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Pharyngula Standards & Practices

These are the rules of Pharyngula. Abide by them when you comment here.

The first law: This is PZ Myers’ blog,  I am the ultimate overlord, and I can be a poopyhead if I want to. Posting here is a privilege granted by me, not a right, and posting privileges can be rescinded at my whim. Do not annoy me, and worst of all, don’t bore me, and we’ll get along fine.

The second law: There is no second law.

What we do have is mores. We have mores out the wazoo! This blog has been around for about 8 years and has a horde of active commenters, and the whole bloody mob has shaped expectations for what is in-group behavior and what is out-group behavior. Pay attention to the culture here.

This is a science blog. There is no tolerance for creationism, climate change denial, anti-vaccination nonsense, homeopathy, crystal healing, quantum woo, New Age mysticism, alt-med, 12-strand DNA, ancient astronauts, Intelligent Design creationism, ghosts, reincarnation, or arrogant ignorance in general. Bring them up, you will be laughed at mercilessly. Everyone will think you are a flaming idiot. On the other hand, cool science news is appreciated, and informed criticism of scientific ideas using real data is respected.

This is an atheist blog. We don’t want to hear your Come-to-Jesus stories, proselytization for your freakish dogma is absolutely forbidden, miracles will be mocked, and faith is a failing — not a virtue — which will be scorned and spat upon. Don’t bother to babble at us about your god unless you bring evidence and reason to the discussion…oh, wait, you’ve got no evidence, and if you were reasonable you’d be an atheist. 

This is a liberal blog. We believe in social justice and equality for all. We are sex-positive: gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, heterosexuals, and asexuals all hang out here and are welcome. We are pro-woman and pro-feminist, and we also think men are just peachy (I am one, after all). You don’t get to criticize people for what they are, so don’t bother with your gendered, racist, classist, or ableist insults, but please do tear into bad ideas. Leave your jingoism behind, this blog has an international readership and if you assume your nationality is favored, you are going to get an unpleasant surprise. Wars solve nothing, violence is deplored, and if you’re a right-wing crank, fuck off already.

This is a rude blog. We like to argue — heck, we like a loud angry brawl. Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice. If you intrude here and violate any of the previous three mores, people won’t like you, and they won’t hold back—they’ll tell you so, probably in colorful terms.

We do have a general guideline for handling new people. If you’re a first time commenter, you get three strikes: you can make three comments, and the regulars are supposed to restrain themselves and try to get you to engage rationally before they are allowed to release the rabid hounds. They are hoping you will oblige them and give them an excuse to let slip the leash, so be warned.

This is a personal blog. Casual chatter is perfectly acceptable. It’s a good idea to stay very roughly on topic on a specific comment thread, although that’s more a guideline than a rule. We have a social/community thread called the Endless Thread, linked to under the profile on the top left of this page, where anything goes and you can talk about whatever you feel like.

What happens if you violate the mores? Mostly nothing, except that you antagonize a notoriously ruthless commentariat. I may be the ultimate overlord, but I’m mostly benignly lazy, and I’m usually content to allow the other readers to make this an uncomfortable place for you. If you aren’t having a pleasant experience here, why are you hanging around?

I have a couple of levels of response for chronic troublemakers.

Warnings. If I make a comment telling you to knock it off and cool down, heed me — remember the first law. I get very cranky when I have to manage the comments. Also, if someone else tries to warn you, ignore them: remember the second law.

Disemvoweling. Egregious nuisance comments get a stronger response: I strip out all the vowels from your words. This is a much more serious warning. It means I’m about to bring down the banhammer if you don’t stop what you’re doing.

Banning. Serious misbehavior or a frequent habit of derailing whole threads, or committing a banworthy offense, will get your posting privileges removed, and your name will be entered in the dungeon. I log everyone who gets banned, as a warning to others.

Banning and comment deletion. There are a few people who try to circumvent bans by creating new accounts and posting under a different pseudonym. I don’t tolerate this: once you’ve been banned, don’t try to sneak back. I will delete without comment anything you try to post.

