Our Commenting Policy 2009

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Dear Readers, Lurkers & Commenters,

We've had unfiltered (and amazing) comments since we launched in 2004. Yes, every now and then we’ve had to do a little policing, but not much, and I’ve felt that it’s the tone that we set as writers that has the biggest impact on comments. However, as our sites have grown we’ve had to get a little stricter and a little more watchful. Now, with nearly 3 million monthly visitors, I’m hearing enough static that I feel it’s time to wade in again, comment on comments and make a policy. Therefore, we sat down as a group of editors over the past few weeks and put together a comment policy which outlines in detail what we are trying to achieve here...

Apartment Therapy Comment Policy

We are a community that seeks to help people make their homes more beautiful, healthy, and organized. We believe that graciousness and courtesy are key elements of a beautiful home and therefore important elements of this conversation. Many people have opened up their private homes so we can learn and be inspired, and our rules for comments and discussions honor this sharing.

Our four rules for comments:

1. Be honest and fair, yet gracious.
2. No ad hominem attacks or gratuituous meanness.
3. Stay on topic.
4. Add value, don't take it away.

Comments must reflect the subject under discussion. Do not use the comment threads purely to promote your own site, product, or business.

These rules are designed to be simple, easily understood to protect the many good intentions that are essential to a productive community. We ARE a community, and we all have to tend it, editors and readers alike.

If you don’t tend it, you are OUT. It’s that simple. Comments and commenters that do not follow these rules will be deleted and blocked from the site. We won't tell you when you're over the line, but you’ll know it because other comments will undoubtedly have told you, and they’ll probably have told us too.

Apartment Therapy is about helping people, and we work hard every day to carry out this mission. Please join us.

Best,

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

March 2009

PS. We're also happy to hear anything you want to say privately. Any comments, criticism, or concerns about the structure and policies of Apartment Therapy can be directed to the team of managing editors — not posted in public forums. This helps ensure that your feedback will be addressed promptly and correctly, and keeps comment threads on topic. Please submit any comments on AT sites or policy through the form below:

Submit Feedback or a Question

Comment Policy FAQ

Will I get a warning if I break the rules?

No. Our rules are simple and self-evident. You don’t need a message from a moderator to know when you break them. We may start, however, by deleting comments that break the rules, so if you notice multiple comments disappearing, it’s safe to assume that you are breaking the rules. Eventually you will be banned from the active community—unless, of course, you change your ways.

What does it mean to add value?

Share another viewpoint on the topic and be productive. Mention something you liked about the home or product under discussion. If you dislike it, say why, politely, and offer a helpful alternative. If you own something similar or made a similar choice in your home, tell us about it and perhaps share a link.

Who decides to delete a comment or ban someone?

Our community of managing editors. They spend each day deep in our sites, cultivating them and working to create a community of interesting things and helpful ideas. They know the culture of these sites better than anyone, and they are able to make judgments on whether a comment is helpful and practical criticism, or just petty attack. You may at times disagree with their judgment. That’s fine. This network has its own unique culture and community, and the editors are part of that.

I got banned! Can I get back in?

If you had a comment deleted or you were banned, you can appeal our decision by submitting this form:

Appeal a User Ban

I don't like someone's comment. Can I complain about it?

First, check to see if you just disagree with their opinion. We want to encourage fair discussion and exchange, so if you just don't like someone else's opinion, that's not a good enough reason to complain. If they were mean, rude, off-topic, spamming, or doing something else that breaks our comment rules, you can notify us by using this form.

Submit a Comment Concern

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.

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