it takes an immense amount of babysitting, time that’s better spent on the main mission of the site.

    When a comment of mine doesn’t show up right away, it doesn’t ruin my day. I just wait. Sometimes they never show. Mysterious are the ways of algorithms.

    It’s very important to remember not to resemble spam. Repetitious posting of the same content will do that. So wait for it.

    Joe put it more politely than I will: get real, what do you expect, instantaneous response 24/7/365.25? Put yourself in their shoes.

    I’m thrilled to see my favorite journalists here. The ones who give it to us straight, no chaser. Thanks, CN, I needed that.

  2. Silly Me
    October 20, 2018 at 05:49

    You guys have become completely unreadable…

  3. Sam F
    October 19, 2018 at 22:36

    I much enjoy the comments on Consortium and certainly don’t wish to criticize the site, and can presume an increase of problems or decrease of resources in moderation this year. But am not sure I have the patience to suffer deletion of carefully stated and completely reasonable comments. For that reason I was forced to stop commenting for a couple of months while busy with other things, insulted by several hours of inoffensive comments being deleted in a week or two.

    Perhaps the Akismet moderation utility has a qualification process allowing reliable commenters to circumvent its moderation, and be flagged only for faux pas by the human moderator.

  4. October 18, 2018 at 15:36

    Same thing happens to me. The number of comments changes. At first, I thought the browser was reloading a cache and missing new posts.

    But the Consortium News website shows this glich across devices. My phone, tablet, and PC show different comments and sometimes entire articles missing, all using the same browser.. Same time, different comments and articles. I don’t see this effect from other websites, AFAIK.

    I don’t have an explanation and no one here has offered one.

  5. Abe
    October 18, 2018 at 13:54

    Disinformation groups like the Atlantic Council, which includes fake “citizen journalist” Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat gang, allied with mainstream media outlets via the Google-sponsored “First Draft” propaganda coalition, are waging a battle of truth and trust.

    Atlantic Council’s latest “analysis” dishes disinfo courtesy of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) program

  6. Homer Jay
    October 18, 2018 at 13:06

    CN, thanks for keeping the trash out of the recycle bin. And yes I am sure we lose some plastic lids in the process. Am I the only one wishes some of my comments had been blocked? thoughtless commenting??…guilty!

  7. Skip Scott
    October 18, 2018 at 08:34

    The article you refer to has 300 comments. Many of them are very critical of Joe Lauria’s position. Without seeing the comments that were not posted or deleted, it is difficult to judge the criteria used by the CN moderator, but there were certainly plenty challenging Joe Lauria’s assertions. So maybe it is just you. Are you related to EsM9Cgr8?

  8. michael
    October 18, 2018 at 08:33

    I agree wholeheartedly with removing comments using ad hominems aimed at both other commenters and ‘descriptors’ of politicians and figures in the news; there is no need to stray from political discourse to childish activity that diminishes arguments.
    I appreciate views that I don’t agree with, there is always need for devil’s advocates to make one think, as long as presented civilly. There is a tendency for narrative/ consensus building in comments sections that scares me, and I wonder sometimes at the source.
    But as noted by legal experts, Facebook, Google and indeed Consortium News have full rights as private media (maybe at times with coaxing by the CIA?) to censor their platforms. Consortium News has seemed more judicious in what they allow than most media, hopefully that continues.

    • October 18, 2018 at 21:05

      There’s actually an interesting case right now about freedom of speech existing beyond government and within the workplace. We see this being done by NFL players and kneeling but apparently it’s not allowed in the “public square” via FB, Twitter, etc.

  9. October 18, 2018 at 08:04

    Obviously, the trolling is continuing right now too, isn’t it?

  10. Skip Scott
    October 18, 2018 at 07:53

    Huh? Whose official propaganda? According to whom?

  11. October 18, 2018 at 03:32

    Question about this—> “We also strongly encourage commenters to use their real names and avoid pseudonyms unless there is a legitimate reason to do so.”

    When existing in a climate where literally Twitter is allowing ANTIFA to dox ICE agents and their spouses, exposing their personal details and where they live to the world (a world that has plenty of extremists) wouldn’t it be okay to use a fake name/title instead of your real name?

