Coronavirus housemate problem
April 23, 2020 11:12 AM   Subscribe

My partner is very high risk. My housemate is very anxious to go shopping, pick up takeout at local foodcourt, etc. I own the house. What do I do?

We've been staying inside since this began, with groceries and prescriptions delivered. We're all introverts, so this isn't as bad as it could be.

My partner is at high risk from coronavirus on several vectors and is also recovering from surgery. I am at greater risk than my housemate but not as at-risk as my partner.

We have a younger, very healthy housemate who really, really wants to be going to the grocery store and picking up take-out. So far, my housemate has been willing to avoid these things, but has pretty much said that at the end of the month they want to be going out more.

I am just at an utter loss. There is no material reason for us not to stay in semi-indefinitely - if we're laid off and run out of savings/unemployment, we're screwed, of course, but for now that's not the case.

I'm also feeling pretty angry, because I feel like my housemate is literally willing to let us die as long as they can go out. "You have to take risks sometimes," they say. Our relationship hasn't been that great for a while, through mutual fault, and I feel sure they only stay here because the rent is wildly below market.

They're not paying rent right now, at my suggestion. It would be illegal and unethical to evict them, although the next time this comes up I'm going to ask if they can stay with friends or family. (Probably not. But we've been in total quarantine for a month, so I think they don't really risk taking the virus to another household as long as they get a ride straight there.)

I don't know what to do. If they brought home the virus through unnecessary going out, I would not be able to live with them after the pandemic, especially if there were a bad outcome, and it would be very, very difficult for me to endure living with them until it was possible to evict them.

This is really fucking with my sleep and adding to my stress. I'm counting down the days to the end of the month and feeling very upset.

It's not possible to quarantine them in the house - there's only one bathroom.

What should I do? What can I do?
posted by Frowner to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think it's unethical to tell that housemate that is currently living there rent free that not going out is a condition for living here until date X and we can talk about it again on date Y. They can make their choices, but you still get to have your boundaries.
posted by advicepig at 11:19 AM on April 23 [54 favorites]


They're not paying rent right now, at my suggestion. It would be illegal and unethical to evict them, although the next time this comes up I'm going to ask if they can stay with friends or family.

This is really nice of you to suggest that they don't pay rent - but in my mind this constitutes a change in the bargain you've struck with your housemates. Prior to COVID, this meant that in exchange for rent, housemate gets to behave and utilize the house subject to the terms of your rental agreement.

But this is a change in terms - "Hey, you're not paying us rent, which we're trying to do you a favor. But the condition on that we have to abide by an agreed upon set of rules that is okay with everyone in the household on what our quarantine practices are."
posted by Karaage at 11:32 AM on April 23 [10 favorites]


I don’t think it is reasonable to forbid roommates from going to the grocery store, sorry. I say that as someone living in the epicenter. It just isn’t really a reasonable request to make. However, I do think that since you are hosting them rent-free out of the kindness of your heart that you have the right to make that kind of unreasonable request. It’s not clear from your question if they are out of there at the end of the month, which is just a week or so away, but if so, I think it is ok to ask them to honor this request specifically because you are letting them stay there as a favor.
posted by cakelite at 11:35 AM on April 23 [27 favorites]


I'm sorry, but in these unprecedented times I cant have someone living with me who is going to be putting mine and partner's health at risk. If you're willing to continue to self-isolate we're happy to have you, but I need to prioritize our health above everything else. If you can't agree then I'm sorry but you'll need to find other living arrangements.
posted by cgg at 11:58 AM on April 23 [8 favorites]


The ethics here aren't as black and white as you make them seem. Personally, I think it's unethical to be "outsourcing" your exposure risk to low-income people who can't afford to stay home - people working on platforms like Instacart doing grocery delivery.

We can afford grocery delivery but we wouldn't do it. We wear masks and sanitize our hands after leaving the store and again after unpacking.

Everyone has to make their own analysis of risks and what's right and wrong right now; I don't think it's clear that you are in the right and your housemate is in the wrong.

