Administrative Notes

• I’ve posted a new revision of the comment policy. The first version of this policy was too short; the second one, I think, was too long, and misguidedly tried to enumerate every forbidden behavior while eliminating every possible loophole. I think that was a mistake, and this newest revision is intended to be more concise and readable. As always, use common sense. The earlier revisions will remain for historical purposes.

• This will be the last I have to say on this subject, but I have to say something about the commenter “cl”. I don’t punish people just for being theists, as several regular commenters can attest. But in the time he’s been here, he’s shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness. In the past I’ve let it be, but it’s become intolerable. I’m not banning him, but I’m putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment. Further measures will be taken if they become necessary.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • StaceyJW

    THANK YOU Ebon! CL is annoying, for reasons outside of his faith. I’m glad it wasn’t just me thinking he was out of place.
    SJW

  • Alex Weaver

    I suggest “posting in bad faith for the sole or primary purpose of annoying others” as a succinct definition of trolling.

    I would suggest also that “concern trolling” might deserve an entry of its own. I find that a useful succinct definition is to link to this strip and explain that “Concern trolls are people who show up uninvited to do what the character in glasses is doing.”

  • KShep

    I sure don’t want to see anyone banned, but as I said before, does anyone know a position he holds other than “attack?”

    I’m not even entirely sure he’s a theist. He just wants to argue. I can argue all day with someone who has a point to make, but he rarely makes a point—he just attacks something you said, and uses all the dishonest tricks he can think of to do it.

    Further measures will be taken if they become necessary.

    It’s only a matter of time.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Further measures will be taken if they become necessary.

    Oh lawdy lawd! Please don’t hurt him!

  • Polly

    THANK YOU Ebon! CL is annoying, for reasons outside of his faith.

    Seconded.

    Whenever I see that a post has a lot “Recent Comments” from cl I avoid it, knowing that the exchange will be mostly fruitless.

    I’m not entirely convinced that he does it on purpose.

  • mikespeir

    I’m not entirely convinced that he does it on purpose.

    I’ve wondered about that myself, Polly. I know it’s hard to tell in this milieu, but he does come across as sincere. Seems so to me, anyway. He either thinks in a very weird way or he’s quite the con artist.

  • Alex Weaver

    I’ve wondered about that myself, Polly. I know it’s hard to tell in this milieu, but he does come across as sincere. Seems so to me, anyway. He either thinks in a very weird way or he’s quite the con artist.

    I think a residual sense of insecurity from past experiences of hostility and being the “odd one out” of a group, coupled to a very detail-focused perspective, would go a long way towards explaining his behavior, but I think I may have sworn off armchair psychoanalysis for the new year… *checks*

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    FYI – I’ve updated the comment policy with a link to a new killfile page, listing the (few) commenters who have been banned. My idea was to make this as transparent as possible, and to provide examples of what sorts of behavior I find unacceptable, just in case the comment policy was unclear about anything.

  • http://www.ateosmexicanos.com/portal/index.php Juan Felipe

    May I ask what do you mean by monopolizing threads?

    I certainly didn’t get any bad impression about cl, and I can’t relate his comments with any of the things you said above. I actually tough it was quite interesting to have him around.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    ROTFL!

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    This is no defense of the annoying cl, but …

    What a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebon. I’m disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists. Why a comment policy at all if this is a free-thinker’s blog? Or are certain thoughts not allowed to be free in your version of the atheist worldview? That doesn’t conform to my idea of atheism at all. Anyway, perhaps you could spell out more clearly than you have precisely which thoughts are banned here.

    Unoriginality? Are your posts always original? I’ve read a lot of them that aren’t. Preaching? What do you think you do every time you write a post? All commentators are preachers in a way, aren’t we? Soapboxing? What else is a blog than an e-soapbox? Don’t be asinine. Thread derailing? Have you ever read a comment thread? How many of them stay completely on topic?

    These are categories you’ve made up to control pests like cl. But be careful about the rules you lay down. We atheists have been accused of every one of those “transgressions.”

    Yes, this is your blog, and you have every right to control it as you see fit. However, just remember that you set a precedent for many others here. I’d hate to see your readers take your lead and institute their own form of mind-control. That’s not what free-thinking is about, is it?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    This site has always had a comment policy. If you don’t like it, you have my permission to go find somewhere else to comment.

  • mikespeir

    There’s no such thing as absolute freedom, is there, nomorehornets? Not in society at large and not in a micro-society like this. If there were, the whole thing would dissolve into chaos. There have to be rules so we all know approximately what to expect of one another. Those keep the thing from collapsing. Sure, we could quibble about what rules should apply. For whatever reasons, Ebonmuse has decided on the ones in effect here. And, as someone who has come and gone to and from this site for some years, I can attest to the fact that they tend to work very well, indeed. (Go ahead and follow his link above. See how few have ever been banned. That’s uncommon.)

    Maybe it seems a little harsh, but Ebon’s got a point. Unlike society at large, we weren’t born here and it’s easy to pick up and leave. (In fact, it requires the greater effort to come here.) If the strictures seem too tight for you, maybe this isn’t the blog for you.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    My idea of atheism is god belief is unwarranted. That’s it. I don’t see how that position dictates one’s love for free speech to be universal or narrowly constrained.

    Naturally being one of the former ilk, I don’t like constraints. In this case, what I see is an act of frustration by Ebon. Don’t get me wrong, CL is incredibly annoying and yes, he does always enter these threads in bad faith seeking to sow mischief through obfuscation and perpetual quibbling over definitions and specifically what was said when, by who and who allegedly missed a point, misrepresented a point, and on and on. It can be very frustrating, sure, but still, I don’t find speech constraints a solution. It’s sort of the Patriot Act of the blogging world, and as enjoyable as it may sound to throw CL into a Gitmo cell and waterboard him, that doesn’t make it right.

    Now yes, handling visitors like CL requires some effort but it’s very doable. I do it, Ex does it, SI, Chaplain, as do the various visitors who happen to stop by those blogs. Comment policies with moderation, deletes, and bannings simply reflect a failure to handle mischievous visitors. Now you and I know CL is just a clown, but guys like him see this as a personal victory, that you can’t handle his arguments, his “truth”, and you know what? Others could very well walk away with that feeling as well, undermining a lot of the work and the intent of your blog, Ebon. After all, aren’t things like this what we always point to on Christian blogs? Don’t we always use such things as proof that they’re incapable of answering our questions, our arguments? To steal a Bush-ism, comments policies “embolden the enemy”.

    But of course a blog isn’t technically a public forum, it’s private, so you can do what you want with your blog. “You have my permission” to have any policy you want. ;)

    I would suggest adding one of those ‘subscribe by email’ features. All the cool blogs are doing that now, and you want to be cool, don’t you?

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, as far as I’m concerned Ebonmuse is entitled to set his standards as high as he likes. Personally I’m glad he does. However nomorehornets’ diatribe if ill mannered raises an interesting point:

    Why a comment policy at all if this is a free-thinker’s blog? Or are certain thoughts not allowed to be free in your version of the atheist worldview?

    I think this is erroneously conflating free-thinking with one particular uber-libertarian version of free speech. As an atheist I do not feel constrained by the petty moralities of religion, but I do feel constrained by the wider social norms of good manners. I would be disappointed if Ebon curtailed the comments of theist, radical, libertarian, creationist and even racist and anti-gay
    commenters while their arguments were courteous and at least attempted to be evidence based. However I would be equally disappointed if he didn’t keep them in check when they became abusive. Context is everything and a free-thinking site should (as this one usually does)be able to debate the most taboo of subjects without stepping beyond the bounds of good taste. Also

    Unoriginality? Are your posts always original? I’ve read a lot of them that aren’t. Preaching? What do you think you do every time you write a post? All commentators are preachers in a way, aren’t we? Soapboxing? What else is a blog than an e-soapbox?

    Every blogger should be prepared to have their argument ripped to pieces. As our host Ebonmuse has the right to make the agenda and state his point of view, that is not preaching, that is true freedom of speech. As commenters we have the privilege of publicly agreeing or disagreeing with him and debating his agenda between ourselves. We don’t have the right to re-state the agenda or use comments as a surrogate for our own blog (or lack thereof).

  • Entomologista

    I don’t see that eliminating trolls constitutes mind control or curtailing free speech. After all, you’re allowed to start your own blog and rant away in your own space. Free speech doesn’t mean you get to come to my house and yell at me, after all. Anyway, I’ve disagreed with Ebon several times and I’ve even been kind of a dick about it. So I’d say his comment policy is really pretty lax.

  • Nurse Ingrid

    @nomorehornets:

    “Or are certain thoughts not allowed to be free in your version of the atheist worldview? That doesn’t conform to my idea of atheism at all. Anyway, perhaps you could spell out more clearly than you have precisely which thoughts are banned here.”

    It seems very clear to me that there are no thoughts that are banned on this site. In the very small number of instances in which commenters were censured or banned, it was for their behavior, not for their ideas.

  • Polly

    If you have to pick through 30-50 comments to find one that’s ABOUT THE TOPIC, I’d say that’s a reason to implement a comment policy.
    It’s just plain pragmatism in a forum that can easily be overloaded with…well, someone’s victim complex for example?

    I don’t see this as censoring at all. What’s the alternative? Let every Tom, Dick and Mary use your forum for their own gripes, to work out their own personal issues, or preach to the sinners?

    Virtually anyone can start a blog and say whatever they want. THIS one exists for a specific purpose set by Ebonmuse and I happen to like it when it serves that purpose.

