The Ten Commandments of commenting (turned up to eleven)

This comment system was inspired by the comment system at Ace of Spades. That came closest to what I want from a comment system.

I keep a pretty strong hand on comments here. That’s why you don’t see many. I have a very simple rule: post intelligently. You’re welcome to wander off on tangents all you want, as long as you follow that rule. I’d love to see comments that provide insight on other points of view. I’m not interested in comments that argue for the sake of arguing. Don’t play word games or pretend a misunderstanding in the hopes that you can get a good zinger off. Hey, take it easy. Who wants to live forever?

What matters isn’t who you are, it’s what you write.

  1. There is no login system. Or, more specifically, the login system is handled automatically by cookies. If you switch to a new browser or a new computer without transferring your cookies over, you start from scratch. You don’t need to have cookies turned on to post. You do need to have cookies turned on to remember your puppet information.
  2. Preview. You have to do it. You have to wait several seconds between preview and post. You could just go off and masturbate in the corner, but consider that well-edited prose is sexy. Maybe not, but preview anyway. If you have JavaScript turned on, you’ll see a countdown. Otherwise, just re-read your post: the required preview time is less than the time it takes to skim your post.
  3. I don’t care what your name is. You can post under whatever name you want, and you can change it as often as you want. Unless I decide I don’t like it, and then you can’t. Consider your name to be part of your post: it falls under the same guidelines as your comment.
  4. I don’t play the context game. If you quote a phrase out of context, I’m not going to approve the comment and get into a pointless argument; I’m just going to not approve the comment. You’ve already shown that you’re not interested in honest debate. If you want to argue against things that were never said, become a journalist.
  5. No unlimited conspiracies. If your argument hinges on the fact that steel doesn’t melt, or that the stork sometimes delivers babies to the wrong address, your comment is not going to be approved. I realize this is going to reduce the number of folks from the Atlantic who post here, but that’s the way the derangement hammer bounces.
  6. Talk policy, not person. If your argument against a non-fashion-related policy is that a politician is ugly and their mama dresses them funny, don’t expect to see your post show up on these pages. This goes double for their non-politician relatives. And it applies to your username, too.
  7. Talk specifics. Don’t claim “everyone else is doing it”, specify who is doing it and why it’s a good or bad thing that they’re doing it.
  8. No ring-a-round-the-rosy rag. Take a firm position, not a vague one. If your argument hinges on what “other people” say or what “some people” say or the policies of “other countries”, without specifying who those other people are or what they actually say, or which countries and which policies, your comment will face annihilation. It’s pretty obvious you’re setting up for an argument circle where no matter what the response is, you say “that’s not what I meant”. Bad: “other countries poll”. Good: I prefer the health-care system from England, and people from England do, too. In this poll by Darcy Farrow in 2007, Londoners compared their health care to Canadian health care and to American health care, and 66% of respondents preferred English health care even if it meant increased taxes and slower response times.”
  9. No spaghetti diplomacy. Don’t just throw everything you can at the blog to see what sticks. If you make three great arguments and one ad-hominem attack, and I don’t feel like editing out the inappropriate comment I’m going to just deny the whole thing. So just make three great arguments. Even better, just make one great argument.
  10. You’re not the only one who can edit your name and comment. I can too. You are an obscure body in the S-K system. I am merciless.
  11. This is not your blog. If something I wrote reminds you of that time, at band camp, with Ron Paul, put it on your blog. That said, if what you’re writing is off-topic, say that it’s off-topic. I’m more likely to approve an honest off-topic comment than one that pretends to just, you know, invisibly change the subject to one more amenable to your argument. And don’t forget that there is also a private comments feature on this site, too, if all you really want to do is send me a message without other people seeing it.

Comments are normally tentatively approved within about twenty minutes. Unless your post looks like spam, in which case it will normally be tentatively denied within about twenty minutes.