Comments Policy for Richard Carrier Blogs

Expect Moderation Delays. To force people to obey the rules (enumerated below) and prevent this blog from becoming the Wild West, all comments go directly to full moderation. They can often remain there for a very long time. Because I have a lot of work and a robust dating life, and am often traveling (for speaking or research) and enjoying life, there are always delays in clearing the moderation queue, and in some cases those delays can become extraordinary as I triage my time. So do not hastily assume you or your comments have been blocked. As long as the site tells you your comment is still in moderation, it’s still in moderation. Quite possibly I haven’t even seen it yet.

Comments Now Close after Six Days. Because I no longer have time to keep up with endless discussions in comments, I have had to set a fixed end-date on accepting comments at all. For now I am siding with Fake God on this one: after the sixth day, we rest. If you have something terribly important to send me after that, email me. Do not expect a reply. I receive a huge volume of email. I can only respond to a fraction of it. But I will at least see it. If it’s a valuable correction or piece of information, I will thank you. If it’s insulting, I will share it with my girlfriends, and we will laugh at you.

Obey the Rules. (1) Comments must be on-topic (meaning, relevant to the blog post they are attached to, although with the comments closing, I am now very flexible as to what I will count as relevant, so you can stretch that a little; but too much out of the box and it’s just something you’ll have to discuss with someone else until I touch on the subject again), (2) if they argue against me they must argue against things I actually said (comments that don’t I’ll feel free to delete), (3) and must contain relevant facts (merely naming authors doesn’t count, for example; you have to actually make an argument or state your facts). (4) Obviously threats, gratuitous obscenity, prayers and other blatant violations of etiquette also warrant deletion.

(5) But merely disagreeing with me is not a condition for deletion. Relevance is, however. This isn’t an unmoderated forum. If you want to debate issues unrelated to what I’ve blogged, please use a public forum somewhere else online. (6) I will also block anyone who persistently violates these rules, or ignores what I’ve written even after being directed to it, or who repeatedly ignores my requests for sources, evidence, or specific errors in disputes over the truth.

(7) I will also sometimes delete comments that don’t need to be there anymore (e.g. comments that identify a typo or bad link that has been corrected), not because I don’t like them (I actually love them!), but because once I’ve corrected the issue the comment is obsolete.

Everything else will get in (eventually, once I find the time to get through the queue). And occasionally I’ll allow things in that mildly break these rules.

Anonymity Clause. (8) I support reasonable standards of privacy, secrecy, and anonymity on the web, as long as it is used for good and not ill. But due to a rise in persons (including some movement leaders) using anonymous identities to engage in harassment, abuse, and slander, I am making it clear here and now that I do not regard that as a legitimate use of anonymity and will expose the identities of anyone who engages in such activity on my blog, usually (but not always) after a warning, in order to ensure there will be consequences to malicious behavior. I may do the same for other misconduct of any worse kind. If you find this unacceptable, do not ever post comments on my blog.

No Sock Puppets. (9) I forbid the use of “sock puppets” in comments (posting comments on my blog under more than one alias or identity as if you are separate people). If I ever discover anyone is engaging in that behavior, I may expose you by identifying who you are and/or the sock puppets I discovered you to be using. Such behavior is dishonest and will forfeit the privilege of privacy on my blog. If you wish merely to change aliases or identities (or already have) without sockpuppeting, email me to advise me of the change and your reasons for it so I can take that into account and not mistake you as violating this rule. Although even without that contact I will make an effort to evaluate if that is what happened in any given case before assuming the worst, without that contact I can make no guarantee.