At last, Comment is Really Free at theguardian

When people start asking us questions this list of Frequently Asked Questions should help you get the most of your CiRF The Guardian browser extension.
At the moment we've just thought up some likely candidates.

Do I need an account at website?

Yes, you do need an account at Longer Answer

If you already have an account at the extension will pick up your username and userid automatically and use that.

If you don't already have an account at it's very simple to create one before or after you download the extension.

If you don't want to use your main email address for, you can create a new one at any number of free email providers.
We like and (we're not affiliated with either site) but there are also plenty of others to choose from.

Why don't you allow commenting on articles that the Guardian currently allows comments on?

It's our policy NOT to take away traffic from the Guardian, we like that it's free to view, and much of their traffic (probably) comes from people commenting. Longer Answer

We did think about giving the option to do this, it's not technically difficult, however when we looked at some of the rules regarding what Google allow/disallow to be done using their browser extension technology it became clear that this would probably not be 'approved' of by Google, however, now we can't find the exact pages in the malaise of Chrome Extension Guidelines/Rules or we'd put a link to them.

If we get enough requests to extend our comment system to 'open for comment' articles we may change our current policy if we can figure out whether or not it would be detrimental to the Guardian's web traffic.

Why don't you allow links in the comments?

Links attract spammers who hide their real link to spammy sites under a useful looking link. Longer Answer

Unfortunately the internet is full of people who want you to visit their sites. When you see a link to 'NHS Stats' it looks interesting, when you click it you end up being taken to some betting, porn, spam, virus or tin-foil hat wearers web-site.

We allow links to be added as plain text, so you can see exactly where the link will take you. We expect that most Guardian readers are technical enough to know how to copy and paste those links into their browser.

Does the Guardian see any of my CiRF comments, recommendations or moderations?

No, nothing that you do under the CiRF commenting system ever goes anywhere near the Guardian's servers so there is little point in mentioning that the article contains spilling misteaks or are having bad grammars, unless you just like to point out such things. Longer Answer

Although it looks like you are using the Guardian website to add CiRF comments everything you do within the CiRF extension comes from, and is directed back to, our own servers.

Every page you look at on the Guardian website is recorded somewhere in their servers, so if you are CiRF commenting on an article you will probably open that article a number of times, to comment or to reply. The Guardian will/could/should/might (we don't know how much notice they take) know that you have looked at what to them is a non-comment page more times than they would expect; after all, who reads non-comment articles more than once?

We assume that, as the CiRF extension becomes more popular, people who work at the Guardian will become aware of it. If they have a Guardian account then they too can install the CiRF extension and then they will be able to see your comments, however we don't provide a simple way to see a users past comments on one page.

Are moderations really private?

Yes, no-one knows who moderated them. Longer Answer

When you moderate a comment the author sees their 'moderations' count go up. If they look at their moderations they will see the reasons given. When multiple moderations (more than one user) happen on a single comment the reasons are all amalgamated. It is not possible for a moderated user to see who moderated their comment.

In a similar fashion a user cannot see what moderations have been made against another users comment, this is primarily to avoid users becoming over-encouraged to moderate by seeing that a particular comment has been heavily moderated.
We hope that one or two moderations will encourage the author to review their comment and perhaps edit it to make it less likely to draw further moderation.

Internally we do keep a track of which users have moderated which comments, we need to do this so that we can allow one, and only one, moderation per user per comment.
The same applies to recommendations; no-one knows who recommended a comment but we do keep a track of it so that we can limit each user to one recommendation per comment.

Can I remove my moderation from a comment?

No, once you've moderated a comment you cannot remove it. Longer Answer

It takes a minimum of two clicks to moderate a comment, three if you provide a reason. We hope no-one moderates by mistake.
If you think you have made a mistake or if the author improves their comment after you moderated it, then the closest you can get to reversing the moderation is to give the comment a recommendation. This won't remove your moderation but somewhat negates the weight given to your original moderation when we determine whether to hide the comment or not.

The same is true of recommendations, once given they cannot be taken back. If recommendations are given in error please do not try to redress the balance by moderating the comment, unless in your opinion it should be moderated.

What is the Guardian's take on the CiRF extension?

We honestly have no idea. Longer Answer

If they ever contact us about it we'll put their 'take' in here.