Banning, deletion, and public exposure. Persist in trying to post here after your privileges are revoked, or make threats of violence, and not only will I ban you and delete your posts, I’ll make public all the private information I have on your account.

What are the banworthy offenses? Don’t do any of these things.

Impersonating other users. Trying to sow confusion by picking a username that is that of a public figure or closely resembles someone else’s is an insta-ban. I’ve had a few people try to post here as Richard Dawkins, for instance; I’ve got your registration information and will not be fooled.

Sockpuppetry. Creating a host of usernames to make the impression that your views are more widely held than in just your kooky little brain will get all of your names banned, and probably your IP address, too. Related crime: morphing. Don’t serially change your username to confuse people about who you are, or to escape killfiles.

Violating privacy. It takes very bad behavior to get me to expose a poster’s identity; you aren’t allowed to do it at all. Posting phone numbers or addresses, unveiling real names behind pseudonyms…the banhammer comes down, along with comment deletion.

Proselytizing. Do not dump your evangelical apologetics in a comment. Do not copy-paste long passages from St Augustine or from some random creationist into a comment. Pharyngula is not a fertile field for conversions.

Spamming. Do not hawk your wares here. If there is a specific request for a service you provide as a business, that’s fine: an informative response is welcome. Do not comment solely to include a link to your blog to promote it; it’s OK to mention that you have written something relevant at your site. It is also acceptable to paste in a small, discreet sig with a link to your site in every post, as long as it isn’t excessive.

Trolling. Are you just here to stir the pot, be unresponsive, and try to get angry responses? Goodbye. I notice when someone is obsessively making comments and doing their best to annoy as many people as possible, and I will end the game.

Stupidity. You can get away with being stupid for a little while, especially since the other commenters like a chew toy to help keep their teeth sniny. Stupidity gets boring after a while, though, and I reserve the right to end unproductive babbling with the banhammer.

The record of banned commenters at Scienceblogs is kept in the Dungeon page. With the creation of the new site at Freethoughtblogs, I’m announcing a general amnesty, with a new Dungeon page, and only a few of the more recent and chronic and particularly batty offenders are still imprisoned. The rest of you…consider yourselves on parole. I’ll be quick to reban you if you repeat your offenses.

Comments

  1. Richard Austin says

    (obligatory comment about the first rule of fight clubpharyngula)

    Does someone with more knowledge want to toss up all the acronyms and conventions, since we’re on the general subject?

  2. NotYahooMess says

    It seems open ID has not been implemented yet. Nor even commenter account creation?

  3. says

    Oh crap! We can’t bore you? I’m a really boring guy! I’m so boring that American cheese looks at me and says, “Damn, that guy’s boring.” How will I ever survive? ;)

  4. EnoNomi says

    I only hope our new overlords (you know the ones who buy up America when we’re forclosed on) are just as handsome and merciful.

  5. Anteprepro says

    130 banned trolls free to post again about the evils of PZ M(e)yers and his commentariat? Interesting idea, allowing for the possibility of trolls to become ex-trolls and redeem themselves by possibly contributing something of worth for once, but I hope that your banhammer/cyberpistol is at the ready. Especially for the likes of Ternon, Antagonizer, Hyperon, Dendy, and Segmentum. And Jinxy as well. The kinds of persistent, annoying folks that internet bans were made for.

  6. pieterb says

    Pay attention to the culture here.

    Back in the glory days of Usenet, it was considered a best practice to lurk for a couple of weeks before posting, to pick up on the froup shibboleths, like spelling “group” as “froup.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen too often any more in the age of instant gratification.

    n00bs, at least read the whole thread before posting.

  7. llewelly says

    PZ:

    There is no tolerance for creationism, climate change denial, anti-vaccination nonsense, homeopathy, crystal healing, quantum woo, New Age mysticism, alt-med, 12-strand DNA, ancient astronauts, Intelligent Design creationism, ghosts, reincarnation …

    *Phew*
    Good to see Abiogenic Oil, the Electric Universe, Derros, and Hollow Earth Theory are still on the table.

    (PS … what happened to preview?)