Your young, healthy housemate seems like the perfect person to do the grocery shopping for your household. What a great way to help out. And of course you should all three be getting fresh air and exercise on walks, jogs, or bike rides.
posted by amaire at 12:00 PM on April 23 [53 favorites]


I think one big issue here is Frowner literally can't evict them due to the moratorium, which means they can't enforce kicking them out at present. So while it may be an effective strategy to motivate change to say they'll need to find other living arrangements, it's 100% a bluff.
posted by avalonian at 12:02 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Further to the eviction thing: I wouldn't kick them out if I could because this is a pandemic and our housemate is dependent on cheap rent at the best of times.

Partly, I am afraid that they will bring the virus home, something bad that I don't even want to type will happen and then I'll have to live with them. Or my partner will! I could be the one who gets the virus and strokes out, you never know.

As to the deliveries, I thought about it when this began. If my partner were at less risk, I wouldn't do it, but my partner has multiple high-risk conditions and has been semi-immobile from surgery for a while. So if I got sick, there would be no one to care for me - partner couldn't, housemate really isn't that kind of person and isn't taking the whole thing very seriously. I would feel very unsafe with breathing difficulties because no one could realistically check on me or bring me food, and I would be the only person who could clean/sterilize if I were sick. And of course if my partner and I were both sick, I would not be able to care for my partner, assess them for breathing problems, etc. If my partner had to go to the doctor, we'd have to call the paramedics because they can't walk right now. I know I'm not the only one who faces these difficulties, but that's the decision I made. I mean, I'm literally unsure that my partner would be fed regularly if I could not do it, never mind any of the other stuff.

I hate doing it, but I don't have a car and would have to make multiple trips a week to get enough groceries for the three of us.
posted by Frowner at 12:19 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


I agree that there are complicated ethical dilemmas right now, but in a household where there are two high risk individuals, sending the healthy member out to shop is not a shade of grey option to me. It's very possible for that person to pick it up, be potentially asymptomatic, and transmit it to the two of you. Then you have multiple people who may need weeks of intense medical care. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of situation that grocery delivery should be utilized--not adding more people to the grocery store as vectors and not potentially creating more strain on medical resources.

Also, those who are working as grocery delivery people because they need the income are not likely to then chose to stay home and starve. In total, shopping for yourself is likely to add more people to the transmission pool, and thereby increase the risk to those workers. Lobby for better protections/government assistance and in the meantime pay them as well as you possibly can so they can choose to not take on as many shopping trips. (There are also arguments for not using up services needed by those with disabilities, which may also impact decision-making. In my area, shopping services have plenty of availability, but that might be different in yours.)

The suggestion that perhaps the rent moratorium be further clarified as being one aspect of trying to keep everyone safe and healthy seems like a good track to try. I would hope that clarifying that everyone is doing something to as part of a mutual support would help them to at least reconsider.
posted by past unusual at 12:24 PM on April 23 [23 favorites]


I wouldn't kick them out if I could because this is a pandemic and our housemate is dependent on cheap rent at the best of times.

I dont think anyone is suggesting you kick them out - they get to make a choice between living in your home without rent in exchange for abiding your perfectly reasonable expectations of their behavior, OR another arrangement of their choosing, for which you are not responsible.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:28 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Further to the "walks, jogs and bike rides" and then I'll stop. My partner is virtually immobile from surgery and hasn't been down the stairs in six weeks, probably won't be mobile for weeks to come and needs assistance with most aspects of daily life. And housemate would not pick up groceries for all of us, so I'd still be going out, which means many trips a week for both of us.
posted by Frowner at 12:30 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]


I live on my own in a house (yes, I am very fortunate and I know it). I have a number of risk factors. I am a control freak and so I choose to do my own shopping once a week. I have a very rigid "coming home" protocol. My washer/dryer are in my garage. I mask up, etc. when I go to the store. When I come home, I place the bags on the floor in front of my washer. And then empty the bags on the floor and dispose of the bags. Then I strip out of my "outside" clothes. The shoes live in the garage. The clothes & mask go in the washer. I wipe down all the products I've brought home and place the clean items on the dryer except for produce which goes in the laundry sink. I have a set of "inside" bags. I transfer the products into the "inside" bags --I use the laundry sink to wash produce off and transfer into a an "inside" bag. I carry everything into the house and then go and wash myself before putting everything away.

