Ground Rules

Alrighty then…

So I’ve spent some time over the last couple of weeks actually drafting up a series of posts.  I tend to work better that way: outlines, synopses, drafts; you’d think I have a “workflow” for this stuff all worked out!  Anyway, before we start down that path, I realized that I need to set forth the rules I’ve been using for the last few years when it comes to comments.

These rules are the result of years of occasionally blogging on topics that bring out a different crowd from my usual collection of like-minded blog readers and fellow leaky-brain ramblers.  More than ninety-nine percent of my non-spam comments are approved.  Hell, even the occasional spam comment is approved just because it’s sorta funny in an ironic way.  So these rules very rarely come in to play.  But when you need them, you REALLY need them; so what follows are my time tested criteria for why I won’t approve your comment:

  1. No Punctuation.
  2. Comments in ALL CAPS.
  3. Comments longer than the original post.
  4. Comments that reference more than three verses from the religious works of your choice.
  5. Comments that actually include entire citations from the religious works of your choice.
  6. Comments that insult either my position or the position of other commenters.  I reserve the right to decide the difference between ardent disagreement and out-and-out insulting.
  7. Obvious Trolling.
  8. (corollary to # 7) Obvious Troll-Baiting.
  9. Having a worse potty-mouth than I do.  I have been known to edit particularly foul-mouthed comments, substituting humorous non-swear words and phrases (or archaic and out-of-vogue ones) for over-used examples from our current spoken English.  I do this rarely.  Generally I just hit delete.
  10. Using the “C” word (and no, I’m not talking about “crap”) under any circumstances.  Why is this different from #9?  Because all other criteria are flexible, this one is not.

As I point out in rule 10, these are basically criteria, not hard rules.  I’m likely to let a reasonable comment that only breaks the first rule pass if the comment is short, and the intent is clear and vitriol free. Likewise with a comment that seems reasonable except for the (perhaps accidental?) use of the caps-lock key.  I myself have posted comments that were longer than the original post, so the third one is highly flexible…but not if it’s trolling, quotes the Koran for 33 verses, or if seven hundred of its thousand words can’t be repeated on broadcast television before the watershed hour.

Also, these rules essentially only apply to new commenters.  If you’ve been approved, commented consistantly in the past, and have a generally reasonably position that you are defending ardently in a way that bends these criteria, I’m VERY unlikely to revoke your comment.

Except for rule 10.  Break rule 10 and I will delete your comment and assign you to the spam filter for all time.

4 thoughts on “Ground Rules

  1. Which “C” word? Please be clear. I can think of several. Do you mean one you say at home or the one I abhor?

    Rhymes with “punt” and will not be tolerated (i.e. the one you abhor).

  2. Ok, just making sure it wasn’t the religious one. Because, if it was, then I was going to give you a really, really hard time about it at home. ;-P

    LOL, no…”taking the Lord’s name in vain” (as it was called in my youth) is certainly not something I could hold against a commenter. Yes, I’m often abjectly uncomfortable with it, especially when I do it; but that’s simply not something I could stand on a soapbox about without hanging a giant neon “Hypocrite” sign around my neck.

  3. Why? It’s just a word. It’s not one I ever want to be called – punching and mace would ensue – but it’s only a word.

    Because it’s the “nuclear weapon” of discourse. I realize that over time words gain and lose significance, and that a generation ago the “F” word was at the same level…yet it simply doesn’t have that impact today. Right now, today, there is no use for that word in debate. Not even in angry debate. Deploying that one is just invoking scorched earth policy and ending the discussion.

    Remember that these rules are essentially for new commenters…what would I or would I not approve? If someone needs to nuke the debate stream, then they don’t need to contribute at all.

    Also keep in mind, each and every one of these rules/criteria exists because I’ve already encountered it. So really, these are a review of my past behavior, and I’ve NEVER approved a comment that decided to “go there” linguistically.

    Are these capricious and arbitrary? Yes, unapologetically so.

  4. I used to be all anti the ‘See You Next Tuesday’ word…..I would flinch when ppl said it. Now, I am old and world weary and while I wouldn’t use it myself I don’t die a little death when I hear it.

    I don’t die the little death (though that’s one of my favorite turns of phrase)…but I don’t think I’d approve a commenter who whipped it out on the first date.

    I really like rules 4 and 5 – you must get a special type of commenter around these parts!

    Sadly, not here. My last blog had some posts that touched on some Christian themes that brought out some interesting responses. And some theology students. And some crazy people in tinfoil hats obviously using the free internet at the library. And some combinations of all of the above. Rules 4 and 5 were holdovers from that experience.

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