  8. says

    “Quantum woo”? You mean quantum physics isn’t real? Does this mean that everything Deepak Chopra has told me is a lie? Or only the stuff about quantum physics?

  9. The Chimp's Raging Id says

    @Richard Austin

    I’m not sure if this is quite what you’re looking for but there is a handy list of memes on the Pharyngula wiki.

  10. Molly says

    I recently began taking music lessons from a teacher who, at our first lesson confessed, that she is not always a “nice person.” I told her that I usually find I have little time for “nice people.”

    I’ve always loved the ruthless spirit of Pharyngula.

    I had been posting occasionally on the old site with my g-mail account. I’ll post here going forward using just my first name: Molly.

  11. says

    All hail ruthlessness and Overlord Poopyhead.

    Welcome to any new Pharyngula converts – re the lurking question, do it. I did for at least 6 months before I started on TET and it helped give me a proper flavour of the culture here.

  12. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    <pout> I always miss all the fun! </pout>

    In particular, just lately, I missed when the Smegma guy and Flaming Caribou got banned. Would anybody else be entertained by putting a link next to their name in the Dungeon to the comment that got them banned? If it’s just me, Never Mind! </ Litella>

  13. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Nice new digs. I suspect you’ll want to enable comment-numbering when you get a chance.

  14. Randomfactor says

    Does this mean I can tell that neat story about the preacher stranded in a fld…gss nt

  15. Willy says

    I’m announcing a general amnesty, with a new Dungeon page, and only a few of the more recent and chronic and particularly batty offenders are still imprisoned.

    I read this and the first thing I thought of was the Mariel Boatlift.

  16. Owlmirror says

    Any dungeon that lacks Robert O’Brien is incomplete (he commented recently over at Jason Rosenhouse’s, and he’s still an utter flaming asshole).

    It might be worth mentioning that linking to malware/computer attack sites, or similar deliberate malice, is also instaban behavior. (And thus “Matt” should still be dungeoned.)

  17. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Llewelly,
    I think flat earth is still on the table, too. ;)

  18. llewelly says

    Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies | 1 August 2011 at 1:58 pm:

    Llewelly,
    I think flat earth is still on the table, too. ;)

    There was never any flat earth theory. That was a strawman invented by fundamentalist scientismists. The alternative to the Flying Globe Earth Theory is NOT a “flat” earth, but a Breast-in-a-Bowl Earth.

  19. Alex says

    It is my suspicion that most new commenters get their missing shibboleths handed to them very quickly, in one form(*) or another.

    (*) possibly a spiky rodent past its due date

  20. Alex says

    Btw, may I bring up the idea of a time-limited edit option for own posts again? I have no idea if that is even feasible in WP, but I would find it very helpful.

  21. 'Tis Himself, Supreme Overlord of Something or Other says

    What we do have is mores.

    But I don’t like s’mores. They’re too sticky.

  22. daveau says

    I was trying to blockquote: “…oh, wait, you’ve got no evidence, and if you were reasonable you’d be an atheist.”

    So, blockquote is not happy.

  23. 'Tis Himself, Supreme Overlord of Something or Other says

    So, blockquote is not happy.

    Blockquote works for me.

  24. EvoMonkey says

    I’m announcing a general amnesty, with a new Dungeon page, and only a few of the more recent and chronic and particularly batty offenders are still imprisoned. The rest of you…consider yourselves on parole.

    Prepare for the zombie troll (or is it troll zombie?) apocalypse!

  25. 'Tis Himself, Supreme Overlord of Something or Other says

    Prepare for the zombie troll (or is it troll zombie?) apocalypse!

    I’ve got my snotgun ready.

  26. Don says

    So do you consider it likely that banned trolls have continued to read this blog? If so…wow. Kinda sad.

  27. Karen says

    Wow, I get to comment before 100+ people have preceded me! I’m glad you’ve found a home where you don’t have to censor yourself, PZ. I was sorta worried about NatGeo, fine organization though they are, being weirded out by the culture of your blog.

    Carry on!

