Rough Cuts Discussion Guidelines

We've received hundreds of comments on the Rough Cut blogs, and the vast majority of them have been useful and insightful. Occasionally, though, we get a post that's problematic for one reason or another, so we thought we'd post some discussion guidelines to help you understand where we're coming from:

Every website has its own rules, and these are ours. If you break them, don't be surprised if we block your comments.

First things first: If you can't be polite, don't say it. Of course, we don't want to stifle discussion of controversial issues. Some topics require blunt talk, and we're not always going to agree with each other. Nonetheless, please try to disagree without being disagreeable. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities. No name calling, slander, comments about someone's mother, comparisons to notorious dictators - you get the idea. And under no circumstances should you post anything that could be taken as threatening, harassing, sexist or racist.

Don't use obscenities — even if the word in question is often used in conversation. We're not going to list the words we object to; you know what they are. Remember, this is a public forum and we want everyone to feel comfortable participating.

Anything you post should be your own work. You're welcome to link to relevant content and to quote from other people's work with attribution. But that doesn't mean you can copy and paste wholesale.

Please stay on topic. Think of it this way — if you hosted a book club meeting at your house, you wouldn't want someone to show up and insist on discussing reality TV shows.

Rambling is the kiss of death. We don't want to place a word count on how long your comments should be, but anything beyond a few paragraphs had better be very, very interesting to the larger community. We reserve the right to edit for brevity as well as clarity.

Please respect people's privacy. We love to learn about new and interesting individuals, but most people will not be happy to have their phone numbers or e-mail addresses published. If you need to share someone's contact information, please submit it through our contact form.

Feel free to share your ideas and experiences about religion, politics and relevant products or services you've discovered. But this is not a place for advertising, promotion, recruiting, campaigning, soliciting or proselytizing. We understand that there can be a fine line between discussing and campaigning; please use your best judgment — and we will use ours.

We appreciate the news tips members of the public send us. However, NPR reserves the right not to publicize allegations, conspiracy theories and other information which we know to be false or unsubstantiated.

Please don't use public forums for private communication. Most of our forums have a link (it's on the right side) for sending private messages to a blogger or host. Similarly, if you have comments about NPR coverage or policies generally, please don't use the blog discussion threads to air them. For issues regarding NPR editorial content or policies, write to the office of the ombudsman. To contact an NPR program or any of our business and technical departments, use the NPR contact form

If you want to know even more information on what is and isn't allowed on, please see our very official Terms of Use page.

So that's about it. Just follow these guidelines, and we'll be good to go.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I originally posed this questions to Maria Thomas at the IMA conference. She said it was more a comment for you all. So here it is: What about the idea of opening up a blog as part of the editing process for the four minute stories that freelance and member station reporters contribute to NPR? What about the idea of making the editing process public? Imagine people commenting on stories between drafts - maybe putting some of the raw tape online - viewing the initial script - then, seeing the various versions of the script, and the editors suggestions between drafts? I'll bet it would go a long way towards showing people just how hard you all work to make your stories as informative and balanced as you do. And, while I know it's important to connect to listeners, I think a tool like this may also be useful in raising the profile of the people who add to the reporting from NPR who are not employed nationally.

Sent by John Tynan | 8:38 PM | 3-4-2007

Hi, I just found Rough Cuts, the story about books (Like Trees, Walking). I think it could be more exciting if the interview is preceded by a (possibly short) reading from the book. This would set the mood and the context for the interview, as well as sort of introducing the author to us listeners.

Sent by Alisa Neeman | 12:05 AM | 3-8-2007

The show is off to a nice start. I' am sure your webpage will develop and embellish along the lines of other NPR show in terms of guest photos, printed excerpts, "how-to's" and "where to...'s" etc.

Sent by J. Blue | 1:53 PM | 3-8-2007

I have really enjoyed the Rough Cuts segments. I found the Mocha Moms discussion of parenting black children remarkable. As a 40 year old biracial woman with a white mother, hearing the comments that explain and define my life was extraordinarily affirming. Hearing the Moms articulate the "disconnects" and painful understanding that fighting racism and protecting thier kids was a part of the job they did not expect. Last, I have always known on some level that my own white mother "did not get it", the segment identified what she does not get. It was illuminating. Thank you!

Sent by Salome Inkandella | 10:13 PM | 3-9-2007

I had intentions of searching NPR's archives for a recent story and happened upon "Rough Cuts" WOW!!
Direct and to the point. Thanks

Sent by B. Burton | 11:49 AM | 3-12-2007

I went to Rough Cuts after being extremely impressed by Michel's comments this morning on the Brian Leher show in New York. All the interviews were smart, devastating and, in the case of Polly Stewart's experience, heartbreaking. WE WANT MORE!

Sent by Torrey Robeck | 12:10 PM | 3-12-2007

I loved the insights offered by your shows. I encourage you to continue bringing us stories from Africa and South America that offer an alternative view from that offered by mainstream media. I especially enjoyed the story you brought about what was going on in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Keep up the good work and please help us broaden our perspective by bring us engaging and thought provoking news.

