Readers’ comments are an integral part of ft.com. They help to put our coverage in context and provide different perspectives. Sometimes we get story ideas from these discussions, as a comment can be a starting point for another FT piece.
Over time, we have found that some comments are more conducive to discussion than others. Above all, it is important that our site is inclusive, so we ask that you comment in a civil manner. The guidance below gives our view on what works well, lists what sort of comments are not allowed and outlines scenarios where we might intervene in a discussion.
We are grateful to those who take the time to contribute to the FT. We look forward to reading your comments.
- Ensure that your comments are relevant to the topic being discussed. Off topic comments may be removed.
- Refrain from writing your responses in capital letters or bold.
- Write in English. Comments linking to non-English language sites may be removed in their entirety.
- Using offensive language may lead to your comment being removed. This includes the use of swear words and profanity.
- Don’t make personal attacks on others or write comments that are needlessly aggressive or rude. Disagreements and criticism are fine, but making your comments personal is not.
- Don’t write comments that are abusive, or incite hatred. Comments that are derogatory or make sweeping generalisations about people of a particular race, nationality, sexual orientation or religion are harmful to our community and not permitted.
- It is also not permitted to call other commenters names and this includes accusing someone of being a troll. If you are genuinely concerned that someone is a troll, please email email@example.com and ask for your email to be directed to the comment moderation team.
Sharing the space
- Be concise. Comments posted in two or more parts will be removed.
- Don’t hog the comments space. Those who we deem (in our sole discretion) to be commenting excessively may be banned.
Criticism of the FT and our journalists
- Making personal or uncivil attacks against our writers will lead to your comment being removed and may result in a ban from commenting. Criticism should be made in a constructive manner – play the ball not the man/woman. We welcome criticism of our coverage but we may remove comments that are plainly unfounded or misrepresent our journalism.
Promoting, reposting, impersonating
- Comments advertising or linking to businesses or products or aimed primarily at promoting other websites may be removed in their entirety. This includes linking repeatedly to your own blog posts or other content belonging to you but hosted on third party sites.
- Comments may be removed if they repeat points already made by the same commenter, or if they appear to be part of an organised campaign.
- You must not pretend to be another known ft.com user. You must not impersonate any person or entity or misrepresent any connection with any person or entity.
And our in-house counsel says
Thank you for contributing to the FT.
- How do I comment on the FT.com site?
- To comment, you need to be registered with FT.com. Registration is free and you can do so here. If you are already either a subscriber or a registered user then simply log in to FT.com. Then go to the story or blog post in question and add your response to the comment box.
- What sort of comments work best on FT.com?
- We welcome comments that are relevant to the subject at hand, constructive, concise and written in English. Our guidelines are below.
- Can I write under a pseudonym?
- Yes. Please fill in the pseudonym box when submitting your comment. If it transpires that you have chosen the same pseudonym as someone else, an FT administrator may email you to inform you and require you to change your name.
- Users who choose a pseudonym deemed to be offensive or to breach any of our other guidelines will be required to change it and face a ban from commenting if they do not comply.
- Why would I want a pseudonym?
- It allows you to have a choice of a name to display to other readers of FT.com, rather than your real name. You do not need to create a pseudonym if you do not want one. All comments made under a pseudonym can be tracked back to your FT.com account.
- How do I change my pseudonym?
- You can change your pseudonym at any time by clicking ‘Change your pseudonym’ on any comment box. Please note that all comments made before you changed your pseudonym will be updated to reflect the new version.
- I want to report an abusive comment on FT.com. What should I do?
- Hover over the comment in question and click “Flag”. This option appears towards the bottom left of the comment. Please let us know why you are flagging the comment by using the “Flag as” dropdown menu and click “OK”. The comment will then be brought to our attention.
- Do you moderate comments on FT.com?
- Moderators review certain comments posted on the site by users, and make their decision based on our guidelines above and our terms and conditions.
- What changes do you make to comments?
- We don’t edit comments. If moderated, they either left on the site, or removed.
- What should I do if FT.com removes my comment?
- If your comment is removed then please review our guidelines above to see what sort of comments we welcome. The FT has the right, at its sole discretion, to remove comments that contravene our guidelines and terms. Users who breach those risk being banned, at our sole discretion, from commenting on the site. The FT is under no obligation to reinstate any comments that are removed. We will not reply to enquiries about why a particular comment does not appear on the site. Banned users will be able to use the comment facility, but their comments will not be visible to any other FT readers.