  28. StarStuff says

    “Google is your friend.”
    I did that. People can’t really believe that bullshit? They’re just using buzz words and saying the word “DNA” over and over again. Will people believe anything if they think it sounds profound enough?

  29. says

    I did that. People can’t really believe that bullshit? They’re just using buzz words and saying the word “DNA” over and over again. Will people believe anything if they think it sounds profound enough?

    They will. And if you tell them, that these claims are bullshit, they tend to tell you something among the lines: “So you amateur think you know better than these scientists, who are studying it?”

  30. Lewis Thomason says

    Finally was able to get on site after a long wait,hope that this means that you have much traffic. Congratulations ,the page looks very nice.

  31. says

    I think this is a positive development for both Science Blogs and Pharyngula. NatGeo readers will be more likely to see your stuff, and these blogs can be a great gathering place for those interested in the wider cultural issues that apply to skepticism.

  32. NoAstronomer says

    re : Morphing

    I usually post elsewhere under the name NoAstronomer, but I was posting on the old sciblogs site under cairne.morane because that was the id that signing in with my google id gave me. I would like to use NoAstronomer here if that option is available.

    Mike.

  33. says

    PZ: Congratulations on becoming BLOG OVERLORD MAXIMUS PZ! I’m happy to see that here, at least, the practice of Pharyngulite invective can be respected… I am, at heart, a conservative.

    A suggestion: please make the default font size used for comments larger.

    thanks… LIVE LONG, AND PROSPER, Pharyngula Standards & Practices!
    – bonze anne

    PS: Please, never let the typographic obsessives persuade you to drop the use of Comic Sans for certain quotations! It’s a lousy font… yet so deliciously appropriate!

  34. says

    The new digs look lovely. Although I’m sorely disappointed that nobody can simply cut and paste long tracts of information to support their arguments- how else can the god-botherers form one?

  35. Dionysis says

    De-lurking briefly to say hello. Spent a hilarious hour looking through the wiki link. Thanks to ‘the Chimps Raging Id’ for that, nice one!

    Clenched tentacle salute!

  36. tink says

    Great idea. Let the evil forces of Pharyngula be unleashed!
    I’ll use this as an opportunity to comment more often.

    Nothing compared to the secret american base on Mars and the dolphins which can teleport and move through time, that was the best:

  37. WAC says

    StarStuff:

    I did that. People can’t really believe that bullshit? They’re just using buzz words and saying the word “DNA” over and over again. Will people believe anything if they think it sounds profound enough?

    Who believes in DNA? That’s just part of a social construct from the male-dominated sciences.

    Here’s the proof.

  38. says

    Wars solve nothing, violence is deplored

    If you travel to Pristina Kosovo, there’s a 1-ton, gold-plated statue of Bill Clinton. Why is an American honored in such a way in a Muslim-majority nation?

    Because he went to war, and employed violence which successfully beat back the ethnic cleansing attempts of Milosevic and one of the greatest rape cultures the modern world has seen.

  39. WAC says

    Bjarne:

    They will. And if you tell them, that these claims are bullshit, they tend to tell you something among the lines: “So you amateur think you know better than these scientists, who are studying it?”

    Don’t you know that the scientists actually know the truth? The thing is that they are part of the intellectual elite arm of the Illuminati and they want to keep the truth from everybody. If everybody around the world had access to the wisdom of the ancients that allowed them to regenerate their 12-strand DNA, they would ascend to a higher plane of consciousness and stop contributing to the system that has everybody enslaved. Sheesh. Don’t you read the real news?

  40. says

    Cool. WordPress. I really hated trying to register to post under the movable type bullshit.

    Hope the digs work out, and I will be paying close attention.

    Let’s hope that Kwok comes by to beg for a camera.

  41. Martin, heading for geezerhood says

    Testing post stuff:
    FSM likes pirates (for lunch?)

    ZOMFG! Preview does not work

    HMOs should not MUST provide contraceptive services.

    But how does one get Comic Sans for the quoting of wingnuts??

  42. Philip Legge says

    Well, Kw*k has been sighted over at Dispatches, but so far as I know hasn’t been over angling for a Leica rangefinder to pay his respects here yet. I think the Depeche Mode fancier gets the honour to have been the first troll to be dispatched to The New Dungeon after an ill-considered jaunt into the Vox Day thread.