Sent by Evalyn Githina | 11:58 AM | 3-13-2007

I don't understand all the concern about this show and or not sure what kind of comments or contributions your looking for, it is not very clear. I really feel you should hire me as a producer and your problem will be solved.

Sent by Charles W. Gray | 7:43 PM | 3-13-2007

O.k.. NPR and Michele Martin are my particular "cup of tea"..But, I sometimes feel that you all overemphasize certain stories/topics. The Sean Bell/Kalua shooting for one. What about rhe five officers involved performing a job that few people would be engaged in voluntarily regardless of the renumeration offered? They too are humans, have families, children, real wives...they are not the "hated group" that all the proponents of an injustice proclaim ...these five are multiracial. There's been precious little time accorded to their concerns. I am old-fashioned; I feel equal time is a must in reporting. I also feel that if unreliable spokespeople are interminably quoted their self-interest becomes patently clear and NPR might limit their self aggrandisement. I'd like to make one more point: As a teacher in one of the most troubled area in the Bronx, in a school with a policeofficer stationed on the premises, the children (as young as 14 or 15), when confronted by a situation where security or police were involved would avoid dire results by immediately raising rheir hands in order to show that they had no weapons.

Sent by Alexis Donovan | 5:43 PM | 3-16-2007

I am so hungry for a show like Rough Cuts and just want to write to show my support for this show and all the mulitiple issues and perspectives it gives voice to. Thanks!

Sent by Kristen Park | 12:56 PM | 3-18-2007

I've visited the Rough Cuts page (there's just one, right?) several times, via links from NPR's home page, but I still have trouble making heads or tails of it. I don't know when I'm being asked a question, or when I'm reading text describing a piece that has already aired. I can't tell whether the audio of pieces-in-process has been made available for streaming (or even actually aired), or whether I'm reading about a piece that's taking shape in someone's head. The page's style sheet makes no visual distinction between any of the above. It's okay to invite people into the process; it's not okay to leave them floundering without a lifeline.

Sent by Tom Humiston | 11:17 PM | 3-22-2007

I'm a fan of npr and have been for a long time. The only time I listen is at night and listen to the BBC News.

I know this is off the subject. I'd like to hear more about the human intrest stories rather than the bad stuff that's going on right now not only in this country, but around the globe. What ever happened to the Anne Murray song about "A Little Good News"?

The other idea, ever thought about having a soap opera radio show? Or airing the old radio shows?

Sent by Nancy | 5:37 PM | 3-31-2007

I've been listening to the Rough Cuts podcast for several weeks now, and I am (once again) favorably impressed with the incredible work of NPR.
I am learning much,even at my advanced age of 62. And, I am impressed with the range of interesting topics Ms. Martin brings to us. The topics are real, the conversations are authentic.
I particularly enjoyed Mocha Moms, Barbershop, and the piece on DNA.
Keep up the excellent work.

Sent by Jeff Grill | 8:27 PM | 4-1-2007

I am listening to your broadcast concerning Kosovo and find it incomprehensible that you do not or can not give the other and very dark side of the unilateral "declaration of independence" of Kosovo. Why is there no mention of the the 200,000+ refugees Serb, Roma and other non-Albanians (I should mention there are still several thousand other ethnic Albanians who were expelled or were forced to leave Kosovo by other radical Albanians) from Kosovo who can not return because their homes were destroyed and lives taken or threatened if they were to try to return. Where are the representatives of the other "communities". Over 9 years of NATO forces being there, 200,000 Serbs and others can not return and NO ONE has done a look under the covers of the remaining Serb "enclaves" south of the Ibar river where if a Serbian were to try to wonder out they are shot, children of 5-10 years old wear rags and get stoned by Albanian kids. Why is there NO--I mean ZERO Serbian or Roma people living in Pristina--now a city of 500,000 where in 1998 it numbered 180,000 of which at least 60,000 were Serb, 15,000 Roma and about 8,000 Bosniaks. This is not made up, this is the reality. freedom has come for the Albanians but for the ghettos of Kosov where Serbs and others are forced to stay because they have no where else to go, there is only the terror of being shsot, or imprisoned within a border now enforced and guaranteed by the USA, UK, France and Germany. There was no compromise given or offered by the Albanian "Kosovars" (which is a contrived term thought up in 1999 by the UN in order to start the fiction that the Albanians of Kosovo are different from the Albanians in the other parts of the Balkans. I am not Serb, I do not hate the Albanians, but I served in Ksoov for several years with the OSCE, the UN and KFOR as an American Soldier. I have never met a more intolerant nor determinedly convinced people and the Kosov Alabanians. Perhaps the reason for their intolerance and determination is that they have been blindingly supported without question by American foreign policy for reasons that escape me other than the serbs are seen as the surrogates for Russians and Russian interests in Europe that must be stopped at any cost--even if that cost is the support of the unchecked growth of radical nationalsim and Islamic fundamentalism in the Balkans.

Sent by Victor Daniels | 2:44 PM | 2-21-2008


NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from