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 Posting here is a privilege granted by me, not a right, and posting privileges can be rescinded at my whim.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.