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Posted on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

Frequently asked questions about's commenting system

By Jen Eyer

The following frequently asked questions are designed to help you navigate the commenting system on If you have additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail us at

If you're looking for our commenting moderation guidelines, click here.

Has the process to sign in to my account changed?

No. You'll sign in to make a comment the same as you always have. You can sign in by clicking on "login" at the top right hand corner of the screen or by clicking on "sign in to comment" near the comment submission box below any story.

Can I still sign in using Facebook?

What are Most Popular Comments?
One of the new features of our new commenting system is "Most Popular Comments." On every story that has 12 or more comments, three of the most popular comments voted on by readers will be featured at the top, above the full thread of comments. We added this as a way to highlight good conversation. We trust our commenting community will vote up comments that are insightful and further the conversation.

How do I vote on a comment?
Below each comment, you'll see a button that says "vote." Simply click on that to vote on a comment. We urge you to vote on comments for a number of reasons. You may agree with the commenter or you may simply find the comment insightful. After you click the button, the word "vote" will change to "voted," and the comment's score will increase to reflect your vote. You can only vote once per comment, and you can't remove your vote. It's important to note that while you have to be signed in to to make a comment, you don't have to be signed in to vote.

What if I don't like a comment?
If you disagree with a comment, we urge you to post a reply to it explaining your opinion or post a new comment with your thoughts. If you believe the comment is inappropriate or violates our conversation guidelines, click on "report abuse" to let our moderating staff know.

How does the "reply" to comments work?
If you wish to make an on-topic reply to a comment, simply click the "reply" button below the comment, and a comment submission box will appear. Refresh the page and that comment submission box will disappear. We only allow top-level comments (or "parent" comments) to be replied to; you can't reply to a reply, for instance, although you can always reply to the top-level comment to join that conversation. If the top-level or parent comment violates our conversation guidelines, we'll remove it and all the replies that may have been posted.

How does sorting comments work?
By default, all of's comment threads are shown in descending order with the oldest comments at the top. With the new sorting feature, you can choose how you prefer to view comments by changing that ordering. You have the option to view comments in ascending order from newest to oldest or by most popular comments.

What does the RSS feed do?
The RSS feed will show all the comments in that thread. You can now put an RSS feed of comments from a particular story into a feed reader and view comments that way as they are posted.

Can I subscribe to comments via e-mail?
No, we do not offer that functionality at this time. It's something we'll continue to consider.

How do I ignore or block another commenter?
We allow our readers to block commenters they don't care to read comments from. You can't block individual comments — you can only block comments from individual commenters. To block a commenter, you have to be signed in to your account on Then hover over the profile picture, or avatar, of the commenter you wish to block. A mini-profile will appear. Click on the red dot in the mini-profile to ignore the user.

Will there be a marker placed every time a comment is removed?
Yes. With our new system, any time a comment violates our conversation guidelines, it will be removed and a marker will be placed in the conversation noting it. Occasionally, our moderators will also jump into the conversation to note more specifically why comments were removed.

Is there a word limit?
Yes, we have a limit on the length of comments. Our limit is 2,000 characters. When you go over 2,000 characters, a red character counter will appear to warn you.

What does "report abuse" mean?
The report abuse function is for our readers to report comments that are inappropriate or otherwise abusive. It's meant to help our commenting community police itself. When you click on the "report abuse" button on a comment, you'll be able to choose from a predetermined list of reasons why you think that comment is inappropriate. You will also be able to send a private message to the moderator on duty with more details about why you object to the comment. We highly encourage our commenters to use the "report abuse" tool. When used properly, this tool will strengthen our commenting community.

What is the Demand Media icon at the bottom of the comment thread?
We are using Demand Media's commenting tools to power our commenting system. To learn more about Demand Media, click on the icon, which will take you to the company's website.

I use Internet Explorer and comments aren't working on my computer.
There are some older versions of Internet Explorer that do not work well with our commenting system. Specifically, Internet Explorer 6 will not work with the commenting system. We encourage you to upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer or use a different browser, such as Firefox, Safari or Google's Chrome.

What will happen to old comments on
All of the older comments on have been brought over into our new system. If you go back and look at older stories, you'll be able to make comments on them, reply to comments and vote as comments just as you can now on newer stories.

Can I include links in my comments?
Yes, you can include links in your comments. However, they will always appear as plain text. You will not be able to insert HTML.

