MY mother always used to tell me 'If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all'.
Let's be honest, it's not a rule that most of us follow.
In fact, if journalists adopted that philosophy, we would barely get a paper out each day.
Criticism of public figures, and authority, has become an Australian institution - probably from our convict days.
Unlike in the US, and other countries, pollie bashing has become a national sport.
Each month, we get about 40,000 comments across our sites, the vast majority of which are negative towards our local councillors, state and federal MPs, and any other community leader who puts their head up.
It's not pretty to watch some days. Bloody depressing actually.
The rare positive comment is like a golden nugget found after months of digging in the mire.
Across our sites, we have always encouraged debate - and welcome constructive criticism - rather than blanket condemnation.
But we do draw the line on abuse - particularly of others making comments.
So here's a few examples of comments we don't want to see any more of, our top 10 most hated if you like.
1. If you would just educate yourself….
2. You clearly don't have a clue…
3. What would you know, you LNP…
4. What would you know, you ALP…
5. We would expect that from a Greens-lover like you
6. Boring repetition
7. Off topic comments
8. Defamatory comments
9. Self-promotion or spam
10. Twisting someone else's comments
Of almost 1 million comments received on this site in recent times, just over 115,000 have been rejected - roughly one in 10.
So we are not overly ruthless in our moderation.
I am sure that there are plenty of pollies around who think we should be rejecting far more.
But we are not here to serve them.
That said, it would be nice to see a few more positive - and constructive ideas flowing through.
Rather than telling us your local MP is a lazy slob, why not suggest what he or she should be doing.
Instead of telling us the town plan sucks, tell us how you would fix it.
And please, if you want to get your comment approved, keep the abuse of fellow posters out of it.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion - whether you agree with it or not.
And don't forget if our moderators slip up, and a comment which doesn't follow the guidelines is approved, feel free to report it.
It will be reviewed and if it is abusive, is likely to be removed.
Constructive debate is always welcome.
Aggressive bullies can go elsewhere for their fun.
Mark Furler is APN Australian Regional Media's group digital editor.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.