Discussion Policy

I had no idea what I was in for when I started this blog in mid-July, 2011.  Within weeks, I was inundated with over 30,000 site hits per day.  The comment stream was taking time I didn’t really have for moderation and response.  So here are the new rules.

As of 2011-08-03, I have disabled comments on the static pages and on posts older than 10 days.

I very much appreciate thoughtful and original comments and criticisms—especially those relating to math and physics analysis—and will make an effort to represent the range of such thoughts.  But I don’t have time to correct every misinterpretation or address each dissenting opinion.   The goal is to have compact commentary that readers find useful, without a lot of redundancy or nonsense.  As of 2011-08-05, I will implement the following criteria in order for comments to be approved.

  • Be civil and respectful.  Refrain from abusive commentary and sarcastic insults.  Your comment should come across as thoughtful and patient.  Avoid SHOUTING, and profanity.
  • Keep it short.  No rants or screeds. I have to vet every post, and long ones discourage me from investing the time.  If you have complex thoughts that require more than a few short paragraphs, I’ve found that starting a new blog is a great way to express such ideas: post a link to your content.
  • I will limit the number of comments from a given author on a particular post. This partly addresses a loophole in the “keep it short” rule, but also avoids spats. It may seem unfair, but I may exercise the privilege of having the last word.
  • I will decline comments that reflect a gross misunderstanding of the original post, or that I deem to be absurd (the second law of thermodynamics is a crock) or at the very least irrelevant on timescales of interest (we’re going to conquer interstellar space; we’ll live in digital form after the “singularity”).
  • Folks who violate the ethos will have a bigger hurdle to get over for acceptance of future comments.
  • Many comments echo the same points. Sometimes if a comment (even respecting the rules above) is redundant, I will not burden readers with another instance. The best policy is to read existing comments and contribute original thoughts.

For what it’s worth, I indeed decline comments that support my views, based on the same criteria.  My moderation rules aren’t about eliminating disagreeable views in favor of reinforcement.

I will post any updates to my discussion policy on this page.

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