  43. oldgoat says

    OK, I’m new here so better comment so as not to be put in the dungeon. Trying to abide by the morays.

    I like this blog.

  44. Brother Ogvorbis (no, I'm not going to keep typing in the rest of my 'nym as it (they?) are too freakin' long!) says

    I understand that morphing to avoid the BanhammerTITM, but what about the Mighty Morphing Commentariat? I change my ‘nym to suit me mood (which isn’t often) but some of the others change their ‘nym more often than they change underwear (if they even wear it).

    Anyway, glad you’re here, glad I could actually get into the blog, and glad I could (I hope) commetn.

  45. Eric Atkinson says

    “This is a Liberal blog.”

    You surely meant “This is a Marxist blog.”

    Yeah, I know. Don’t call you shirley.

  46. says

    Well … this appears to work without requiring registering through Movable Type, Yahoo, Google, etc.

    And it pulls over my avatar picture from Gravitar.

    Will you have to re-introduce user accounts that require folks to sign on to post like the old ScienceBlogs version of the Pharyngula blog?

  47. Wowbagger says

    You’ll need – or, at least I needed one – a log in to post on Dispatches.

    And he’s been Mabused already…

  48. F says

    Especially after reading the S&P, I’m convinced PZ is the best blog master evar. Something for which sheer practice cannot account.

    Best of luck with the high-volume hosting issues.

  49. says

    So login is disabled again now ? Not sure about this idea to give amnesty to the dungeon residents, but I guess we’ll see….

  50. Wowbagger says

    Rorschach wrote:

    So login is disabled again now ? Not sure about this idea to give amnesty to the dungeon residents, but I guess we’ll see…

    Not all of them he hasn’t – Pilty and the Kwokster didn’t make the cut, nor did Phil ‘I’m a rock star who’s nailed thousands of chicks’ Giordana.

    I’m hoping Pete ‘sick fuck’ Rooke makes a comeback, just for the laughs.

  51. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    So login is disabled again now ? Not sure about this idea to give amnesty to the dungeon residents, but I guess we’ll see….

    I don’t think login is disabled—I think it just looks at your cookies and signs you in under WordPress or Movable Type or whatever. I’m signing in exactly like I do at Orac’s for example—just my ‘nym and email, but when my comment posts there, it has the MT logo next to it.

    I still don’t know whether I’m signed in here under WP or MT, but I’m guessing WP, since my gravatar logo goes with it.

  52. Sastra says

    With the creation of the new site at Freethoughtblogs, I’m announcing a general amnesty…

    That should be interesting. I think at least a few of the people in the dungeon would or could be welcome back.

    Though it’s possible my memory is faulty. Or I missed stuff …

  53. MFHeadcase, not frothing, its just toothpaste. says

    Antiochus Epiphanes, either by being gloriously beautiful, like me, or by going to http://en.gravatar.com/ and creating an account using the same email address as here.

    (any resemblance between my portrait and an image stolen from Warren Ellis’s Transmetopolitan is purely coincidental)

  54. Alex says

    Le grief good, who’s behind the silver gray lining blog? Looks kind of schizophrenic…

  55. says

    Just wanted to be sure I can post before I really needed to say something incredibly important.

    And, oooh, it looks like my blog photo will appear too. Books!

  56. says

    Alex:

    Le grief good, who’s behind the silver gray lining blog?

    It’s Franc Hoggle, a known asshole who was most recently wallowing over in Erv’s slimepit threads. Not worth attention, let alone engaging.

  57. Onkundig says

    +1 for having numbered comments.

    Also, I do not need to sign in to comment?

    Hmm, Let try blockquote.

    This is a blockquote

  58. Atheist Chaplain says

    Lets hope this works better than the multiple log in attempts required over at SB. One of the main reasons I mostly just read, watched, pointed and laughed

  59. Douglas Kirk says

    I’m a lurker popping up to say I like the new place. And I’m seconding (thirding? whatevering?) any commentors who want the numbered comments back. It always makes it so easy to get a bead on who’s responding to what and on what comment I last read for the really long threads.

