Comment Policy

Comment Rules

Our rules are simple. Your comments are welcome even if you disagree with us. However, don’t even think about trolling, flaming, preaching, witnessing, using offensive language, or spamming us with nonsense you’ve copied from other websites. Such material will be deleted, and those who post it will be banned.

About offensive language: It’s not wanted here. Why? We’re not prudes, but we don’t want anyone to hesitate about recommending this blog to anyone else — students, teachers, co-workers, whatever. Nor do we ourselves want to be embarrassed if it becomes known that this is our blog. That is why, although anonymous, we try to maintain the writing standard of a respected newspaper’s editorial page. Comments, obviously, will be far more casual than that, but we intend to keep the place presentable. Therefore we’ll edit inappropriate comments, and if necessary we’ll delete them.

Please avoid thread drift: Off-topic comments that add nothing to the subject under discussion, or that threaten to divert or hijack the discussion, may be edited or deleted. We’ll also delete comments, or parts thereof, that are nothing but incoherent babbling.

Judgment calls: Sometimes it’s difficult to decide how to handle certain comments. We once said this in reply to a new visitor, leaving his comment intact, but advising him that no more like it would be welcome:

Thanks for visiting, and for offering your theological speculations. Unfortunately, yours is the kind of comment we discourage here. It’s a sweet soliloquy, but it appears to be based entirely on your feelings, and therefore it’s totally unscientific. While not at all offensive, your feelings don’t contribute to the purpose of this blog. But please feel free to comment again, if you can participate in our discussions.

Other Comment editing: If you want typos fixed, ask and we’ll do it. Then, if it won’t disrupt the conversation, we’ll probably delete your fix-up request so your error will be as if it never happened.

Comment moderation: We generally don’t moderate comments, which means they’ll appear as you’ve written them, without delay, as soon as you hit the “Submit” button. But if we’ve decided that someone is potentially a problem, his comments will be moderated — that is, delayed until manually approved. Not all moderation is due to such decisions. Certain words will trigger automatic moderation, as will an excessive number of links, as such usually indicate spam. Sometimes the software malfunctions and comments become ensnared in moderation. It could be the Scunthorpe problem. We have no control over such things. Don’t take it personally. We’ll approve your comment in due course.

A word to crusaders: If you’re on a mission to proclaim your personal philosophy to the world, please find someplace else to do it. Our readers didn’t come here to be your audience, and we’re running this blog for them, not you. But you think your mission overrides everything else, don’t you? Sorry, it doesn’t. No mercy. No warning. Goodbye.

Personal insults and attacks: There’s a right way and a wrong way to do these things. Even when it’s relevant to the topic being discussed, we’ll delete unsupported personal insults, allegations, and character attacks. However, if you have a published news story about such matters, that’s different. You can quote the media’s account of the allegations. Relevant news is welcome here. Especially news that exposes creationist mendacity. But we’re talking about news articles — not blog chatter. You can also quote your target’s own writings — with a link so the quote can be verified. Often, that’s sufficient to make your point, and it’s far more credible than merely posting an insult. It’s not as much fun as slinging insults, but that’s the way we do it here.

Your comments are your responsibility: Our attempts to tidy things up don’t relieve you from liability for what you write. No one but you is responsible for your comments. If you comment here you’re agreeing to our rules.

Evidence: If you say it, then you better be able to back it up with evidence or be willing to retract it.  If someone (myself or anyone else) asks for a cite, then provide it or retract your statement.  If you do neither, then it will be assumed you are not interested in rational discussion and you will go away.


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