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I had my site debugged and in the process the “moderate comments” thingie got flipped on. For the heck of it, I decided to try it out and I’ve decided I like moderating comments; I get to actually read them all, now.
For the record, I am not inclined to zap a commenter, unless he/she is really offensive, personally combative or there is a hijacking. In the years I’ve run the blog I have banned
less than 5 fewer than 10 people, one for going after my faith in a manner that I wasn’t having, and another for calling me the C-word (female version). And he even got reinstated, once he apologized and promised to tidy up his cesspool of a mouth. Another banned guy, who had gotten too hysterical about I-forget-what-now also got reinstated.
This is a benevolent dictatorship, after all, although increasingly, I have no patience for passive-aggressives and, conversely, if you’re beginning with an ad hominem on me or another commenter, there’s really no reason why your comments shouldn’t be trashed.
I’m no prude and in r/l I’ve been known to speak the sailor’s tongue from time to time, but I do have a couple of “rules” about comments that I’d like to review – don’t worry, like St. Benedict in his Rule, I prescribe “nothing harsh or burdensome.”
1) No referring to Presidents, ex-presidents, or others (either party!) by disgusting or vulgar nicknames. It is simply infantile – and I would prefer it not be done on my site. A simple last name is sufficient.
2) No carrying on about what people look like. I have been accused (by a lefty blogger who has accuracy problems) of having called Hillary Clinton “fat,” which is a lie. I happen to think she is a perfectly attractive woman, and I have said so here – I once even defended her right to show cleavage. It’s fair, I think, to try to ascertain a mood from a photo, but to simply deride someone because he or she may not be as attractive as some others, let’s not.
3) I have no problem with hell, damn, balls, cojones, or crap, nor “bitch” when it is used as a verb. Asshat is sometimes an absolutely necessary word in the English language, as is “screw that,” “screw this,” and “Screw me? Hey, screw you!” (I am from New York.) Beyond that, don’t tempt me. If you are inclined to the F-word, “freaking” will do quite nicely, and as stated before, both C-words (male and female) will get you banned until you grovel as you have never grovelled before.
4) No taking the name of the Lord in vain. I don’t care whether He’s your Lord or not, I’d ask you to respect my sensibilities, here. If that offends you, think of compliance with my wishes as being multi-culti tolerant, then it should sit better.
5) Expressing the wish that either I or one of my loved ones die or become seriously ill will have you made not welcome here. Also, if you are going to use a fake email address — which I think is just cowardly — be a little less obvious than die_Anchoress_die@Diemore.com or @ihateyou.net. If I spot such addresses, they are marked as spam and banned. If, while I am waiting for you to grow up and use your a proper address, I realize that you are a ranting bigot simply looking for an outlet, same deal. My place, my prerogative. I wouldn’t dream of going to someone else’s site and not minding my manners.
Look, I’m far from perfect, and I know that anyone can – in a fit of passion – let loose occasionally and go farther than they mean to, so this is not some sort of hard-line beatdown; a once-in-a-while fit or rant is not going to get anyone banned. But I believe in establishing boundaries; IMHO I think we don’t do enough of that in our society, which is why people feel so unsure and insecure. No one knows what the limits are, anymore, so this is a sort of “outline of limits.” The intertubes may be a wild, wild west of sorts, but in this particular saloon, while you may put your feet on the tables, I do insist that you use the spittoons.
Happily for me, I have some of the coolest readers in the ‘sphere and most of them have never broken a-one of these rules. But I see a few are coming close, so I figured I’d put up the warning, which my kids call “the look.” When they are skating near the edge of my patience or endurance, they will get “the look” from me which means, “control that lip, child, before I pull it over your head…”
Only yesterday I was remarking to Buster that he’d had a pretty easy time of it growing up, that I hadn’t had to do much more than throw him “the look” to keep him in line. He said, “well, that’s because I’m not stupid. The few times you did lost it, it was a little like watching Samuel L. Jackson recite that passage from Ezekiel in Pulp Fiction before blowing holes in people. I never wanted to be on the receiving end of that!”
UPDATED: I can’t believe I even have to say it, but if anyone openly speculates about the murder of a president or ex-president (or anyone else) by an ex-first lady (or anyone else) I will delete the thing, outright, and that commenter will be banned.
UPDATED II: Do not call me “Liz” or “Betty” or “Beth” or whatever other name you like. I’ll accept “Lizzie” (if it’s friendly) but otherwise, stick to Elizabeth, please. That’s my name. I don’t know why people presume that b/c someone’s name is Elizabeth, they want to be called something else. If I ask you politely to not call me “Liz” and you persist, I’ll assume you’re a passive-aggressive sort and delete your comment.
UPDATED III: After seven years with this policy in place I have decided I’m tired of being so nice to people who come into the site with nothing on their mind but a need to sneer and indulge in tired sloganeering. If that’s all you’re doing, expect to be trashed.
UPDATE IIII: As of October 2012, comment threads close after two days. Sooner, if people are just repeating themselves. I really don’t have time to moderate tedium.