Our blog is like our home, and our rules and etiquette here are simple and straightforward. Conduct yourself with courtesy and respect and we'll greet you in the same manner. Treat us or our readers rudely or offensively and you'll quickly be booted out.
When leaving comments here, please be polite and respectful toward us and the other readers who interact with us and with each other. We have a few guidelines that you need to follow; doing so will get your comment posted here, and also make you the kind of commenter that other bloggers would like to hear from as well.
- Use your name in the Commenter Name field. Don’t post comments with a keyword, blog name, web site name, or business name. We like to know who we're talking to. You wouldn't introduce yourself at a party with "Hi, my name is ACME Paper Supplies"...you'd say "Hi, I'm Joe [or whatever your name is]." The same etiquette applies here. When you post with something other than your name, you're telling us that you're more interested in marketing your site, building link traffic, and driving up search engine hits than you are in contributing to dialogue here. It's transparent, and a surefire way to get your comments blocked.
- Add value -- not white noise -- to the conversation. Short comments like “Great post!" or "Thanks" add nothing to the conversation (compliments are always nice, but still...). Please add value to your comments and contribute to the discussions; otherwise, we'll tag you as a spammer and delete your comment.
- Show everyone respect. You can speak your mind on a subject or politely criticize a post, but starting flame wars with us or another commenter will get your comment deleted. In the unlikely event you're provoked by another commenter, ignore them -- believe us, they will be dealt with.
- Watch your language. No foul or inappropriate language. We have children reading our blog and we do everything we can to make this a safe zone for them.
- Be concise. Keep your comments to the point. Folks don’t want to read ramblings that go on for hundreds of words with nothing resembling discernible sentences or paragraphs. (No, we're not your high school English teachers grading anyone on spelling and grammar. But we've had attempted comments that went on for 400 words with no punctuation and no capital letters -- the only thing that would have made them more illegible would have been to write them in Cyrillic characters.)
- Keep your comments relevant. We talk about guinea pigs here, and occasionally pull our lens out to look at larger topics of animal welfare, stewardship over the animals who share our planet, and pet ownership. If you want to talk about shoes, great vacation spots, the state of politics in any given country, or some other topic that twirls your beanie cap, please go find a blog that actually focuses on your favorite topic.
- Link wisely. Use the Commenter URL field to create a link to your site. Use the comment text field to link to related articles that would be useful to your fellow readers. Blatant attempts to build link traffic to another site will be deleted (see #8, below). So, too, will comments that link to inappropriate or obscene content (see #4, above).
- Know that we read all comments. To be clear, we don't have a problem with folks including links to their sites; we know the blog commenting game -- we all support each other's honest efforts out here on the Web. But there's a fine and obvious line between legitimate and genuinely engaged commenters and unbridled self-promoters who don't really care a bit about what we're trying to do here. We can spot the difference between legit comments and manual spam (those comments that appear to be legit but which come from folks who comment so frequently as to be excessive that we can tell that they're just trying to quickly build up link traffic to a new site). We will delete comments from transparently self-promoting folks who are linking to "educational" sites that we can tell are plagiarizing or repackaging content from notable guinea pig care sites, obviously suspect e-commerce sites, half-baked and unfinished sites clearly created only to build Google AdWords revenue, and sites hawking pet care information products that contain erroneous or irresponsible content.
Not following these simple and reasonable guidelines will get your comment deleted. Repeat offenders will give us no choice but to ban them from our blog.