A Word on (comment) Etiquette

With the positive things dealt with over the last 2 days, it’s now a good time to give the basic rules for the (now fully moderated) comments section. I get to choose whether or not I post your comments.

I reserve the right to edit your comment (usually if your ideas are worthwhile, but you’re using language not acceptable for a family blog). Both publishing and editing are at my discretion (I choose). I cannot be appealed, and abusive followups will be met with blacklisting. I know that sounds harsh,

but after a few years talking about the topics I’m told polite people never discuss, I have had too much experience to be light on that. Following are the guidelines I’m going to use in grading comments. I will try my best to hold to these myself as well.

1) Don’t swear. Usually, I don’t demand this of people around me, but there are a variety of readers to this website, and some do not appreciate frequent f-bombs. Besides, it makes you sound like you can’t express yourself without an appeal to your possibly astounding command of the profane vernacular. Since I also have many readers for whom English is not their first language, I also don’t want to explain many of the terms, especially to members of the board of deacons.

2) Don’t be rude. This is a harder one to gauge, but still a hard rule. I do not want to have comments that you wouldn’t say to someone if they were sitting across from you, and neither of you were drunk or stoned. This means I don’t want you to call people names.

3) Don’t get snooty. Again, a bit subjective, but I know that I’m not a complete idiot, and I know that many of my readers are much smarter than I am. On the internet, you don’t know which ones are which. (“kutiepi314” might actually be a triple PhD in topics related to the one you’re trying to lecture them on). I also don’t want to clean up the mess if the J-School grad word-ninjas decide to take you down a peg using their finely sharpened lexical skills. Take the linguistic fisticuffs outside.

4) Respect others. Even if people don’t use the best words, and even if they seem less intelligent, they may still be right in their comments. We live in a universe in which intelligence does not guarantee truth. Smart people can be wrong, morons can be right. Assume the best of those that disagree with you, and you might be surprised and learn something.

5) Explain yourself. In this I mean, try to avoid using terms of art, or words that not everybody understands. I’ll explain further tomorrow when I do “a word on using logic”. For now, however, just remember that non-sequiter and ad hominium are latin, and very few people speak latin these days. It’s more fruitful if you actually tell us why a given statement is illogical than using the phrase “that’s a clear non-sequiter”. You can still use the term, but I’ll need to hear why you think the statement in question has no bearing on the argument.

I pray this will keep our conversations civil. :-)

One thought on “A Word on (comment) Etiquette

  1. I love that. “J-School grad word-ninjas”. That’s much better than the words that are usually used to describe me, but I see that they won’t meet your strict standards. It’s probably all for the best.

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