I’ve been getting a few new visitors recently, so I thought it would be prudent to set down some ground rules for my blog. Don’t worry, old buddies, I haven’t had any problems yet. Just in case, though, I thought it would be prudent to lay these out.
The first thing I expect visitors to understand is that this is my personal blog. While I will endeavor to be as fair and even-handed as possible, the only person I ultimately answer to is myself. I am therefore free to write on whatever I want, however I want to, regardless of how offensive others may find it, and I am also free to delete comments and ban commenters as I wish, regardless of how much they protest.
Still, I do not intend to abuse this “ultimate power,” heh. As I described in the “about” section, I shall try to keep my posts well-considered and thoughtful, and I won’t go out of my way to piss people off, those days are long behind me. I will also try to be as patient and accommodating of my comment body as possible. It would be better for everyone, though, if my patience was tried as little as possible. Therefore, here are some ground rules for this blog:
1: While I welcome all commenters, and respect the need for anonymity on the internet, it can be very hard to keep track of a discussion when everybody is named “Anonymous.” I would therefore ask my visitors to choose a name for themselves and stick with it. I understand people forget, though, so I’ll probably be most lenient with this rule and enforce it only intermittently. If someone shows up as “anonymous,” I’ll welcome them and then just gently remind them that it’ll be less confusing if they give themselves a name. If they keep forgetting or just refuse but continue to comment, I might just put a random number after their name (anon726, for instance) for my own convenience. As a note, though, sockpuppeting and impersonation is both annoying and confusing. I also understand that people want to change their screenames every now and then, though, and sometimes even choose similar ones (this has happened to me before—there are a surprising amount of Gunlords out there XD). If I see the same IP address posting under different names, I’ll ask for a polite clarification.
2: On that note, though, I hate two-facers who act nice to one’s face but bitch at them behind their back. If I find out someone’s been badmouthing me or my friends behind our backs, I may simply ban the person, or just mock them if they ever come around here.
3: I’m not fond of vitriol of excessive disrespect these days. I therefore expect my commenters to be cordial to both me and each other. While I understand that not everyone will agree or even get along with each other, I wish for all of you to at least make an attempt at being civil. I also dislike comments littered with “snark” and emotive, personal insults irrelevant to the argument. Yes, I’m well aware that many say an “ad hominem” attack is only when insults are substituted for arguments—they believe it’s okay to be insulting if your argument isn’t based entirely on mockery. Well, I disagree. Regardless of how “cutting” or “witty” you think you may be, I will simply edit comments containing annoying and mean-spirited personal attacks, chopping out the unnecessary parts and leaving the relevant argument. If you persist in your invective, I might do two things: simply delete your comments entirely with a note I’m doing so, or edit your comments, make fun of you, and encourage others to do the same: My aversion to insults extends only to those willing to do the same for me and mine, and I’ve no compunction against giving people a taste of their own medicine. If you’re really annoying, of course, I’ll just ban you.
4: In the same vein, while I try to be fair to all my visitors, I have to be honest: Not all are equal. I have many close friends who visit this blog, and I am inclined to prize commenters who have been with me for a long time and have contributed much interesting discussion over those who just arrived and haven’t proven themselves yet. I’ll try not to play favorites, but I expect newer visitors to this blog to treat more familiar faces with respect, and I’ll come down harder on violations of the rules from people I don’t know towards people I do.
5: A note on conduct: Generally, I discourage excessive profanity and racial/sexual epithets. I’ll also make an effort not to be too vulgar myself. I’m not a prude, so I don’t mind a few “damns” and “hells” here and there, and I’ll let you off with a “fuck” or “shit” every now and then. However, overuse of profanity will get you edited, and then banned. For example, if you make a comment along the lines of “Fucking awesome!” or “What a shitty experience” every once in a while, that’s totally fine. But if you leave a lot of comments which consist of things like “SHIT FUCK CUNTCOCK” or nonsense like that, you will find yourself swiftly disposed of.
Racial/sexual epithets are a more nuanced case. I’ll admit I used them a lot when I was younger, and still do, to an extent, since they’re part of the common parlance on 4chan (I refer to myself as a tripfag, for instance). Still, I’ve matured a lot since then, and I’d like this blog to be more mature than my previous one was. I will therefore be more strict about keeping offensive slurs off my posts and comment sections. There are a couple of exceptions, though:
A: You can use nasty epithets if you’re quoting someone else. Accuracy is important, and I won’t punish you for reporting on what others have said. A comment along the lines of, “This poster on Stormfront said “Niggers suck”” or “This historical personage used the word “niggers” a lot, along with other slurs” would be fine. No need to censor yourself in those cases. A comment that’s just “Niggers suck!” or “I hate niggers/fags/kikes/whatever,” on the other hand, is just garbage and will be treated accordingly. And don’t call other people here these slurs, either. I’m not one to get offended by them—like I said above, I’ve been called and even call myself worse on some communities. But there are many people here who aren’t familiar with the lingo, and I want to keep things comfortable for them to.
B: I’ll also allow you to use such words judiciously if it’s clear you’re being ironic and making fun of foolish people. Something like “For people who hate “fags” so much, guys like Ted Haggard sure do a lot of weird stuff” would be fine, since you’re obviously being sarcastic. But something like “I HATE FAGS,” which is either completely sincere or completely graceless, will be trashed.
6: One of my personal pet peeves are confrontational, uppity knowitalls who are nonetheless annoyingly evasive. To address this, I will sometimes intervene in a thread and specifically ask a commenter to answer a question from me or a point raised by another commenter. I will be polite at first, gently reminding a visitor I’d like an answer or that a colleague has an important insight they should address, but prolonged failure to do so will result in me becoming progressively harsher. I’ll begin editing your comments (even on other posts) with reminders that I or others are still waiting for answers, and if none is forthcoming at all, I may simply ban you entirely.
7: My second personal pet peeve is a person who thinks they’re all that but is curiously reluctant to actually prove it. Nothing annoys me more than puffed-up interlopers who wander into someone else’s blog, proclaim they’re smarter/better than everyone else, point to their high IQ/hot girlfriend/awesome job to “prove” it, and then, when asked to verify their claims, pretend they can’t do so to “maintain anonymity.” Again, I respect the need for anonymity, I’ll never ask anyone to post under their real name, much less tell us where they live, or who their family/employer is. However, if you’re bringing up your own personal characteristics in an attempt to score points, you forfeit that right, in my view. At first, I’ll politely ask you to give us some proof that you actually possess whatever credentials you claim. If you offer none, I’ll ask you to refrain from mentioning them again. Refuse to do this and I’ll begin editing your comments with notes that many of your self-aggrandizing claims are unverifiable. If you keep being annoying I’ll ban you.
8 (Final): These rules may be updated or modified with no prior warning at my discretion. I am not an oracle, so situations may come up or people may make suggestions in the future I hadn’t thought of now. Any changes won’t be applied retroactively, though, so if you violated a rule before it was added I won’t come down too hard on you. I will, however, notify you of the change, and will expect you to heed the new rules in the future.
That should do it for now. Understand these rules and you, I, and everyone else here should get along fine 🙂