Would your housemate agree to a decontamination process like that? Would that level of actions make you more comfortable? Do you have a separate space where they could do that routine in privacy? If it doesn't seem like enough or possible or your housemate doesn't want to follow a strict process, I think you are entirely within your rights to tell them they must choose between going out and living rent free in your home. You are not being unreasonable--what this virus can do to one's body is horrific and I am terrified of catching it.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:37 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


The question about whether it's ever safe to make a trip outside of house is something about which reasonable people can disagree. You've reached your conclusion; your housemate has reached a different one. Barring a whole lot of new information appearing neither of you are likely to change your minds.

It doesn't have to be an angry thing, but sometimes (and this seems like one of them) it's okay to say firmly "I've reached my final opinion and I'm going to act on it."

He'll believe you're wrong (and that's okay), but if you draw a clear and consistent boundary I think things will go much smoother.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:51 PM on April 23 [13 favorites]


I am really sympathetic to your situation, but I’m not sure there is anything you can do if you believe your housemate will put his comfort above your feelings of health and safety. If you have not already done so, you should make it clear the waiver of rent is contingent on their compliance with the household quarantine. Hopefully, they are financially responsible enough for that to motivate them more than your heartfelt request. If not and if you expect that you would need to actually evict this person in order to get them to move out, you should start preparing for that now. If courts are open where you are, you could also research the possibility of obtaining a restraining order if you believe they taking actions that put you and your partner in physical risk.

You have my utmost sympathy. Even in the normal course, being a landlord with housemates is really hard because you can’t really end things by being the one to move out. As your ask makes clear, these difficulties are even greater now because the stakes of an incompatible housemate can be so so high.
posted by ElizaMain at 12:58 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I was in a similar situation but in your roommate's shoes. I live abroad but got stranded here in the US: staying with my parents ended up being difficult for everyone so I went elsewhere. I'd look into helping them find a place to stay temporarily where they can go out more. You don't have to pay, obviously, but you can help them find options. Definitely present it as an option so it feels that way rather than an eviction, which could make them feel abandoned at this difficult time. This can be an ongoing discussion, too. I took about a week to make my decision.

I left my understandably restrictive situation (due to others' health needs) and went to stay at a friend's hostel in a different state where we are mostly self-quarantined but also living with some essential workers. (The COVID-19 risk here is much lower than where I was before.) I'm doing chores and DIY projects in exchange for being able to stay here. It was the best situation for everyone. I am so much happier and so is everyone else, although I certainly had my critics who were angry I drove so far to come here. Your roommate can always come back when things are better: if they need to pick up stuff while they're living away, you can always leave it outside the door for them, etc. Ultimately, your needs come first but there is a happy, if initially imperfect, solution that will be the best for everyone.
posted by smorgasbord at 1:03 PM on April 23 [7 favorites]


Also, should you have that discussion, start it with inclusive language and positive phrasing: "This is such a difficult time for us all." "I wish things weren't so dire." "I know there are so many approaches to this and the best one is unclear but we have to choose the most restrictive one due to our health needs." "I love you and care about you." Etc.
posted by smorgasbord at 1:08 PM on April 23


Have you talked at all with your housemate about what would have to happen for you to feel that it was safe for them to go grocery shopping? When you ask them to stay inside, how long are you asking them to stay? Until after the surge in your area? Until your partner is completely recovered from surgery? Until there's a comprehensive case tracking and community prevention program in your area? Until there's a vaccine? (I'm not saying any of these requests would be unreasonable on your part, just that you should be clear about what you're asking.)

Are you open to any kind of negotiation at all? Would you feel better about compromises like, "Only go out once a week and only to pre-approved locations" (i.e. places that you perceive as having lower risk - takeout places with only phone-ahead ordering and window pickup, or grocery stores that you know are observing strict social distancing and capacity limits)? Is there anything your roommate could do in terms of their own routine around shopping that would reassure you? (Gowning up, proper mask usage, some kind of decon process?)