Do you have a word filter?
Yes. If you are attempting to use a word that is on our banned word list, the system will tell you which word you are attempting to use that is blocked and will encourage you to choose a new word. If you have a question about a blocked word that you think you should be able to use, e-mail us as


Don Theyken

Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

If I remember correctly, the Stearns building was built to house the collection. It was housed there after it left Hill. Why doesn't the University put the collection back in the the building they built to house the collection?

Michigan Man

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

Trying out my new name!


Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

How do I add a photo to my profile?

Jen Eyer

Tue, Sep 27, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

Looks like you figured it out!

Al Feldt

Wed, Sep 21, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I have a friend on food stamps who has no income at all but she owns a car worth more than $5,000. I hope when this new rule is put into effect, they will include recipes for preparing and eating exhaust systems, pistons and rear fenders.


Sun, Aug 14, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

Dear Moderator, please review the article on the death of Gary Lillie. The author blatantly writes that he was killed, by a suspected drunk driver! It is my understanding the Mr. Lillie died from injuries received when he was hit by a vehicle. If I were to make a comment stating the the driver had killed someone, it would be removed as people can't take that opinion right from me yet keep it for yourselves...shame,shame, shame, your author should know better!


Thu, Jul 14, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

hello.. Your staff just deleted my reply,I wasn't attacking the commenter ,I was simply telling him that he made me laugh,and that his comment was funny ! Some comments are funny ya know! my reply was on todays article of Michigan being rated #37 pre-season.. Craig Landsbury was commenter,and we have had some laughs before,and were Not deleted.. I abide by the rules here,just curious as to why ? Thank you Blu-dogg97


Mon, Jul 4, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

How do I delete my account?

Jen Eyer

Wed, Sep 28, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

We do not delete accounts, because that would remove all of your comments, thereby altering the continuity of the conversations you participated in. If you would like your account to be disabled, I can do that. Just let me know. Is there a specific reason you'd like to delete the account?


Wed, Sep 28, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

so- you didn't find a way yet...?? does anybody know how to delete the account?


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

How do I delete a comment I've made?

Cindy Heflin

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

An off-topic comment was removed.


Thu, Apr 14, 2011 : 11:18 p.m.

"What are Most Popular Comments? One of the new features of our new commenting system is "Most Popular Comments." On every story that has 12 or more comments, three of the most popular comments voted on by readers will be featured at the top, above the full thread of comments. We added this as a way to highlight good conversation. We trust our commenting community will vote up comments that are insightful and further the conversation." This is not true. My comments always appear in the most popular section and they are far from it according to votes. Any attempt I make to comment on this is given a tombstone. My tombstones then appear as most popular. I think this will be a tombstone, but I am hoping not.


Fri, Apr 15, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

At first I thought it was a browser specific problem, but it happens with Firefox and with IE. I also thought that it happened only after logging in, but it seems that it happens after clicking on the link at the top with my ID. When I go back to a page on which I commented, comments that do not have the most votes go into the most popular section. Many times they are my comments, but they can be others as well. I hope someone looks at this issue or knows about it. I am not making it up and I am not computer illiterate. Of course, if you don't care and want to keep deleting my posts that bring it to your attention then fine.


Mon, Mar 14, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

Trying to comment and will not let me...Hmmm what could be wrong?


Fri, Feb 25, 2011 : 6:09 a.m.

You're all doing a great job and I love this new system. Thank you for eliminating all the hatred that used to go on between apparently well-known posters, in personal attacks. That was never constructive. However, I do heartily dislike typos and grammatical errors from staff, and from the commenters - not much you can do about that though. Please be sure to police yourselves. I appreciate when you immediately do corrections, and admit to errors. I particularly love your "unintentional" combined headlines. I send them to my daughter who is a UM English grad and is in editing outside of Michigan - she loves the humor. I suspect some of these are not accidental - well done. Every job has perks. :) Hope I haven't committed any crimes in the above paragraphs!

Mr. smarty

Sun, Feb 20, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

A2 news are a bunch of Nazi antifree speech haters, thanks

Stefanie Murray

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

@Dale, try refreshing the page and let me know if that works. I'll also email you, too. We've had some users continuing to have problems with specific browsers, and we've also seen some caching problems.


Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

I can't post comment to "Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Mark Ouimet would help small businesses secure loans" why can I post here and not there?


Thu, Feb 17, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

I can't post comment

Stefanie Murray

Wed, Feb 9, 2011 : 5:16 a.m.