  • Alex Weaver

    nomorehornets:

    Don’t confuse “freedom” with “never being told ‘no.’”

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    Ebon:
    You have my permission to go find somewhere else to comment.
    Man, that’s a relief. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t made that allowance for me.

    Philly:
    My idea of atheism is god belief is unwarranted. That’s it. I don’t see how that position dictates one’s love for free speech to be universal or narrowly constrained.
    Well, you’re right. Free speech doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with atheism. However, since many of our complaints in the real world pivot on whether or not our speech is free, it seems to make sense to take an ultra-libertarian position on that. We should be careful not to succumb to the temptation to ban speech that makes us uncomfortable — because if we do so, in any form whatsoever, we’re propagating a societal norm that keeps biting us atheists in the ass. What I’m advocating here is our old pal, the Negative Golden Rule: Don’t do to anyone else what you wouldn’t want them to do to you.

    Ingrid:
    In the very small number of instances in which commenters were censured or banned, it was for their behavior, not for their ideas.
    And how does one “behave” on a blog, if not through speech? Is anyone getting hit with spitballs?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    nomorehornets,

    We should be careful not to succumb to the temptation to ban speech that makes us uncomfortable…

    It’s not about banning speech that makes us uncomfortable. It’s about restricting speech that is a nuisance, patently false and/or defamatory, etc. I assure you that we’re in no jeopardy from cl’s arguments and no one here is “uncomfortable” with them.

  • Brian

    nomorehornets,

    The concept of free speech does not mean that Ebon is required to supply a forum to anyone with something to say.

    This blog, from what I’ve seen, is about logical discourse. Thus, personal attacks and insults undo the purpose of daylight atheism. Intelligent and rational argumentation cultivates ideas by filtering out “speech that is a nuisance, patently false and/or defamatory” (well said, OMGF). I hardly see this as a limitation or as an infringement upon anyone’s rights.

    This is Ebon’s property. Common courtesy is not much to ask for, and if people don’t like that, they can exercise the FULL EXTENT of their free speech by going somewhere else.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    OMGF, Brian:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. The blog is Ebon’s property and he can do anything he wants with it. No dispute about that. I’m not trying to impose free speech here. But as one who has dealt with cl many times, I can tell you that a little quick thinking — free-thinking, if you will — can work wonders with an annoying troll like him. And really, what’s the difference if he upsets a thread? Is Ebonmuse so deludedly ego-inflated to think that the conversations over here achieve anything? (I was under the impression that such self-righteousness was a theist trait.) He doesn’t delete comments that essentially say, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. I agree with everything Ebonmuse says,” and then proceed to paraphrase exactly what was already written. Where’s the originality in those? In what way do comments like those avoid the sin of “preaching” or “soapboxing”? What value do they add to the ongoing philosophical dialogue?

    It’s too bad that everyone here is always so fucking rational and original that one moron can upset the apple cart. Why not just let cl rant away and not take the bait? Pretty obvious answer, huh?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I’m not trying to impose free speech here.

    No, you are arguing for free-for-all speech.

    And really, what’s the difference if he upsets a thread? Is Ebonmuse so deludedly ego-inflated to think that the conversations over here achieve anything?

    If you don’t think anything can be achieved, then why blog at all?

    (I was under the impression that such self-righteousness was a theist trait.)

    There’s a big difference between self-righteousness and realizing that sometimes your words can have an effect on people.

    He doesn’t delete comments that essentially say, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. I agree with everything Ebonmuse says,” and then proceed to paraphrase exactly what was already written. Where’s the originality in those? In what way do comments like those avoid the sin of “preaching” or “soapboxing”? What value do they add to the ongoing philosophical dialogue?

    It’s not necessary for every comment to add value or not subtract value. If you weren’t being so quick to diss and dismiss, then you’d realize that. Ebon has a very light hand in moderation, and he lets a lot go. You have to be egregious in your violations to gain mention and saying, “Right on,” from time to time doesn’t disrupt threads. Changing the focus, constant whining, making rude and defamatory remarks, lying, deception and duplicitousness, etc. do.

    It’s too bad that everyone here is always so fucking rational and original that one moron can upset the apple cart. Why not just let cl rant away and not take the bait? Pretty obvious answer, huh?

    Except other theists DO post here and DON’T upset the apple cart. Yes, it takes a certain kind of obnoxiousness to upset the apple cart, and it does happen from time to time. Can I take it from you that you wouldn’t object to me posting at your blog long rants over and over again that have nothing to do with the blog post and made all kinds of weird, stupid arguments or what-have-you? I’m sure you would be annoyed at it.

    And, part of the problem with not taking the bait is that it gives the illusion that no one can answer his particular brand of bad argumentation. This is also defeating to the purpose of the blog. We can all answer his arguements (when he actually makes one) but it’s a nuisance.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    OMGF:
    Can I take it from you that you wouldn’t object to me posting at your blog long rants over and over again that have nothing to do with the blog post and made all kinds of weird, stupid arguments or what-have-you? I’m sure you would be annoyed at it.

    Well, I would find it annoying. But I wouldn’t ban or delete your comments. I’d find some other way to deal with you. Or not. I might just let you rant away, and add funny commentary for the entertainment of other readers.

    Lighten up, pal. If Ebonmuse can’t use humor — or some other tactic — to deflate a two-bit trouble-maker, how good can his ideas be? CL is a minor pest, as pests go, and no real threat. If you and Ebonmuse can’t deal with him, how are you going to deal with the very real problems that confront atheists every day in this god-heavy world?

  • Brian

    nomorehornets,

    The point is, it’s not a forum for ranting—it’s for logical discourse and meaningful conversation

    If someone wants to rant, they can go to the thousands of other forums out there that condone it. DA is one of the few places where theists and atheists can discuss their ideas intelligently. It’s an opportunity to leave the all-too-common irrationality at the door and discuss ideas seriously.

    Do posters occasionally wander from rationality? Yep. That’s not totally a bad thing, either. I think we are here to better formulate our own thoughts and see where we went wrong. The problem with cl was that he seemed to have no desire to integrate the ideas we offered to him, no desire to even refute posters’ initial positions, and no desire to offer coherent positions of his own.

    It seems that sometimes he just wanted to argue to waste people’s time.

    Logic and reason only get you so far with some people. He was tolerated long enough, and I’m glad Ebon did what he did.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Well, I would find it annoying. But I wouldn’t ban or delete your comments.

    And, how many comments do you get? How would you deal with something on the order of cl and his million word comments? Why don’t you go into threads where he is and show us all how to deal with it instead of armchair quarterbacking?

    Lighten up, pal. If Ebonmuse can’t use humor — or some other tactic — to deflate a two-bit trouble-maker, how good can his ideas be?

    First off, you should lighten up. You’re the one practically comparing Ebon to the gestapo for having comment moderation. Second off, are you arguing that Ebon’s ideas are worthless unless he can handle hecklers?

    CL is a minor pest, as pests go, and no real threat.

    No, actually he’s not a minor pest…that’s the whole point! There are and have been minor pests here, and they don’t meet with this kind of moderation. And, once again, we aren’t threatened by him, simply annoyed! Why do you continually assume/assert that we are somehow threatened by him? This sounds like concern trolling to me.

    If you and Ebonmuse can’t deal with him, how are you going to deal with the very real problems that confront atheists every day in this god-heavy world?

    Um, Ebon is dealing with him, in a rather effective way. You just happen to disagree with how Ebon is dealing with him. But, once again, even though this world is god-heavy, that doesn’t mean that theists have the right and the ability to run roughshod over all others in all venues.

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    I love this kind of post, these “administrative” posts, because they, more than the intentionally philosophical ones, really lay our bellies open, ready for a good slice. I’ve had my belly sliced more than once. It’s good for the …ummm…soul. ;)

    Cl has left his usual inane comments on my blog on many occasions, but I’ve never felt the need to delete him, and I have that power. He really highlights, for me, the asine quality of his thinking, and that in itself is worth keeping.

    I found the best way to handle him (her?) is to point out the stupidity of his thinking, and when he starts repeating himself, ignore him. For me, the blog is here for the readers, not the writers, and you can learn a lot even from those comments that are just plain dumb.

    What’s wrong with leaving his comments? It’s only a portion of the screen, it’s mere words, it causes no real harm, and it’s easily ignored. Mere flesh wounds, I say.

    On the other side, I’ve had my comments deleted, or moderated out of existence on so called right thinking Christian blogs (Atheism Sucks, anyone?) and it’s exasperating.

    The best solution for idiocy is to shine a light on it. Daylight works just fine.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    Brian:
    He was tolerated long enough, and I’m glad Ebon did what he did.
    How many times have we atheists been on the losing end of that very statement?

    OMGF:
    And, how many comments do you get? How would you deal with something on the order of cl and his million word comments? Why don’t you go into threads where he is and show us all how to deal with it instead of armchair quarterbacking?
    If you were at all familiar with the Atheosphere, you’d know how stupid that was to say. I’ve locked horns with cl many times, and so have Philly, Evo, Chappy, SI … and dozens of others. I’ve already told you how I deal with it, so it’s ignorant of you to ask me again. Please read my comments before responding.

    You’re the one practically comparing Ebon to the gestapo for having comment moderation. Second off, are you arguing that Ebon’s ideas are worthless unless he can handle hecklers?
    I never compared Ebon to the gestapo. Don’t mischaracterize comments the way theists do. Second, I would argue that handling “hecklers” is a required skill for anyone who speaks or writes unpopular ideas, which ours happen to be in these superstitious times. If someone can’t deal with petty gadflies, perhaps he or she should not have a public blog.

