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Blog Usability: Commenting Policy

From a former colleague I just learned that Capgemini started our first official corporate weblog: CTO Blog by corporate CTO Andy Mulholland and Northern Europe Asia Pacific CTO Ron Tolido.

There are two things I think are really excellent: Their biographies — extremely well written, and that the weblog has a corporate commenting policy

Example Capgemini corporate CTO Blog

Commenting policy on Capgemini blogs

We welcome comments on our blogs. The following rules are here to help us keep them nice conversational places.

  • Your words will have a much greater weight if you sign them with your email address and your blog URL if you have one. If you want to comment anonymously, leave those fields blank instead of giving fake information! We do not display your email address.
  • Stay on-topic, informative and polite. Do not comment on a post if you’re not quite sure what the topic is, or are looking to contact Capgemini. Do not spam. Do not engage in personal, ad hominem attacks.

Please note that:

  • TrackBacks and comments are treated identically under this policy.
  • Failure to comply with this policy may result in your comment being removed, and possibly your banning from further commenting. We reserve the right to contact your ISP in case of abuse.
  • Each blog author has the freedom to chose, at anytime and on any post, whether they accept comments with an a priori or a posteriori moderation, or not at all. In any case, Capgemini reserves the right to moderate all comments at any time in accordance to this policy and the site Terms of Use.
  • Comments are solely the opinions of the individuals leaving them. In no way does Capgemini endorse, condone, agree with, sponsor, etc. these comments.
  • By posting a comment on our site, you agree to and accept this policy and the site Terms of Use.

This policy may change at anytime without notice. Last update: May 10, 2006.

I just wonder if a commenting policy would be appropriate on this blog too. The legal tone is clearly recognizable. But the real issue here is should all blogs have a commenting policy?


This blog already has an implicit commenting policy. We use Akismet, a pluging to the blogging software that automatically removes spam comments (we get between 50-150 spam comments every day). In addition, if Akismet fails, we remove comments by hand. Finally, some comments are just irrelevant to our blog. We like people to write a comment to add their opinion to ours, only on the subject matter.

We kind of assume that your comments are “on-topic, informative, and polite”. And your comments usually always are!

Your experience

I’d really love to learn more from you about experiences using or avoiding commenting policies. Do you know of examples where for instance missing commenting policies lead to legal issues?

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5 Responses to “Blog Usability: Commenting Policy”

  1. Luis Villa Says:

    Hi Jesper… Blogging is about spontaneous conversations among people. But once all the things go in to corporate mode, legal issues start flourishing… education and politeness that are supossed on other blogs don’t seem to be enough. (until that we’re running on stealth mode :-))

    But there’s another perspective that I would like to comment:

    Time ago, a person of my former employer PR area, asked me to notify them when I’m posting content, and specially if I was using the name of my company as you’re actually doing.

    That’s why lots of people use a disclaimer saying basically that, “I don’t blog for them, I blog for me”. So the posts doesn’t represent the blogger employer opinions.

    Does having a weblog where is clearly stated its relationship with your company, bring up any problems to you?

  2. Trine-Maria Says:

    Hi Jesper – I find the topic of great interest as well. And no I have never heard of anyone getting into trouble because they did not have a commenting policy. Probably because spammers and trolls and people who are totally off topic or swearing in comments already KNOW that they are out of line?

    I guess I think that a commenting policy is ok if it is there to help new readers understand the form and function on the blog. But I don’t like the corporate, legal tone in sentenses like: “Failure to comply…” and “Capgemini reserves the right to…” etc.

    Would I ever comment on a blog that starts of new conversations and relationships like this? I mean if I meet these people face to face and talk to them will they start by telling me how I should behave in order for them to listen? Probably not – and maybe they shouldn’t do that on their blog either?

    Another thing that I don’t like is: “Do not comment on a post if you’re … looking to contact Capgemini.” and then they link to a form-page with 10 mandatory fields. So I have to tell them everything about ME – in order to tip them on a topic they should cover – or to send them a link to a cool blog they might be interested in? Again I don’t think I would do that. You have to start out by trusting the readers – give them an e-mail-adress and the benefit of the doubt?

    It would be very interesting to know where the commenting policy came from? Who made it and why did it turn out as it did?

  3. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    To add more examples:
    Amazon has the following comment guidelines, for example found on Mike Kuniavsky’s Amazon blog. One excerpt:

    What shouldn’t I post?

    Behave as if you were a guest at a friend’s dinner party. Please treat the Amazon community with respect. Do not post:

    * Profane or obscene, inciting, or spiteful comments
    * Messages that harass, abuse, or threaten other participants
    * Text written by someone else, except for brief quotations from a book or other product under discussion
    * Any personal information about children under 13
    * Text that promotes illegal or immoral conduct
    * Any form of “spam,” including advertisements, contests, or other solicitations for other websites or companies; or campaigns to promote an item in the catalog.

  4. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    Jeremy Zawodny has the following comment policy on his private blog:

    Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.

    I really like that the short intro text is directly below the input field. From here it’s then possible to learn more.

  5. | Blogging Policy and Guidelines Says:

    [...] Back in May we discussed the value of a blog commenting policy, which is mostly directed at a blog’s audience. The guidelines here are aimed at the authors. [...]