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.”