    No, actually he’s not a minor pest…that’s the whole point!
    You’re imbuing cl with far too much power. He is a minor pest. That’s the whole point!

    This sounds like concern trolling to me.
    Aha, the troll police are back. It sounds like everyone who disagrees with you is a troll of some sort. Must be a tough life.

    Um, Ebon is dealing with him, in a rather effective way.
    Yes, rather effective if you’re short-sighted enough to think that supporting the curtailment of speech of any kind will be helpful to atheists and other freethinkers. I suggest you read a little history, however. We’ve been silenced, and worse, for millennia. I don’t think it helps our “cause” — if there is such a thing — to cheerily adapt tactics that can be, and will be, turned around onto us.

  • nfpendleton

    hornets:

    Looks like you should start your own in-your-face *sshole blog that lets all kinds of pointless fighting, ranting, and off subject chatter reign supreme. You’ll attract exactly the kind of internet tough guys that love that stuff and you can stroke each other’s egos till the cows come home.

    This blog, though, has established rules of conduct and focus. To rail against them for the sake of it is nothing more than childish tantrum throwing, for which you instantly lose credibility. A lot of us come here for freethought inspiration, education, community, discussions and debate. The endless theist trolling and fight-picking gets really old and boorish really fast.

    Being a freethinker doesn’t mean engaging in endless, pointless debates with theists. That’s actually counterproductive for a group of people who don’t believe theists even have a legitimate leg to stand on. Time is better spent finding a way to our better message to the people.

    I mean, the blog is called “DAYLIGHT Atheism,” not “DARK AND STORMY NIGHT Atheism.”

    Hey, hornets, I just named your blog for you. No charge…this time.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    hornets,

    How many times have we atheists been on the losing end of that very statement?

    There’s a difference between quelling dissent because one can not handle the argument made and quelling annoyances. Do not conflate the two.

    If you were at all familiar with the Atheosphere, you’d know how stupid that was to say.

    Wow, you internet warrior you. I’m humbled by your humility.

    I’ve locked horns with cl many times, and so have Philly, Evo, Chappy, SI … and dozens of others. I’ve already told you how I deal with it, so it’s ignorant of you to ask me again. Please read my comments before responding.

    No, you’ve remarked how you would do it on YOUR blog, not on this blog. Obviously, ignoring cl has not worked as the regulars here don’t wish to read his pablum anymore. But, I’m starting to see why you and cl get along so well.

    I never compared Ebon to the gestapo. Don’t mischaracterize comments the way theists do.

    Right back at ya. I said practically comparing, which is really what you are talking about with your comments of “mind-control.” So, I guess I get to chide you now for mischaracterizing like the theists do?

    Second, I would argue that handling “hecklers” is a required skill for anyone who speaks or writes unpopular ideas, which ours happen to be in these superstitious times. If someone can’t deal with petty gadflies, perhaps he or she should not have a public blog.

    It’s not a public blog. It’s a blog that is accessible to the public, but it is a private blog owned by a private entity. And, once again, Ebon is dealing with the problem, just in a way that you don’t approve of.

    You’re imbuing cl with far too much power. He is a minor pest. That’s the whole point!

    Well, we all disagree with you. He’s annoyed just about every regular reader here. That makes him a major annoyance. You are free to have your own opinion, but it is not shared by the majority here.

    Aha, the troll police are back. It sounds like everyone who disagrees with you is a troll of some sort. Must be a tough life.

    Whatever.

    Yes, rather effective if you’re short-sighted enough to think that supporting the curtailment of speech of any kind will be helpful to atheists and other freethinkers.

    Are you advocating that anyone should have the right to say anything they want in any venue? Should someone be allowed to come into your house and tell you to eff off and you would sit there and have to take it? You would send them out of the house most likely (if you say you wouldn’t, I won’t believe you). So, how would that fit into your definition? You are conflating free speech with the absolute right to say anything, anywhere, at any time, etc. It’s not the same.

    I suggest you read a little history, however.

    I suggest you not condescend to someone who very well may know more about these things than you. You don’t know what I know and what I don’t know.

    We’ve been silenced, and worse, for millennia. I don’t think it helps our “cause” — if there is such a thing — to cheerily adapt tactics that can be, and will be, turned around onto us.

    And there you go again comparing blog moderation to the tactics used in the past (gestapo anyone) to silence critics, etc. You’ve had your say, I’ve had mine. Your opinion is duly noted I’m sure.

  • Christopher

    Aha, the troll police are back. It sounds like everyone who disagrees with you is a troll of some sort. Must be a tough life.

    Yeah, that word is thrown around a lot (not just on this blog either): it seems that anyone who voices opinions outside the mainstream are immediately seen as “trolls” for daring to be the ones that point to the proverbial “elephant in the room” that they would rather ignore.

    I guess it’s our lot in this existence to play the role of the madman with the lantern – we may seem strange, but could potentially carry the most profound of messages.

    I don’t think it helps our “cause” — if there is such a thing —

    There can only exist an Atheist “cause” if all (or at least a sizable majority) of us were united around a common ideology – but we’re not. The only unity we have is a lack of a particular belief: and thus a common enemy (those who would force that belief on us – i.e. religious fundamentalists).

    Outside of that common enemy, there’s little else to rally around…

  • KShep

    All this is probably pointless. It’s been at least three days and no sign of cl.

    It’s starting to look like he isn’t coming back for a while. There’s no way he’d ignore this thread!

  • Vera S.

    nomorehornets and PhillyChief — Moderating a blog isnt a restriction of free speech. Thats just silly. Anybody who doesnt like Ebons comment policy can start their own blog. Which CL has done. He has his own blog. He can say what he wants to there. Saying “You can say what you like on your blog, but in my space I want you to respect my very few rules” isnt censorship. And its definitely not waterboarding. Saying that it is trivializes people who really were waterboarded. Other people said it: This is Ebons space, and he has a right to kick people out when theyre disruptive and trolly.

    Besides, anybody who reads this blog knows that Ebon doesn’t ban people for disagreeing with him. Thats just obvious. Theres lots of disagreements in these comments. They dont get banned or deleted.

    CL has been a horrible disruptive player in this blog. It seems like Im not the only one who just gives up reading threads when his name appears. He turns every thread into being whatever he wants to talk about. He endlessly criticizes other peoples ideas without ever saying what his own ideas are. He gets angry when people dont understand him, but he never explains himself. He nitpicks on minor details and ignores the main point of a post or a conversation. He doesn’t act interested in understanding anybody or in being understood (in other words, bad faith). He seems convinced that “You can’t prove it didn’t happen!” is the best, most knock-down argument ever — he drags it out again and again.

    Thats whats meant by “behavior.” Its not about saying opinions that other people dont like. Its about not respecting the blogger and the other commenters. Its about not respecting the process of debate and discussion. I think Ebon is being generous in letting him comment once a day.

  • Vera S.

    I’d find some other way to deal with you.

    Really. What exactly would that way be? Ebon and other commenters “dealt with” CL in a lot of ways. People took him at face value and debated with him. People made jokes about him. People pointed out how obnoxious his behavior was. Ebon warned him over and over to change how he acted. Nothing worked. It just made him worse and more obnoxious, with all that “I’m a martyr” and “You cant handle the truth” stuff. The only thing Ebon could have done that he didnt do was to ask commenters not to feed the troll, but that hardly ever works. This whole blog was turning into CLs bullhorn.

    If you want in your own blog to give trolls free rein, and to never ban or delete anybodys comments, youre perfectly free to do that. Thats valid. Ebon apparently wants in his blog to foster intelligent, respectful, productive conversation. And sometimes comment moderation has to be done to make that happen. And thats valid too. Part of freedom of speech and the freedom of the internet is that different bloggers are free to make different comment policies and to set different tones for their conversations. You seem to want everybody to do things your way.

  • Alex Weaver

    I’m still unclear why a dedication to free and open discussion is supposed to imply unconditional agreement to provide a medium for people who are not arguing in good faith.

  • Alex Weaver

    This site has always had a comment policy. If you don’t like it, you have my permission to go find somewhere else to comment.

    Though, in all fairness, while it’s certainly true, I find this a weak response, Ebon – you’ve made it clear to me at least that you have better reasons than “because I can” for this policy, and it’s conceivable that nomorehornets might benefit from them being reiterated here.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    As an atheist blogger, you know you’re having one of those days when a post rapping Catholic faith-heads who believe in dancing suns gets fewer comments than a thread about administrative policy. :) But so be it – I agree that this is an area where it’s worthwhile to be as clear as possible.

    Unoriginality? Are your posts always original? I’ve read a lot of them that aren’t. Preaching? What do you think you do every time you write a post? All commentators are preachers in a way, aren’t we? Soapboxing? What else is a blog than an e-soapbox? Don’t be asinine.

    I agree, I do all of those things as well. But there’s a difference, namely that this is my site. It’s not an open forum where just anyone can start a discussion; there are plenty of those if you want them. I talk about the topics that happen to interest me (posting them publicly because, like all bloggers, I’m just egotistical enough to believe that other people might care what I think). If other people want to offer their thoughts on the same topics, they’re welcome to do so. But on this site I’m the one choosing the destination, and I don’t appreciate it when people try to yank the wheel out of my hands. I’ve invested considerable time and effort in making this site what it is, so I’d hope you can imagine that I take a dim view of people who try to hijack it for their own purposes.

