Rules of Engagement [Commenting on this site]

Please note: The commenting rules have been updated. Please review them to make sure your comments conform to our posting guidelines.

There are a few rules for those who decide to post their disagreements as Comments on this blogsite:

1. Ad hominem. If your comments are pure insult, what makes you think I’d ever publish them here? Be sure your Comments make a valid point. And, yes, it’s my blog, so, no, I don’t feel obligated to approve every last comment I’ve been submitted simply because you’ve bothered to blather my way.

1a. Spelling and Grammar. On that note, don’t pick on my spelling. I don’t usually bother with SpellCheck. My bad. I’m also mildly dyslexic. The occasional spelling error does not constitute gross ignorance. Be gracious toward my grammatical errors and like grace shall be extended to yours!

1b. Sticks and Stones. Don’t pick on my name. Name calling in general is poor form and forbidden on this site. Besides I’ve heard it all at this point and none of you are at all original.

2. Comments Evidencing a Superficial Argument. Three types of trollish argument styles typically indicate someone voicing a superficial argument, which is a waste of everyone’s time. They include hack/slash comments, drive-by comments, and appealing to higher powers.

2a. Hack/Slash Comments. Don’t quote my blog phrase-by-phrase with some sort of minor slash or glib witticism after each quote. We deal in ideas here; this is not a forum to showcase your trash talking abilities. Most readers do not want to sort through such chopped up posts, which effectively ends the conversation. And I do not feel my readers should have to sift through a smokescreen of mockery and ad hominem to find the one or two valid points you may have made [such a smokescreen suggests those points are weak indeed!]. I make the occasional exception to this rule, but please do not impose on my hospitality.

2b. Drive-by Comments. Don’t drive-by. By this, I mean please try to keep all of your comments together. Some guys read through my posts, find something that piques their interest, submit a comment on it, then CONTINUE READING the post, commenting in separate submissions like little train stops. It floods my Inbox, so to speak. Generally, I simply lump them all together anyway, so just help me help you, eh?

2c. Appealing to Higher Powers. Which leads me to the next rule: Don’t appeal to higher powers. By this, I mean the tendency of my opponents to provide links to “greater minds than ours” or outright appeals to authority in the form of biased sites like TalkOrigins or I’m not interested in a series of links. I expect the courtesy that your argument  be expressed coherently here in your comments. You may provide a link for further reading, ONCE you’ve expressed your argument, but I will not allow a mere link [or stack of them, sometimes refered to as “link spamming”] to be your argument.  Frankly because I find that when folks have to make their own arguments that it forces them to think, to research, to critically evaluate their standard responses. And I am very much a fan of independent thought.

2c[1]. TalkOrigins and Even if it underscores a point you’ve made, don’t bother linking to TalkOrigins or I’ve enough hubris to deal with these days.

2c[2]. Read a Textbook! Don’t bother telling me to read a pro-evolutionist textbook either. This is just the analog variant on appealing to web-based higher powers. I’ve read plenty of textbooks of this stripe and they’ve obviously not successfully indoctrinated me into believing their anti-science propaganda. I doubt I’ll have an irreligious epiphany while re-reading Ernst Mayr, for example, for the excellent reason that I can recognize the difference between truth and error. If that’s all it takes, my counter suggestion is to read Of People & Pandas. Or the Holy Bible.

3. Keep it short. Nobody wants to read your next novel in my comments. Trust me. Keep to the pertinent points for the sake of brevity.

4. Stay on Topic. I abhor commentary that clearly has nothing to do with what I’ve said. This not your soapbox. Get your own blog if you want to vent. And try reading what I’ve posted before you start spouting off screed according to preconceived stereotypes of what you suppose folks like me are reeeeally thinking.

5. Comments Are Moderated. I say all of this because I do reserve the right [and responsibility to my readership] to edit your comments. Typically, I just delete them if they’re bad, but I’m known to put up with a reasonable measure of ill behavior. In some cases, portions of your comments may be edited, if you’ve violated these guidelines but included some point I feel is valid in the midst. Again, I don’t feel obligated to approve every last comment I’ve been submitted simply because you bothered to blather my way. This in no way infringes upon your rights of free speech for the excellent reason that I am not City Hall.

5a. Provide a Valid Email Address. If you don’t bother giving me a valid email address, I’ve no way to inform you why your comments have not been approved (not that I’m under any obligation to do so). You have a perfect right to anonymity, but if you don’t have the temerity to accountably stand behind your comments, why should I approve such comments? In other words, I generally delete such comments semi-automatically as they are typically the work of drive-by trolls with little or no interest in an actual response anyway.

5b. Complaints Regarding Unapproved/Deleted Comments. Don’t complain if I don’t approve your comment. I yawn daily at the charge of censorship. As previously stated, I’m not running a public soap box. If I were, I’d charge a fee! This is my soap box. Get your own if you cannot abide by these rules of engagement.

Additionally, you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the terms used on this site.