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Discussion and Submission Guidelines

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We invite you to submit your videos, photos, articles, and comments in certain areas of our website. It is our hope that you’ll take the opportunity to contribute to these interactive forums and share your original content with our community. In order to keep these interactive forums enjoyable and interesting for all of our users, we ask that you follow the rules outlined below.

By submitting content, you are consenting to these rules:

1. You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:

  • infringes upon or violates the copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights of any person
  • is libelous or defamatory
  • is obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or vulgar
  • violates a person’s right to privacy
  • violates any local, state, national, or international law
  • contains or advocates illegal or violent acts
  • degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other classification
  • is predatory, hateful, or intended to intimidate or harass, or contains derogatory name-calling
  • contains advertising
  • contains a solicitation of any kind
  • misrepresents your identity or affiliation
  • impersonates others
  • is in poor taste or is otherwise objectionable

2. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you submit. You will promptly remove any content that you have posted should you discover that it violates these rules or that it is otherwise inappropriate. You will indemnify The Washington Post and its affiliates and their subsidiaries, and its and their directors, officers, managers, employees, shareholders, agents, and licensors, from and against losses, expenses, damages, and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, resulting from any claim brought by any third party relating to content you have posted.

3. You understand and agree that we are not responsible for any user submitted content. You further understand that we have the right, but not the obligation, to monitor submissions and we may remove content that we deem inappropriate for any reason whatsoever without consent. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user’s privilege to post content on our site. We may reject or remove any comment at any time, with or without notice to you.

4. You certify that you are at least 13 years of age. If you are under the age of 13, please do not submit any content to us. If you are under the age of 18 but at least 13 years of age, you may submit content only with the permission of, and under the supervision of, a parent or legal guardian. If you are a parent or legal guardian agreeing to these rules for the benefit of an individual between the ages of 13 and 18, please be advised that you are fully responsible for his or her submissions and any legal liability that he or she may incur.

5. You certify that you have the permission of others who have contributed to or are featured in any content that you submit. If there are any individuals under the age of 18 in any photos, video, or other content that you submit, you must obtain the permission of each such individual’s parent or legal guardian prior to submitting the content.

6. You acknowledge and agree any use and/or reliance on any information obtained through the interactive forums at your own risk. We are not in any manner endorsing the content of the interactive forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability.

7. By applying for for highlighted comment placement, you are consenting to abide by the overall discussion policy when submitting content. The Washington Post highlights comments from commenters who are directly involved in a particular story. Highlighted placement is approved on a story-by-story basis and verified by a Post community manager. Once approved, users may submit content and share information relevant to particular stories on for which they are approved. In all cases, users must still adhere to the Post Discussion and Submission Guidelines.

8. For any content that you submit, you give us permission to use such content. You hereby grant to The Washington Post a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, exclusive, and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, incorporate into other works, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise exploit such content, in whole or in part in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

9. You have read and agree to abide by our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Our commenting system is designed to draw together insightful, active, and civil discussions among Post readers, reporters and editors. Please take some time to review our Discussion Guidelines and remember that, as a commenter, you are responsible for what you post. We will remove posts that include profanity, hate speech, name-calling and personal attacks. We will also remove comments that provoke emotional responses and disrupt conversations.

We appreciate feedback on our commenting system and often use it to improve our commenting community.

If you have a question about our commenting system, please read the FAQs below — they may answer your question. If not, please try us at our email address:  Please be sure to include in your email your username, the email address you used to register and some context about the issue you’re having (e.g., the URL to which you posted a comment).

Do I have to register to comment?
You must register as a Washington Post user or login to the site through Facebook. Registration is free. For information on how our paywall impacts commenters, click here.

Do my comments have to be approved before they are published?
We review comments by new commenters to verify that they don’t violate site discussion guidelines. Comments by other users are published automatically on most threads. Any comment that violates our discussion guidelines is subject to removal.

Will my username be displayed with my comment?
Your username will be displayed with all comments and photos you post. If you log in through Facebook, your name will display with your comments unless you choose a username. You can do this through your account profile — make sure you’re signed in and click on your username in the upper lefthand corner.

Can I change my username?
Yes. Note that your new username may not be reflected on past comments. We encourage commenters to use their real names as their username.  Please do not choose anyone else’s name as your username, or post anyone else’s photo as your site avatar. Impersonating anyone — including, but not limited to, other commenters, Post staffers or public figures — violates our guidelines and may result in a ban on your commenting privileges.

Can I comment under multiple usernames?
We discourage it. Having one username gives the comments team a better picture of how you contribute to our commenting community. That understanding helps make our moderation process more effective. Note that you must also have a verified email address for each username. Switching between usernames can also lead to sign-in issues in some cases.