    In this modern age of online surveillance and outing people and others encouraging people to remain anonymous, especially in blood thirsty regimes, anonymity is crucial for not just one or many but to all those connected to one or many.

    The news game is not what it used to be. It’s a lot more dangerous now.

    • October 18, 2018 at 20:52

      Yes!! If I wanted the world to identify me with all of my socio-political viewpoints I would have a facebook account. Perhaps some of us feel such links could be used as ammunition by our adversaries…especially in the work place. And afterall anonymity is democractic. It doesn’t matter who I am…not here at least.

  12. Canadian humanist
    October 18, 2018 at 03:13

    Hmmm, first of all I’d like to say kudos and warm regards to CN for all your amazing journalism, which is all to rare in these surreal times. About the comments I think keeping some level of dignity is worth some bugs and I think over time (hopefully) things will iron out. I’ve had some disturbing experiences with breitbart and fox and I never want to get even a hint of that here ever. Trying to show some reality with people who are so far gone that it sends a chill up your spine, seeing that level of rabid hatred, nope please continue this policy.

  13. michael crockett
    October 18, 2018 at 00:53

    The article written by John Kiriakou which details the abuse of whistle blower Darin Jones by his employer (FBI) resonates for me and I am sad to see that the comments are closed. I understand why this is so and support the policy put in place by CN. The power and influence that corporations have in all of the agencies of our Gov’t, by in large, explains the massive corruption that infects each and everyone of these government agencies. Thank you Darin Jones for standing tall and doing what’s right.

  14. jimbo
    October 18, 2018 at 00:48

    When writing about Israel please write “Israel” and not Zionist or Zio-this or that, or use any other snarky nickname. Any factual criticism about Israel laden with snark might immediately turn off an otherwise curious reader. Robert Parry didn’t and neither should we.

  15. Tom Kath
    October 17, 2018 at 20:23

    There is often a fine line between “criticism” and “abuse”. The site is intended to be critical, and I believe the moderator does a tremendous job of preventing vulgar abuse, and keeping the comment section pretty much as interesting as the actual articles. Thank you CN team.

  16. Abe
    October 17, 2018 at 17:01

    I’m guessing that comrade “EsM9Cgr8” and pals get paid to sputter comment on “this site”, with bonuses for posting the words “ideology” and “Stalinist”. Hilarity ensues.

  17. KiwiAntz
    October 17, 2018 at 16:44

    Consortium News is a wonderful site that provides a platform & forum for all of us who are disenfranchised & dissatisfied with the Mainstream Media’s propagandist narrative’s & brainwashing, in lockstep with a crooked Political & Corporate establishment! CN provides a voice for the voiceless, to express ourselves & the powerlessness we all feel at times & sometimes, we, as commentators can go overboard due to our frustrations at what we see happening in the World due to current situations & our own helplessness to change things! But we have to maintain control of our emotions & comments so thank you CN for moderating our more extreme comments! With Big Tech Companies such as Facebook; Google & Twitter becoming vassals of the Deepstate & abdicating responsibility from being Social Media platforms to now policing content & becoming Censorship Publishers in a direct betrayal & attack on Internet freedoms & the right to hold differing views that are a counterpoint to the herd mentality narratives promoted by the MSM, Consortium News & it’s platform becomes even more important in this age of a coordinated “Ministry of Truth” Propagandist machine under construction! So if a few comments are moderated to preserve the unity & peace of the site, it’s a small price to pay for that privilege!

  18. Maxwell Quest
    October 17, 2018 at 16:09

    I often learn more from the comment section on CN than the articles themselves. So what if one of my comments disappears now and then. The world goes right on turning without it.

    The quality of CN is 24 karat. As ‘O Society’ clearly stated below, we are all aware of how much garbage must be sifted through on other sites in order to find just one comment worth the trouble, but by then one already feels the need for a psychic decontamination chamber.

  19. Lonkal
    October 17, 2018 at 14:35

    Glad of this, Consortium News is the only quality site I know of critical of the mainstream narrative and understanding of the demonized nations point of view where the comments section doesn’t read as basically an Alt-Right/anti-semetic racist/sexist hole in the ground. The comments section here is itself pretty informative, with interesting views and links. Thanks for Consortium News, thanks fellow posters for the high quality comments.