I am the sole caretaker for a seriously ill partner and if I got a bad case of COVID I suppose he would end up quarantined in a skilled nursing facility, which would be pretty terrible. But I do still go grocery shopping and get takeout. It just doesn't feel that high-risk to me, but maybe that's partly because we also have to have visiting nurses in the house and go to appointments at the hospital - since the "total lockdown quarantine" option is not available to us, grocery shopping seems like a relatively small add-on (and takeout even less so, everyone around here's doing a very nice job with low- or no-contact pickup). And also if I did get COVID I wouldn't know for sure that I got it from grocery shopping, it could just as easily have come from one of those other, necessary sources (which, weirdly, makes a huge difference psychologically).

So basically I don't think either you or your housemate want unreasonable things here. I think there are two main approaches you could take - either say, "This is a hard boundary for us: if you can't do this, we need to find you someplace else to stay," or negotiate with them so that you feel safER even if not 100% safe.
posted by mskyle at 1:24 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


I don't think the rent-free aspect should be part of the discussion. What if they counter "OK, I'll pay rent and then go to the store"?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:03 PM on April 23 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry if this was stated but it's unclear to me. Can the housemate get grocery delivery indefinitely? Do they have a car? What precautions are they willing to take to grocery shop safely?

Grocery shopping is, unfortunately, essential, as you well know. And getting delivery can be difficult right now. It is possible tell the housemate that if they go grocery shopping, you expect them to follow every precaution possible--masks, gloves, santizing everything before coming into the house. If they choose not to do so, they can choose to stay somewhere else. It is your house and you call the shots.

Telling them they can't grocery shop seems a little much. They're not just going out for fun.

The living situation is also unclear. Does your housemate have their own bathroom? If it is possible to have separate bathrooms you should absolutely mandate that your housemate has their own bathroom and does not use yours right now.

I also agree with the suggestion to only go out once a week. I'm unclear on what these multiple outings a week are. If you each go get food once a week, that's two outings. It is reasonable to ask your housemate not to go out more than that.

Good luck. This is difficult.
posted by Amy93 at 2:11 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


"You have to take risks sometimes," they say. Erm, no. That they choose to take risks sometimes, yes, some people (especially the young and vigorous) do have that zesty approach to life. But that's their business. Even if their rent hadn't gone from below-market to bupkis, what a terribly cavalier thing to say to your more-vulnerable roommates/landlords! I hope they aren't usually this selfish, and that it's more a matter of some willful ignorance as to the severity of the crisis (because if something happens to you, what happens to them), not to mention cabin fever, making them so dismissive of your genuine concerns.

So if I got sick, there would be no one to care for me - partner couldn't, housemate really isn't that kind of person and isn't taking the whole thing very seriously. I'm so sorry. How is your roommate contributing (not monetarily) to the household right now, given your partner's extended convalescence, your necessary focus on partner's care, and the pandemic? Have they taken over more maintenance-type chores, done everyone's cooking, deep-cleaned anything, thrown themselves into a job from the 'someday' list (some thankless task in need of uninterrupted time and considerable stamina)?

I mention chores in case giving them an activity list to burn off some of their restlessness could be part of the conversation described in past unusual's comment. You've been a decent person doing them a good turn since Day 1; in the best interests of two-thirds of the local population, "no shopping" is a condition of their stay; you understand if they need to relocate for their own well-being. You're sympathetic that they're not used to being so inactive. If they choose to stay, you have some ideas how they can burn off that energy and further contribute to the health of the household.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:40 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]


Whew, I would not feel safe living with someone this cavalier about my or my partners health, let alone giving them a free ride. I don't know if they're having difficulty comprehending what is happening or the existential risk they're asking you to accept entirely for their momentary emotional benefit, but wow. Crappy roommate award 😒
posted by captain afab at 3:06 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]


Asking someone to stay in real, total quarantine for several weeks when they're not sick or even reasonably suspected to be exposed is a huge request. I'm not saying you're unreasonable in making it; I'm just saying that maybe you don't fully appreciate the magnitude of it. I don't know if there's anywhere besides Wuhan at the height of its outbreak that imposed that on people, and I think it would be extremely difficult to enforce outside of an authoritarian society. Psychologically, it's very close to imprisonment, and without even the pressure from knowing that one is genuinely at high risk of transmitting the disease to others. (Your partner is at high risk of a bad outcome if they should get infected, and I understand why that means you want to take no risk at all, but a person making brief outdoors excursions with appropriate precautions is not at high risk of bringing it home to you, as far as we know now.)

