Da roolz

From time to time I feel compelled to reiterate my policies about posting, especially since we’ve just received an influx of new posters of religious persuasion.  Here are a few guidelines:

1. If you’re a first-time poster, I have to approve your comment before it appears.  That might not be instantaneous since I’m not always within striking distance of a computer.

2.  Most of our readers are atheists.  If you come over here professing belief in God in a loud or obnoxious way, I reserve the right to request that you describe the evidence that led to your belief.  If you fail to provide it, you may not be allowed to post again.

3.  I do not mind substantive posts, for I think they foster discussion. But please be reasonable. Within the last few days I’ve received VERY LONG comments, all from religious people about my article in USA Today. Some of their contributions have been nearly 1200 words long!  Be aware that I can’t publish such essays on this website. If you have your own site, please put them there, or condense them to a reasonable size.

4.  No name-calling, please.  You can refer to ideas as moronic or stupid, but I’d appreciate it you didn’t insult other posters.  If you do, I usually hold back the post and contact the poster privately, asking him/her to deep-six the invective.

5.   I especially don’t like nasty comments about the contents of this site. If you don’t like cats or posts about food, please just go elsewhere.

6.  Ceci n’est pas un blog. It’s a website.  Don’t try to convince me otherwise, for it won’t work. Just regard it as one of my endearing quirks.

7.  By all means correct me if I’m wrong.  I doubt that I’ve ever written a post, even about science, that hasn’t contained an error.  But it adds nothing to start your criticism with “I hate to be picky, but . . . “.

8.  If the spirit moves you, feel free to send me items that you think I or the readers would find interesting. I can’t of course use them all, but a surprisingly large number of posts are inspired by reader suggestions.  If you have a special cat (and what cat isn’t special?), consider sending me a short paragraph and a photo or two for the weekly “readers’ cats” feature.  You can find my email simply by Googling “Jerry Coyne University of Chicago.”

kthxbye

48 Comments

  1. Posted August 5, 2011 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Posts about cats and food I can live with, but if you start posting about cat food I am off :)

    • Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      Goodbye, then! In the next post, Jerry say, “I also checked out the cat food, which I always do in foreign supermarkets. I’ll show some Russian cat food when I post on St. Petersburg cats tomorrow.”

      :-D

      /@

  2. Posted August 5, 2011 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    I hate to be picky, but…what is the distinction between a blog and a website?

    • Sili
      Posted August 5, 2011 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      If the author is Jerry Coyne, it’s a website, if it’s PZed Myers, it’s a blog.

      • Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        Yes, you don’t have to stress PZed instead of PZee. I’m french Canadian, I was brought up saying Zed my whole life. But, I won’t go heckling people for saying it differently.

        • Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink

          Can we call it a bsite? ;-)

          /@

        • CW
          Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          So instead you’re heckling people for saying it the same way?

      • early_cuyler
        Posted August 5, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Now leave PZ alone. He’s trying to build his own Maserati Blog site using old junkyard Chevy parts.

    • Thanny
      Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Jerry doesn’t like the word “blog”, and he’s certainly not alone in that. It’s an ugly word that doesn’t mean anything in particular (no, the term “web log” does not fit the websites which are labelled as “blogs”).

      • Dan L.
        Posted August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Doesn’t it? Weblogs consist of sequentially dated textual entries. Like a log. On the web.

      • Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Not liking the aesthetics or etymology of the word doesn’t change the word’s meaning.

        • Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          No, but it’s a perfectly valid reason to not want to use the word.

          Permit me an over-the-top example to make my point. “Nigger” has extremely solid etymological roots — indeed, it’s pretty close to the proper pronunciation of the Latin word for “black,” and even has the same spelling but for a doubled “g.” Yet there are damned few instances where applying the word to a human being is anything but a hurtful insult.

          Now, clearly, “blog” is hardly offensive or insulting. But it’s perfectly reasonable to not want to use it because of its aesthetics or etymology — after all, it’s objection to aesthetics and etymology that justify the removal of “nigger” from civil appellations.

          Cheers,

          b&

      • Sili
        Posted August 9, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        It’s an ugly word that doesn’t mean anything in particular (no, the term “web log” does not fit the websites which are labelled as “blogs”).

        Do you read what you write, yourself?

        You’re saying that “weblog” doesn’t cover what’s done on blogs. Couldn’t that possibly b why people felt the need for a new word to describe what they’re doing?

        Do you object to “jeep” as well?

  3. Llwddythlw
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    If we have material which you would preview before posting (if indeed it is ultimately posted), to which address should we send it?

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      I’ve added that above, thanks.

      • Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        Is Twitter @evolutionistrue a reliable way of sending you items?

        /@

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          Nope. I almost look at Twitter. Use my university email address.

          • Chris Granger
            Posted August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            Was that meant to read almost never look at Twitter? Or do you literally almost, but not quite, look at Twitter? ;)

            • daveau
              Posted August 5, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

              Works either way.

              • Posted August 5, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

                From the first I heard of Twitter, with its limit on all of 160 characters per “tweet,” it never made any sense at all to me how on Earth anybody could think i

              • daveau
                Posted August 5, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

                I agree with Ben. The 160 character limit is, well, limiting. I am a big fan of being concise, but there are times when clarification is needed. For example, I

              • Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

                It’s worse than that: It’s a 140 character limit. Having any kind of dialog on Twitter forces careful thinking about phrasing & word choice.

