The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Community Rules

Placeholder while article actions load

Here at The Washington Post, we want to foster a community for insightful, inclusive and — most importantly — civil discussions around the news and our journalism.

We welcome your insight and perspective but, by joining the conversation, you are agreeing to follow the community rules below as well as The Post’s Discussion and Submission Guidelines, Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

What is our goal for the conversations on The Post?

Share your personal experiences and how they’ve shaped your opinion.

Our community includes readers from across the United States and abroad. We have the comments because we want to hear your unique perspective on an article or column we published. What’s your opinion and why?

Join in discussions and build on top of ideas.

It’s easy for conversations online to turn into a sounding board where readers simply post their stance on an issue, but the best discussions come from responding to what others have already shared.

Before you post, check to make sure someone hasn’t already made your point. And, if they have, a “like” is an easy way to show you appreciate the sentiment. You can also reply back to someone if you want to add to an idea or disagree with a point made.

Send questions you have about our reporting or writing at The Post.

We read the comments. Do you have a question for a reporter? You can email a reporter directly — you’ll find their email address by clicking their byline — or you can post the question in the comments. By posting in the comments, you’ll give other readers the chance to see the answer or respond with follow-up questions.

See a problem? Suggest a correction.

At The Washington Post, we have a history of holding ourselves to the highest levels of accuracy and editing standards. And we’ll continue to do so. If you know something to be factually incorrect in a story, you should submit a correction request here.

What type of posts should I avoid?

Partisan stereotypes or generalizations.

The best comments avoid generalizing groups of people. Comments stating “all conservatives” or “all liberals” do little to provide thoughtful conversations about the issues at hand.

Of course, this rule applies to areas outside of politics. We don’t allow comments that degrade others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, political beliefs, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classifications.

Vulgar language, name-calling or personal attacks.

Comments posted must be appropriate for all ages. Any profanity or cursing is prohibited. That includes any attempts to curse with special characters (!@#) or spacing.

Discuss and criticize ideas. We don’t allow comments that intend to intimidate, demean or harass other readers in any way.

“Troll,” “snowflake” and other dismissive behavior.

We always recommend readers stick to the issues. This isn’t a place to just post how incorrect, mistaken or wrong another commenter is. Disagreement is a key part of discussions, but we’ll remove attempts to solely dismiss or attack a reader with another perspective. If you disagree with someone, state your reasons why.

Speculation, misinformation, impersonation.

Conversations around the news often focus on what will happen next. That being said, we caution readers from jumping to conclusions or making grand accusations.

We don’t allow posts that include falsehoods or purposely spread inaccurate information. Likewise, don’t post any comments that misrepresent your affiliation or identity.

Off-topic, the caps lock, low-effort commentary.

Conversations on The Post are for discussions specifically about the article or column published by the newsroom or editorial board. We’ll remove posts that don’t follow the topic at hand. Along those lines, please avoid using ALL CAPS. Civility doesn’t start or end with yelling.

We’ll also take efforts to remove low-effort commentary. Three or four words in a post provides little insight, argument or opportunity for discussion.

Posts inciting or encouraging violence.

We’ll remove comments that contain or advocate for illegal or violent acts in any way.

We also don’t allow posts that infringe upon or violate the copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights of any person.

Duplicate comments or advertising.

Conversations on The Post are for issue-based discussions. Promoting, selling or advertising with a comment will result in a suspension or ban. Some exceptions are made for fundraising sites that relate to the specific article.

How do I join the conversations on The Post?

Before you can start posting, you need to create an account with The Post, verify your email address and create a display name, which will appear with any comment you write. Here’s a guide on how to create an account.

Once you set up your account, you are ready to start posting. Your first comments will be reviewed by a moderator before they are posted to the site. Once these comments are reviewed and approved, you will be able to post your next comments immediately.

You don’t need a subscription to create a Post account and comment, but The Post does have a paywall. Without a subscription, you can read and comment on a few articles per month. To see subscription offers, go here.

