Rules of Engagement: Comments Policy
In truth, my request for our discussion is very simple: Be kind. Be Civil. Be Respectful.
Interaction is encouraged. Your comments, questions, insights, discussion and (even) disagreements are welcomed, but be courteous and respectful of one another. I don’t want to argue. If you do, this might not be best place for you. You have a right to your opinion, which I hope you’ll express. I envision—perhaps naively—this as a safe place for everyone to feel embraced, or at least heard. The world has plenty of hatred and bigotry, so let’s abstain from it here.
The guidelines simple, and I’ll seek to enforce them consistently, objectively, patiently and courteously.
- Civility is the hallmark of good conversation and discussion, and something I want to maintain. We don’t’ have to agree, but there is a “proper” was to disagree. Dismissing the person or resorting to passive-aggressive tactics is not helpful. Degenerating to name-calling is a sure sign that you can’t adequately present your case. And you know you’re in trouble when you resort to correcting another person’s spelling or grammar.
- Stay on the current topic.
- State your comment as briefly as possible. That doesn’t mean you have limit your responses to 3-4 sentences, but be aware of the length.
- Post your comments in English; other than several dead languages, it’s the one I know best.
- Please use common sentence structure, including capitalization and punctuation. Lower case, run-on sentences are just lazy and give me a headache; ALL CAPS is considered screaming. Unless of course, if you ARE screaming. (Is that you, Dad?) But be ready for in-kind reactions.
- Don’t "feed" the trolls (DFTT). A troll—typically anonymous or using a pseudonym—is someone posting with the intention of inciting conflict (“baiting”), seeking to derail the topic with their own agenda, to interrupt the thread with "commercials" to sell something, or just to watch people react. It’s a power trip. If we engage the trolls, or argue with them, it’s a stroke to their egos…and they win. (I will do my best to moderate them, warn them, delete their comments or ban them, if necessary.)
All comments are moderated and must be approved—by me—prior to being posted publicly. That means insulting me, calling me names or taunting me could get your comments rejected. However, I can’t promise I won’t approve lame insults, mindless comebacks or outdated arguments…just to show the fallacy of the comments. (Keep in mind: I’m on hormone treatments for my cancer…so my mood can go from lenient to snarky to bitchy in a matter of seconds.)
I reserve the right to reject or delete any comments submitted. If your comment does not appear, you may email me to ask the reason. It could be as simple as a time factor (i.e., I’m busy). But it there’s a violation of this policy, I’ll gladly reply with my reason(s).
Are we talking about Censorship?
I promise not to delete or disallow someone’s comment merely because it’s different than mine, no matter how wrong they are. (Kidding!) And there may be times when I’ll close the comments, especially if I’m not able to moderate for a time. (e.g., vacation). I will always attempt to give advance warning before turning off the comments.
The occasions/instances where I might reject or delete a comment would include (but not limited to):
Spam! This means any advertisement or requests for business, but also includes what I call “pseudo-spam,” such as:
* Keywords in the name line (e.g., Sara-BuyMyHomemadeCrap)
* Shameless self-promotion in the guise of comments (“I offer extensive help for this type of problems at my website LetMeSolveYourProblems.com)
* Excessive links, especially that aren’t relevant to the topic. (“This is wonderful. Something else that’s wonderful is my homemade bread at BuyMyCrap.biz)
* Posting the same comment over and over. (“You’re going to hell.” “You’re going to hell.” “You’re going to hell.” Maybe so, but your comments go with me!)
* This would also apply to those who make trite comments (e.g., “Great blog”) for the sole purpose of including a link to THEIR sites in signatures, etc.
Yes, I know the comment box allows it, but I request that everyone at least include some kind of name. I recognize that often people feel the need to make anonymous comments. In some cases this is the only option available especially when personal safety is a concern or sexual orientation needs to be protections. On the flip side, I think it’s important to note that posting anonymously is the equivalent to talking to people with a paper bag over your head; it can hurt your credibility. This practice is not right, wrong, good or bad, but all anonymous comments will receive diligent scrutiny before being approved.Inappropriate/vulgar language, obscenities, excessive profanity, pornography. I’m not a prude (as has been pointed out by those who were offended by the language in my books), but there's a time and place. Because we cover many topics, and have a varied audience, please exercise discretion and decorum. If you can’t say it without expletives, you might want to take a timeout; come back when you can rationally present your position utilizing alternative expressions from our wonderfully rich language.Judgmental Pronouncements. You may sincerely believe “God hates fags,” or that cancer is divine retribution for sin, but if you post it here, you stand a good chance of being banned. Or worse, having your post appear so we can ridicule you.“Bible Ninjas.” This is someone who drops in, slams a cut-and-pasted Bible verse, then vanishes. If you want to discuss what the Bible has to say in relation to an issue, that is certainly welcomed. But if you bomb the site with a Bible verse without a willingness to engage, that’s a different matter. Your comments will be ignored or deleted. (And for the record, if you think I haven’t read or heard THAT verse, you are mistaken!) Offensive language, derogatory slurs, or sweeping generalizations against an individual, minority or an identifiable group based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. (e.g., all gays, all blacks, etc.) This includes statements that are defamatory, harassing, abusive, shaming, slanderous or hateful. Attacking or embarrassing an individual, especially with name-calling, ridicule, unsupported accusations, slurs, etc. It’s acceptable to disagree about a comment, but don’t attack the one making the comment.Threats—explicit, implied or perceived. Period! And by the way, this includes any words of violence masked in a religious context, such as prayers for divine judgment, Bible verses that predict punishment, personal “prophetic” messages (i.e., God told me…), words of knowledge, etc.
Those who violate the policies will be warned. Consistent violation will result in being BLOCKED (banned) from this site.
I am passionate about these topics, and can get intense when presenting my case, or when listening to those who spout oft-repeated clichés, worn-out religious axioms (“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”) or disproved concepts. So, I promise to try and abide by these guidelines as well. Feel free to call me on it if I’m violating them.
Requesting the deletion of a comment
If you are offended by something that’s been posted, or if you feel you’ve been attacked, please notify me and I will seek to moderate. If you posted something that you now regret, you may request that the comment be removed…but the answer will probably be no. I have been involved with online discussions where the administrators/moderators would remove a comments, leaving a huge “hole” in the discussion. (Advice: be careful in what your write!)
Challenging A Rejected/Deleted Comment
As I promised, I will not delete or reject a comment just because it disagrees with me. And if you post in a polite, courteous manner, your posts will probably be approved. I can deal with strong language, and intense debate…but I won’t allow it be become abusive.
If you disagree with a comment being deleted or rejected, you can contact me. Or, you can simply re-read this Comments Policy and try to write your thoughts in a different way, in keeping with the guidelines. But overused, tired excuses to get around the guidelines won’t fly with me. Yes, you have a right to your opinion, but if you can’t express it with civility, according to the Policy, it will be rejected. And while I believe strongly in the First Amendment and your right to “free speech,” if it’s hateful, or crude, or (sorry to repeat myself) violates the guidelines, it will be rejected.
I promise to respond and get involved in the comments/discussion. I will also respect the conversation that might be going on in the comments. I don’t feel the need to answer or insert myself into every conversation.
Finally, I reserve the right to change this Comment Policy at any time.