Traffic has continued to increase on this site—we’re up to between 25,000 and 30,000 views per day—but with that good news comes the bad. The influx of new commenters is, to my mind, changing the tone of this site. Perhaps used to the impoliteness and insults pervasive on other sites, some new commenters are engaging in Roolz violations.
For all new commenters, click on “Da Roolz!” on the sidebar to see what we expect when you comment here. And follow those guidelines.
In particular, we’ve seen a lot of these violations lately:
1. People trying to dominate a thread with their own concerns. Certain subjects bring out people who want to comment over and over again or engage in one-on-ones with other commenters. As I’ve said, if your comments constitute more than 10% of a thread, you’re probably commenting too much. Have your say, and if you get into an extended one-on-one argument with someone else (these are nearly always futile at changing people’s minds), take it to private email.
2. Do not tell me what to post about or what not to write about. This will get you banned very quickly. I am not, of course, saying that readers shouldn’t send me items they think would interest all of us, for I welcome that. What I really mean is that readers shouldn’t tell me stuff like “more biology, fewer cats”, or, as happened on a recent thread, tell me that I really shouldn’t have posted about the topic at hand.
3. Please try not to hijack threads. There has been a lot of this lately, in which readers will turn a discussion to their private concerns, which often have little to do with the topic at hand. Sometimes I let this go, as it can be interesting and productive, but it sometimes comes perilously close to trolling.
5. Do not insult other commenters or your host. When I put up a serious post, discuss the issues politely and not the personalities of those you disagree with. For example, I don’t mind at all if readers take issue with what I say, but if they add gratuitous insults or slurs (e.g. a suggestion that I’m “disingenuous”), they’re likely to be removed or given a time-out. Treat this website as if it is my living room, which, in an intellectual sense, it is. And that means not micturating on my carpet.
If you want to engage in invective and name-calling, there are plenty of other secularist sites where you can do that; but you won’t do it here. As Sam the Lion said in “The Last Picture Show,”
You boys can get on out of here, I don’t want to have no more to do with you. . . I’ve been around that trashy behavior all my life, I’m gettin’ tired of puttin’ up with it. Now you can stay out of this pool hall, out of my cafe, and my picture show too – I don’t want no more of your business.
It’s much less important to me to have high traffic on this site than to have civility, mutual respect for our common humanity, and a sense of community. And, of course, substantive and useful discussion—as well as humor.
Again, if you’re new here, or haven’t looked at the guidelines lately, read “Da Roolz!“