Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blog commenting guidelines

A guest post by Edel Brosnan, Chair of the Guild's Editorial and Communications Committee.

Rule #1: Be nice (this rule has been shamelessly lifted from the excellent "What's Alan Watching" blog at "This is a place where people can and should argue passionately for their point of view. But there's a difference between arguing with passion and arguing with hostility. If you can't find a way to express your viewpoint without insulting other commenters, or getting strident and self-righteous -- say, equating your opinion with fact, and deriding other people for not seeing the truth of your words -- then either tone down your words until they're more respectful to other people, or don't comment."

Rule # 2: Stay on-topic
This is a place for discussing items of interest to WGGB members. We don't mind if you're a current member, lapsed member, prospective member, longtime friend or implacable enemy of the Guild - we welcome comments, chat, ideas, links, reviews and speculation from anyone who's interested in life on Planet Writer. But please try to keep on-topic - as a basic rule, if you're discussing a state -of-the-nation book, play, film, TV drama, videogame or radio play, then you're on topic. If you're arguing about the state of the nation itself, then you're probably not. Having said that, if you've just had your first or fifty-first commission, or you've just fallen in love and want to share it with the world, then tell us - we want to hear the good stuff too.

Rule # 3: Don't slander any billionaire media giants
Or anyone else, for that matter. As a writers' organisation, we do not believe in heavy-handed moderation. But please don't post anything that would put the Guild in legal jeopardy. We need to keep the legal drama where it belongs - on stage and on screen.

Rule # 4: Give yourself credit
You don't have to post under your own name - we understand that there may be a thousand reasons why you shouldn't put your name to a scathing comment about script editors or the fact that you hate the cover design for your latest book. But reading comments by six or seven different contributors all calling themselves "Anonymous" is horribly confusing. Invent a nom de plume if you don't want to post under your real name - all you need to do is set up a free Gmail or Googlemail account. You can do that by clicking here - You can also use a LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad, AIM or OpenID account. (Of course, there's nothing to stop you selecting "anonymous" as your nom de plume, as long as someone else hasn't already beaten you to it). If you'd like to drive traffic to your own website, you can also post comments using your website URL as your ID.


  1. Anonymous12:49 am

    Isn't it bad enough that Guild members don't have a forum where they can post their own threads? In stead they have a paid member controlling what gets discussed (so who controls him?)

    Now the membership are being preached to on how to behave online. And I thought Stalin was dead.

  2. Anon, the Guild's blog falls under the Editorial Committee, who is responsible to the EC, who is responsible to the membership. All of it is member-led. From what I can see, you don't seem to have any problems getting your threads posted. You can always easily set up a blog of your own and the Guild will happily link to it. And rules are what society has to stop us from punching each other in the face.

  3. Posting rules and/ or guidelines are not unusual on blogs.

    And for the record, I am not a paid member of staff. The Guild has four fulltime and very hard-working staff members, and an EC and subcommittees who, rightly, don't get paid.

    I'm not a paid member, I'm a paid-up Guild member, in that I pay my Guild subscription by quarterly direct debit.

    We'd love to set up a Guild forum in the near future, tight budgets permitting. allows. All forum software recommendations gratefully accepted.

  4. Anonymous8:09 pm

    "For the record", Ms Brosnan, wasn't it on this very site or the Guild site that Tom Green stated that he got paid for doing this?

    Perhaps he would like to clarify matters "for the record"?

    Also, surely there is software out there?

    Surely it is affordable (the Guild can afford to change its premises twice within the last several years)?

    Surely the members (as writers that they are) are capable of setting their own threads instead of being nannied?

  5. Anonymous12:13 am

    Wow, so "don't be a git" = Stalin? No wonder they need to post rules about politeness, Anon, you've just proved their point for them.

    Proboards have free forum tools, you can pay to remove the (one) advert at the top of the page, or just leave it there. They're really good forums, and all for free. There are other free ones too.

  6. Anonymous7:51 pm

    "don't be a git" - there is no-one to quote but your own comment so why put in the quotation marks, Anon? And haven't you just proved their point also?

    Stalin was a bit harsh but I do take all this control business seriously due to past experience going back years, Anon, and I didn't use it till after the guidelines were displayed (which I thought OTT).

    I am glad, though, that you have mentioned the free software because I would now like to see what the excuse is for not having a forum like other organisations.

  7. Anonymous12:49 am

    I was summarising their commenting rules - be nice, stay on topic, don't slander anyone, try to pick a name - if "don't be a git" is inaccurate, please substitute your own alternative. They're just asking people to play nice on their site. It's hardly Stalinist or OTT to expect people to behave themselves in your house. If you invited me into your home and asked me not to insult your guests, I wouldn't immediately start bleating about Stalin, it's a bit silly, isn't it? Your past experience is nothing to do with them wanting to keep their site civil and polite.

  8. Anonymous6:06 pm

    This thread came about in response to some hard questions raised on another thread that Messrs Brosnan and Renard didn't feel too easy about-God forbid that anyone should dare question the WGGB!

    It is not a house that I'm visiting, anonymous, it's a public site inviting comment. Maybe it is opinionated maybe it is strong but I haven't insulted anybody like you did, anonymous, by saying "don't be a git". Now to anyone's reckoning, anonymous, that would be insulting.

    Let's face it who else bothers visiting the site? Or if so why so few joining in?

    Now make my day and stick your two penn'orth in again!

  9. Anonymous8:57 pm

    I didn't call anyone a git. I was summarising the 4 rules, rules which are fairly benign and reasonable, as essentially boiling down to "don't be a git". You haven't insulted anyone? You associated the WGGB with Stalin, which I'd argue some might consider insulting!

    I'm aware this isn't a house. That was an example. All they're asking is that you be polite on their site. From what I've seen of them in the past, they're not scared of difficult questions. They simply want you to ask them without getting hostile or personal. That's hardly unreasonable, or Stalinist.

  10. Anonymous4:17 pm


  11. Anonymous10:44 am

    I wonder how many anonymous entries we have here?

  12. Anonymous12:51 pm

    Maybe we're all the same person ;-)


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