    The way I see it, fending off trolls is a matter of raising the signal-to-noise ratio. I don’t consider sheer number of comments the measure of a site’s merit; the quality of comments is far more important to me. It only takes one determined troll to turn every thread on a blog into repetitive bickering and grudge matches. When that happens, most sincere and thoughtful visitors will stop commenting altogether, and I don’t blame them for that. There’s little point spending your time writing a good comment if it’s going to be drowned out by a flood of inanities. I don’t fault nomorehornets for his concern for free speech, but what he doesn’t recognize is that an avalanche of trollery is itself an obstacle to free speech, just as you can’t speak and be heard on a streetcorner if some lunatic with a bullhorn is standing next to you and shouting over everything you say.

    Well, I would find it annoying. But I wouldn’t ban or delete your comments. I’d find some other way to deal with you.

    And that’s exactly what I’ve done. Let me state again, for the record, that I haven’t banned cl, nor have I edited or deleted any of his comments. In fact, in the few weeks he’s been here, he’s become one of the site’s top 15 all-time commenters (which gives you some idea of the persistence with which he plies his cause). He’s expressed his views ad nauseam and is free to continue doing so if he wants. But it was getting to the point where his comments were overwhelming all other discussion. This, in addition to several arguments of his that were patently in bad faith, led me to conclude he was arguing just for the sake of getting attention and not because he wanted to defend any particular conclusion. The measures I’ve taken restored the balance so that he can have his say without drowning out everyone else.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    Alex:
    I’m still unclear why a dedication to free and open discussion is supposed to imply unconditional agreement to provide a medium for people who are not arguing in good faith.
    Well, frankly, I don’t think anyone here — or anywhere, for that matter — is the arbiter of “good faith.” (That’s a term I hate, by the way. All faith is bad to me.)

    In any event, you can’t have it both ways. If a discussion is “free and open,” then it should be free and open. The minute someone imposes restrictions on that freedom and openness, he or she closes the door to some ideas. Personally, I don’t think cl’s ideas are worth paying any attention to. But I can make a looooooong list of people who don’t think atheists’ ideas are worth paying any attention to, either. Do you see where I’m coming from here?

    The point is that any group that has been marginalized as much as we atheists have, ought not impose our own interpretation of “good faith.” To some theists, merely bringing up the possibility of the non-existence of their god is interpreted as bad faith and unacceptable behavior. How many times have we, collectively, been the butt of the very same arguments that Ebon makes here against cl? I think if we, as individuals and as a group, have to fight to be heard, we ought not be gagging anyone else, no matter how obnoxious that person is. There are loads of theist idiots out there who think that all atheists are obnoxious and should be silenced. Why emulate them?

    Look: If you don’t like what the guy says, don’t answer him; ignore him. Why is that an impossible concept for most atheists to get through their skulls? One of the greatest things about free speech is that no one is forced to respond to it.

    And in answer to OMFG’s question: Are you advocating that anyone should have the right to say anything they want in any venue?
    Philosophically, yeah. Legally, I’d allow some very few kinds of restrictions to stand. If you care to have a deeper discussion about that topic, why not write a post for your own blog? You wouldn’t want Ebonmuse to accuse you of Thread Derailing, would you?

  • Vera S.

    Heres an analogy.

    Say you open a cafe or a club, with a round the clock open mic. You start each day with your own reading, and you ask other performers mostly to stick to your days theme. You ask them to stick to a few basic guidelines of civilised behavior, no bigotry, treat each other with respect, etc. Other than that, you give a lot of slack.

    Youre a good performer, and your cafe gets a good crowd of open mic performers and other customers. Your performers respond to your themes but also to each others readings, so it becomes a community. Your cafe gets a reputation not just from you but from the good quality of the open mic. Some of your performers agree with what you say and some of them dont agree, and some of them are friendly and some of them are confrontational, and some of them are talented and some of them are dim. Thats okay with you, it sort of adds to the freewheeling feel of it.

    Then one performer starts taking lots of open mic slots. He gives the same five talks again and again, just with a few little variations but otherwise always the same. He slams the other readers ideas but never has anything original or interesting to say. Also he gets mad and defensive when other people slam him back. He doesn’t really listen to what other people say. He never talks clearly but gets mad when people dont understand him. Soon hes signing up for a quarter or more of the open mic slots, always just to say the same five things and to pick fights. You try to ask him nicely, then to ask him firmly, to dial it back and respect the guidelines you made for everybody. His answer is to get pissy and act like a big martyr and say your censoring him and you cant handle the truth. He keeps doing what hes been doing.

    Your losing performers. People try to ignore him, debate with him, make fun of him. It doesnt work, hes stubborn, he keeps coming back and taking more slots. Some of your favorite regulars dont want to come back because of this guy being so annoying. You may be losing non performing visitors. Your professionally worried that youll lose business. Besides you personally like your other regular performers, the ones that your losing, you want to hear the things theyd say.

    So you finally draw the line and say he can only have one slot a day.

    What is so wrong with that?

    It is YOUR CAFE. He can have his own open mic cafe if he wants, with his own rules. Unlike a real cafe, its easy and cheap to open a blog cafe. In fact this guy already has his own open mic cafe, he just gets more attention in yours.

    I don’t see whats so wrong about that. Your not disrespecting his free speech rights to say what he wants. Hes disrespecting your free speech rights to run your cafe the way you like.

  • Vera S.

    it seems that anyone who voices opinions outside the mainstream are immediately seen as “trolls” for daring to be the ones that point to the proverbial “elephant in the room” that they would rather ignore.

    I guess it’s our lot in this existence to play the role of the madman with the lantern – we may seem strange, but could potentially carry the most profound of messages.

    Please. That is the tiredest meme in the meme kingdom. Specially in a blog that obviously tolerates and that actually encourages disagreement. “You all call me a troll because I alone have the profound lantern of truth. Im a misunderstood martyr, the only one to say the truth nobody wants to see. I alone am a daring individual thinker and your all mainstream sheep. You cant handle the truth. Thats why you disagree with me and call me a troll. It couldnt possibly be because Im acting like an obnoxious, self centered, pig headed asshat, and people think my ideas are reprehensible and dumb.”

  • Polly

    I would draw a distinction between free speech in principle and free speech in EFFECT. I’d choose the path that results in greater free speech for all rather than the crowding out effect of attention hogs.

  • Chet

    Well, I would find it annoying. But I wouldn’t ban or delete your comments. I’d find some other way to deal with you. Or not. I might just let you rant away, and add funny commentary for the entertainment of other readers.

    So, you’d turn a minor pest into a full-time job and the subject of your blog? Wow, and we’re supposed to believe that’s a winning strategy?

  • Curtis

    Ebon,

    I was very disappointed with this post. I would much rather wade through piles of drivel written by lunatics than wonder which opinions are not allowed here. (And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic.)

    I have twice invested too much of my life in forums but now I limit my participation here and else where. I know that if I care about a forum, it is almost inevitable that I will hate the person who runs it. I will always support the jerks who spew vitriol and stupidity. I much prefer idiots and hate mongers to people who need their reading material polite and sanitized.

    Please continue to allow cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome.

    Thank you,

    Curtis

  • Polly

    I don’t know how Ebonmuse can make it any clearer:

    Let me state again, for the record, that I haven’t banned cl, nor have I edited or deleted any of his comments. In fact, in the few weeks he’s been here, he’s become one of the site’s top 15 all-time commenters (which gives you some idea of the persistence with which he plies his cause). He’s expressed his views ad nauseam and is free to continue doing so if he wants.

    emphasis mine.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    Polly, apparently you can’t read.
    I’m not banning him, but I’m putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

    emphasis mine.

  • Vera S.

    I’m not banning him, but I’m putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment.

    emphasis mine.

    Yes, how awful, that Ebon should place minor restrictions on commenting — in HIS SPACE.

    nomorehornets, you seem very eager to defend cls free speech rights and very uninterested in Ebons free speech rights. You havent replied in any real way to any of the arguments pointing out that this is EBONS SPACE, his free speech space that he has the right to shape in the way he wants to.

    We can read. We just dont agree with you. It seems like you think that everybody should run their blog the way you run yours and the way you want them to. Thats not very free speech supporting of you.

  • http://thewarfareismental.typepad.com cl

    The first to present their case always seems right, so here’s my one and only comment to the 40+ folks who’ve addressed me in this thread, and yes, it’s a long one:

    When you think you have the moral high ground in a situation, that’s a very dangerous position to be in… (Bryan Flanagan, ex-Weatherman)

    Way to go Ebonmuse! At least there’s finally a thread where bashing me could fairly be considered on topic. In general, you people take yourselves and all this high school drama queen scene waaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. Get over yourselves. If you don’t like me, don’t talk to me. Pretty basic concept. As far as my restrictions, I have no problem wearing my new leash, not a lick of shame. In a genuine but backhanded way, it’s actually flattering and will certainly challenge my writing. Hat tip for raising the bar. Of course, Ebon didn’t tell anyone this, but before getting on my first thread at DA, I read the comments policy thoroughly, emailed Ebonmuse, and explained my personal style to him. Do trolls do that?

    Next, howabout Deep Thoughts from Jack Handy Penguin_Factory:

    Personally, I’m always wary of ascribing any motivations to other people, because they’re usually wrong. (On Fear And Seeking, January 17, 2009, 3:35 pm).

    Truest words on this site to date. Big ups.

