Hosting a Conversation

The Agora is loud and boisterous place where voices are raised in both in contention and consideration.  We think it a success when we post about a topic and our moderator/editor doesn’t need to step in to curtail our conversations.  That said, we do ask that all who join us in our space try to abide by the following policy.

Rule Zero

Our editor’s “rule zero” is simple:  regardless of the nature of a comment, if the author of a post responds, he’ll stay out of it.  The authors of the Agora are free to engage with their audience, both those who behave with civility and those who do not, and many of them have a very different thickness of skin that does our editor.

As they say, those who can, write, those who cannot, edit; or, something like that…

Commenting Policy

  1. Please do your best to pretend that you are face-to-face with the others online.  Name calling, fighting words, personal attacks, etc. will not be tolerated.  That said, we’re all human, so as long as it doesn’t become a pattern, we’ll live and let live.  If it does become a pattern, the perpetrator may be banned from the site.
  2. Any content posts of a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, etc. or of a libelous, defamatory, threatening, pornographic, etc. nature will be removed.
  3. Posts with links embedded within them are automatically placed into a queue for moderation.  Our moderator receives an email regarding every such post and will review them as quickly as possible.  Please refrain from gratuitously advertising your business. Doing in a way that is pertinent to the topic at hand is fine, though we leave it up to our moderator to judge the fitness of your ad.  To be honest, we’re not sure, at this time, what happens when a post with gratuitous links is marked as spam.  We hope that the comment author is notified, but it may be the case that they are not.
  4. The Agora, and Patheos in general, hosts authors of many different religious and many of none.  We trust that you’ll operate with a basic level of tolerance toward both the authors here and the other visitors on this site.  We take a dim view, to put it lightly, of those who visit us only to proselytize, though speaking of the joy your faith brings you and the fervency of your belief is fine as long as you’re willing to allow us to do the same.


If the moderator must step in, he will take two actions.  Firstly, he will edit the offending comment either in part or in full.  If there is nothing of value in the comment, the original content of it will be removed and replaced with a message regarding its moderation.  Otherwise, he’ll perform the online equivalent of *beeping* out the problematic material.  For example …

Jimbo Scott, you’re a complete and utter moron who lacks the sense the gods provide to the most idiotic of village idiots, but I would like to say that you’ve surprised me with this article.

… might be altered to …

Jimbo Scott … <personal attack removed by the moderator> … I would like to say that you’ve surprised me with this article.

… while the following …

May the fleas of a thousand reindeer nest in your genitals.¹

… would simply be replaced with a note about moderation.  Clearly, these examples are facetious, but they illustrate our intent when moderating.

The second action the moderator will take is to reply to all altered posts publicly explaining why he did what he did.  This can be used as a referendum on his actions, though it’s primary purpose is to notify the offender that their comment was altered.

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(1) Bonus points if you know this reference.²
(2) The points mean nothing.

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