Article commenting guidelines


The Royal Society provides a number of opportunities for people to discuss content that we publish. These commenting guidelines apply to the use of the Royal Society Publishing website located at any of the following domains:


We expect participants to abide by these guidelines when participating in such discussion. Our aim is to ensure our websites are inclusive and safe and that discussions are constructive and polite.

Moderation rules

We ask that all comments be brief, polite, on subject and legally sound.

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated.

We acknowledge criticism of the content we publish, but will not allow deliberate or dishonest misrepresentation of anyone, including the Royal Society, our Fellows or our staff to be published on our website.

We will use the following guidelines to determine whether a comment should be published. We will not publish comments which:

  • Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others
  • Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable
  • Contain swear words or other language likely to offend
  • Break the law or condone or encourage unlawful activity. This includes breach of copyright, libel, defamation and contempt of court
  • Advertise products or services for profit or gain
  • Are completely anonymous, or are seen to impersonate someone else
  • Include someone else's personal data (such as contact details)
  • Are written in anything other than English
  • Describe or encourage activities which could endanger the safety or well-being of others
  • Contain the same, or similar, content posted multiple times
  • Are considered to be off-topic for the discussion
  • Are inflammatory or written with the intention of disrupting the conversation

We operate a moderation policy on this service. We reserve the right to refuse publication or remove a comment based on any of the above criteria.

Please note that the Society’s decision about whether a comment should be published or removed is final. In most cases we are unable to enter into discussions about why a comment has been refused.

Participants who seriously, persistently or willfully ignore the community guidelines or our terms and conditions will have their posting privileges withdrawn.

Please remember that by using the Royal Society Publishing community features you also agree to our terms of use.

If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of community participation on the Royal Society Publishing websites, please contact us.