@Mick, since you submitted the comment you are referring to three times, it looks like it got removed for being a duplicate. I've made sure one comment still stands of the three. I also think one of the early evening moderators believed you may have been attacking other commenters. In the context of the thread, I think it's fine and I made sure your comment posted.


Wed, Feb 9, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

Why are your censors so quick on the delete trigger, I don't get it? Some of the comments that get deleted are not out of line. Just seems a little Orwellian to me, you know?


Fri, Feb 18, 2011 : 4:56 a.m.

I totally agree! Who is a "Jerk" (per your paradigm) and who isn't, is a matter of staff opinion. Any post that conforms to standards of normal decency should be allowed.


Mon, Jan 31, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Maybe this will help those of you who have had trouble. For reasons I do not understand I was NOT able to copyclip from Word to the comment boxes when in Explorer. I switched to Firefox and then I could. In Explorer I could comment only if I composed the comment in the comment box. Go figure.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 5:40 a.m.

Thank you Stefanie for that suggestion, I will give it a try.

Stefanie Murray

Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

Mick, I am sorry you are having a hard time commenting. If you are using Internet Explorer, try using Firefox and see if that makes a difference. We are still working through some problems with IE.


Sun, Jan 30, 2011 : 12:08 a.m.

Why is my comment on "How the Air Force Game Came About" not submitting. This is very frustrating to take the time to type out a thought and I can't submit it. What gives?

Elaine F. Owsley

Fri, Jan 28, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

What a sweet dog!!! The whole time he's dangling by one leg and some stranger is coming at him with sticks, he's wagging his tail. He just must have known help was at hand. Thanks for a great story!!


Mon, Jan 24, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Why am I not able to post a comment today?

David Briegel

Mon, Jan 24, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Why don't you just repost that one? Then you can delete our comments!

Tony Dearing

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 8:44 p.m.

David, we understand you're not able to open that post, and presumably other people are experiencing the same problem. It appears to be related to the browser. We will resolve it as soon as we can.

David Briegel

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Tony, do you really think that comment would only get 6 replies? We can't open it!!! I don't know why we try, YOU delete everything anyway!

David Briegel

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

windows 8, just tried again and I get right back to the top of the page.

Tony Dearing

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

We've had some problems with that browser in the past week, but they've been problems with people being unable to submit comments. Haven't heard reports of users being unable to open posts with that browser. I'll have our technical guys address it.

Tony Dearing

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

David and DonBee, I'm not identifying any problems opening that letter to the editor. What browser are you using?


Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 3:36 a.m.

I Too can not open the article and posting is very difficult. I have a couple of comments that I could not post. The submit button does not seem to work.

David Briegel

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 3:23 a.m.

I am unable to open the article, How to cut the budget.... defense. Everything else opens. Please help.

David Briegel

Sun, Jan 23, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

What is happening to me and DonBee?


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 3:51 a.m.

Still not working for me, help!!!!!!!


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 3:31 a.m.

I'm having a hard time submitting comments, very frustrating


Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.


George Gaston

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.

Back in the old days of ink on paper, letters to the editor were only printed when signed with the actual name of the writer, pseudonyms and aliases were not permitted. Why does allow comments to be published anonymously now?

Stefanie Murray

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

There are people who feel very, very strongly on both sides of this issue. The vast majority of news organization websites do not require people to use their real name when commenting online on news articles. A few have started to require it, and we're watching to see how that works out. We find that more people participate more openly in discussions online when a real name is not required, and we carefully moderate discussions on our site to prevent personal attacks and general nastiness you see elsewhere.


Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

I would still like to see the ability to edit and delete comments I've made. I hate that if I make a typo, I can't go in and fix it.

Stefanie Murray

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

Thanks Barb - good feedback. We've heard this from several folks and it would mainly be a technological hurdle for us to overcome.

Ben Connor Barrie

Tue, Jan 18, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Would it be possible to have a list of banned words? Also, instead of saying, "Yes, you can include links in your comments. However, they will always appear as plain text. You will not be able to insert HTML." You could save characters by saying, "No, you can't post links"

Stefanie Murray

Wed, Jan 19, 2011 : 6:32 a.m.

Ben, no, we don't plan to unveil the list of words anywhere. It is mostly swear words. And no, we absolutely encourage links! I meant we don't support hyperlinks, or inserting HTML code.