What should I do if I see an offensive comment?
Please click on the “Report” link below the comment. We will review the comment and remove it if it violates the discussion guidelines.

I’d like to report a comment as abusive, but don’t see the appropriate option listed.
The options listed under our “Report” link are Spam, Offensive, Disagree and Off Topic. These are meant to help put an abuse report in context for moderators, but they are by no means the only reasons for a comment to be removed. Choose the option that best fits your reason for flagging the comment.

I reported an offensive comment and it’s still visible on the site. Why?
When reporting a comment, be sure that it actually violates our guidelines. Repeatedly reporting comments that do not violate our guidelines is disruptive to the moderation process and may result in a ban on your commenting privileges.

If you’re reporting legitimately offensive content, you may need to refresh the thread to see that a comment has been removed. If you see that an offensive comment has not been removed or see a commenter posting consistently offensive content, please contact the comments team at In your email, please include your own username and detail your concern. If your concern is an offensive commenter, please provide the username. If your concern is a particular comment, please provide a link to it (click on the comment’s timestamp).

I don’t believe my comment violated your discussion guidelines. Why was it removed?
Be sure that your comment does not include name-calling and that it addresses the topics discussed in the article on which you are commenting. In addition, please note that we do not allow words disguised to get around our profanity filter, so comments that include characters like #$#% are subject to removal. If you believe your comment has been removed in error, contact the comments team at and we’ll be happy to look into it.

I posted a comment, but don’t see it on your site. Why?

If you recently registered for a commenting account, your comment may be awaiting moderation. Comments from new users are generally moderated within 30 minutes. You should also make sure that your post does not include any profanity, which may be withheld automatically. Occasionally, the inclusion of multiple links in a comment can cause it to be caught by spam filters. If you’re not seeing a comment you believe should have been posted, contact In your email, please provide your username, the email address you used to register and a link to the article where you posted it.

Where can I see my past comments? Are there direct links for my comments?
If you’re on a comment thread, scroll up to the comment box and click on the arrow above the box (next to your username). In the dropdown, choose “view my comments.” You can also go directly to to see a list of your recent comments. Click on the timestamp of a comment to see your comment and any replies to it. For your own replies, click on the “this comment” link beneath the reply text and you’ll see the thread to which you replied.

I don’t want to see comments from a specific commenter — can I hide their comments?
Yes. Hover over a comment from a commenter whose posts you no longer wish to see and click the “ignore user” link. If you ever want to stop ignoring a commenter, go to and scroll to the bottom where it says “commenters I’ve ignored.” You’ll see a list there and a “stop ignoring” option next to each username. You can also do this directly from a comment thread by scrolling up to the comment box and clicking on the arrow above the box (next to your username). In the dropdown, choose “stop ignoring users.”

What’s The Post’s policy on banning commenters?
Our discussion guidelines are linked from every thread on our site so that readers are well informed of our policies. Commenters who consistently violate these guidelines may be banned. We are unable to notify all banned commenters. If you believe you’ve been banned and wish to appeal, please contact

Some commenters have badges. What do they mean?
In the past, we awarded badges to readers who consistently posted insightful and thought-provoking material. We’re reevaluating how to best identify and highlight such commenters (if you have ideas about that, we’d love to hear them!). We’re not currently awarding any badges, but you may see them displayed by the comments of longtime commenters. If you see a badged commenter abusing our discussion guidelines, please contact the comments team at

You may also see “Preferred Commenters” on certain stories. These are users with direct involvement in a particular story on qualify for Preferred Commenter status. Preferred Commenters are approved on a story-by-story basis and are verified to comment on a particular story. For more on preferred commenters, click here.

How can I identify comments posted by Post writers and editors?
Comments posted by Post staffers and editors are highlighted and appear with a WP Staff logo. Comments posted by Post contributors, usually freelance writers, are similarly styled.

Why can’t I comment on some articles, videos and photo galleries?
We typically allow comments on articles and other staff-produced material for 14 days following publication, when they are most timely. We close comments on most obituaries and reserve the right to close comments on some Post articles of a sensitive nature, particularly in cases where someone has died or has been injured.

Eek, I just commented and see a typo. Can I edit it?
Yes — you can edit your comment for up to five minutes after posting. Please note that Washington Post staffers do not edit comments.

Can I remove a comment I’ve made?
No. Your comments on the site are part of a public conversation. We generally do not remove comments unless they violate our discussion guidelines. If you have concerns about a comment you’ve posted, please contact the comments team at

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.
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Bethonie Butler · March 7, 2014