Posted by: Dan | October 20, 2008

Rules of Discussion

As has been pointed out to me, I have handled comment moderation quite badly at times, so I think it’s best to clearly state what my policies are for moderating comments, regardless of how frequently I receive comments. In this way, I hope to remain fair in my handling of certain individuals. With any luck, this will serve to elevate discussion here.

  1. No soliciting or evangelizing. Any comments looking as though you’re just here to sell something will be considered spam and promptly deleted.
  2. Keep it civil*. I welcome constructive criticism of myself and others, but Ad hominem attacks will not be tolerated, and resorting to name-calling is a poor way to make your argument. Articulate the reasons for your disagreements well, and be willing to agree to disagree on matters of opinion.
  3. Support your arguments. If a statement of fact is challenged, the person challenged should make a good faith effort to either provide supporting evidence (e.g., citations) or make a logical argument as to why such supporting evidence is unnecessary. This will help everyone in discerning well-founded arguments from false premises.
  4. Represent yourself honestly. Misrepresentation of opinions and speculations leads to confusion and can appear disingenuous. Thus, statements of opinion should be clearly indicated as such, perhaps with “IMO” in parenthesis, in a good-faith effort to concede the difference between fact and opinion. Ideologues and individuals trying to manipulate the conversation (often the same thing) fall into this category.
  5. Stay on topic. I tolerate short digressions to stray off-topic, but repeated comments appearing to “hijack” the discussion will be deleted. If you really want to say something, find the appropriate thread(s) for it to be said, or start your own blog.
  6. Take it elsewhere if necessary. Long-running debates that are of interest only to a small number of individuals should be taken elsewhere, preferably via private email.

Refusal to abide by these rules on multiple threads (say, three or more), is grounds for limitation or rescinding of commenting privileges; if needed, I will use my discretion as to how other problems are handled; and please remember that you are a guest here.

Appeals of moderation or complaints about the behavior of your fellow commentators are NOT appropriate nor welcome.

  • There are a number of instances in older posts of mine where I did resort to calling someone “stupid”, etc. My apologies — I realize that such attacks are counter-productive, even if the persons being referred to are stupid and show no interest in intelligently supporting their arguments (see Rules 3, 4, and 5). As such, rather than pointing out their intellectual ineptitude, I will simply delete their comments as I should have in past instances.


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