Comment and Site Policy

I think most people have a good sense about what they ought or ought not to do in a comments section on someone else’s blog, but there are some who simply lack that common sense. This page is for those people.

Here’s the short version, courtesy of xkcd:

Click to see it at xkcd.

And now, with more detail:


I’m paying for this website. I’m paying because it creates a space for me to interact with people about interesting topics. I write my opinions. Sometimes my opinions change. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I express myself less clearly than I intend, and you should feel free to confirm that I’m saying what you think I’m saying before you decide I’m The Enemy.

Also, don’t take it personally if you think I’m indirectly criticising you in a post. Maybe something you said triggered a thought; that doesn’t mean I’m criticizing you. There are a few stories I could tell, but here’s maybe the craziest: one longtime reader once went bananas and on-and-off trolled me for a year because he was angry I made a comment about the evolutionary psychology of the jewelry industry (specifically, the diamond wedding ring business). A year. He was clever enough to on-again, off-again troll me, to sustain his welcome longer. In the end he used the names of a famous director and an ancient philosopher as sockpuppets to insult me, my writing, and my website… and, cleverly, did it all from his workplace IP address, after I blocked his home IP. He only relented when I told him to stop or I’d contact his boss with a complaint.

Don’t be that guy.

I have some strong opinions, but I also have ears and eyes, to see and hear. I listen to disagreement, and I consider it. So feel free to disagree with me when commenting. Point out the error in my ways, and maybe I’ll even see the light. If not, I’ll tell you why I still disagree. But bear in mind, I may proceed to point out the error in your ways, in the hope that you will see the light, too. Consider the fact that whatever I write about here, I also spend time thinking about before writing about it. Do me–and all the commenters and readers here–the same courtesy.

If you ultimately really don’t like what I’m doing here, and aren’t interested in intelligent discussion about why, then you have two choices:

  1. Stop coming here. Change the channel and find something you do enjoy.
  2. Get your own blog to explain why the ideas you see presented here are ones you disagree with, don’t like, or whatever.

Here are some facts you should bear in mind when commenting:

  • My blog is a civilized place, where discussion is encouraged but must take place within an adult, civilized framework. Don’t behave like an animal. Go get your own blog if you want to behave like a pig or a dog: I won’t tolerate it here.
  • Discussion and debate is welcome. I love and value diversity of opinions and experience, and am willing to learn from you. However, discussion requires a modicum of politeness and respect. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re writing, were you face to face with the person you’re interacting with. Remember that online discussions seem sometimes to be harder to read nuance in. Consider taking a bit of time to cool off before firing away your angry comment. When you screw up, apologize.
  • Your writing a comment does not obligate me to publish it here on my blog. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely delete or unpublish a comment (aside from spam or outright trolling). But if you’re being a bigot; if you’re derailing the discussion; if you’re attacking people (including me); if you’re making a nuisance of yourself in general, I reserve the right to first ask you to stop it, and/or refuse to publish your comment. (My options include disemvoweling, public mockery, deletion, dropping you into the moderation queue, or finally banning you if your behavioral problem is chronic. I will give you a chance, but my patience is finite.) Like any form of publication, your comment is much likelier to see the light of day if you put some thought and some work into it… and like any form of publication, nobody’s obligated to give you a platform. (Though plenty of free blog hosting sites are willing to do so.)
  • Moderation is generally only for new people… but is also sometimes imposed on people on probation. That is, automatic moderation is generally only applied to people who are new to the blog. If you’ve commented before, or registered on this site, you’ll be able to comment and see your words appear immediately. If they do not show up, let me know. I may take a day or two to unmoderate comments. If you find your comments are suddenly falling into the moderation queue, it’s because you included links (too many automatically turns moderation on for your comment), or else you’ve behaved in a way I find unacceptable, and I’ve turned on moderation for your comments until further notice. Almost always it’s the former case, but occasionally I will put a poster on probation for bad behaviour. If it persists, the commented gets banned, and blocked at the IP(s) from which that commenter usually comments.
  • “tl;dr” (too long, didn’t read) comments will be deleted summarily. If you didn’t read it, you don’t get to comment on it. Nothing pisses me off more (on any blog) than when someone spatters out a tl;dr and then regurgitates the same stupid opinion that the poster has carefully and painfully deconstructed and debunked. If you don’t want to read a post, move on. Don’t comment that you didn’t want to read it, or that it was too long. Indeed, tl;dr ought to get you banned, and if it doesn’t, count yourself lucky.