Giving them free rent is definitely an appropriate gesture, but I think you need to go further. Are you paying for their groceries/food deliveries? (Online grocery shopping is unquestionably more expensive and more restrictive than brick-and-mortar shopping.) Can you pick up other entertainment costs? The way the house is set up, do they get any alone time that doesn't involve them hiding out in their room?
posted by praemunire at 4:03 PM on April 23 [15 favorites]


My partner and I disagree about this too. I think it's an acceptable risk to leave the house once a week or so for groceries, and he doesn't. And that means he gets to win, and neither of us goes out.

There is tons we don't know about this virus, the experts can only give us high-level guidance, and everybody's context/risk is different. People are gonna disagree on how to handle themselves, and there's no definitive right answer. And IMO, that means that each group needs to agree as a blanket rule to conduct itself in accordance with what the most cautious member wants. Because we can all be as reckless as we want with our own lives, but we can't and shouldn't be unilaterally reckless with the lives of other people.

So in my view: your housemate doesn't need to agree with you about how much risk there is, or about what level of risk is acceptable. Even if they think you are wrong about everything, they still need to defer to you, because the bottom line is that their liberty ends where your nose begins.

I don't know if you have any chance of persuading them to see it that way. But I think it's worth a shot?

If they can't/won't agree to stay home, then yes I think you need to try to persuade them to try to go somewhere else for the duration of the pandemic. And like praemunire said above, it is also worth trying to bribe or placate them if you can, if that would help them to gracefully accede. Good luck, and I am so sorry about how stressful this is.
posted by Susan PG at 5:33 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Perhaps you can approach the conversation from the perspective of trust. You need to trust the people who are sharing living quarters with. If they were to go out while we are still in this heightened state of alert they would be breaking your trust and it would make it impossible for you to continue sharing a home with them.

While you might not kick them out that day or that week, you could say that were they to leave you would need to give them reasonable notice to find a new place.

And I would check the landlord/tenant laws where you live. There are often different rules for housemate situations where one person is the owner and they are renting out a room in their house. You have a right to feel safe in your home.
posted by brookeb at 7:15 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


My comment about the broader context got deleted but bottom line: you can't force them to stay in the house. Your roommate has told you next month they need to go out, and they know you oppose this and plan to do it anyway and they have the legal right to do so. All you can do is ask them to find another place to stay. If push comes to shove you might have to pay them to leave.
posted by fshgrl at 9:12 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


"Housemate, my partner is at very high risk of having serious complications or worse from Covid-19, so we have to minimize every possible risk to their health. I want to be able to provide you with a place to stay, but it has to be as safe as possible for my partner due to their very high-risk condition. The lockdown is so hard on all of us, and I wish it could be different, but I need you to agree that unless it is a true emergency, we all need to stay at home, because my partner needs to be as safe as possible."

As a point of speculation, it may be that they want to go out and get things like takeout because they are better able to afford it because they haven't been paying rent, but similarly, they are hopefully in a better position to afford rent elsewhere because of your kindness and generosity. I think if you use a script like the one above, it isn't a debate, and it doesn't open the discussion as to whether risk is acceptable. It isn't for you and your partner, and while you would like to provide your housemate a home, it has to be as safe as possible. Period. They can make their choice from there, and you have already provided them with resources that hopefully create more flexibility for their living arrangements. Otherwise, given the health risks, I think brookeb is on the right track, and you can consult with a local lawyer (MeFi Wiki) about your rights and discuss options to transition your tenant to another residence, which may include paying them a reasonable amount to leave, e.g. moving costs, security deposit, etc.
posted by katra at 9:20 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


When I left the COVID-19 ward that Tom Hanks was on (before my negative results got back, but the likelihood of having it was very low), i was made to wash my hands, given a surgical mask and spares, escorted to my flatmate's car, asked to pass him a mask, and further instructions which was about staying in my room, cleaning any shared bathroom with antiseptic immediately, to not share a room with any other members of the household.

