A few words about MRAK’s ad hoc ‘commenting policy’



If you’ve been around Must Read Alaska for a while, you’re aware the comment sections on stories are a robust platform for a wide range of political views.

MRAK welcomes these comments and tries to get them approved and visible quickly. You deserve that. Your comments are approved all day long, from 7 am until 11 pm. They’re approved over dinner, while waiting in line at the store, while walking around the lake, and just before the lights go out for the night. They’re approved by hand, one at a time.

Earlier this month, Must Read Alaska raced past 8 million views on the thousands of stories posted since May of 2016, MRAK’s website birthday month.

At some point in the next few days, the 30,000th comment will be approved and posted on MRAK. It might be a liberal comment or a conservative one — only time will tell. (We’ll try to catch it as it goes by and highlight it).

Now, a fraction of comments received are not published. MRAK is pretty liberal when it comes to letting people have their say, but not every comment gets through. Usually the ones that are tossed fall into a few categories:

Calling someone a Nazi: Name-calling needs to be kept to a bare minimum at Must Read Alaska. Calling someone a liberal is an apt description, not an insult. Calling someone a “libtard” is funny for a moment, until you realize that it’s not really all that funny. Describing someone as “woke” or a member of the “wokerati” is acceptable. But calling them a fascist is not going to cut it. Calling Sen. Cathy Giessel “Giessel the Weasel” does not contribute to civil discourse, and we may or may not let Shifty Schiff through. MRAK is trying to limit this type of comment. Calling someone a Nazi is going to get your comment bounced. If you see it, then it’s because it slipped by. Send a note.

TYPING IN ALL CAPS: Those overly capitalized comments are increasingly just going into the digital round bin, because who has time to retype them all? Not this editor, and not with 30,000 comments to edit. Many times the MRAK editor will be approving comments from a smartphone from “Somewhere in Alaska,” and the excessive use of capitalization is just TOO MUCH WORK TO FIX.

Adding links: Some writers like to include a link to another source, and these are allowed in extremely limited instances. If we know the writer, and trust they are not linking people to malware, it may go through. But usually, MRAK just doesn’t want to take the risk of malware on this site.

Insulting pen names: While the creativity is appreciated, some pen names (“Dumbleavy” are just rude. You may use a pen name, such as “Ben Colder,” (one of MRAK’s favorites) or “Liberal Folliculitus” (which we translate to mean “hair-on-fire”), bring a giggle to readers. You may also use your true name.

Grammatical disasters: Your MRAK editor wants you to look smart. If there are too many typos to fix, she’ll spare you the embarrassment and toss your comment. You can always try again.

Pure troll: Some commenters are just so unpleasant that MRAK’s editor thinks they simply got lost and belong on a different website. We’re trying to keep things civil here. For example, if you say MRAK‘s editor is a stupid-head, into the round bin you go.


Why do my comments not appear immediately? All comments are screened, and most are accepted for publication.

Why did you edit my comment? Comments may be lightly edited to create a more civil discourse, or for spelling or grammar. MRAK’s editor cannot get to every grammatical error, but she does a bit of tidying up. Don’t expect her to fix everything in your comment, just the worst errors.

Why did my comment disappear? It was there a minute ago. This is a mystery. It must have something to do with the WordPress software. We have no idea why comments just go “poof” sometimes, but it’s a question that has come up more than once.

Other questions? Ask here and we’ll try to answer them in the comments below. And thank you for reading!


  1. Thank you for posting the MRAK policy. Enjoy reading the information posted here and there are always interesting posts to peruse!

  2. How about separate comments columns for real people versus fictional anonymous trolls.? Seems so simple to me. You cannot be taken seriously unless you reveal who you really are!
    Chris Nyman

    • Chris, you raise a great point. In such a small state, some people fear retribution from employers. And in this polarized political environment, those fears are not without basis. It’s not perfect to allow made-up names, but it’s what MRAK is doing, at least for now. Thank you for your comments under a real name. – sd

      • Thank you Suzanne for all your work. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “did you read about …. in Must Read”. I think you and Must Read Alaska are becoming Alaska icons!