                I wrote a professional report where each paragraph was 140 or fewer characters long, which was challenging. http://ow.ly/5WfNO

                But several clients have commented that they found it a particularly clear and readable report!

                /@

              • Szwagier
                Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

                Ummm. It’s 140 characters guys. 160 is texts.

              • Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

                Yep. IIRC, Twitter’s length is based on the 160-byte text (SMS) limit, but reserves 20 bytes for meta-data.

                /@

              • Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

                You mean it’s even worse than I thought? All of a hundred and forty characters? How preposterous! Why, that’s barely even enough to type my

              • daveau
                Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

                If you have all day to think about it, Ant, I suppose brevity can lend itself to clarity, but that defeats the spontaneous aspect of the med

            • Posted August 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

              Actually, I’ve found the Med to be quite relaxing…

              /@

      • llwddythlw
        Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        Ta very much. Now, all I have to do is find something interesting and relevant….

  4. GBJames
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    What about boots? Why are boots missing from rule #5?

  5. Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    How do we send you stuff? I used to hate cats. Allergic. Then we got two dogs. Cats are just fine. Bloody dogs don’t even know where to go to the bathroom!!

    • Jolo
      Posted August 5, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      You know, if you train them they will go to the bathroom where you want them too…

      • daveau
        Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        No. Dogs should just know without any effort on your part. Cats do.

        • Rumtopf
          Posted August 6, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          Tell that to the kittens I briefly fostered, oh man. Anything that didn’t feel like the hardwood floor on their feets was a toilet, upholstery, rugs, a teatowel that got knocked down, they were all fair game. When the mumcat’s not around for the youngens to emulate, you actually do have to teach them. Dogs are actually easier in comparison to this situation, lol. :U

          I’m just glad our dogs come tell me when they need to go, or the smart one opens the back door for the both of them(and they can chase the neighbour’s cat who always tries to shit in our garden, little bugger already killed a young tree by blasting it with piss), yay!

  6. Posted August 5, 2011 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    ‘Tis a good thing you’re a cat person and not a mule person. Because, as I observed the other day:

    In the world of mules
    There are no rules.
    (Laughing, In the world of mules
    There are no rules)

    — Ogden Nash

    Cheers,

    b&

  7. Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Fine article in USA Today. I’m in total agreement, but would substitute needs for morality, and suggest that the use of the word morality is embraced by us, both individuals & social groups, to make it appear that our motivations are beyond self interest. However, I don’t find any empirical evidence beyond self gratification for any act.

    I have been involved in work with the disadvantaged and vulnerable throughout my life. The work is not altruistic, it just meets my needs, despite some enormous frustrations. My ethical standards merely evolve out of, and express, my needs. They are always situational, and grow out of a range of variables often beyond my understanding, but always directed towards my emotional self interest. To call one’s behavior moral seems to presuppose the existence of absolute standards that exist outside of, and are independent from, the human experience – just like all those religious doctrines that have stupified (is there such a word?) civilizations over time.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful article. Perhaps somewhere down the road, that last closeted group (Agnostic and/or Atheist politicians)will reveal themselves and join the minorities, women & gays in the ongoing battle with the God Squadders.

    Keep the cat pix coming,
    Rich Sammons (U of C, SSA’73)

    • Chris Granger
      Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      My friends and I have discussed this topic at length, and I’m inclined to agree with you. Even self-sacrificing actions that cause one harm can be argued to be meeting one’s psychological needs.

      Also, yes indeed, stupefied (note the spelling) is a word. It is both a transitive verb and an adjective, depending on context.

  8. daveau
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, Dad. ;-)

  9. cubswin84
    Posted August 5, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for confirmation & correct spelling – now I’ll use it more and with renewed confidence!

    • Posted August 5, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Ah, but were you looking for a word that means, “cause to be stupid”?

      Stupefy does mean this, but only for one sense of stupid (“dazed and unable to think clearly”); thus: “make (someone) unable to think or feel properly”, “astonish and shock”.

      I’m not sure that there is a word that means, “cause to be stupid [lacking intelligence or common sense]” — but maybe you just coined (or “coyned”! ;-)) it!

      /@

  10. Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    If you come over here professing belief that your blog is actually a website in a loud or obnoxious way, I reserve the right to request that you describe the evidence that led to your belief. If you fail to provide it, you may not be allowed to blog again.

  11. rmw
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Is there any hard and fast rule when it comes to swearing? I’m not talking about telling someone to go fornicate themselves with a dead porcupine (that’s covered under #4). But, from what I’ve seen (and I don’t read all the posts), is that the four-letter words are used pretty sparingly. Is there some unspoken rule that swearing should be minimized in posts?

    • Posted August 6, 2011 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Curse words aren’t explicitly prohibited, nor can I say that all insults are forbidden (mostly those directed at fellow posters). I’m just trying to avoid the ad hominem arguments and invective that has poisoned other websites.

  12. cubswin84
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    How ’bout we all just use “bleep” when in doubt. For example, when some whining God Squader goes off on some irrational rant, or starts some tedious, repetitive reference to Biblical quotations, we can politely respond with “…though I disagree with what you say, I will defend to my death your right to remain a bleepin’ idiot…”, or something along those lines. That way we can all remain true to the fine American tradition of style over substance.

  13. Filippo
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Instead of saying “Bleep you!”, one should rather say, “I hope you don’t get bleeped for at least six months!”

  14. Posted August 7, 2011 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    I think it would be useful for you to set up a Gmail account specifically for correspondence to do with your site.


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