Comment Policy

Big ideas, like creationism, require a big pencil!

This blog is getting a few more comments these days than it used to. Overall, the quality of the comments has been quite good, and the exchanges have been mostly civil. However, things have bordered on rudeness a few times, so I thought I should come up with a formal comment policy.

I’m hoping that we don’t need a set of strict laws. Maybe these few guidelines will be sufficient:

  • No spamming. (The only real violators of this rule are spambots.)
  • No gobs o’ links. The spam filter automatically holds for review any comment that contains more than one link. If you aren’t a spammer, I will probably approve your comment within 12 hours. However, your bunch o’ links should be somehow contributing to the discussion. For example, one time, a creationist didn’t like one of my posts, so he tried to post a comment. His comment consisted mostly of single sentences followed by a link, such as “See how Darwinists are wrong: [then a link to Answers in Genesis]”. It was about eight links. It contributed nothing to the discussion, so I didn’t approve it. (I did, however, send him an email explaining why.)
  • If you make a factual statement (vs. an opinion) that contradicts common knowledge, back it up. If you are challenged on a statement (and I agree with the challenge), you will not be allowed to make new comments until you support the challenged claims. Example of common knowledge: Evolution is a fact. Example of a statement that contradicts common knowledge: The Bible is the inerrant word of God (This is a factual claim, but it fails on two counts: (1) There is no evidence that a God exists, and (2) No evidence that the Bible contains God’s word.).
  • No quote mining. Quoting something once is fine, but quoting many things or posting a series of comments with quotes does not add to the discussion. If you can’t use your own words, then you obviously have nothing to say.

I might add to this as I think of other things, but I’m hoping that you folks don’t give me any reasons to add much more. The main thing I want to do is maintain the comments as a quasi-pleasant place to be. If somebody is making it unpleasant, that will have to be fixed.

8 Responses to “Comment Policy”

  1. ParrotLover77 Says:

    Man I hate to sound like a fundie apologist, but I always cringe when I see “evolution is a fact.” Evolution is a theory. Now, in real science, a theory is the best thing something can be and that is not a bad thing! For instance, gravity is a theory. Whereas an apple falling to the ground is the fact. The theory explains the fact. Animals change over time. That’s a fact. How they change is explained by the process of evolution, which is a theory.

    Sorry, Ron. I know you know the difference, but when we sink to the fundie level and start making the word “theory” sound like less than it is (eg, making it sound like just a “hypothesis”), then we let the fundies win a little bit by letting them change the argument…

  2. Arkonbey Says:

    Aye aye!

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    Sorry, ParrotLover. You’ve missed an important detail. Evolution is a Fact and a Theory. (“Animals change over time. That’s a fact.” And that is the very definition of evolution. The theory — how it works — explains the fact.)

  4. ericsan Says:

    I like the rules. It’s an opinion. I don’t have to back it up.

  5. ParrotLover77 Says:

    I stand blissfully corrected! Thanks for the link.

  6. ausyoyo Says:

    sorry you’ve had to spell it out but the rules appear ok by me (basic politeness really).

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    It’s actually good that it’s spelled out. That way if I ever have to spank somebody, they can’t say they weren’t warned. It also makes it clearer to people that I’m not being arbitrary. Anyway, I’m hoping that people will stay nice, and I won’t have to use it much.

  8. Solo Says:

    I don’t generally comment on here, though I read a few days a week, primarily because I am not as level-headed and skilled in rhetoric as Ron and as other commenters. I’m glad, though, that the policy is such that one must have backup for idiotic claims and there won’t be endless threads re-explaining and re-countering all kinds of said claims.