I made this website, in part, to take part in a discussion about education and educational technology. Naturally, I highly value the thoughts of my readers, and I encourage you to leave a comment if you’ve got something to add.

Clarify, question, challenge, discuss… whatever. Feel free to make your voice heard.

However, we should all be well aware of the fact that the Internet is replete with spam, and spammers see blog comments as a way to promote their websites. If you want your voice to be heard, make sure that you don’t accidentally come across as a spammer. Here are a few guidelines to help clarify what is and is not an acceptable comment.

Use a real name. Please use a real name, a pen name, or “Anonymous.” In the “Name” field, don’t include a business name, a product, or some set of keywords you’re trying to optimize for. You don’t have to use your real name, just make sure that it sounds like a real name.

Say something substantive. We all love congratulatory high fives and hugs. I love to hear how great I am, just like the next guy. But if you’re going to take the time to leave a comment, don’t just say, “Great post!” Say something meaningful, something that promotes the discussion.

It’s ok to disagree, but do so respectfully. When it comes to issues of politics and policy, I’m sure that people might disagree with what I have to say – or what other commenters have had to say. That’s ok. Disagreement is a great way to start conversation and stoke discussion. Just remember to focus on ideas, not people. If your comments aren’t respectful and degenerate into personal attacks, they will be moderated and deleted.

Don’t drop lots of links. If you make a comment and you need to include a link, that’s ok. Just as long as it’s related to your comment, your comment is substantive, and your link is going to be helpful for other readers.

I don’t automatically place comments in moderation, but some comments are picked up by the Akismet spam filter without me ever seeing them. Although I do periodically go through this spam filter, chances are that a comment picked up by Akismet is going to disappear into oblivion.

If you don’t follow these guidelines, then it’s pretty likely that Akismet is going to pick up your comment and trash it. Please don’t end up in the spam folder.