    But in the time he’s been here, he’s shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness. In the past I’ve let it be, but it’s become intolerable. I’m not banning him, but I’m putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment. Further measures will be taken if they become necessary. (Ebonmuse)

    First, as usual, you cherrypick to prove your point. And save your silly threats, nobody needs them. I’ve poured through several threads I’ve been on here, and so far, around 15% of my total words were spent commenting in general, to nobody in particular. To contrast, the other 85% were spent answering people that engaged me. Look at On Fear And Seeking for a stellar example of me attempting to avoid thread derailing, all-the-while getting antagonized by mikespeir, Paul S and others.

    Second, who are you to judge me? Except for one, every other comment I’ve ever made here except one has been in good faith, meaning that it was my honest position and not intended solely to stir flames.

    Third, not one person even acknowledged the many, many positive comments I’ve left. I dug into AGITM and even though I ripped it a new one, I paid it some pretty genuine compliments from a writer’s perspective, no? Anybody catch my comments regarding Prop 8? I could go on and on here. You people only speak to me when you want to disagree.

    Incidentally, let’s not forget the many times commenters have taken my side in arguments. Brad equally denounced your argument in Jesus Never Laughed. heliobates came over to my blog, read my first critique of AGITM, and had nothing to say but “bravo”. ex machina, John D, D and others have said some pretty nice things as well.

    Your visit to DA has been something of a reality check to me. It seems that when you present rational arguments and criticisms, many commenters feel territory slipping and then work up vaporous or leaky responses. (Brad to cl, On Analogies And The Uses Thereof, November 19, 2008, 3:55 am)

    No need to keep going there. As far as responsiveness, I agree with others when I agree, and I defend my position when I disagree. So what? There are people I’ve met here who are cool and genuine and seem to have no problem with me or my arguments. Not saying they like me, either, maybe they do or don’t, it doesn’t matter. And believe me, I’m not lacking in attention, in real life or here. But you’re certainly free to join the others in armchair psychoanalysis and then pretend to be oh-so-rational. See what you want to see. So many others share equal and greater blame in this situation than me, yet nobody steps up to them. But hey, that’s what partisan altruism’s all about.

    And speaking of being on the attack, I also don’t see why OMGF has to be a pit bull and make it his mission to attack every theist that comes on this site.

    cl, you’re really just a troll looking for attention, aren’t you? (Ebonmuse, directly after cl called a quote-mine, January 22, 2009, 7:54 am)

    To the troll police, grab yourselves a dictionary then continue to judge the motives of someone you’ve never met while still pretending to be rationalists. As nomorehornets said, who made you the arbiter of good faith? Save it.

    And let me be clear, cl is not a lunatic. (Curtis)

    Thanks Curtis, it means alot to me (honestly), but I might have to disagree with you ;)

    What a self-righteous, prissy atheist you turned out to be, Ebon. I’m disappointed in you, stealing a strategem from the theists. (nomorehornets)

    Stole the words right out of my mouth.

    Saying “You can say what you like on your blog, but in my space I want you to respect my very few rules” isnt censorship… Ebon warned him over and over to change how he acted. Nothing worked. It just made him worse and more obnoxious, with all that “I’m a martyr” and “You cant handle the truth” stuff. (Vera S)

    Way to go Vera S! The words you ascribe to me have never left my mouth, but thanks anyways. Your charge that I’ve made no attempt to change my behavior is about as true as Bush 43′s claim there were WMD’s in Iraq.

    Hes disrespecting your free speech rights to run your cafe the way you like. (Vera S.)

    Please. Since you seem to be so into this, I’ve violated a single rule on a single occassion. Do you know what it is? If not then save it and quit acting like Tipper Gore.

    Well, frankly, I don’t think anyone here — or anywhere, for that matter — is the arbiter of “good faith.” (nomorehornets)

    I agree, and find it funny that all these rational freethinkers freely reason from presupposition and try to read minds. Silly, silly, and silly.

    …you can’t speak and be heard on a streetcorner if some lunatic with a bullhorn is standing next to you and shouting over everything you say. (Ebonmuse)

    Whah, whah… (Is that how you spell whining sounds?) Are you serious? Shouting with a bullhorn on the internet?? Note: No matter how long my comments are, or how stupid in your eyes, nobody else is forced to read them, and since none of our speech is in audio form here, then? You’re an excellent writer, don’t you know how to create valid analogies?

    But it was getting to the point where his comments were overwhelming all other discussion. (Ebonmuse)

    This can’t possibly have anything to do with the obligatory 3-6 people that see fit to engage me in every thread, now could it? What a joke. I have the right to respond to anyone who addresses me, just as it is their right to address me.

    If you don’t like it, you have my permission to go find somewhere else to comment. (Ebonmuse to nomorehornets)

    Do you equally grant people permission to leave your home? Sounds very monarchical. Only those who presume to be authorities feel the need to grant other people permission to act freely.

    I don’t punish people just for being theists… (Ebonmuse)

    How does that square with your sweeping generalization that anyone who believes in demons is ignorant, credulous, mockworthy and shameworthy? In this regard, you and your backpatters may not be seeing straight, but I sure am.

    I’m still unclear why a dedication to free and open discussion is supposed to imply unconditional agreement to provide a medium for people who are not arguing in good faith. (Alex Weaver)

    Who made you the arbiter of good faith Mr. Rational? I’m still unclear as to how mind-reading, presupposition and judgment constitutes rationalism.

    …cl and his million word comments… It’s about restricting speech that is a nuisance, patently false and/or defamatory, etc.(OMGF)

    Quite ironic, considering the source, who also goes by cl is a coward and liar on my blog. But I don’t censor defamatory speech; I simply let it shine brightly to the world.

    This blog, from what I’ve seen, is about logical discourse. Thus, personal attacks and insults undo the purpose of daylight atheism. (Brian)

    This blog is ostensibly about logical discourse, but, “[T]ouch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.” – John Adams

    Regarding the latter half of your comment, with which I agree wholeheartedly, have you met OMGF and Chet in all their glory yet? You’re right – common courtesy is not too much to ask for. That’s why I don’t make personal insults or swear at other commenters when things aren’t going my way.

    I sure don’t want to see anyone banned, but as I said before, does anyone know a position he holds other than “attack?” I’m not even entirely sure he’s a theist. He just wants to argue. I can argue all day with someone who has a point to make, but he rarely makes a point—he just attacks something you said, and uses all the dishonest tricks he can think of to do it. (KShep)

    That’s easy. Sometimes I engage other commenters (I call it engage, not attack). More often I respond to others who engage me. I also frequently compliment and agree with others, concede error, and on some occasions I even critique my own arguments in third person, just as I would anyone else’s. I’ve even called myself an idiot on this forum when I reread a statement of my own that was plain silly.

    (cl) either thinks in a very weird way or he’s quite the con artist. (mikespeir)

    Either/or fallacy. Other valid options exist. Incidentally, I consider thinking in a weird way to be among the highest forms of compliment. Thanks mikespeir!

    I think a residual sense of insecurity from past experiences of hostility and being the “odd one out” of a group, coupled to a very detail-focused perspective, would go a long way towards explaining his behavior, but I think I may have sworn off armchair psychoanalysis for the new year. (Alex Weaver)

    Utter chutzpah. And you forgot the parts about me getting molested as a kid, growing up in an impoverished sociological atmosphere, and being traumatized from seeing my mother beat my father (What? She’s Dutch and pedaled a bicycle all day so of course she could kick some ass).

    May I ask what do you mean by monopolizing threads? I certainly didn’t get any bad impression about cl, and I can’t relate his comments with any of the things you said above. I actually tough it was quite interesting to have him around. (Juan Felipe)

    Thanks Juan! A little balance shouldn’t upset anyone, that is, except the irrationally bent. Maybe Ebonmuse will feel like answering your question today?

    These are categories you’ve made up to control pests like cl. But be careful about the rules you lay down. We atheists have been accused of every one of those “transgressions.” (nomorehornets)

    It’s good to know Ebon’s motives were so patently transparent, and yes, I will certainly accuse some atheists of these very same transgressions in my discussion of Ebonmuse’s rules, below.

    After all, aren’t things like this what we always point to on Christian blogs? Don’t we always use such things as proof that they’re incapable of answering our questions, our arguments? (PHILLYCHIEF)

    That’s been my response all along, for example, the thread on faith healing, which got closed down after I asked Ebonmuse for specific definitions of a faith healing so I could attempt to meet them.

    Is Ebonmuse so deludedly ego-inflated to think that the conversations over here achieve anything? He doesn’t delete comments that essentially say, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. I agree with everything Ebonmuse says,” and then proceed to paraphrase exactly what was already written. Where’s the originality in those? In what way do comments like those avoid the sin of “preaching” or “soapboxing”? What value do they add to the ongoing philosophical dialogue?(no more hornets)

    Of course he doesn’t delete comments from all his faithful backpatters.

    It’s too bad that everyone here is always so fucking rational and original that one moron can upset the apple cart. (nomorehornets)

    Hee-hee-hee… Now, if I would have said that, imagine the uproar! Thing is, only a select few here are actually rational and original.

    Every blogger should be prepared to have their argument ripped to pieces. (Steve Bowen)

    Yep. And I consider it a compliment and a challenge to improve when people do so to me. Anyone besides me happen to notice that although his decision was surely influenced by other threads, my restrictions came directly following a thread where I exposed Ebonmuse posing a legitimate quote-mine as an argument? Can’t have the flock doubting the pastor now, can we?

