Discussion Guidelines : In Character Every blog has its rules, and these are ours. If you break them, don't be surprised if we block your comments.
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Discussion Guidelines

Every blog has its 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. We don't want to stifle discussion, and we're not always going to agree with each other. And of course the whole point of this blog is that iconic characters inspire passionate loyalties. Still, 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.

Your posts should be your 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. We're here to talk about characters who've left an enduring mark on us and our society. We're willing to allow a certain amount of leeway when it comes to discussing us, or our society, or other topics that the characters lead us to. But let's not stray too far. 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.

Rambling is the kiss of death. There is a 150-word limit on character essays. There is no limit on the length of blog comments. 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 others' 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'll 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 about what is and isn't allowed on NPR.org, please see our terribly official Terms of Use page.