We invite and encourage conversation on Mooney on Theatre. Thoughtful conversation. Conversation that helps to develop a more complete picture of the play (or dance, or opera or whatever) in question. Heck, we love getting them. Anytime people are talking theatre I’m a happy camper.
I love the conversations, and to help make them as productive, interesting and revealing as possible, I have some commenting guidelines.
The short version is basically Submit stuff that furthers the conversation, and be nice.
Some context and the longer more detailed version follows:
My writers are all volunteers (in fact, we all are) and they work their asses off for this site. Nonetheless, I put really strict rules around what type of writing they can submit, insisting that it be as constructive and ‘nice’ as possible. I want them to make it clear that they are only presenting their opinions and not offering any kind of absolutes. We’re not here to declare something good or bad. We’re not here to make a declaration of quality, we’re just here to say if we liked a piece or not and hopefully give the reader a flavour of the piece.
This is something that not all of them agree with and wish they were free to write in a more critical way without worrying about the ‘nice’ factor. But, to write on Mooney on Theatre this is how it has to be. That was the basis of forming the publication for me. This doesn’t extend to writing off of MoT, they can be nice here, and highly critical in their own venues, but I get to control the content in the publication I founded.
Basically, I hold commentors to the same standards. Especially when addressing the article, not the piece the article is regarding. These writers do so much for Mooney on Theatre, I’m very protective of them. So, commentors are, of course more than welcome to write however they like on their own publication, but I have a style I follow here on Mooney on Theatre.
So, what this breaks down to is, if I receive notification of a comment that does not further the conversation in any way there’s a reasonable chance it won’t be approved. If the comment not only doesn’t further the conversation, and is also mean, then it for sure won’t be published at all.
I know a lot of people don’t believe in moderating comments, and feel that if an article is published it’s fair game. It’s a relatively new phenomenon. If people insisted that news papers published every single letter to the editor, they’d be heavy unwieldy things to carry around.
We work very hard at Mooney on Theatre to be kind and constructive. We ask the same respect from our readers
I want the comments on my publication to still work within the mandate of Mooney on Theatre. Luckily, since it’s my house, I get to make the rules.
Don’t be discouraged by this though. We really really really want to hear from you. You just might have to take a bit more time to think through your comment before submitting it than you do elsewhere. The benefit though is you’ll likely have a much more interesting and satisfying conversation as a result.