    If I could ask one thing- more articles by more writers would be great, and more podcasts if you can manage it with long interviews (y’know… like Scott Horton’s stuff but less the Libertarianism and less talking over the guests ;-)

  20. Jeff Harrison
    October 17, 2018 at 11:33

    Fair enough. I haven’t been coming to the site all that long having been led here by Patrick Lawrence some time after Robert Parry’s death but I value it greatly. In my opinion, the comments on Consortium are well worth reading, even if they’re wrong. And, yeah, this is my real name. If you have a problem with something I’ve said, say so. I’m more than capable of defending myself.

  21. DW Bartoo
    October 17, 2018 at 11:00

    I have read and much appreciated Consortium News for years.

    Although this is my first comment, I have, for several months, been thinking of sending a comment expressing that appreciation as well as my appreciation for the comment threads that attend this site.

    The comments here, for the most part, I consider to be among the very best of the internet, as they are informed, reflecting critical thought and carefully considered analysis. The vast majority, the overwhelming majority, of comments at this site are respectful of other viewpoints and refreshingly free of partisan bombast, personal insult, and displays of intolerance, personal, cultural, “racial”, regional, or class.

    Upon seeing what occurred the other day, my first worry was that the comment section here might simple be outsourced (off-shored) to Facebook.

    As I find it useful to make my prejudice(s) clear to others, generally, when writing or speaking, I will say that I do not now, nor ever had, any interest in joining Facebook, for reasons others, perhaps only a few, might share or even respect.

    That said, the comment policy at Consortium News is most reasonable and among the most likely of such policies to encourage reason, tolerance, and understanding, all things I hold as critical to a society much abused, manipulated, coerced, lied to, taken for granted and treated like children who will readily accept childish fairy tales and infantile mythology not only as true, but as a part of their own identity.

    Far too many other sites that I read, have already, and I think very unwisely, turned over their comment threads to Facebook.

    Which brings me to a question, a concern that has been, increasingly, weighing upon me.

    The question is this: Do some, many, or even most writers, site proprietors, or editors actually prefer not to get feedback from the many, not to be bothered with what the less exalted might think or ponder upon, might disagree with or question?

    Once upon a time, such feedback could be limited and easily controlled with limits on the number of letters on might write to newspaper editors, for example, or a closed system of correspondence which would make public only those viewpoints that station or network managers of radio and television might choose to share with a public that were primarily to behave simply as listeners or viewers.

    I would like to imagine that those writers whom I appreciate might actually welcome the thoughts of others, might even find them insightful, useful, or compellingly important.

    Thank you, for allowing me the opportunity of sharing these thoughts and opinions, however outlandish or extraneous they might be.

    • O Society
      October 17, 2018 at 11:27

      Indeed. Agreed, DW.

  22. Joe Lauria
    October 17, 2018 at 10:40

    EsM9Cgr8. You are right. Your comment violates the comment policy: “allegations that are unsupported by facts.” It would have been removed except Skip Scott set you straight.

  23. October 17, 2018 at 10:38

    Joe Lauria is correct. I come to this place specifically because the commenters here are intelligent and able to articulate their points of view excellently. It does not particularly matter whether or not I agree with what someone says here. What matters is I left Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of social media because the signal:noise ratio was too high to spend time there.

    There are too many people for whom “He’s a libitard” or “She’s just a shill” count as conversation. Go to one of these websites. Look at the comment section. Here’s a random example. Here’s the one at the top of FoxNews this morning.

    Thousands of comments. Not one of these comments is worth reading.

    This is what the internet is like. Half the “commenters” are bots. They aren’t even humans. The ones who are just use the place like a restroom.

    If you’ve never admined one of these sites where the public has access, you have no idea what you don’t see. It’s worse than just noise. It’s worse than just the racism. Snuff films. Porn that leaves you scratching your head as to whether it actually qualifies as porn.

    Seriously. The people complaining need to do a reality check. Go to Twitter if you want to hear Kanye West babble.

    We won’t miss you. Consortium News is one of the few spots where sane people can discourse. So quit whining. And yes, one of my comments disappeared this morning. I don’t care. It is still 1000x better than Donald Trump’s Twitter feed or any public political page on Facebook. Don’t take my word for it. Go look at these sites. Better yet, go volunteer to be an admin.

