Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Comment Guidelines

These are guidelines, not rules. However, there are consequences to anything deemed an offense, including editing, warning, deletion and banning. None of this is meant to suggest any high-minded purpose or direction for this blog. It's just what I think and how I would like people to conduct themselves while at my blog. These guidelines are an attempt to facilitate reasonable discussion as well as to avoid unnecessary and irrelevant conflict. All decisions regarding unacceptable behavior are my sole discretion.

Rules, guidlines, what's the difference?
I am not a referree and I will not always be able to take action in every case in a timely manner or at all. Certain factors may lead to my decision to tolerate or indulge different posters. I will not always have time or inclination to explain or justify these factors. I may also allow guidelines to be bent if it furthers the discussion. If you can't accept this, don't comment.

Isn't that censorship?
No. No one is restricting free and open discourse. Certain things will be deemed as unacceptable to reasonable people. "Reasonable people" in this case is me. No one will stop you from providing a link to your own site where you may express yourself however you please.

Alright. So what's unnacceptable?

  • Trolls
    If the purpose of your comment is solely to inflame, derail or otherwise distract from the issue, it will be deleted.
  • Feeding Trolls
    We can all recognize a troll. Please do not respond to the trolls, as it simply encourages them. Any comment that is a direct response to the troll, no matter the intention, will be edited or deleted.
  • Abuse
    I want this to be an open and free discussion. Deliberate ad hominem attacks on other commentors (or me, for that matter) are irrelevant and not part of a rational discussion. These will be edited or deleted. Publishing another party's (not your own) personal information also constitutes abuse and will result in deletion and perhaps a ban.
  • Derailing/off-topic comments
    Let's stay on topic, shall we? I don't want, "Well, what about this?" comments to lead to an entirely different discussion. There are different paths that an argument can take naturally, but please resist forcing it onto another track entirely.

  • Spam
    Do not post advertisements for goods, services or websites providing goods or services, regardless of how relevant they may be to the discussion. The only exception to this will be when another commentor specifically requests help or information. If you are the provider of said good or service, I would ask that you exchange information with that commentor and continue the discussion outside this site. This is also subject to its relevance and impact on the post as a whole.

Ok, so what is allowed?
Words are allowed. All words. I will not censor language (unless, of course, it is a direct attack on another poster). This includes the seven words you can't say on televison, as well as others most deem unsuitable for polite conversation. This is by no means meant to be polite dinner conversation. Civility is encouraged, but not enforced. In the absence of personal attacks, all words are acceptable. Realize, however that some words will elicit a stronger response than others and indiscriminate use of epithets will generally brand you as uniformed, ignorant or just a jackass.

What about...?
This is not a children's website. We are not five. The "s-word," "f-word" and the like are ridiculous and their use discourages discourse. If you want to say "fuck," "cock," "cunt," "queer" or even "nigger," feel free, as long as it's justifiably relevant to the discussion. The "reasonable people" standard applies here.

But that's disgusting, obscene, racist, misogynist, homophobic, etc.
If you inhibit words you inhibit thought. Currently acceptable words, terms and ideas that were deemed totally unacceptable in the past are commonplace now and vice versa. The only changes have been societal sensibilties and emotional reaction, neither of which are of interest here. Censorship has become a very nebulous term in conventional discussion but when specific words are, in fact, censored, it is usually with the direct intent of suppressing the thoughts and ideas to which they are related. I find that reprehensible.

Okay! Now back to My Pants, where the actual posts and discussion are not at all worthy of the points on this list. If they even exist at all...