Comment Policy, Rhetoric, and “Rainbows and Ponies”
I have had this blog for a year and a half (almost) before needing a comment policy. I have had my fair share of commenters who “stir the pot”, so to speak, and for the most part I really don’t mind when this happens.
I’m a fan of controversial ideas, and I love when people disagree with me. Dissent is the seed that sows our greater understanding- it is a tool that can move us from lazy acceptance to active discovery, from informed hypothesis to established certainty. Ideas unchallenged are myths without history- the warm blanket of faith without facts.
So comment policies are not about silencing dissent. Eventually though, someone comes along who takes advantage of a forum of unfiltered ideas. When this happens, eventually those whose ideas are of equal value feel as though they are pointlessly fighting to be heard. Like a drunken Uncle at the Thanksgiving table- one person willing to hold a conversation hostage begins to think they are right by mere monopoly of the topic- unwilling to listen and others unwilling to speak- the dialogue of ideas becomes the dogma of idealism: preaching to empty pews.
Not everyone is going to like my comment policy- and quite honestly I don’t care. This blog belongs to me- it was borne to serve a purpose- and I’m not going to allow anyone to hijack my enjoyment of my blog. My comment policy is a simple reflection of who I am as a person- it is as fair as I am. You will find more leeway here than almost anywhere else- what rules I have are merely for the net positive effect on ideas and conversation.
What I Would Appreciate: Do you want the guy who runs the blog on your side?
- NO ALL CAPS PLEASE– I have html enabled. If something is important, say it in <b>bold</b>, or <i>italics</i>, or <u>undeline it</u>. ALL CAPS is like yelling. It annoys people. It makes you look like a crank or a Luddite. I don’t care how important you think something is- all caps is unnecessary. If you think something is so important it needs highlighting, use html; if you think everything you say so important it needs highlighting, then get your own friggin’ blog and write a post about it.
- Stay On Topic– If I write a post about theology, I expect religious comments. If I write a post about politics, I expect political punditry. If I write a post about the death of one of my political heroes, I don’t expect comments about miracle cures for cancer. I will get mad, trust me. When I write a post, I have given you a reason to engage me- not a reason to preach about your God, or your accomplishments, or your pet subject. I’m often surprised at the direction conversations go around here, but a segue is different from a sermon. Learn the difference.
- Mean With No Meat– Do you want to swear? I don’t give a flying fuck. Do you want to call me a prick, asshole, idiot, Darwinist, jack-off, moron, shithead, loser, nerd, etc? I’m pretty much okay with that. Perhaps, though, you could include some actual arguments. I’m not too impressed with people who can’t say anything substantial. I say some mean stuff sometimes, but I don’t just serve spite as an entree- though I admittedly season with it to taste.
- Concern or Tone Trolling– Do you enjoy passive-aggressively sabotaging threads by pretending you are concerned with the tone but not the argument? How about pretending you agree while trying to shift the conversation to meaningless semantics? I don’t. So fuck off.
- Presuppositional Apologetics– Can I be certain of anything? Yes, I can be certain that you are abusing simple logic in order to be a douche. Next.
What Will Get You A Warning and/or Edited Comments
- Excessively Long Posts– Especially if I read them and can’t find a single point or argument. This is not your blog. If you have 1200+ words worth of argument- get your own damn blog. (Note how I managed to highlight that without ALL CAPS)
- Short Quips to Every Commenter– Seriously? Just make one damn comment and address each person individually.
- Wasteful Formatting–
Am I Going To Have To Scroll Down
In Order To Read A Comment
That Is Only 55 words?
Then fix your shit, this is a blog,
not your fucking doodle pad
- Circle-Jerking– Hey, guess what? Your opinion piece on your blog is not evidence that your opinion is correct. It is only evidence that you have an opinion. “As I mention in this post” is okay, referencing yourself constantly as an authority is not.
- Pointless or Offensive Links– I’m a big fan of backing up your case with links. That doesn’t mean that you can abuse the privilege. ‘ Nuff said.
- Trolling Proper– I like my trolls. They make blogging more fun. When you stop being fun, you’ll get warned.
What Will Get Your Comment Deleted (Or A Rude Reply/Post)
- Hate Speech– Not even going to tolerate it. You are welcome to criticize ideas, you are not welcome to spout ignorant comments about someone’s faith, sexual orientation, gender, or race. I’m not asking you to not criticize homosexuality, just don’t call someone “faggot”. I’m not saying that being pro-Palestine is anti-Semitic, but calling someone a “filthy Jew” is.
- Utter Social Retardation– Did I just write a eulogy? Don’t spout conspiracy theories and woo. Am I sharing something intimate or personal? Don’t jump in guns blazing with a religious/credulous/intolerant sermon. Too much to ask? Really?
- Not Even Trying– This is just like the On Topic section above, except amplified. This is someone who doesn’t even want a conversation. They want an audience. They have no respect for the topic, the comments, or the conversation- they just want to rant about something unrelated.
What Will Get You Permanently Moderated/Relegated To Rainbows And Ponies
This is not a blog that has no respect for free speech. That said, there are times when the way you say things interferes with the ability for others to understand your message.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
If you have been warned, and you fail to “check yourself”, I reserve the right to moderate your future comments. I won’t delete them- or refuse to publish them…..that would be unfair to your opinions and ideas. No, I’ll help you get your message across. I’ll use my patented “Rainbows and Ponies” filter to make your comments easier to digest and more helpful.
FAQ About Moderation, Banishment, and “Rainbows and Ponies”
I Just Got Put On ‘Rainbows And Ponies’- What Should I Expect?
- All your future comments will be moderated.
- If the comment shows that you can’t moderate yourself, it will be rewritten before publication.
- Your core useful criticisms remain intact, as do your arguments and any useful links.
- Any insults, vitriol, personal attacks, and angry/deranged ranting is condensed into harmless friendly banter that includes all the same points in a more constructive form
- Pointless and/or repetitive rants are condensed for space. Useless/superfluous links are removed.
- Every comment posted will now be introduced as being filtered through a “Rainbows and Ponies” filter.
- All your future comments give the appearance that you breath rainbows and shit ponies….essentially that you are medicated with “happy pills”. Congratulations! You are the human equivalent of a lol kitteh.
Can I appeal a rewrite or have it removed?
Sure! But only if I agree that I unfairly interpreted your comment, or we can mutually agree that your post should be deleted. Appeals can be made using my personal e-mail: George Waye[but lowercase and all one word] (ampersat) consultant (period) com. Remember that if you wrote the comment properly in the first place, we wouldn’t be having this problem. Oh, and be nice in the e-mail- remember- you are trying to butter me up.
Why Did I Get Banned? I thought you didn’t ban people! You know, Free Speech and all that shit!
Great Question! Did you sock puppet to get past “Rainbows and Ponies”? Did you sock puppet just to spam a thread, or win an argument, or make yourself look smart? Did you change your e-mail address or use a public IP to avoid following my comment policy? Did you send me an e-mail, or several e-mails- that were rude or threatening? Did you attempt to stalk me? Was I forced to block your e-mail because of this?
If you answered “yes” to any of the preceding questions- then I think you and I both know why you got banned. Oh, and congratulations on doing the virtually impossible! You have graduated to the ranks of Super Trolldom! Your persistence is admirable….even if nothing else about you is.