    There’s a big difference between self-righteousness and realizing that sometimes your words can have an effect on people. (OMGF)

    Ha! That’s a hoot, the guy who called me “odious” and “scumbag” and “piece of shit” talking about how words can affect other people. OTOH, maybe miracles are possible?

    Ebon has a very light hand in moderation, and he lets a lot go. (OMGF)

    Damned straight. He especially lets a lot go from you. Then again, even Darwin profited from having a bulldog, and you essentially perform the same function for DA that astronomers ascribed to the planet Jupiter – you’re Ebon’s theist-sweeper!

    The problem with cl was that he seemed to have no desire to integrate the ideas we offered to him, no desire to even refute posters’ initial positions, and no desire to offer coherent positions of his own. (Brian)

    You’re trippin’. I’ve learned much from criticisms here, I’ve refuted several positions, and I offer a coherent position of my own in nearly every single post. My first comment in any given thread is usually the one that contains my pertinent position on the issue discussed in the OP. Then the masses come knocking and I get blamed for, shall I say it? Trolling!

    It seems that sometimes he just wanted to argue to waste people’s time. (Brian)

    Well thanks for judging my motives human-whisperer, very rational of you.

    The best solution for idiocy is to shine a light on it. (SpanishInquisitor)

    I concur, but not everyone is prepared to take a good, hard look within, and such is usually met with resistance.

    Looks like you should start your own in-your-face *sshole blog that lets all kinds of pointless fighting, ranting, and off subject chatter reign supreme. (nfpendleton)

    Actually, nomorehornets is the best, most rationally and well-written blog I’ve come across yet. The owner is a 100% straight-shooter with no tolerance for fluff, as most of you can see. And, the dood does not like me, so this comment can’t be attributed to bias or the fact that he’s ripped you all a new one.

    Being a freethinker doesn’t mean engaging in endless, pointless debates with theists. That’s actually counterproductive for a group of people who don’t believe theists even have a legitimate leg to stand on. Time is better spent finding a way to our better message to the people.(nfpendleton)

    Ah, yes, instead of honing our arguments and taking precaution to be sure they have no holes, let’s preach! Does anyone really wonder why I view this whole scene as Fundamentalism dressed in a red robe touting a scarlet A insignia?

    If you were at all familiar with the Atheosphere, you’d know how stupid that was to say. I’ve locked horns with cl many times, and so have Philly, Evo, Chappy, SI … and dozens of others. I’ve already told you how I deal with it, so it’s ignorant of you to ask me again. Please read my comments before responding. (nomorehornets to OMGF)

    That’s just how OMGF rolls, and I’m glad someone else noticed.

    Aha, the troll police are back. It sounds like everyone who disagrees with you is a troll of some sort. Must be a tough life. (nomorehornets)

    That’s standard around here. First, responses are semi-logical. Second, patience get lost and too many turn to personal insults. Finally, when I call the second tactic to light, the troll police get called. Troll is the new terrorist.

    You wouldn’t want Ebonmuse to accuse you of Thread Derailing, would you? (nomorehornets)

    My personal opinion is that Ebonmuse is too timid to accuse OMGF of anything, when he very well should.

    Is anyone getting hit with spitballs? (nomorehornets)

    ROTFL…

    ON EBON’S RULES:

    2) Criminality: Obey the law at all times. Any attempt to harass, threaten, slander, or incite violence against any person is punishable by immediate banning.

    What a joke. Maybe I was wrong, Ebon. Maybe you are actually far more tolerant than I originally perceived, because specifically in the context of slander, you’ve tolerated some pretty flagrant violations of this rule, and that’s from a legal standpoint. I’m no lawyer, but some writers have lawyers, and from what I understand, OMGF and possibly one or two others have said a handful of things here that could possibly qualify as prosecutable slander. This is not a threat. I’m not one for lawsuits. Just saying, your selective tolerance is pretty damned self-evident.

    3) Incivility. Be as polite and civil as possible. …If your comments show a pattern of rudeness, flaming, or personal attacks, I will take action. A good rule of thumb is to attack the argument and not the person making it.

    Ten-times-a-bigger joke, ROTFL! Chet, OMGF and others have clearly violated this rule in multiple threads, and not even a peep about it. Ebonmuse himself even violated the latter criterion of this rule when he tarred and feathered all people who believe in demons as, ignorant, credulous, mockworthy, shameworthy, etc.

    4) Sockpuppetry:

    A month into my tenure here, I must admit, I sockpuppeted Sye T one time after he made the same exact argument to OMGF for well over a dozen posts. That was the only bad-faith comment I’ve ever left on DA. Although it was childish, I critiqued the argument, not the man, and I learned from it. At the time, I didn’t really understand why this is such a frowned-upon offense in blogging, but now I do. People can impersonate others, or introduce faux-support for their points, among other nefarious things.

    7) Imperviousness to reason:

    Okay, now there’s a totally subjective piece of legislation for you! This basically gives Ebonmuse free reign to declare anyone who disagrees as impervious to reason, then silence them. Can we get a workable definition of imperviousness to reason, please? Sounds like something I’d expect to hear from Karl Rove and the Bush administration, not such a freethinking feel-good kind of guy like you. In fact, is this not the same type of subjective law as those against terrorist threats? Insubordination?

    9) Trolling:

    Excuse me, but who the fuck are you humans to judge my intent? (hey, my first legitimate cuss here! at least it wasn’t at an individual, eh?). I realize I’m perceived by some (but not all) as an annoying troll in online conversation, and I’m sure Ebon got plenty of emails from his regulars leading up to this as well. I think this is just a misperception of my personal online style of debate. I often (but not always) debate at length, with over-average attention to detail and word selection (of course this backfires as well). I enjoy talking to several people at a time. Others have criticized this and called it trolling, and that’s okay. Contrary to the judgments cast by psychics, people-whisperers and pseudo-Freudian armchair psychoanalysts, I know myself, I know my motives, and the defining characteristic of trolling is posting inflammatory drivel in bad faith from the desire to stir up flame wars. As freely admitted to earlier, I’ve made a single comment here in bad faith, and that’s it. Also, I hate the flame wars. They obscure the truth. The people who say I consistently attack everyone and that I annoy everyone are biased cherrypickers. Though prevalent opinion amongst many commenters here, those remain cherrypicked reactions. I can handle 2 or 3 threads with 6-12 commenters at a time and it’s no big deal to me. We each have our own different styles, and for you supposedly tolerant folk to ascribe ill motive to mine is utter hogwash.

    People like OMGF and goyo and others whine about what they perceive as my annoying parsing of words. However, think if OMGF had exercised even one-tenth of that annoying parsing before choosing to call me odious? Tons of drama, thousands of words and another closed thread would have been promptly avoided, no? They complain when I talk to much. So I cut my verbiage by X%. They complain when I call what I feel are appropriate fallacies. So I cut way back on that as well. They complain when I ask Yes or No questions. I’m starting to think you all just exist to disagree, and people around here are stronger arguments for reductionist determinism (which is for all intents and purposes an atheist doctrine of predestination) than any written book or comment thread I’ve ever seen.

    The reason I’m sometimes coming at 6-10 people at once is because 6-10 people often come at me in a single thread, and I answer everyone who addresses me – to be thorough, fair, and intellectually polite. That doesn’t mean I can’t speak bluntly, or that I have to kiss anyone’s ass or mince words or back down when I honestly think I have a valid point. And none of this means I don’t throw some call-outs myself. But by and large, I pop in, make a generally positive comment or honest criticism about the post, or a specific criticsim towards one commenter, and 6-10 people jump all over it. You guys are like a skinhead gang.

    10) Personal attacks and insults: …A good rule of thumb here is that any criticism of a person should stem from their actions or beliefs on the topic at hand. …Attacks that make sweeping and unsubstantiated generalizations (i.e., “all theists are morons”) are likewise going too far, and I reserve the right to edit or delete those.

    Joke, joke, joke, and the epitome of jokery. I wish I reserved the right to edit or delete such comments. I ‘d start right here with these three I found in just a couple of minutes:

    My tone is derogatory, and I do think that anyone who still believes in demons is ignorant and credulous and deserves to be mocked… It’s a cruel, childish and primitive superstition that any rational person should be ashamed of himself for holding. (Ebonmuse)</

    I’m mocking you because you are odious. [Y]ou are a nitpicking, quote-mining, annoying little POS… You are a dishonest scumbag… Even if I hate you, hating you doesn’t make me a bigot… (OMGF)

    You guys have finally run out of patience with that clown? He’s just a jerk… (KShep)

    To Polly, I apologize, straight-up. Your objective criticism means alot to me. Subjective pissing and moaning consisting of “Asshole, annoying, pighead, lunatic, asshat, clown, jerk, shameworthy, piece of shit, coward, liar, odious, troll, ignorant, credulous, mockworthy, shameworthy, etc.,” not as much so. The last thing I want is anyone discouraged from speaking their opinion. Also, Polly, you should get in threads I’m on. I find your style to be that of calm and confident reason, I rarely disagree with you, and I really listen to what you have to say. We’ve even had good joke or two along the way. And I’m not trying to imply that you like me or agree with me either, so don’t worry. There are quite a few people here I listen to more than the others, and you’re one of them. So is prase. So is Brad. TommyKey, Teleprompter, Leum, D, Steve Bowen and Virginia, too. Surely I’m forgetting some. I’m not trying to buddy up or imply that any of these folks like me or agree with anything I say, either. Rogue thinkers don’t need support.

