Updated comments policy

Howdy folks.

In the interest of fairness I decided to spruce up my comments policy to be a bit more detailed and explicit. Regulars have more or less already been following these conditions anyways, but I also decided to explicitly document the Points Refuted a Thousand Times. This is to help make more available the myth-busting information, and also to point out that I’m under no obligation to repeat myself when my previous work stands, a demand which has occasionally cropped up in the filtered comments.

Everything below is listed here.

The first comment you post on Against the Grain is automatically sent into moderation. This is to bring your commentary to my attention. There are a number of things I have little patience for on this blag, detailed below, and if you run afoul of them your comment may be edited, filtered out, or your account banned altogether. Your participation is contingent on the following:

1. Stay on topic

If your first instinct is to change the subject, you’ll likely be called on it. If I start a conversation about the angles Jesse Singal employs in his trans-antagonistic journalism, braying on about this obscure murder committed 30 years ago by a trans woman is not relevant.

2. Make disagreements about the argument

Attack the argument. Question its premises, or question the logical construction. I am not generally fond of attacking the arguer as opposed to the argument. On a related note…

3. Definitely no hate speech

Ad hominems usually net you warnings, unless you employ language that singles out a person’s immutable characteristics as inherently inferior or undesirable, in which case I toss you out. This includes but is not limited to language demeaning gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, sex, etc.

4. No Points Refuted a Thousand Times

My material on trans issues is occasionally repetitive because the opponents to trans rights offer repetitive discourse. If something was wrong six months ago, it remains wrong today unless new information has been produced. So no, I am not going to tailor-suit a refutation to something that has already been shown to be bunk nonsense, and reciting these points uncritically will not impress me.

Some PRATTs relevant to this blog include:

Yes, this tedious, fact-free nonsense tends to repeat itself.

Note that bringing up a PRATT doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from the comments, if and only if you can introduce new information that wasn’t discussed the first time.

5. Breaking these rules on other blogs on the network will also get you banned.

I regularly read the works of my colleagues, so even if you aren’t accountable to my conditions on their blog, you’re still subject to them when you come to mine. A history of violating the above conditions elsewhere will generally burn any goodwill I might otherwise assume when you pop up in moderation.



  1. polishsalami says

    The only one I have a problem with is #5. I don’t think people should be banned from Blog A for comments that are made at Blog B. If they repeat those comments here, then that is a different story, obviously.

  2. says

    These are good rules. I think if Shiv axed someone on this blog for comments made on my blog, I’d take the additional step of banning them from Pharyngula.

    We are a hive mind, you know.

  3. Siobhan says

    Akismet flagged you as spam PZ. Tsk tsk.

    At any rate:

    I think if Shiv axed someone on this blog for comments made on my blog, I’d take the additional step of banning them from Pharyngula.

    I don’t expect that of you, because we run very different comments sections, and attract very different types of commentariat. I actually don’t get very many drive-bys from Slymepitters who try to actually argue anything, whereas you seem to get those types every other week or so. You also have more commentariat to challenge trolls, whereas I have little interest in re-opening PRATTs in the comments without challenge, so I just filter them to save myself time. It would take a particularly egregious violation of 2 or 3 before I’d even consider suggesting a cross-blog ban.

  4. polishsalami says

    I’d take the additional step of banning them from Pharyngula

    I think there are some remote Mongolian herdsmen who are yet to be banned from your blog, PZ, but I’m sure you can deal with them if they show up.
    I still think it would be weird if this was applied outside the blogosphere (eg., if someone was tried in Michigan for a burglary committed in Missouri). Then again, people are prevented from getting travel visas for criminal convictions in their home country.

  5. sandykat says

    If you’re at someone else’s house and see someone take a dump on the living room floor, I think it’s justified not to invite them into your own home.

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Polishsalami & Sandykat:

    Sandykat has it right. This is Shiv’s house. You want to come in, don’t make an ass of yourself at someone else’s house when Shiv is there. Your obviously bad behavior elsewhere easily justifies the decision of someone to forbid you from entering their own home.

    Blogs don’t keep the rain off one’s head, but the analogy is otherwise waterproof.

  7. Silentbob says

    The bullet points in #4, by themselves, are the greatest compendium of concise refutations to TERF talking points I’ve ever seen. Brava. If think I need to print those fuckers out and stick them on the wall for handy future reference.

  8. Silentbob says

    “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist” was actually coined by a cisgender radical feminist who found the sex essentialism in TERF arguments to be anathema to gender liberation.

    That very person is in fact still a commenter at FTB dontcha know.

  9. Siobhan says

    @8 Silentbob

    That very person is in fact still a commenter at FTB dontcha know.


  10. Chakat Firepaw says

    @polishsalami #1:

    While I think that banning in one venue for actions in another should be restricted to more severe cases, using the actions in other venues to determine how much slack a person is cut is another thing.

    Using a case of someone making a borderline comment here:

    If they are totally new to FTB, Siobhan might give them a warning and a bit of pointing at things to read.
    If they have a history of pushing the limits and being solidly clueless even in the fact of ortillery LARTs¹, well, time to call for the hammer caddy.

    1: Luser Attitude Readjustment Tool, (the ‘L’ in luser is silent), most commonly a clue-by-four.

  11. says

    I still think it would be weird if this was applied outside the blogosphere (eg., if someone was tried in Michigan for a burglary committed in Missouri).

    The USA are the weirdest place on planet earth. In most countries yes, committing a crime in one part of it means you’re wanted in other parts as well. It’s not like you magically become a non-criminal peaceful citizen by crossing a state line.
    To make it short: people’s behaviour elsewhere is a pretty good indicator of their behaviour in your place.