      • There is historical precedent for using a nom de plume or pen name.
        Here are a few, and the reasons for them run the gamut.
        Stephen King/Richard Bachman
        Woody Allen/Allen Stewart Konigsberg
        Stan Lee/Stanley Martin Lieber
        Anne Rice/Allen Frances O’Brien
        J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith/Joanne Rowling
        Dr Seuss/Theodore Geisel
        Mark Twain/Samuel Langhorne Clemens
        Ayn Rand/Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum
        Perez Hilton/Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr.
        Voltaire/François-Marie Arouet
        There are countless more. Using a nome de plume isn’t a reason to label someone a troll, there are plenty of trolls using their real names…even on this site.

        • Or as the author known as William Shakespeare, whom we will never know by his/her real name would have said, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…in other words what name a person uses on a website does not change their innate characteristics or attributes.

  3. Congrats, Suzanne! Now knowing even more how much you feed and care for your growing outlet, I am glad I chose to support you at year-end. And thanks for taking an “intolerant” view of a few things, even if to save face for someone!
    Keep up the excellent work.

  4. I enjoy reading your articles as well as most of your guest columnists, the only thing that, in my opinion, is missing is a thumbs up or down icon.

  5. Thanks Suzanne for publishing stories difficult to talk about for some and sensitive topics that need to be talked about. It’s comforting to know that the first amendment is alive and well on your site. I know the governor looks in from time to time and also the speaker of the House.

  6. So is libtard allowed and Dumbleavy not allowed? It seems they are both “funny for a moment, until you realize that it’s not really all that funny.”

    • Concerned, No, from here on out, those two terms will be eliminated if the editor has time to edit them out, or as in your last interesting post this morning, the entire post will simply be tossed. -sd

          • I thought it funny that Concerned Commenter got the bum’s rush for what must have been a stupid post. Some take themselves much too seriously. It’s commentators, not commenter. Courtesy of your friendly grammar troll.

            Greg: Quit standing down-wind of yourself. There – fixed it for ya. Ahahahahahahaha!

  7. Even Facebook allows a “nom de plume” as long as you have your real name somewhere. I know because my very O’Barr son goes by Hugo de Paganis there. That man lived hundreds of years ago but is a hero to my son.

  8. wea·sel (wē′zəl)
    1. Any of various carnivorous mammals of the genus Mustela, having a long slender body, a long tail, short legs, and brownish fur that in many species turns white in winter.
    2. A person regarded as sneaky or treacherous.

    Definition #2 is an apt description for politicians who campaign to support a Governor’s agenda; only to hand the reins of power over to the opposition party.

    Of course it may actually be MRAK’s policy to protect such actions by preventing commenters from calling it out for what it is.

    • There have been a time or two when Suzanne nixxed my two cents. But MRAK still beats the extra efforts of going to ‘Letters to the Editor’ in the dailies. btw, I AM the real deal. I happen to find Suzanne’s literary work right up there with Shakespeare, Plato, and Tolstoy, ….even when read afar. You get drama, logic and lots of previously untold, forwarned consequences.

      • Second that, King. Half of my stuff gets round-filed by Suzanne and her staff. Out of the 30,000 printables, makes me wonder how many unprintables? Bottom-line: MRAK is fair and Suzanne kicks butt!

    • The idea is to restore civility, sorely lacking in today’s society. In the Bush cultures, disrespect is anathema – if we can be civil, we can still express our opinion. Why should it be surprising that one can actually enter into a political discussion with a Democrat and come away friends without changing our opinion? This is the level of discourse that needs to take place to restore Alaska to greatness. Civility will increase Bush readership – and conservative influence.
      Suzanne, thanks, you’re doing a great job (“great” should be in all caps…). I try, but must needs try harder to keep my comments civil, and my grammar and spelling within reasonable correctness… But the madder I get, the worse the typos.

  9. Thanks for the info Suzanne.

    You are taking on a huge task of reading every comment and green lighting them.

    Many other blog/comment sites have moderators. When things get to be too much consider reaching out to some of the more prolific posters for help. I am sure some of your loyal readers would be willing to help out.

    NOTE: I am a loyal reader, but not willing to help. You have to find RETIRED loyal readers! 🙂

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