    Even those who lean towards ad hominems and personal insults like OMGF, Chet, and others – that’s just their style, and albeit an annoying, rude, sandbox style, I’m not saying it’s wrong. Maybe it’s immature, or counterproductive, but that’s not my concern with it and that’s for each to decide themselves. It’s not that its mean, either, so quit pulling the ‘mean ol atheists’ card. I highlight such only to highlight irrationalism. It is just not useful for fruitful debate, as we’ve clearly established.

    There’s more than one way to look at everything. When someone comes to my blog, steers far and wide of personal insults and childish belittling, I don’t care if they critiqued every single thing I said. Of course, I wouldn’t have to respond, either. I’d be flattered if somebody spent that much time thinking about statements I made. Then I’d forgot all about it and go outside to be human, or watch another movie if it’s raining.

    OPEN OFFER TO ANYONE:

    Take a true and unbiased look at the most recent thread I was on, On Fear And Seeking, and tell me it doesn’t read like a moving picture of someone trying to swat away gnats to grab some honey. I deflected 10 comments from mikespeir, Libby, Paul S and others, all pestering me to answer a question I asked Ebonmuse – again – that I asked Ebonmuse. These little pests would not leave it be! As Anon commented, what’s the friggen’ point? To argue with myself? To attempt mind-reading and answer hypothetical arguments like Ebonmuse? I mean come on! Would-be psychics and people whisperers flip the script and judge me by presuming to know my motive again – now I’m evading? Um, no… how about, “Ebonmuse is at his wit’s end here and I don’t want to talk to any of you?” In hindsight, I should’ve just said that instead of assuming they could’ve figured it out for themselves. Instead,

    Then we get well over a dozen comments from people who call themselves rationalists yet attempt to read minds. For people who claim to only believe things on evidence, what is all this subjective, Freudian horsepuckey? How the hell would any of you know if I have a cogent response to something or not? Do tell.

    OKAY, ALMOST DONE…

    One the best things about creative hobbies is that they tend to form communities of their own and unite all stripes of people from all nations, all walks of life, and everybody has their different styles. My complaints aside, what Ebon has here is amazing and valuable. In the real world, myself and the average commenter here stand united against many bad ideas. The religious right and reconstructionism scare the daylights out of me. I’m not an evolution-denier, nor do I stop thinking about evolution critically. Although I’ve got my reasons I’m not down for abortion, my strongest reason isn’t even religious. I’m all about life but I’m not a pro-lifer, I haven’t even discussed abortion in I can’t tell you how many years. I’m not a religious activist. I don’t advocate ID, although ID should be discussed in class. Can’t tell you the last time I went to church. Saw prop 8 for what it was, and more. OTOH, any pastor should have the right not to marry same sex couples if that pastor doesn’t want to.

    KShep says, “I’m not even convinced he’s a theist.” Maybe he’s onto something. Maybe not. Maybe I’m not convinced I’m a theist and that’s why I’m coming here. If that’s the case, however, be aware that I’m far more convinced now than I was, because of your generally vapid arguments and childish, insulting screeds. I’ve had people who call themselves Christians tell me I’m not one, that’s for sure. And what’s the point anyways? To add more labels and build bigger walls between our fundamental human connectedness? As far as the let’s-all-label-ourselves-and-take-sides game, I never wanted to disclose my ultimate position at all, and I get knocked for it. “Are you an atheist? Agnostic? Theist? Christian? Buddhist? Conservative? Liberal? Progressive?” The answer is, “I’m a human being with a diverse range of beliefs and an open mind, living on Earth.”

    You all can keep washing Ebon and his backpatters’ feet as much as you wish, but he ain’t no Jesus and they ain’t no apostles.

    Please continue to allow cl to post his views and make it clear that he is still welcome. (Curtis)

    Thanks again Curtis, honestly, but the self-righteous judgmental pricks in this thread have done a fine job making it clear that I’m not welcome. But that’s never stopped me from speaking my mind anywhere before, and we’ll see how it goes.

    Sorry this “minor pest” ruffled everyone’s feathers to the point that this post gets 3x the attention Ebon’s Fatima post got – you can have your safe and intellectually sterile sandbox back – and I feel like a million bucks right now.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    10 pages of whine…

    4951 words to confirm our analyses of him (that he considers this a victory, etc.)

    And cl now owes me an irony meter, because my current meter couldn’t handle the high levels of irony that were present in that screed posted above.

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    Actually, nomorehornets is the best, most rationally and well-written blog I’ve come across yet.

    A bit overstated but cl’s right, it is very entertaining.

    All cl and nomorehornets comments notwithstanding, I think it is typical of Ebonmuse that he not only makes his (justified in my opinion) comment policy clear and transparent, he also does it in a way that everyone including his detractors can have their two pennyworth about it. This does not strike me as the actions of someone adverse to criticism or wishing to stifle free speech.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I didn’t bother to do more than skim that filibuster of a comment, but I have two brief observations:

    1. cl is more obsessed with himself and how he’s being treated than anyone I’ve ever met, including the far more disruptive trolls that I’ve banned. He’s clearly far more interested in cataloging all the allegedly unfair treatment he’s received at my hands than he ever was in explaining or defending his own religious beliefs, whatever they are…

    …and 2. The fact that, in his own words, he delights in being talked about and being the center of attention is the final confirmation that he’s a troll who merits all the measures I’ve taken so far. I hope he enjoys it while it lasts; this is going to be the last thread on Daylight Atheism about him. The next time he devotes a comment to complaining about how unfairly he’s being treated, I will take additional steps. That is a promise.

  • Curtis

    Ebon,

    Good bye, I have enjoyed your blog but I only visit where all are welcome. My life will be a little worse without reading your comments but, if I stay, I know I will end up sniping at you for your censorship.

    It is your blog and you can do what you want. Just be aware by muzzling cl, you will lose the readers who truly welcome all free speech. Your blog, your choice.

    “Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg”

    Thanks again,

    Curtis

  • Chet

    It’s nice of CL to pop in here and inform us that, contrary to our misunderstandings, he never makes personal attacks, except when he does; he never uses profanity, except when he does; and he always answers polite and on-topic questions, except when he doesn’t.

    Gosh, how inconsiderate and irrational of us to suspect him of arguing in poor faith!

  • exmachina

    He may not care, but I back Ebon 100%. Turning it into a matter of free speech would be to obscure the truth. It’s not that the person in question has an argument that differs from many of those here, it’s that he has no argument but continues to antagonize others. It’s really too bad, as I like it when theists pay a visit. Meaningful discourse can be so rewarding, which is why meaningless discourse is so frustrating.

    What would you call something like that? “Phantom Argument”?

    Oooo I like that, I call dibs.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    This thing is amazing!

    You know what? I’m rooting for CL. I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage, forcing rule revision after rule revision, ad nauseum. Awesome! Let’s watch as Ebon, ever more frustrated, continues to struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as CL keeps messing up his papers while one by one, readers leave due to an every increasing administrative presence. Outstanding! Well I won’t go. The thought of this sounds like the most entertaining thing that probably would have ever happened on this blog. Hot damn!

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    …struggle to figure out how to keep his precious private blog neat and tidy as CL keeps messing up his papers …

    And why should someone purporting to be commenting in good faith want to do that? That would just be rude!

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I hope he perpetually manages to skirt the rules enough to do his damage…

    To do his damage? You mean his damage in vandalizing threads with OT carp, whining, evasion of questions, etc.? You want this? Why don’t you invite him over to your blog to monopolize your threads then instead of wishing ill on someone else’s blog?

  • http://spaninquis.wordpress.com/ Spanish Inquisitor

    That was fun. Can we do it again?

    Since the First Amendment doesn’t apply to blogs, censoring cl is not a First Amendment issue. This is really a property law issue. The blog is Adam’s and Adam may do with it as he pleases. If he wants to moderate, moderate he will.

    However, if he actually posts on free speech issues, he can and will probably be called on it. As he should be.

    I’ve watched this comment policy argument on other blogs, and they certainly generate a lot of heat, though rarely much light.

    If anyone cares what I think, I fall on the side of que sera sera, laissez faire, and caveat emptor, to the extent they can be applied to blogs. What gets said, gets said, leave it alone, but if you engage, then buyer beware.

    Though I have little problem preventing someone from pissing on my lawn.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com PhillyChief

    Why don’t you invite him over to your blog

    LOL! First off, there’s two camps here, the camp that views blogs as public forums and the camp that views them as private, comparable to a room in their house. Being of the former camp, your comment is meaningless to me since, as a public forum, no one requires an invite to my blog.

    Second, if you actually read all the comments above (I know, it’s daunting, so I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t) you’ll see that I have one of several blogs where CL visits and I “handle him”. The process doesn’t take a 24/7 effort as someone above suggested it must to the Exterminator (author of ‘NoMoreHornets’) nor does it require some comment policy, comment moderation, or any other such foolishness. As I said before, it doesn’t take much, so this comment policy is laughable in that it’s a bright red flare fired into the air to signal frustration and desperation for failing to handle something which is quite simple. Wishing ill? No, I’m wishing as long as he make his bed this way that he lie in it for my continued amusement.

    Third, I should have written “damage”, not damage, since that’s another source of dissent here and what I was mocking in my last comment. Again, two camps – the camp which sees a blog or blog post as some work of haute cuisine where diners must sit quietly with napkins on laps and pinkies extended as they sip their chardonnays and use the correct fork at the correct time, and the camp which sees the whole thing as a family free-for-all in the kitchen. I’m of the former. Is it going to distract from my meal when crazy uncle CL starts blathering out nonsense, pick his ears with a carrot or start taking his pants off? No. In fact, it might actually heighten the experience in some amusing way. So no, I don’t see CL’s work as damage.

