COMMENT POLICY

This blog page does not have an open comment policy.  Readers’ comments have to be approved before they are visible to the board.  If it helps, readers shouldn’t think of this blog as a written form of talk radio.  Instead, they should think of it as an on-line classroom.  This is certainly how I intend for it to function.  As in a classroom, experience has taught me that we can often learn as much or more from the discussions that follow a blog post as we can from the post itself.  But also as in a classroom environment, those people who are serving no purpose other than to obfuscate and disrupt the discussion will be asked to leave.  In this case, this means their comments will not be approved.  This policy has been set to facilitate learning, not because I am ‘scared’ of open debate.  The truth is, I enjoy debating people with whom I disagree, but only when they are civil, intellectually honest and understand the rules of reason.

Because we have lost our understanding of civil discourse, there is one more area that — unfortunately — needs to be addressed.  It is acceptable to attack an idea or argument, but it is unacceptable to attack the person.  The problem with this is that too few of us understand the difference anymore.  Given that there are also a great many people in our society who are easily offended, it can become very difficult to hold a passionate debate over issues without someone thinking they have been attacked and responding in kind.  Therefore, I also retain the right to moderate and, if necessary, even edit comments (by deleting or redacting bad language or personal attacks) in effort to keep the discussion civil without having to shut it down out-right.

Finally, by submitting a comment to this blog, you are acknowledging my right to publish your words however I see fit.  I can assure the board, I will never deliberately alter the intent of or present a reader’s words out of context.  Not only is this not in my nature, but it would be counter-productive to the stated purpose of this blog.

Other than this, I don’t foresee the need for any additional “rules” on this blog.  I’ll try my best to keep it friendly and informal.  Feel free to take the discussion in whatever direction you wish, just do your best to keep the discussion on point: meaning, relevant to the issue at hand.

4 thoughts on “COMMENT POLICY

  1. Re: “Therefore, I also retain the right to moderate and, if necessary, even edit comments in effort to keep the discussion civil without having to shut it down out-right.

    Finally, by submitting a comment to this blog, you are acknowledging my right to publish your words however I see fit. I can assure the board, I will never deliberately present a reader’s words out of context.”

    I stumbled on your website and enjoyed two of your articles so started perusing the rest of your website. I understand the desire to keep an exchange through comments civil and productive. However, if you edit someone else’s writing and presume to know what they meant to say and just publish it without first okaying it with the person who posted the comment, it’s not truly an exchange of ideas but completely an outflow of your own ideas and it strikes me as a bit deceptive to use the poster’s name if you’ve modified their writing without their input. As such, even if I have something to say with regards to any of your writings, as a general rule, I will keep it to myself.

    Having said that I will continue to explore and hopefully enjoy your own writing and I thank you for taking the time to post them.

    1. Your point is both valid and well taken. The fact I even had to post that disclaimer is unfortunate but, as past experience has proven, necessary in our modern times. The only thought I would offer in reply is this:

      I assume that anyone who spends any time reading my work will come to understand that it is not in my nature to censor, nor to alter the words of others. Therefore, I am going to seek to approve as many comments as possible. My agreement with them is not necessary for them to be approved. What is required is — as you point out — civility. So, if a person leaves a comment that otherwise might be approved except for some vulgar language, had I not reserved the right to edit out those vulgar words, I would be forced to either break my demand for civility, or refuse the comment. However, by making it known that I reserve the right to edit a comment, I have clearly stated that I may well replace a bad word with a “%$#@!” instead of leaving the word in place. Furthermore, were I to decide a word, clause or sentence needed to be removed before I felt comfortable approving the comment, I would make it clear by adding something such as: [this section redacted]. But, in no circumstance would I ever change, add to or remove so much of a comment so that I actually changed the intent of that comment. If such were necessary, the comment would not be approved.

      So, if you feel your comments would be treated unfairly, I understand. This is your right. However, what I do not understand is — if you distrust me that much — why would you bother to read anything more I have to say? If you cannot trust me to be fair with your words, why on earth would you trust me to be fair with my own? THAT seems a contradictory line of reasoning to me. 🙁

      1. “So, if you feel your comments would be treated unfairly, I understand. This is your right. However, what I do not understand is — if you distrust me that much — why would you bother to read anything more I have to say? If you cannot trust me to be fair with your words, why on earth would you trust me to be fair with my own? THAT seems a contradictory line of reasoning to me. ”

        It has nothing to do with trust of your intent and some belief that you would deliberately treat things unfairly and twist things around. I trust you to know your own mind and presume your writings are a reflection of that but I can’t assume you know the mind of someone else and what thoughts they are trying to express. I have often seen different people come up with different interpretations of what is expressed orally or written.* Sometimes, three different people might interpret words in three slightly or even vastly different ways. Sometimes insults are perceived where none are intended.** I suppose people interpreting things differently is why you hear anecdotes (I have no idea whether it’s actually been done or not as a true experiment) where someone starts by saying one thing and it goes around a room of 30 people or so and gets back to the original person as something different than what was originally said. Those stories told presumably refer to people all using the same language. If you want to have fun, do this with google translate and put it through a bunch of different languages and sometimes you’ll really get whacky stuff when you return back to the original language translated – but I’m digressing there.

        * I misinterpreted and you clarified your comment “Finally,…, you are acknowledging my right to publish your words however I see fit.” This was thrown in as part of a separate paragraph and wasn’t clear to me that any editing would only be done with regards to substituting or redacting a vulgarity to make it civil and more importantly that you would clearly mark an edited comment as such. Since, I haven’t read enough of your stuff, I haven’t encountered any comments marked as having been edited. I’m a pretty literal person and took your statement to include the possibility that if some thought expressed seemed a bit jumbled, you would rewrite it to make it more clear.

        **My use of the word deceptive was incorrect and I apologize for that because probably to most people that would imply intent to deceive; I’ve also in the past been told not to call something which is a false statement a lie if no intent to deceive was intended.

        1. I have updated the disclaimer a little, but just to clarify my intent, not to change it. As I said in my last reply: if my policy causes you as much trouble as your comments suggest it does, then I would not only understand, I would expect that you would not read my blog. To repeat myself, that is your right — just as this policy is my right on my blog. 🙂

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