- Which articles can I comment on?
- You are able to comment on our articles except where the facility has been closed, at our discretion, for legal or other reasons.
- What are “editor’s picks”?
- These are comments written by readers that FT editorial staff want to mark out as being especially good. For example, this could be because the comment was thought to be insightful, well-argued, or witty.
- What’s “recommend”?
- FT readers can “recommend” the comments of other users. While you do have to be logged in to recommend a comment, you don’t have to be someone who comments. The total number of recommendations a comment has received is displayed to the left of the “recommend” option. If you recommend a comment by accident, simply click “unrecommend”.
- Can I edit my comment?
- It’s possible to edit your comment within two minutes of submitting it. After that you will not be able to edit further. While we want to give commenters the opportunity for amendments, we feel that after-the-fact edits may disrupt the flow of the conversation. If you wish to clarify an earlier point, please do so by posting another comment.
- Can I delete my comment?
- Yes. However, please be respectful of your fellow commenters, especially if they have engaged you in a discussion. If your comment has direct replies and you delete your comment, a message will be displayed that the comment was removed. If you delete your comment, there will be no way to retrieve it.
- Why am I asked to grant permissions for my Twitter and Facebook accounts when I want to share a comment?
- The FT needs your permission to be able to share a comment directly to your Facebook or Twitter feed. If you would prefer not to grant these permissions, copy the permalink provided when you click “share” and go directly to Facebook or Twitter to post the link you’d like to share.
- Why am I am I seeing “Pending” on my comment?
- A comment marked “Pending” has been automatically caught by our commenting system. When a comment is in a pending state, it will only be visible to the person who wrote it and not to other readers.
A common reason for a comment to be treated this way is the use of profanity. In this case, the quickest way to get a comment out of the pending state is to delete the pending comment and then re-submit it again without profanity.
If the comment does not contain profanity, then it may have been caught by the system’s spam filter. This filter does, from time to time, catch comments that are not spam. If this happens to your comment, please be patient. The situation will likely rectify itself within 24 hours.
- Why am I seeing “Blocked” on my comment?
- The “Blocked” tag automatically appears on comments when a commenter has been banned from posting comments. Therefore, if you are seeing “Blocked” on your comments, you have been banned from commenting and your comments are only visible to you (and not to any other reader).
If you think there is a possibility of an error on our part, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our Customer Service team. We may then review the situation. When you email, please provide your pseudonym or the email address associated with your FT.com account.
The most common reasons for a ban are the posting of offensive remarks or spam. Our full Commenting Guidelines are available here.
Following comments by email
- What does the “+Follow” button do?
- Click this button to start receiving notifications by email when new comments are posted on the story. If no new comments are posted, you won’t receive any email.
- What types of email notifications are available?
- It’s possible to be notified by email when:
- Someone replies to a comment you’ve written
- A comment you’ve written receives a recommendation
- There are new comments on a story that you have opted to follow (as described above)
Notifications can be set to send either immediately, hourly, or never.
For example, if you have chosen to receive all three types of notification on an hourly basis and you are following two stories, then at most you will receive two emails in a given hour. (And you will only be sent those at all if there is some activity to report to you.)
It is also possible opt-in to a service whereby you automatically receive notifications for any story you comment on. This option can be set in the “Commenting settings” which is by the comment box at the bottom of most FT articles.
- How do I change my preferences?
- Please click “Commenting settings” on the comment box at the bottom of most FT articles.
- How do I stop receiving emails?
- To stop receiving notifications on a given story, click on “-Unfollow” on the comment box for the specific story. Alternatively, if you have received an email notification for that story already, you can click on “Unsubscribe from this conversation” at the bottom of the email.
If you want to stop receiving emails about comments altogether, please click “Commenting settings” on the comment box at the bottom of most FT articles, change the settings for all three notification types to “Never” and click “Save”.
- I’m receiving emails for every story I’ve commented on. Why is this?
- This should only occur when you have opted in to automatically receive notifications for any story you comment on. This setting is off by default. To check the setting and change your preference, please click “Commenting settings” on the comment box at the bottom of most FT articles, untick the “Check to automatically follow a conversation you comment on” box and click “Save”.
- Why do I see my settings when I comment?
- We want to make sure you see the settings so that you can set the preferences to your liking. Set things up the way you want and hit the “Save” button towards the bottom right of the form. If you dismiss the form without saving, you may see the form again.