Moderation policy

A good blog can become a community. I welcome comments on any of my posts, provided that they are civil, constructive and on-topic: I love to read good, thought-provoking comments, which can improve my own understanding as well as others. Sometimes a discussion that starts in the comments can be more interesting than the original post.

At the same time though, this is my personal bit of the web, not anyone else’s. I reserve the right to moderate according to my preferences, including where these might be idiosyncratic or simply personal. That doesn’t just apply to things which are outright offensive or unpleasant; it might also apply to things which are perfectly harmless, legitimate and even interesting, but just not what I want to discuss: this isn’t the place to promote your own product or hijack for your personal favourite theory. Anyone is free to say what they wish on their own blog, but my commenting here, you enter a tacit agreement to play by my rules.

With that in mind, you may wish to bear in mind the following guidelines:

  1. Categorical Imperative: Comment only in such a way that you would wish that commenting in that way would become a universal rule.
  2. Principle of Charity: Assume that others, in particular other commenters, genuinely believe that what they are proposing will do good, rather than dismissing them as being selfish or evil. Consider that they may have different values to you, rather than assuming they are ignorant or stupid. Seek to give them the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Recognise the limits of your own certainty.
  4. Seek to be constructive: to inform, explain or question, not to derail, anger or vexate.
  5. Avoid the following behaviours:
    • Any comments that could result in negative consequences w either the law or an employer.
    • Any comments that are insulting or derogatory towards a group or groups of people, regardless of whether or not that group has legal protection.
    • Bad language, in particular, no swearing or racist or sexist terms.
    • Advocacy of evil philosophies or practices, for example Nazism, Stalinism, eugenics or slavery.
    • Aggressive or ad hominem attacks on me or other commenters.
    • Derailing and/or repeated diversion of posts towards your own pet topic.
    • Promotion of your own goods or services, unless such is unequivocally directly relevant and constructive towards the topic in hand (the bar for this is set very high),
    • Spam

At the end of the day, these are guidelines, not rules: my decision as moderator is final and the fact that something is not covered in the above is no defence against a comment being deleted (though may be taken into account in considering whether or not to ban, if I consider it could be a genuine mistake). Anything that could get me in trouble with the law or with my employer will be deleted as soon as I spot it; less egregious unkindness, unpleasantness or derailing, will generally be met with warnings, with repeated offenders being banned. The key standard I’m looking to apply is whether the comment or commentor adds to or detracts from this site and I will moderate accordingly.