As the readership of Storied Mind has grown, I have received more questions about the commenting process and have also run into my own limitations in responding to everyone. I’m setting out a few guidelines here so that you will know what to expect.
My Responses to Comments and Questions.
I have always tried in the past to respond to every comment and every email question, but the increasing numbers have made it hard to keep up. It’s not only the number of comments but also their length and compelling personal content. I’ve taken each one to heart and tried to offer what I could from my experience, but I guess I’ve reached a limit both in time and in emotional endurance as well, I have to say. I need to stand back for a while.
From now on, I will respond to as many comments as I can on new posts but will respond on older ones only when I think I can add something that hasn’t been discussed elsewhere in the comments on that post.
As I have mentioned on the Contact page, I will no longer be responding to emails requesting help with personal problems. I am not a therapist and have offered all the advice I have in the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written here in posts and comments.
I hope you will understand if I do not answer your comment individually. Whatever you write is important to all of us in this blog community. It’s how we learn, and we’re all grateful for your willingness to share your experience.
Courtesy and Respect
Among the thousands of comments submitted to this blog, I can count on one hand the number I have refused to publish because they did not follow basic rules of courtesy and respect for others. As the readership and volume of comments go up, however, there are a couple of things I notice that merit a reminder or two, just to ensure that you don’t inadvertently say something that blocks your comment.
Each comment should make clear that it responds to the post or to another comment in some way. Very rarely, I get a rant about mental illness or a piece of pure self-promotion that could be written anywhere and has no relevance to the post or to other comments. I don’t publish those.
Above all, respect the feelings and integrity of every other commenter. You may certainly disagree with something you read, but I don’t publish comments that criticize others for feeling the way they feel or that attack others in any way. Just focus on what your experience is all about rather than trying to evaluate what someone else has done or telling them that they aren’t really depressed.
I hate to mention this since commenters here are overwhelmingly respectful, thoughtful, kind and supportive. But sometimes, people get carried away in the strength of their reactions and say something that’s insensitive or worse. That’s when I have to step in.
Delays in Posting Your Comments
I do review all comments prior to posting, primarily to screen for spam, so there is a delay between your submission and publication. I check comments throughout the day in an effort to keep the interval as brief as possible, but there can be delays of as much as a day, especially if we are separated by several time zones, a continent or half the globe.
I hope you’ll be patient if it takes a while for your comment to appear, but please let me know, by way of the contact form, if it seems to have gotten lost.
Disclaimer about Therapy
I have a disclaimer that this site does not offer therapy, and that applies to commenters as well. We all give advice to each other quite freely, share stories about what has or hasn’t worked and try to be as helpful as possible to others who are asking for assistance. That’s all fine, but if you are a professional mental health provider, please be careful about suggesting your own services or saying something that is more appropriate for a consulting session. Thank you.
I do everything I can to protect your anonymity, while asking for minimal information (email address) to make sure the comment is coming from a real person. The email address is kept confidential, and I do not use it for any other purpose.
Sometimes, commenters put personal information inadvertently in the name or website field (these fields are visible to the public), or use their full names out of habit when they don’t intend to. I am happy to correct problems like those, but it’s better to prevent them before your personal information appears on the blog.
Modifying or Removing Comments
Please be sure that you are comfortable publishing your comments before you submit them. Very rarely, a reader asks to have comments taken down after they’ve been posted. It’s usually because they would like someone else to read the blog but don’t want to reveal that they’ve been describing that person’s situation online. So please think ahead about that, or any other potential problem.
Often, by the time I get the request to take down a comment, other readers have already responded, and it has become part of the ongoing dialogue. It’s a loss to all if the comments suddenly disappear.
I will respond to any request you might make to modify or remove your comment and will do as you ask unless there is some compelling reason not to. I want to be sure that your contribution here never creates a problem for you. However, I also want to keep the comments intact except in unusual circumstances.
Rights to Your Comments
To be clear about the control of your comments, you always own the rights to anything you publish at Storied Mind – or any other website. Many sites, however, include terms and conditions (which most of us don’t bother to read and often don’t even know exist) that grant the site owner a non-exclusive right to use the material for any other purpose they see fit. I believe that goes too far.
I agree that anyone posting on a website is granting a “non-exclusive right” to the publisher. That just means that you, as the owner of your writing, are allowing the site to publish your comment while reserving to yourself the right to publish elsewhere. I’m OK with that, but I don’t agree with the idea that the blog publisher should also have the right to re-publish your words in ways that could go beyond your original intention.
By posting a comment on this blog, you are granting me the right to publish it on a non-exclusive basis in the context of other comments attached to a post, as you intended. You also grant me the right to edit your comment solely to make grammatical or spelling corrections, and to quote from it briefly in other related posts, only on Storied Mind. That’s it.
Occasionally, a comment has such valuable insight or tells such a compelling story that I want to publish it as a post on its own. In those cases I will always ask for the author’s permission in writing beforehand.