BUSINESS_crowdvsopen_0.png is about to go through a major transition, from a magazine with an audience to a community with participants. In just a few weeks, anyone and everyone will be able to blog on, with readers and editors collaborating to elevate the best content to the top of the site. As part of our preparation for launching Shareable 2.0, we have prepared the following draft of our community guidelines–which I submit to you, the community, for revision. Please tell us what you think!

Comments We Like:

We want comments and blog entries that are brave, hopeful, intelligent, thoughtful, informative, funny, and/or passionate. In other words, we want words and pictures that will carry the conversation forward and help make a community in which people are constantly trying to bring out the best in each other. Here are specific kinds of writing that we especially like:

  • More information or new developments about the subject of the post!  
  • Opinions that take the debate to the next level. We actually love disagreement—that’s how ideas get refined—but please don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to the face of a human being. We want to be impressed by your grace and insight.  
  • Comments that connect the entry to other entries or threads on Because we look at sharing in many spheres of life, from home to school to work to cities to ecosystems, we are always interested in emerging patterns or narratives.  
  • Factual corrections! We love hearing about mistakes, because then we get to correct them. (Note that we do not correct quoted text unless there is a special reason to do so. Certain kinds of correction may require documentation.)  
  • Funny observations and entertaining personal stories are great, because life is short and we like to laugh.

Comments We Don’t Like: is a moderated community. That means, in part, that we may delete or seek (with the commenter’s permission) to edit certain kinds of comments. What kinds of comments will draw this kind of attention?

  • Offensive or inappropriate comments. What is “offensive” or “inappropriate,” you ask? It’s any comment that makes someone uncomfortable because of who they are—their eye color, complexion, religious heritage, IQ, accent, sexuality, age, body shape, inability to rub their stomachs and pat their heads at the same time, and so on. Just don’t go there, please.  
  • Insults, threats, or harassment. What’s an insult? Calling someone an “idiot” is one depressingly common example. Please refer to a dictionary for further clarification. Threats and harassment fall into the category of knowing it when we see it.  
  • Violations of another person’s privacy, as well as sharing inappropriate personal information about that person. Let’s say Joe Doe blogs on Shareable that he shares his car with anyone who asks to borrow it, but you know Joe Doe personally and he once told you no. Furthermore, you know that Joe Doe keeps his valuable comic book collection in the trunk of the car. This information may be relevant to the discussion, but this is not the place to share it.
  • Spam. What is spam? It’s promotional boilerplate that does not add anything to the discussion. (If you are working on a project that is directly relevant to the topic, then please, do share. We want to hear about good work!)
  • Comments that encourage or advocate illegal activity or propose illegal activity. This is actually a tough one, because laws do not always make sense. For example, copyright law probably ought to evolve so that fewer people are deemed criminals. The solution here is to be clever and conscious. The community managers will be the judges of how well you succeeded in this task.

Anonymous Comments:

Please consider registering as a user with Comments by registered users appear instantaneously, which will give you a warm feeling of instant accomplishment.

Anonymous comments, on the other hand, are moderated, as a way to block spam and cultivate a high level of discussion. VERY IMPORTANT: Anonymous comments are approved when a moderator is available to do so. has a team of moderators in different time zones, but some approval delays are inevitable. For this reason, we strongly encourage readers to register as users, which one can do without disclosing personally identifying information.

Link Policy:

  • Links are allowed in comments as long as they’re relevant to the topic at hand.
  • Links to the front page of your personal blog or website are discouraged–instead, we encourage you to add this information in your user profile.
  • Mislabeled links will be treated as spam. In other words, setting up a link on the word "carsharing" but leading the innocent reader to a porn site is something that we frown upon.
  • We will delete urls pasted in without description or context.
  • Links to offensive material such as racist or anti-Semitic websites, images, or videos will be deleted, unless the link seems essential to the argument you are trying to make in your comment. The moderators will judge intent from the content of the comment and the nature of the link.

The web is a big, open place. If you feel that your comment has been unjustly deleted from, we suggest you post in a more friendly environment or start your own blog or website.

Thanks to Boing Boing and, to which we referred in developing these guidelines!

Jeremy Adam Smith


Jeremy Adam Smith

Jeremy Adam Smith is the editor who helped launch He's the author of The Daddy Shift (Beacon Press, June 2009); co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct (W.W. Norton

Things I share: Mainly babysitting with other parents! I also share all the transportation I can, through bikes and buses and trains and carpooling.