    And finally, I’ll leave you with a clue. I had a wildly successful cartoon strip in college where I roasted students, professors, and anyone on the college staff, especially the college president. Most everyone I roasted fussed and fumed which made the whole thing funnier, made me more successful, spurred more strips, and made them all the more ridiculous. Only one escaped this, and that was the president. How’d he do it? He completely ignored the strip.

    I’ll stop now, because I don’t want to run the risk of going on for 5000 words. :)

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    PC,

    Second, if you actually read all the comments above (I know, it’s daunting, so I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t) you’ll see that I have one of several blogs where CL visits and I “handle him”.

    Yes, I can see how often cl visits your blog….when did he last visit? Is it because you “handled” him or because you don’t get the same level of traffic that Ebon gets? Let’s face some facts here. Your blog and Exterminators added together (and hell, add in mine and cl’s as well) don’t get the same level of traffic that this blog gets. Anarchy can work until you start increasing the size of the population, at such point it starts to break down and some order must be established. I could claim that I’ve “handled” cl at my blog as well simply by telling him to lie someplace else. Is that considered moderation by you?

    The process doesn’t take a 24/7 effort as someone above suggested it must to the Exterminator (author of ‘NoMoreHornets’) nor does it require some comment policy, comment moderation, or any other such foolishness.

    If he was constantly at your blog, writing comments of 1000+ words each time, constantly whining, flinging poo, etc. you don’t think that would be a problem? And, if you had enough commenters to the point where someone is going to engage him either out of wanting a chuckle or a sense of fairness or just simply not wanting his BS to go unanswered…

    Wishing ill? No, I’m wishing as long as he make his bed this way that he lie in it for my continued amusement.

    So, yeah, wishing ill. Ebon has always had a moderation policy, so what’s different now that makes you wish to see Ebon’s blog go down so that you can enjoy some sense of Schadenfraude? Are you jealous that his blog is so successful?

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    OMGF:
    Let’s face some facts here. Your blog and Exterminators added together (and hell, add in mine and cl’s as well) don’t get the same level of traffic that this blog gets.

    Are you actually making an argument based on popularity? How thick-headed are you? Some of us, at least, are talking about principles here. If you want to throw popularity into the mix, then you ought to become a theist, because goddism is a much more popular stance than atheism.

    The bottom line: Ebon no longer has any credibility when it comes to discussing free speech or open dialogue. Instead, whenever we atheists are muzzled — by the government or by private citizens — we can thank Daylight Atheism for helping to propagate that. Way to go, Ebon!

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Are you actually making an argument based on popularity?

    I’m making the argument that in smaller groups, it is much easier to “police” behavior without having to enact rules and regulations. I guess using arguments based on reality makes me “thick-headed?” So be it.

    Some of us, at least, are talking about principles here.

    And, we’ve already pointed out that no one is being denied their speech rights, so boo hoo.

    If you want to throw popularity into the mix, then you ought to become a theist, because goddism is a much more popular stance than atheism.

    At least make some semblance of sense when you argue here. This is nothing but non sequitor.

    The bottom line: Ebon no longer has any credibility when it comes to discussing free speech or open dialogue.

    Ah, I see. If you ever say to anyone that they are a pest and a nuisance, then you lose all credibility to ever say anything ever again that touches on free speech or open dialog. Way to see the world in black and white terms. If I were like you, I might point out that that tends to be a theist trait.

    Instead, whenever we atheists are muzzled — by the government or by private citizens — we can thank Daylight Atheism for helping to propagate that. Way to go, Ebon!

    OK, so Ebon has just cause, but that doesn’t matter to you, you simply want someone to blame if someone bans you for unjust cause. It’s not the fault of the person being unjust, it’s Ebon’s fault? Nice try.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Oh, and BTW, if a theist asks you to leave their blog, do you get all uppity and demand that your voice be heard, or do you leave?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    And, not to pile it on, but next time you get banned from a theist site, I’d like to know if they say it’s because Ebon put a leash on cl. Just ask them if that’s the reason for it and see what they say. I’m sure there’ll be a rash of bannings of atheists because Ebon saw fit to put restrictions on cl, restrictions that cl has since shown are worthwhile and necessary. Oh, and see if they know about the people Ebon has banned outright! Oh, the horror. How dare Ebon ban someone for making outright racist remarks and threats.

  • http://nomorehornets.blogspot.com nomorehornets

    OMGF:

    You still don’t get the concept of having principles, do you? Every violation of a principle contributes to its erosion. The concept of free speech — not in its sense of a governmental right, mind you, but as a universal principle which some of us hold dear — is a meme. That meme survives and evolves if, and only if, we keep it alive. Now Ebon has not done major damage by his veiled threat to one commenter. But he has added, in his own minuscule way, to a general weakening of that principle. Even you ought to be able to see that if you actually do have an open, rational mind. Instead of jumping immediately to the defensive position, why don’t you take a few moments to consider the ramifications of any “rules,” not only those applying to blogs, that limit or curtail your, or my, or Ebon’s ability to speak freely about the issues most important to us. As atheists, we need to be extremely sensitive to such rules, because many of those very rules are aimed at us.

    Think about that for five minutes before you start to type a knee-jerk reply. This dialogue isn’t a contest between you and me; there’s no winning and losing here. No points are awarded. If you call yourself a rational person, give some consideration to my argument before digging into your keyboard. Then, if you still disagree with me, come up with a cogent argument.

    That goes for anyone else, too.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    You still don’t get the concept of having principles, do you?

    No, I get it quite clearly. I just don’t see the need to have a principle that says that anyone gets to come into your house and pee all over your floor.

    Now Ebon has not done major damage by his veiled threat to one commenter. But he has added, in his own minuscule way, to a general weakening of that principle.

    No, he hasn’t. Sorry, but your all or nothing stance is what I see as dangerous here. We don’t allow people to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater for a reason…or do you similarly see that as an erosion of your free speech rights?

    Even you ought to be able to see that if you actually do have an open, rational mind.

    Thank you for your condescension. Yes, whenever someone disagrees with you, it’s either because they are stupid or closed-minded…not simply because they understand what you are saying and simply disagree or have a good reason to disagree. Sheesh.

    Instead of jumping immediately to the defensive position, why don’t you take a few moments to consider the ramifications of any “rules,” not only those applying to blogs, that limit or curtail your, or my, or Ebon’s ability to speak freely about the issues most important to us.

    As I said before (now who’s not reading?) anarchy only works in very limited situations.

    As atheists, we need to be extremely sensitive to such rules, because many of those very rules are aimed at us.

    And you continue to ignore the difference between just and unjust rules and restrictions.

    Think about that for five minutes before you start to type a knee-jerk reply.

    Did you even put one thought into the multiple objections I raised that you’re now ignoring?

    If you call yourself a rational person, give some consideration to my argument before digging into your keyboard. Then, if you still disagree with me, come up with a cogent argument.

    I already did!

    Your argument boils down to a false dichotomy, that either Ebon allows all speech or he’s some draconian free-speech hating Nazi (waterboarding? c’mon) that has no right to ever speak about free speech or open dialog again. Sorry, but open dialog has to be a two-way street. You can’t have open dialog with someone like cl, who is hell-bent on not being a fair player.

    I also brought up the fact that with more traffic, comes more chances for issues to arise, which you so blithely and incorrectly dismissed as fallacious appeal to popularity, and have now ignored.

    You’ve also ignored my question about what you would do if a theist banned you or even asked you to leave. Would you get all uppity and protest, or would you leave?

    Instead of making comments about me and what I’m doing or thinking or whatever, why don’t you actually address what I’m saying? It’s really easy to simply ignore your opponent and make statements about how they would get it if they just opened up their mind and actually read what you wrote. But, we both know it’s a bunch of bunk when you’re leaving unanswered objections and questions on the table.

    Lastly, do you really think that you are impervious to someone coming onto your site and making themselves so much of a pest that it stops comments? I might be persuaded to take that challenge.

  • Chet

    Hornets -

    By way of illustrative example, how, on your blog, would you (or do you) deal with comment spam in a way that continues to uphold your principles of open dialogue?

    If I were to show up in each and every one of your comment threads, and post advertisement after advertisement for penis enlarging pills, what action would you take? Commercial speech, after all, is still speech.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Okay, folks – this has gone on long enough.

    No theist has ever been banned here merely for speaking their mind, nor will they ever be. There will always be a place for dissent and debate on Daylight Atheism. But there’s a difference between disagreement in good faith, however sharp, and people whose only goal is to stir up trouble or make themselves the center of attention. Anyone who has the patience to slog through this whole thread will see that the vast majority of my regular commenters supported the decision I took, which is validation enough for me.

    Obviously, I’ve never expected to please everyone. If you have a problem with my moderation policies, you can go find another site that’s more accommodating to you, or you can start your own, as you wish. One commenter has already exercised that option, and more power to him. But as long as I’m paying the bills, there will be policies, and I’m going to decide what they are. I respect people who decide that’s not for them and leave without a fuss, but I don’t think much of people who would rather sit here and gripe endlessly about it. Of course, neither atheism nor theism has a monopoly on malcontents and the chronically dissatisfied.

    I don’t expect that this will be the last time this issue comes up, nor that this will be the last time I face criticism for it. But this thread is becoming a distraction from the far more important topics I’d rather have discussed, so for now, we’re moving on. If you have any further issues with my moderation policies, contact me by e-mail and we can discuss them offline.