07 December 2013

Comments policy (new)

This replaces the old one which was a little haphazard in composition.  In general I like getting comments, and it's extremely rare that I reject or delete one.  However, there are a few cases where I consider it appropriate to do so (minor update to item 2 on 26 January 2018):

1) Being rude, insulting, condescending, hectoring, etc.  I know this is common and even normal on the internet, but I won't put up with it here.

2) Going off-topic, including "change-the-subject trolling" ("why are you writing about that trivial subject when here's something else which is more important", etc.), and also including the kind of thread hijacking via irrelevant side issues that happened here.

3) Making threats.  I've never actually gotten a threat, but if I ever do, I will report it to the authorities if that seems appropriate, along with any personal info I can get about the commenter.

4) Being contentious for the hell of it, including pursuing interminable back-and-forth arguments.  This is a blog, not a debating forum.  There are plenty of sites out there which are debating forums, if that's what you're looking for.  There are people who do this with the intent of wasting a blogger's time and energy (read this too if you have a political blog).  I don't play that game.

5) Crackpottery and reality-denial -- I just don't have time for it.  It would take a fairly long and scholarly post to comprehensively refute a typical creationist claim, for example, and the person making the claim probably wouldn't be able to mentally process it anyway.  There are books and websites out there already which address such claims.  The same is true of global-warming denialism, "scientific" racism, "porn causes sex crimes",  "homosexuality is abnormal", 9/11 conspiratardia, etc.

6) Bigotry and hatred toward gays, Jews, women, racial or ethnic groups, sex workers, atheists, etc.  I will sometimes let a comment of that kind stand as a "these people really exist" object lesson, but in general this blog needs to be a "safe space" from such venom.

7) Meta-arguments about what I choose to write about or not write about and how, etc., including this comments policy -- this boils down to "you should run your blog the way I want, not the way you want."

Finally, remember that there is no issue of censorship or freedom of expression here.  You can start your own blog and say anything you want, and I neither have nor want the ability to stop you.  This one is mine, though.  As I've said before, freedom of expression means you can put a bumper sticker of your choosing on your car.  It doesn't mean you can put that same bumper sticker on my car, not unless I choose to let you.


Anonymous Zosimus the Heathen said...

A couple of the things you mentioned - specifically, points 2 and 4 - have been things that have long irked me myself. With regards to "changing the subject" trolling, I remember seeing some blatant examples of this on other blogs. In these instances, the troll didn't even pretend to stay on topic; they just dumped some utterly irrelevant URL in the comment thread, or said something along the lines of "OMG everyone! I just saw this disgusting example of [some outrage] on such-and-such a site. Let's go invade the comments!"* To me, it seemed akin to a person rocking up to a party and saying to the other guests, "Hey you guys! There's a much cooler party happening at such-and-such a house on the next street over! Why don't you come and crash it with me, instead of hanging around this dump?"

As for the back-and-forth debates between two people, those get incredibly tedious as well. I remember seeing them occur with depressing regularity on a number of blogs I used to visit (invariably they'd involve the same small group of commenters, who were usually notorious derailers as well), and it really put me off continuing to read the blogs in question or leave comments on them. It was like watching two increasingly concussed boxers continue to slug it out, long after everyone else had gotten bored of the fight and gone home.

*MRAs seemed to be notorious for this sort of nonsense.

07 December, 2013 19:58  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Zosimus: That's the main thing that confirms the need for some rules -- seeing what happens on blogs that don't have them and essentially let the trolls take over. No point in threads running to 30 or 40 comments if they're mostly bickering about issues tangential to the post.

08 December, 2013 01:19  
Anonymous Bible Quotes said...

It seems so simple but your rules are actually fair and comprehensive. I commend you for laying it out whether people agree with you or not. Its your blog and you get final say. Thanks for the transparency and may god bless you.

08 May, 2014 03:51  

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