Reader Guidelines

Recommendations of various kinds are posted on this site by staff and commenters. Readers follow these recommendations at their own risk. The Oil Drum accepts no responsibility for adverse consequences that result from following these recommendations.

Comments should not be construed as reflecting the views of The Oil Drum. While objectionable content may be deleted, the presence of a comment should not be construed as an endorsement.

Commenting guidelines

Commenters on The Oil Drum are considered guests and should behave accordingly. The staff reserves the right to delete comments and suspend accounts whenever we judge it in the best interests of our mission. Below are some guidelines that commenters are expected to follow:

  1. When citing facts, provide references or links.
  2. Make it clear when you are expressing an opinion. Do not assert opinions as facts.
  3. When presenting an argument, cite supporting evidence and use logical reasoning.
  4. Treat members of the community with civility and respect. If you see disrespectful behavior, report it to the staff rather than further inflaming the situation.
  5. Ad hominem attacks are not acceptable. If you disagree with someone, refute their statements rather than insulting them.
  6. Humor is OK, as long as it is on-topic. We all need a little levity now and then.
  7. Keep all comments on non-Drumbeat stories on-topic. If you have comment that is not related to a particular story, please post it the current Drumbeat story.
  8. Do not copy and paste complete copyrighted articles without permission from the copyright holder. Limited copying under the doctrine of "fair use" is OK.
  9. Using comments to promote products and services for sale is prohibited. You can find information about buying an advertisement on the site in this FAQ item.

Comment flagging system

Users can flag comments that do not abide by the commenting guidelines. Logged-in readers will see a "Flag" link at the bottom of each comment. Clicking this link will cause the comment to be flagged. If a comment receives a certain number of flags, it becomes hidden automatically. Editors will use the list of flagged and hidden comments as a guide for moderation and to ensure that the system is not being abused. Readers cannot tell whether a comment has been flagged by anyone other than themselves.

Flags should be reserved for comments that violate the reader guidelines. Do not flag a comment just because you disagree with it! Abuse of the comment flagging system is grounds for account suspension. To ensure that readers use their flags judiciously, they are limited to 5 flags (this number is subject to change). If a reader has already flagged 5 comments and they flag an additional comment, then the earliest flag they have placed will be removed. Comments are not automatically unhidden when flags are removed; they can only be unhidden with an editor's intervention.

You can view a list the comments you have flagged under the "My account" link or at