What should I put in the Name field on my comment?
You have three options. You can leave it blank; your comment will be posted under “Anonymous.” You can write in a pseudonym (e.g. “Dr. Dendrites”). Or, you can write in your real name.
The one thing we will not tolerate is people writing in the “real name” of somebody else. You may not post as “Eric Kandel,” unless that’s also the name on your passport. If you do this, the site moderators will shame and banish you. To deter this behavior, the site editors may contact people who have commented under their real names to verify the authenticity of the comment.
If commenting is anonymous, how will I know if a comment is worthwhile?
The same way you should in real life: by evaluating the strength of the argument that is presented. One benefit of anonymous commenting is that people cannot rely on heuristics (“That’s a famous scientist so her criticism is surely important”, “He’s just a grad student so his opinion isn’t as valuable”) and must consider the worth of each comment on its own.
What kinds of comments are allowed?
You may leave a comment on any topic relevant to the paper. The ThirdReviewer welcomes, and even champions, dissenting points of view. Comments will only be removed if they consist purely of ad hominem (or ad feminam) attacks–e.g., “Dr BigShot’s science is bad and his combover is worse.” See here for examples of good comments.
Can I comment on my own paper?
Yes! This is a circumstance where you might choose to use your real name, so that you can respond in detail to others’ comments on your paper. You might also want to use the “subscribe” button so that you’ll get an email notification whenever someone comments on your paper.
Do the site moderators know who I am even if I comment anonymously?
No. We have access to your IP address, but that information is only used if you are violating site policy (by commenting under someone else’s name or spamming) for banishment purposes. We have neither time nor inclination to try to ID commenters based on their IPs, and in any case it’s a futile exercise because IPs tell us only approximately where the computer is. Anonymity is valued for the reasons stated above.