House Rules

Commenting Policy

My hope for the comments sections of my blog posts is that they will be filled with intelligent, respectful discussion. However, there are plenty of people with commenting bad habits and poor training in how to communicate well. For that reason, here’s my first attempt at a commenting policy, which is in no way final and which I also intend to improve as experience trains me. Overall, I don’t expect I’ll have to enforce it often because most people are reasonable and act reasonably. Therefore, this policy is for the decided minority of people who are unreasonable and act unreasonably.

  • Be respectful and kind. This is a broad rule that can and should be applied widely and liberally. If you’re having trouble figuring out whether your comment is respectful and/or kind, imagine you are a well-socialized individual and that I have invited you into my home for a lovely afternoon of tea, crumpets, and lively discussion. If you would not say what you are about to say in that context, it’s probably best either to rephrase or to delete your comment before ever posting it.
  • Homophobic, misogynist, racist, ableist, and otherwise ignorant, bigoted comments are not tolerated and will be deleted. I don’t like pests in my home, and ignorance and bigotry are how we get ants. I may choose to delete (in whole or in part, at my discretion) comments with or without my own comment giving a reason for the deletion, and I may choose to be rude to any commenter who exhibits these qualities in their comment. I am not typically a rude person, but I reserve the right to be when someone drags their boots covered in mud and ignorance inside my lovely home.
  • These are the only obscenities, along with their many derivations, that will be allowed: fuck, ass, shit, and damn. You may only use these words when they are not directed at anyone. You may refer to “goddamn potatoes” or something that is “fucking ridiculous,” but you will be moderated for “goddamn you”s and “fuck you”s. If you find yourself straying into this territory, you need to use your words (and your self-control) better. Because everything on this site is written, you have no excuse for emotional outbursts. Take a breath. Step away. Drink some tea and eat a crumpet. Come back only when you are ready to respond with dignity and respect. Remember that not responding is, in fact, always an option.
  • These obscenities, and their numerous derivations and cousins, will always be moderated: fag, bitch, cunt, slut, whore, retard, [insert any racial slur ever here]. I’m sure there are many others, and you can feel free to add them to this list in your head. I think these words are generally seen as less severe than the ones in the previous policy point, but not to me. These words are banned because they are just about never used except as ways to denigrate other people and are often used in silencing historically oppressed voices. When you are a guest in my home, you will treat my other guests according to my wishes. NB: Rest assured that comments that contain these words will never live a full life. The world will never see how clever you are for challenging my policy.
  • Threats of violence are absolutely never tolerated, zero exceptions. Even veiled threats and intimidation will be deleted for good measure. I feel safe in my home and would like my guests to feel safe as well. I don’t expect this to be a particular problem, but I would like to be clear before it ever happens that this behavior is not only immature, demeaning, and not allowed in my home, but it can also stray into illegality. All appropriate measures will be taken if anyone’s safety is threatened.
  • Because I am not an institution or an entity of any government, I am in no way obliged to offer you an unrestricted platform on which to speak. Hence this policy. I have every right to tell you to not say something in my home, to leave my home if you won’t listen, and to get off my lawn. However, my sphere of influence ends on the borders of my property. There are a number of places you can go to say the thing you want to say, and I can’t, nor do I care to, stop you. As long as you’re not making an ass of yourself in my home, in front of my guests, and spoiling the tea and crumpets and lively discussion for everyone, we’re good.
  • Try to keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post. We’re here at my little tea party to talk about what I want to talk about, after all, not what you want to talk about. If you want to talk about the same things I want to talk about, GREAT! We can talk about those things together and fall in love and get married and maybe get a ficus tree one day. If your comment is an obvious segue into a very different topic or a hobby-horse, however, I will very likely moderate you. I can see how a variety of topics can relate to one another, but let’s try to keep some focus. Moral of the story: I can be distracted, but your distraction better be damn sparkly.
  • Don’t tell me what to do (or not do). This is my home and I will do and say as I please when it pleases me. Your concern will be noted and placed neatly in the file labeled “I give zero fucks about this.” There are some exceptions to this rule, and they are covered in the next policy point.
  • Disagree with me well. I am by no means infallible, and if I am wrong about something, I certainly appreciate someone helping me to expand my understanding of the world, people, and how they work. However, if you do believe me to be wrong about something, I expect two things from you: reasonable evidence and logical arguments that are supported by that evidence. Sometimes that will not be enough because we have different value sets, and we will have to agree to disagree. That’s okay, too. I’ll still love you. NB: I will mirror whatever tone you choose to take with me, at my discretion.

I think that’s good for now. I will add to and subtract from this list as I feel the need arises. If we all play by the rules, this will be quite a nice tea party. Do try the crumpets. They’re divine!


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