  60. Carolw says

    Hello, Pharyngulites. I’m making a test post. I’m mostly a lurker. Every now and then I post, usually to apologize on behalf of Texas (sorry, sorry, sorry)! Good to see the new blog up and running.

  61. thomathy says

    Regarding the new dungeon, shouldn’t Alan Clarke (found in the ‘old’ Dungeon) still be in the dungeon? I recall being particularly bothered by him. Creepy ‘fondness for prepubescent girls’ …yeah, he wouldn’t last long the second time around. Never mind that he was incessantly stupid with his godbotting. But, then, it has been a while since he was banned. Anyone think he’s still married to the once teen girl he set his eyes upon? Ugh!

  62. Spunmunkey says

    Ooo – fancy.

    Still sucks trying to comment from my phone, though… :(

    We need cake.

  63. hackerguitar says

    Thanks for keeping up a powerful good blog here, PZ. FWIW, while I’m no biologist, I find your genetics posts fascinating – they’re accessible but require some work of the reader, and that’s a profoundly good thing, as it keeps my middle-aged coder brain working.

    And you show us all nitwiticisms (neologism alert!!) that we may never have known….12-strand DNA? That’s more concentrated woo than I thought was possible outside a church….I’d never heard of it. But woo comes in many forms, its wonders to [NOT] perform, and credulous people are everywhere.

    Thanks and looking forward to more on the new site.

  64. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Sastra wrote:

    I think at least a few of the people in the dungeon would or could be welcome back.

    Do you really want Graeme Bird, Prof. Dendy, Antagonizer (aka Thomas Lee Elifritz), or haha Johnny B posting again?

  65. Patricia, OM says

    Trying this out to see if I can comment from work.

    If blockquotes work, how about comic sans & our little Bill Donahue guy?

    PZ can we get the sidebar quotes again? I’ll really miss those.

  66. opposablethumbs, mépriseuse du pouce enragé says

    Delurking just to say yay! ::raises glass to new home:: Looking forward to continuing to learn both from PZ and the really rather knowledgeable, often wise, frequently insane and not uncommonly downright alarming though profoundly principled and optimistic commentariat horde.

  67. Pteryxx says

    Honestly, most of you people’s avatars look NOTHING like how I’d pictured them.

    ~ ; >

  68. RemembersABeach says

    I HATE change. And I’m bad at it. And I don’t think I know how to comment on this newfangled site.

    Ok, maybe I do.

    Now, are these avatars a requirement? Because just logging in here was enough stress for one day.

  69. says

    Whew! Made it here before the internet GPS batteries wore out. I’m fine. You can call off the search teams.

    You sent search teams, right? I mean I could have been stuck at AIG for all you know.

  70. Lee Picton says

    I am an old lady and hate change (Get off my lawn!). Just testing to see if I can comment.

  71. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Besides Standards and Practices, we also need killfile so we can ignore those cupcakes who haven’t made it to the Dungeon™ yet.

  72. says

    I remember there was a conversation at TAM on how to handle comments, I think it was in the “using media to advance skepticism” workshop. PZ, you really should have been on that workshop, although your presence in the attendance was well felt an appropriately influential (Try to be PG-rated? Fuck it!). Anyway, this is a comment policy that could serve as a good model. I think everyone should remember that a blog is pretty much by definition personal and that the author should be the overlord (unless you represent some company… boring). I have been uncomfortable in the past on my own blog dealing with comments, but you remind me that this is my own blog and I do whatever I want with it, like you do. Cheers to that!

  73. tawaen says

    I fourth the numbered commenting, if and when you can.

    (Mostly, I’m just making sure my Gravitar is going to work here.)

  74. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    We need archives so we can look at threads after they drop off the Recent Articles list.

  75. fahrenheitfourfiveone says

    Hello all, another lurker having a quick look and testing that I can comment if I have anything to say. Why are the post numbers missing? It makes it so hard to keep up if I have to leave the thread and return.