    • O Society
      October 17, 2018 at 10:49

      Oops. Typo. Too busy ranting to get it right – ha ha!

      “signal:noise ratio was too high” is backwards

      signal too low : noise too high –> signal:noise is too low

    • Joe Lauria
      October 17, 2018 at 10:53

      Thank you O.

      As explained many times, we don’t have the staff to review every comment made and so we need an imperfect automated system to help us. We ask for patience while a comment automatically pulled out is manually reviewed.

      A part-timer who works four hours a day, five days a week does our comment moderation. Comments made outside these hours may remain on the pending list for several hours, i.e. from 3 pm EST to 11 am EST the next weekday. From Friday 3 p.m. EST to Monday 11 a.m. EST, no one is on duty to manually review comments the automated system has pulled out.

      Comments aren’t “disappearing.” We just don’t have the staff to immediately review every comment pulled out by the automated system.

      • October 17, 2018 at 11:22

        We are on the same page, Joe.

        If Consortium News commenters want our comments moderated more quickly, some of our sane commenters are going to have to volunteer to help moderate the comment section. Either that, or we are going to have to chip in and pay for someone to work more hours to do it for us. Maybe there’s a third possibility I don’t see…

        However, complaining without having some sort of solution to offer is whining. Removing Akismet is not a solution.

        There is some emotion going on here too. We all miss Robert Parry. He’s an icon. However, it is not anyone’s fault he is gone and the place has not gone to hell since he passed away. We are still the same bunch of smart, witty, non-Kool-Aid people.

        Moreover, the comment I posted this morning disappeared into the void because it had multiple html links in it. I knew it was going to disappear before I sent it.

        The Akismet system flags comments with multiple links in it because the advertisers have designed bots which comment all day long with nothing but links for movies to buy and other useless spam. So it got sent to “the void,” meaning the moderator will have to look at it before everyone else can see it.

        If you want to blame someone, blame the spammers. Spammers are advertisers. Spammers are bots. Spammers are people who get off on saying stupid inflammatory emotional things about divisive topics. They are at fault. They cannot self regulate.

        Its a quality vs quantity issue inherent in this medium. Consortium News has taken the admirable stance of not being advertising whores. We should appreciate this. Again, if you can’t appreciate it, go look in the comments sections of most public places where the volume is turned up.

        The Fox News site I linked above doesn’t care 99.9% of the comments are garbage. They actually *like it* at Fox News because they can tell their advertisers this story got 10,000 commenters, which shows our great user interaction rate. Don’t you want to give us your ad money? That’s what they see. That is how the real world works.

        Idiocracy is a self-fulfilling prophecy because American capitalism has chosen to reward babble and squash critical thinking
        —> all quantity and no quality. Let’s not be idiots. We can’t fix all the idiots in the world but we *can* not join them.

  24. David G
    October 17, 2018 at 10:17

    I think commenters should be more circumspect about accusing CN of viewpoint censorship, especially when there are clearly some technical issues in play.

    For its part, CN should not fall into the trap of becoming overly rigid in enforcing its quite reasonable rules. If not too egregious or numerous, some problematic comments can be left up as a safety valve to let people blow off some steam.

    There seems to be a vicious circle developing where more and more of the comments – and the comment policing – are about other comments about comments, ad nauseam, with substantive discussion at risk of falling by the wayside.

  25. Eric32
    October 17, 2018 at 09:48

    Fifty percent of my comments have been blocked. None had bad language or attacks on anyone. You need to get rid of Akismet – it’s creating rancor among commenters.

    • Joe Lauria
      October 17, 2018 at 10:19

      Should the alternative be to allow the comments sections to be flooded with racist filth and personal attacks? That is what would happen if an automated moderation system were removed.

  26. Skip Scott
    October 17, 2018 at 09:19

    Guess you’ve been proven wrong, even though you’ve posted unsupported slander and fail to use your real name. I comment here all the time and see a wide variety of political viewpoints expressed by intelligent people. I suspect you are a troll for one of our three letter agencies who fear intelligent discussions might undermine their propaganda.

    • Joe Lauria
      October 17, 2018 at 10:16

      Thank you Skip.

