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Task & Purpose has a new comments section, and we want to hear from you

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Paul Szoldra Avatar
soldier on a radio
U.S. Army Soldier, Cpl. Tyler Reilly, Infantryman for 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division radios in his situation report after clearing a mock building during bravo company's mount site training, Nov. 29, 2018 at Kamal Jabour training area, Fort Bliss, TX. (Capt. Lindsay Roman/U.S. Army)

We want to talk to you more every day.

Of course, we communicate with many of you regularly on social media, email, or over the phone. But I’m happy to say we have an on-site comments section once again, and I’m really hoping you can help make our comments just as fun and interesting as the stories above them.

Perhaps you’ve noticed a few other changes lately at Task & Purpose. We have a fresh, clean layout and a menu that’s easier for you to navigate and send us tips. There’s a new gear section helping you find the best kit for the field or everyday life. And our stories in recent weeks have been more focused: our reporters and editors shed light on important issues in the National Guard, profiled soldiers doing life-saving work, rendered a proper salute to soldiers who hardly ever get recognized, presented fascinating bits of history, and introduced many people to the impressive sailors barely out of high school with the enormous responsibility of steering a $4.5 billion aircraft carrier.

Those were all great stories! And if you’re anything like me, you probably wanted to talk about them. Then you scrolled down and got disappointed. What the heck? Where are the comments?

If you’re a longtime Task & Purpose reader, you’ll remember that we had a vibrant comment section several years ago and then it vanished abruptly. That was because we changed our website to a new format that did not allow for on-page comments, and we’re sorry to say, we did a bad job informing you all of why that happened. After briefly bringing comments back earlier this year, we pulled the plug once more due to technical issues.

Now that we’ve worked out the kinks, I’m happy to report that comments are back and they’ll be below every Task & Purpose story going forward. 

The only reason we’re able to do what we do is because of people like you. That’s what I’ve told damn near everyone who has ever come to me with their story. And that sentiment extends to our entire site: We can’t write an article, create a video, or post a social media meme if not for the readers who support us with their time and attention each and every day. 

We want to talk with you about the stories we’re covering, and we want to hear about the ones we may have missed. We can probably all learn something from spirited debates on whose barracks room is better or whether the latest move from China really is cause for alarm. And most of all, we want to hear your knowledge and expertise because it’s how we get better at our jobs.

I’d love to meet you in the comments below, so please register and introduce yourself. Say hello. Share your opinions. And let us know, and your fellow readers, when you have unique insights to share or an interesting nugget from your own personal experience. In short, I want you to make the comments section awesome and keep us honest.

I do need to mention a few rules since comment sections can be a messy place. A good rule of thumb (borrowed from Defector) to follow is this: imagine someone scrolled down to read your comment. Would they be glad they did so? 

That doesn’t mean you can’t get into heated debates. But you should hash it out respectfully, stick to the facts, and not resort to name-calling or personal attacks of any kind. Want to talk politics? Do so respectfully and know that plenty of people may disagree with you.

In other words, post comments that make this website a better place for everyone.

Here’s what else you should not do:

  • Do not be a jerk. It’s okay to disagree with other commenters, writers, or editors, but we follow the golden rule around here: treat others how you’d like to be treated. This can and should be a pleasant place — it won’t be another toxic troll hangout on the internet.
  • Do not post or link to racist, bigoted, or otherwise objectionable content. If you need a definition of what that is, you should probably just sit the comments out. We want to engage with our readers, but we won’t hesitate to ban anyone who breaks this guideline.
  • Do not B.S. us or other readers. Facts matter. Just as you’d expect every story to be accurate and factual, we expect readers to argue their points in good faith. We will not tolerate conspiracy theories and comments that attempt to pass off patently false stories as true.
  • Do not harass anyone, including the people who work here. So you just read a story and you think the reporter got it completely wrong. That’s awful and we want to fix it. So point out the problem in a respectful manner. We’re not walking into your workplace to yell at you. Please don’t do it to us. The same goes for other commenters: They’re here to talk about a story that matters to them, just like you, so treat them the way you’d want to be treated.
  • Do not spam. It’s okay to let someone know what your company may be working on, but it’s not cool to drop incessant links to your scammy-looking website.

And with that, I’ll say welcome! Thanks for joining us in our comments section, and I’m so excited to meet you. While you’re thinking up what to say, maybe it’s worth some introduction. I’ll start:

My name is Paul Szoldra and I’m the editor in chief of Task & Purpose. I’m a Marine Corps infantry veteran. I’ve covered the military for about eight years and this is the story I’m most proud of.

What’s your story?