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 remain there anywhere from 1-5 days. Because I have a lot of work (domestic and professional), am often traveling (for speaking or research), and almost never work on weekends (those are devoted to spending time with my wife), there are always significant delays in clearing the moderation queue, often delays of several days, especially if you post a comment on Thursday or Friday, which I might not even see until Monday to clear it (and if I am swamped with work Monday, I might still not get to it until Tuesday). 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.

Obey the Rules. (1) Comments must be on-topic (meaning, relevant to the blog post they are attached to), (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not because I don’t like them (I actually love them!), but because once I’ve corrected the issue the comment is obsolete.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.

Grandfather Clause. (8) There is one exception to the relevance rule: you may add comments to my inaugural blog post that respond to anything I wrote at my old blog (archived here), to address the fact that I had to close commenting there. That might make that one comments section a strange, free-wheeling bizarro land of disjointed conversation, but I’ll deal. In some cases this might even generate new blogs here that can continue the thread anew.

Anonymity Clause. (9) 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 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. (10) 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.