      October 17, 2018 at 14:46

      Yes, indeed.

      But not everyone making uninformed or paranoid comments is a troll.

      America is busting at the seams with uninformed people, criminals, crazed ideologues, and just plain crazies.

      • October 17, 2018 at 15:41

        ChuckMan (and everyone else): Do you think America always has been “busting at the seams with uninformed people, criminals, crazed ideologues, and just plain crazies?”

        What I mean is this. Yes, it has all come to a head because the so-called president walks a tightrope of ignorance, paranoia, and trolling. But this guy represents who knows how many Americans. Many people identify with him. Many people flaunt their ignorance. They enjoy trolls and think it is a useful thing.

        So my question is have these people always felt this way, and the advent of the internet now allows them to voice their feelings and thoughts publicly for all to see? To be hoisted on their own petard, as Ray taught us to say.

        Or is the internet making people this way? Were they relatively normal before and now exposure to Breitbart and Twitter and Louise Mensch and Alex Jones and Facebook and Rachel Maddow is making these people crazy and stupid?

        I used to believe the medium of the internet was a neutral thing. Garbage in, garbage out. But now I become more and more convinced it does things to people. Brings out the worst in most of us.

        What do you think? Were we always this bad and the internet just shined a light on the crazy or has the internet made otherwise normal civil folks lose their everlovin’ minds?

        • October 18, 2018 at 03:56

          Have you heard of internet addiction, video game addiction, porn addiction? All online activities and all destroying some lives to varying degrees.

          Look at Twitter… a place where people get into debates using a limited amount of words to get a point across. The narrowing down of thinking and debate is a fine example of people having their minds and ability to critically think narrowed down to a dull point.

        • Skip Scott
          October 18, 2018 at 08:17

          O Society-

          I think the answer to your question is a bit complicated.

          First, the majority of the world’s population is struggling for day- to- day survival. They have no time for more intellectual pursuits. Secondly, our public education system doesn’t include a basic course in Logic. I think it is a shame that we mandate “readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic- but not logic. I’ll put on my tin foil hat and stand beside George Carlin. “The Big Club that we ain’t in” does not want a populace of critical thinkers. Thirdly, our overlords have had generations to refine their propaganda techniques, and they are omnipresent in our MSM and entertainment “Industry”. The level of control this propaganda exerts on “John and Jane Q Public” cannot be overstated.

          I think the dawn of the internet has been a good thing. It is too big to be controlled, at least as of yet. Sites like this one are having a real impact on the propaganda machine, and the oligarchs are taking notice.

          Check this out:

  27. Skip Scott
    October 17, 2018 at 09:14

    Please explain why the comments section is closed on the article about the FBI whistleblower Darin Jones. The article was just posted yesterday.

    • David G
      October 17, 2018 at 09:53

      Joe Lauria posted this under Dan Steinbock’s Israel/Palestine article about why comments closed early on John Kiriakou’s Darin Jones article:

      “No one is censoring CN stories. The comments are closed on that article because a commenter repeatedly violated our comment policy by falsely and maliciously accusing Consortium News of censorship. The commenter was blocked, but created a new email address to repost the offending comment, which was deleted. The new email address was blocked, but new ones were created and had to blocked five times. To prevent this from occurring again comments on that article were closed. Because of the actions of one person everyone suffers.”

      • Skip Scott
        October 17, 2018 at 12:58

        Thanks David. The more we are attacked here at CN, the more proof we have that TPTB fear honest journalism, and anything that challenges their endless stream of propaganda.

      • Lucius Patrick
        October 17, 2018 at 17:20

        Draconian solution it sounds like. Let the fool post if the alternative is to shut down the comments. Never seen a better example of throwing out the baby with the bath water. I posted a response to this same comment six hours ago–no bad language, not insults, no lies; how did it get pulled? Are there settings on this Akismet editor you are using? Too any comments of mine are pulled–and I don’t think that I am ever controversial, nor am I critical of Consortium News. W;hat is the criteria? Makes no sense to me; just arbitrary? Was this system in use a year ago? I never saw so many problems with the comments back then; nor were we flooded with filth etc

  28. October 17, 2018 at 05:23

    A very reasonable policy.

Comments are closed.