Commenting Rules

Special threads

We have a couple of open threads which are linked to on the sidebar, and these have slightly different moderation rules. The Lounge is more strongly moderated; do not start fights, do not be rude when posting there, but nothing is otherwise off-topic. Thunderdome is lightly moderated; please do go there if you feel the need to brawl and let off steam. At my discretion I may also demand greater civility in particular threads.

I. Your post will be edited if:

  1. You use bigoted slurs.

  2. It’s a “First!” post.

  3. You violate others’ confidentiality.

  4. You are a banned user sneaking back under a pseudonym.

  5. You are being pointlessly abusive or argumentative.

  6. You ignore requests by other readers to stop a behavior.

II. You may be banned from a comment thread if:

  1. You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.

  2. Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.

  3. You demonstrate that you are unwilling to have read previous comments or the opening post.

III. You may be confined to only posting on Thunderdome threads if:

  1. You are consistently unable to get along well with others.

  2. Your ideas qualify you to be a good chewtoy for our more argumentative commenters.

IV. You will be banned from the blog if:

  1. You do not heed orders from PZ Myers.

  2. You make threats of physical violence or harassment.

  3. You use bigoted slurs.

  4. You violate others’ confidentiality.

  5. You post material from any restricted forum (such as a closed Facebook group or mailing list).

  6. You try to post under multiple pseudonyms: sockpuppetry is not allowed.

  7. You are found to be using an invalid email address.

  8. Your posts need to be edited too often.

  9. You are egregiously abusive, and ignore requests from others.

  10. You are relentlessly negative — why are you here if you have nothing positive to say?

  11. You are spamming a url. Relevant links to your own website are OK.

  12. You have a known reputation as an internet troll (the Dennis Markuze rule).

V. Recommended attitudes:

  1. This is a rude blog. Expect rough handling.

  2. Justice is more important than civility. But aspire to be charitable at first.

  3. Recognize that your words may not perfectly convey your content — and that the words of other commenters may not perfectly convey theirs. When necessary, clarify what you mean, or ask other commenters to clarify what they meant.

  4. When someone says something apparently stupid or vile, verify before opening fire. Express your objection and ask them to rephrase their statement. Then open fire.

  5. Do not bring arguments from elsewhere into the comment threads. Do not talk about another commenter in the third person; do not call out commenters from other threads.

VI. Courtesies:

  1. If you are replying to a specific comment, use the comment number and poster’s name.

  2. Use the HTML tags listed below the comment box. In particular, use <blockquote>”quoted words”</blockquote> when quoting someone.

  3. Stay on topic, unless it’s an obvious “fun” thread. If you have something off topic that you must share, the Thunderdome thread is always appropriate.


If you spot a violation of these rules or attitudes, here’s what you can do:

  1. Point it out in a comment of your own. Call out bad behavior.

  2. Send an email to the monitors. Spell out who is breaking the rules, what thread, and what comment.

  3. As a last resort, email PZ Myers.

Pharyngula has a strong core of regular commenters, but they are expected to obey the rules, too. Don’t hesitate to keep them in line.

Monitors have no special powers or privileges, other than that they can send me reports of infractions directly. Hold them to higher standards, too.

Current monitors:

Crip Dyke
Lynna, OM
Nick Gotts
Alexandra (née Audley)
Mellow Monkey

Anyone not on that list will not pretend to be a monitor, or the banhammer will come down so fast you might mistake it for a lightning bolt. You will not mock or harass the monitors in the execution of their duties — they are volunteers trying to improve the atmosphere of the comments by gently reminding you of the rules, and if you make accomplishing that more difficult for any of us, I will boot you.