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Thursday, July 5, 2001

Moderation and Comment Policy

Moderation is a tiresome, boring chore with no reward and even less satisfaction. Hopefully, these petty-seeming little rules will forestall my need to ever get involved. (People who moderate listservs, fora &c. have my respect. No way I'd want that job. Nevertheless, here I am.)
  • Please, nothing toxic to the conversation. No name-callin'. Keep it untortable. Behave like you're not in your own living room, out in public where someone rather conservative whose respect you're trying to earn is watching you closely with a pen and a clipboard (and it's me).
    If you want to discuss and/or criticize ideas, that's what we're all here for. But. If your ideas are the ones receiving criticism (and this applies to me as well), be prepared to accept that it's nothing personal. Cool off with a beverage, then come back. I like root beer floats. (I'm not saying you should, I just like them.)

    That said, I feel no responsibility to show any respect for bad ideas.

  • There is a bright difference between calling people stupid (which will rarely be tolerated) and calling their ideas stupid (ok if reasonable). Suggesting incompetence is allowable (within reason). Intelligent people are allowed to occasionally have dumb ideas, and I've often changed mine when shown to be in the wrong (examples provided on request). Most of the people I respect do the same in the face of evidence.
  • Spam: I hope I don't actually have to say what will happen to a comment I perceive as being spam.
  • Opinionated people often feel entitled to hold opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.
  • Be prepared to source your arguments. (Creationists, cf. below for special rules.)
  • Type legibly.
  • Should you really be eating that?
  • If you are a fundamentalist Christian, and wish to participate in the discussion, you are welcome to do so. But. Creationist/Global warming denial comments which are so broadly ignorant (especially of science) that they reveal you have failed to do even a minimum of work, research, or reading may be cheerfully and resentfully moderated into oblivion. If you ask why, I might remind you of your duty to seek the truth, and I might not do so in a manner that will make you feel good about the views you hold. (I am not Job, and this is not his blog. Those who insist on testing my patience may find it to be made of nougaty confrontational judgementy spikiness.)
  • If I suggest read this/look this up, I'm not being dismissive. I am showing you something which addresses an issue you've raised. Being handed a reference is like a free opportunity to go and learn something you may never have heard about before. I do it all the time, because I want to learn things. I don't expect to be ignored, nor the item in question to necessarily end a coversation.
    Ignorance is ok, so long as it's directly addressed and isn't pursued as though it were a virtue; that said, aggressive ignorance, no matter how well-intentioned, is unacceptable, and may be cheerfully and resentfully moderated into oblivion.

  • Subitem regarding references: because of the egregious nature of some creationist material, a number of sites or books are guaranteed to be deemed unacceptable as support for arguments. You can always ask, but if you do it a lot/insist in spite of this hint, I may cheerfully and resentfully moderate it into oblivion--my site is not an aggregator for denialist material of any kind, and I have no obligation to tolerate or support the spread of any disinformation. Better, in general, to make an argument in your own words anyway.
  • Final note for Christians (or any religious believers): any toxic rhetoric of the kind I'm all too familiar with will be nuked from orbit. If your desire to rebel and lash out at scientific authority includes demonization of those who understand and appreciate science and/or those who practice it, I will treat you like a parasite (in the sense of Proverbs 17:11).
  • Politics: not really a political blog, but comments are ok if on topic, but no birtherism, ever (really, any comment which suggests Obama is not American will be beaten with a sock full of dimes and hurled into the Sun. And then be cheerfully and resentfully moderated into oblivion).
If this is a problem, the solution is simple: you can post elsewhere. Skepticism is the rule here, but evidence avoidance is not skepticism: it's an aggressive form of ignorance.

If you insist that you have a right to say whatever you want here, then I have some news for you: your standards of legal or academic freedom, whatever they are, are not relevant; I reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.

This is not an open or free community. It is mine.

I'm not trying to be arbitrary. I just want this to be a nice place; the bottom line is that I do care about this bit of space I've set aside for myself and anyone else who wants to talk about the issues this little blog covers. If this all sounds good and reasonable, it's time for a root beer float ice cream soda.