If I write a post, what name will appear?

When you create your account, you will have the option to add a display name, which is required to post in the conversation. We recommend, but do not require, that you use a display name similar to your first and/or last name. We recognize there are legitimate reasons to use a pseudonym to protect your privacy but using a version of your real name can help lend credibility to your comments. Any names meant to impersonate or personally attack others will result in a ban from the community.

Can I edit or delete a post I wrote?

Once you send a post, you have five minutes to edit or delete what you wrote. After that, the post will only be removed if it goes against the rules in place.

Once a comment is posted in the Post community, it’s on the record. The Post does this to ward off “ring-and-run” comments, when readers post an inflammatory comment only to remove it after the fact without consequences. Readers should stand behind what they write.

So, with the solution above, we’re prioritizing the need to clarify or eliminate typos while also ensuring readers retain ownership for what they submitted.

I read a comment that violated the rules listed here. What should I do?

Most discussions on The Post are post-moderated, which means reader comments appear almost instantaneously. We do this to foster an organic discussion without delay, but this also means comments that go against the rules may appear before they’re removed.

Our team moderates discussions 24/7, but we rely on the community to help police discussions. If you see a post against the rules, use the flag button to report it. Reports go directly to our team, so be judicious.

Alternatively, readers can block posts from other commenters by muting them. To do this, click their display name and select “Ignore.” You can unmute a reader by going to your profile.

I posted a comment and got a notification that it is under review. Why?

Some articles may have pre-moderated discussions in order to ensure readers abide by the rules in place. If this is the case, readers will get a notification when they send a comment and the post will appear if it follows the rules above.

I posted a comment and it was removed. Why?

First, take a moment to review the rules above. Most comments are removed from discussions on The Post because the posts attack or insult other readers rather than discuss the issues at hand. This can include replies to comments that break our guidelines. Name-calling, cursing and dismissive behavior will be deleted.

We do have a list of banned words for discussions on The Post. No, we don’t share the list. The words are in place to limit the use of vulgar language on the site, and we have zero tolerance for attempts to work around those rules with special characters.

When does The Post turn off comments on an article?

We will close the comments section before an article has published or shortly after if we believe the discussion will probably go against the rules set above.

We will also lock an ongoing discussion on an article if comments submitted continue to go against the community rules. In these cases, readers can typically see what has been submitted but will no longer be able to submit new posts.

We value your feedback, but we also value upholding civil dialogue around the news of the day. We’ll continue to close discussions in cases where the comments repeatedly go against the rules above. Articles without a comment section will list other ways to respond or give feedback.

If you believe there’s an article where we should turn off the comments, please email

In the majority of other cases, the discussion on an article closes 3 days after it was originally published.

What does it mean if I am suspended or banned?

Moderators may suspend or ban a reader after they post multiple comments against the rules above. Suspensions are for varying amounts of time — 1 hour, 3 hours, 1 day and 1 week — and the suspension will automatically lift after the allotted time. A ban is a permanent block from commenting on the site.

Suspensions and bans only preclude readers from posting in discussions on The Post. If you are suspended or banned, you will still be able to read all of The Post’s reporting.

Due to the volume of messages we receive, we cannot respond to requests to appeal bans or explain suspensions. If you are banned, do not attempt to create a new account after being banned. We will also ban the new account.

What is a featured comment?

Featured comments are comments picked by Post staff members to highlight thoughtful and diverse contributions to the discussion. Criteria include: likes by readers, replies, and previous history from a specific reader. We also take into consideration comments that offer personal experiences related to the story.

Is there a way to see my past comments on The Post?

On every comments section, there’s a “My Profile” tab with a collection of past comments you’ve made. From there, you can see how many replies and likes your comments got from other readers.

I still have more questions. Where can I send them?

If you have additional questions, you can send an email to

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read the rules in place.

There’s a reason we took the time to write up this overview. A better understanding of the rules allows us to have thoughtful, open conversations about journalism from The Post, and that’s the goal.