comments FAQ



The Columbian is testing a new system that requires readers who wish to comment on stories to use their Facebook account. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the change, so far, and our responses. Technical questions are near the top and questions about the reasons behind the switch or our comment moderation are down below.

How do I report a fake Facebook account?

It’s against Facebook’s terms of service to provide false personal information on a Facebook account. You may report a fake account by clicking on the user’s profile, then clicking “Report/ Block this person” at the bottom left of the page.

The Columbian wants to ensure commenters are using their real names and identities. Please help us by reporting fake profiles to Facebook.

How do I report a violation of the community guidelines?

Columbian staff need your help monitoring comments for violations. Please send a message to Matt Wastradowski or Libby Tucker with the name of the user, the content of the comment and the story it was attached to.

Why is “Post to Facebook” the default setting for comments?

We are using the Facebook comments box social plugin, which offers us less control over default settings than we would have if we were using the open graph version of Facebook comments. This allows us to test the system before we commit more time to development.

Why can’t I see the comments?

Comments on our site are public. That means anyone can see the comments, even without a Facebook account, as long as the Facebook application is not blocked by their server — a common practice by government agencies and some private employers. If you can’t see the comments, ask your IT department if it blocks Facebook. But for most readers, it will not be a problem.

How do I change my Facebook privacy settings?

What others see when they click on your profile is determined by your Facebook privacy settings, Facebook has an in-depth page devoted to this topic.

How does the Facebook comments plugin work?

Facebook has a helpful FAQ that outlines exactly how plugins work with your Facebook profile.

How do I leave a comment with my Facebook account?

One of our IT staff members created a helpful video to show users how to comment on stories with their Facebook account.

How do I leave a comment if I don’t have a Facebook account?

Anyone wishing to comment on stories will need a Facebook account. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can sign up for one at Don’t worry – it’s free, quick and easy to do so.

We have also set up a section of for those who wish to continue conversation using their existing Columbian profile. You can find the forums by clicking on “News” and then “Forums” in the main navigation bar on the site.

Why the switch?

The new system holds commenters accountable by linking their comments to their Facebook account and, by extension, real name and face. We’ve found that comments are generally cleaner and more informative on our Facebook page than on the site. This change hopefully will dissuade some troublesome commenters and keep things relatively clean for the rest of us.

Is The Columbian moderating these comments?

Yes. We will remove comments that don’t meet community discussion guidelines. And we will ban commenters that are using a fake Facebook account/ name to comment or repeatedly violate our community guidelines.

What’s in it for me?

The benefits for commenters are numerous. First and foremost: You won’t need to remember another login anymore.

You can also include your Facebook friends in the discussion. Commenters can post comments both below the story and to their Facebook newsfeed, and the commenter’s Facebook friends can respond on Facebook and