My main overriding goal here at The Scientific Activist is to publicize and comment on issues that I feel are important--particularly issues that would otherwise be under- or misreported in the media. In doing so, I hope to spark productive conversations on these issues, and one place in which such conversations can occur are in the comments to an individual post. In order to keep things civil--and productive--I have formulated my own policy on comments (and emails) over the years. And, although I have been consistent in implementing it, I realize that I have never spelled it out explicitly.
In light of some of the threatening emails and otherwise unproductive comments that PZ Myers has received recently in response to "Crackergate" , though, I thought it might be time to do this. (I haven't weighed in on "Crackergate" previously because I don't think that there's much to say. It's the same old story: student takes a communion wafer out of church, reactionary Christians overreact (alternatively calling it a hate crime and issuing death threats), PZ comments, PZ agitates, all hell breaks loose.) Anyway, what follows are my policies on comments and emails here at The Scientific Activist. (You can also find it spelled out here.)
I receive quite a few emails related to my blog. Often these emails will spur a blog post--something I truly appreciate--so please feel free to email me any tips you have. Please be aware, however, that I reserve the right to reproduce any blog-related email I receive--in part or in full--on my blog. Does that mean that I'm going to reproduce your email? Of course not. But if you do send me a threatening email, don't be surprised if you find it posted here. Fortunately, this hasn't happened before, and I don't anticipate it happening in the future.
Don't let this deter you from emailing me any tips, though, because generally I err on the side of privacy. Baring any compelling reason not to, I will respect your anonymity, unless you tell me otherwise. I do like to give credit where credit is due, however, so if you would like credit for your tip, it helps me if you tell me that in your email (and provide a website that I can link to in giving you credit, if you wish). Often, I'll try to email you back to find out whether you want credit, but that's not always possible, so it's better to let me know from the outset. By default, I will assume that you wish to remain anonymous.
The comments that appear under each post on this site express the opinions of outside individuals and do not reflect the opinion of me (Nick Anthis). I do not necessarily endorse any opinion stated in a comment. In fact, I often disagree with the comments on my blog, since I try to allow a diverse array of opinions to be expressed here. However, I do reserve the right to remove any comment from my blog for whatever reason I find appropriate. While I generally defer to the commenter in order to keep the conversation going, you have no inherent right to comment on my blog. The following are some of the reasons a comment might be removed from my blog:
- Spam - The sole purpose of the comment is to link to another website, and the comment has no relevance to the current discussion.
- Threats - The comment makes a personal threat or links to a site that threatens, intimidates, or advocates violence.
- Trolls - The comment is from someone with a history of making repetitive or off-topic remarks that do not contribute to the discussions.
- Bigotry - The comment expresses racism, sexism, homophobia, or other hate speech.
Keep in mind that these are just examples of reasons for removal of a comment, and I reserve the right to make a final decision based on whatever criteria I feel is appropriate. Fortunately, I only rarely have to remove a comment, so as long as you stick to these guidelines, there you shouldn't have any issues commenting.
One more thing. My blog currently has in place a spam filter that I have very little control of. So, if your comment does get held up in moderation, don't take it personally. I try to publish all comments as quickly as possible, but if you are worried, you can send me an email to let me know about it.
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