Advice to new commenters

This must be an example of those emergent properties people talk about. In one of the comment threads, some simple suggestions for new commenters have been formulated. They’re pretty good — pay them some heed.

  1. When you post, even if you intend to reply only to PZ or to one other comment on the
    thread, up to 200 people (or more) will read, and possibly respond to you. Keep this in mind.

  2. As this is a science blog, a greater proportion of the readers and commenters here well-
    educated, and, if not scientists, are reasonably well-versed in logic, observation, empiricism,
    debate, and rationality. As such, their responses will likely be pointed, eloquent, articulate,
    and highly opinionated.

  3. Any comments you make will be judged, and often judged harshly for grammar, intellectual
    consistency, knowledge of the subject addressed, and openness of tone. Get used it; this is
    the deep end, not a wading pool.

  4. Commenters who wish to make religious, spiritual, or other arguments are welcome to do
    so, provided they are willing to respond to the observations and criticisms of other posters,
    many of whom are experts in their fields. Commenters who argue without insulting other
    commenters personally or in whole, and who actually respond to counter-arguments will have
    a stimulating time.

  5. Commenters who begin their interaction on this blog with insults (you’re a bunch of jerks),
    threats (you’re all going to hell) or other poltroonery (atheists have no morals) will be
    responded to in kind by persons who generally have far more experience and education, and
    certainly a greater vocabulary in both insult and invective.

  6. People often say stuff on the Internets that they would never say to your face. You are
    strongly urged to get over it.

People do get banned here, although it takes some effort. You can also read my list of grievances. In addition to the vociferous commenters already here who will skewer offenders, keep in mind that I rule this place as a casual dictatorship — if I get annoyed, I bring out the axe. All that’s saving some people is that I’m also a lazy tyrant.

One other thing I have to add for the regulars: I have a Three Comment Rule that I don’t really enforce very consistently, but would make for a somewhat less hair-trigger environment. Basically, if someone brand new to you shows up and says something annoying, don’t jump down their throat right away. Give them a couple of chances to clarify first, and then if they’re still painfully stupid, open fire with both barrels.