1. This is the readers' forum to talk about how The Kansas City Star and KansasCity.com cover the news. Keep your focus on the fairness, accuracy and completeness of news reporting. Remember that while The Star and KansasCity.com publish wire stories, those come from other journalists, and I sometimes can't contact those people easily.
  2. We're less formal on Ad Astrum than in my columns for the paper. I might be very brief. Maybe even a little irreverent – but I'd never make fun of a reader’s concern. Sometimes I'll give my two cents, but sometimes a reader's comment will stand on its own. And yes, you'll often see material recycled, expanded or reduced from the blog into my Sunday columns in the paper.
  3. Any messages sent through the Ad Astrum e-mail form may be quoted on the blog. I won't use your name unless you specifically say I can.
  4. If you want to discuss your opinions about the news events themselves, you'll find discussion threads elsewhere on KansasCity.com. You can also always send a letter to the editor here, or call the Voices line at 816-234-4497.
  5. Please be sure to tell me where the item you're writing about originally appeared. If you found it on KansasCity.com, the Web address would be very helpful.
  6. Opinion columns and editorials don’t fall under the readers' representative realm, unless there's an error of clear, concrete, objective fact. Let me know if a column has a bad address or misspells a name — but this isn’t the forum for thoughts about the opinions expressed. Same goes for arts and restaurant reviews.
  7. Don't assume that I read all the comments to posts on the blog. Likewise, don't assume any journalist reads comments with stories online.  If you see an error, contact me about it directly -- don't just point it out in the comments.
  8. I don't write about the comic strips, except in the rarest of circumstances — and even then, it's never about those who just hate "Garfield" or can't get enough of "Blondie." No two people see 100% eye to eye on what's funny or clever, and there’s no value in hashing those arguments out here.
  9. Please, keep the discourse civil. Comments are lightly moderated. Any message or comment including profanity, threats or abuse will be deleted.  Zero tolerance. If you drop in just to bash without any context, your comment will likely not get posted. It isn't 2003 any longer.
  10. Comments are disabled on some stories on KansasCity.com. This is at the discretion of the Web editors in direct response to many years of complaints from other users who do not want KansasCity.com to be the host to conduct they find objectionable. I no longer see any value in discussing it (I'm sure because many of those upset they can't post on stories about accidents or race relations, for two prime examples of topics that always invite abusive behavior, are the ones causing the trouble in the first place). Based on years of consistent reader feedback on the issue, I agree with the policy.
  11. As for pseudonyms, Astroturf (fake grass-roots) campaigns and other dishonesty: I take a dim view of people using the cloak of Internet anonymity to misrepresent themselves. If you're commenting on a story you have a vested interest or direct involvement in, you need to disclose your identity. Remember that any bad or deceptive conduct reflects poorly on the views you espouse.  I have an increasingly-intolerant stance on trolls.  Lie, call names or otherwise harass me or other users, and you're gone.  I'm the court of appeals.  If you don't like it, get your own blog.  They're free.