If you must keep your tenant, I recommend that they be treated as a potential carrier and be required to undertake these steps to keep you and your partner as safe as possible.

Best of luck, it's really hard, I know.
posted by b33j at 11:54 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


Is the request about the grocery store and take out specifically, or could the compromise be that roommate gets to go outside on hikes/solitary walks with a mask?

All my family and a lot of friends are in Italy, where it’s forbidden to leave the house unless you are an essential employee or are going solo to the grocery store and it’s been taking a HUGE psychological toll on people.

I agree that you need to keep you and your partner safe, but there is a mental cost to isolation.
posted by lydhre at 3:37 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


It seems like this is a situation where bribing them to move out would save you money and stress in the long run. If you're thinking about asking them to stay with family and friends, definitely try that first. If that's not a possibility for them though, paying for their first months rent somewhere where they'd have more freedom would benefit all of you. If you want to do that, but don't have enough money, memail me. I'd be willing to contribute.
posted by Eyelash at 4:19 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. It's really stressful when circumstances that could be life-or-death for you/spouse are not within your control, and entangled in interpersonal issues with someone else.

Other folks have addressed the what-can-I-do aspect of your question, but I wanted to add another thing to consider. Regardless of whether we all deem grocery delivery vs. grocery shopping to be safe, your housemate's general attitude is, "take some precautions and things will probably be fine!" vs. your and your husband's attitude of "take every possible precaution." As restrictions ease up and our cities try to strike a balance between safety and getting-back-to-normal, you and housemate will probably continue disagree on what's safe at every single stage of opening-up, whenever your local government's recommendations change. When might it be safe to go to appointments again? Go back to work? See family members occasionally? I have no doubt she'll disagree with you on all fronts, if she's that adamant about going out right now.

Even if you get the boundaries sorted out for the time being, this conflict is likely to keep coming up in different ways. So I would try to prioritize finding your housemate a new living situation, no matter what happens.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 4:53 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


What are the housemate's reasons for wanting this so badly? Are they going stir-crazy? Or is it more about having difficulty paying for deliveries, or something else?

Hopefully they'll move out sooner rather than later. But I'm wondering if in the meantime, depending on their reasons, there are ways for their needs to be met that don't involve them raising anyone's risk of infection.
posted by trig at 9:08 AM on April 24


[Gentle reminder; the genders are unstated, so please don't add them in. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:58 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Update: Things at the Frowner household are better than expected. Housemate immediately agreed to extend the stay-home period until partner is stronger and said they really didn't feel any particular rush to go places anyway. (We are all introverts AND Minnesota has moved from "being sensible" to "let's reopen retail, after all our processing plants are doing so well!!!" so the outside world is a scarier place.) We had a much better conversation because I was feeling calmer and not freaking out, I think, and we've gotten into a bit of a groove here. I accept that eventually we'll have to do some going outside, but I'll feel a lot better about it when partner is recovered and moving around.

I think our previous conversation was just pretty bad and incoherent, largely because I was more upset than I realized at the time.

To answer a couple of questions: We all live in a large, very run-down house and keep different schedules, so everyone does have some privacy. I am paying for all charges associated with grocery delivery and we've basically been able to get all our usual stuff since we eat pretty simply. I also paid for all the disinfectant, masks, etc that we've bought because of quarantine. Housemate is working from home. There is currently no shortage of delivery slots. As much as possible, I use a local union grocery store. At some point, if housemate continues to work from home I'm going to go back to asking for rent - I really waived it because conditions seemed so uncertain, and of course if housemate doesn't have income I will waive it again.

So that's good. I guess the moral of the story is that what people say in the heat of the moment when everyone is upset is not always the final word.

Thanks, everyone - it was a great help just writing the whole thing out and really helped calm me down and re-set my feelings.
posted by Frowner at 12:43 PM on April 29 [9 favorites]


« Older Salary expectations in tech with defined job...   |   Creative ideas needed! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments