Site rules

Posting rules

The discussions between readers are one of the most important elements of this site. As such, everyone is encouraged to leave comments, thoughts, rebuttals, and the like.

That being said, I would appreciate if people commenting would follow six simple rules which I have brazenly stolen from Grist.org:

  1. Don’t be a jerk. Nobody likes jerks.
  2. Try to avoid profanity. The English language is vast and magnificent.
  3. Do not direct personal attacks at a poster or fellow commenter. Substance, people. Substance.
  4. Don’t be a troll. (Troll: Commenter who makes outrageous or provocative statements purely in order to derail discussion.) You know who you are.
  5. No spam, no solicitation, no links to porn, no internet detritus of similar ilk.
  6. Seriously, don’t be a jerk.

To the greatest possible extent, I wish to avoid playing the role of the censor here. It is only under pressing circumstances that I remove comments that have legitimate content. Also, I virtually always leave a marker behind when I do so, such as [Comment removed at the request of the commenter].

If you think someone is breaking the rules, please contact me.

Copyright information

See: Copyright info

About the ads

The site is currently serving two kinds of ad from Google’s AdSense program.

The costs associated with operating this site are partially offset through advertising from Google AdSense program. These ads are automatically selected by computer algorithms. I do not personally select them and have no control over which are included. I do not necessarily endorse and products or services they sell. As in all things, I suggest that readers exercise their judgment and good sense in evaluating any claims made on websites linked through the ad program.

I put up a financial report on earnings and expenditures for 2010: 2010 blog finances.

Comment spam filtering

Like most blogs, this one gets an excessive number of spam comments – mostly from robots trying to plant links to very dodgy sites. In order to minimize the amount of time I have to spend sorting through comments, separating wheat from chaff, a number of automatic spam filtering systems are in place. These take into account factors like email address, history of commenting, content of comment, IP address, etc.

If one of your legitimate comments was eaten by the filters, I apologize. If you let me know, I will probably be able to recover it. I may also recover it manually during one of my rare trawls through my ‘probably but not certainly spam’ folder. If you find your comments getting frequently eaten, you may find that using a real email address and reducing the number of links in each comment will help. Email addresses are collected only for internal purposes, and will never be sold or given to outside parties.

Last updated: 24 March 2011.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan April 9, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Zero Carbon Canada has a new comment policy:

“We’re here to debate issues and generate action on global warming, the green economy and climate politics in Canada. These issues are deadly serious so be forewarned: we will delete rude or abusive comments, comments not about global warming, and those aimed at individuals.

We have a lot of work to do so if you want to reject the science and regurgitate long-debunked arguments against global warming, go elsewhere. Same goes for comments rejecting the scientists’ solutions without offering realistic alternatives.

ATTN climate change denier trolls: you are cooking our kids and will be deleted.”

It’s harsh, but perhaps the kind of thing that sites discussing climate change out to include.

. April 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm

In defence of the anonymous commeter

“Doug Feaver has an interesting story in the Washington Post ‘in defense of the anonymous, unmoderated, often appallingly inaccurate, sometimes profane, frequently off point and occasionally racist reader comments that washingtonpost.com allows to be published at the end of articles and blogs.’ Feaver says that during his seven-year tenure as editor and executive editor of washingtonpost.com he kept un-moderated comments off the site, but now, four years after retiring, he says he has come to think that online comments are a terrific addition to the conversation, and that journalists need to take them seriously. ‘The subjects that have generated the most vitriol during my tenure in this role are race and immigration,’ writes Feaver. ‘But I am heartened by the fact that such comments do not go unchallenged by readers. In fact, comment strings are often self-correcting and provide informative exchanges.’ Feaver says that comments are also a pretty good political survey. ‘The first day it became clear that a federal bailout of Wall Street was a real prospect, the comments on the main story were almost 100 percent negative. It was a great predictor of how folks feel, well out in front of the polls. We journalists need to pay attention to what our readers say, even if we don’t like it. There are things to learn.’”

. May 23, 2009 at 10:02 am

In the Digital Age, rudeness is just another virus
Infantile bullying goes on out in the open online, and no one seems embarrassed about it

Leah McLaren
Thursday, Apr. 09, 2009 04:02PM EDT

It’s no secret, after all, that technology is turning us into a culture of social boors. As you are reading this, countless semi-literate cranks are busy slapping up inflammatory posts that will be instantly slagged off by anonymous posters in return. Ashton Kutcher is busy tweeting another photo of his wife’s ass, while several U.S. politicians are cheerfully twittering about basketball during Barack Obama’s latest address to Congress.

Don’t get me wrong here. There is a difference between healthy critical debate online and the kind of cancerous mudslinging so many people engage in. (For a fascinating example of the former, check out Dan Baum’s recent tell-all Twitter blog about being canned as a staff writer at The New Yorker at http://www.danbaum.com.)

In debate, you communicate in order to learn and teach; in rudeness, you trade insults in order to hurt and be hurt.

. May 28, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Oh, No! It’s Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!

I…I think it’s finally over. Our reactionary emotional response seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. If I’m right, all we have to do now is smugly reiterate our half-formed thesis and—oh, no! For the love of God, no! It’s thoughtfully mulling things over!

Run! Run! It’s making reasonable, fact-based arguments!

Quickly! Hide behind self-righteousness! The ad hominem rejoinders—ready the ad hominem rejoinders! Watch out! Dodge the issue at hand! Question its character and keep moving haphazardly from one flawed point to the next!

All together now! Put every bit of secondhand conjecture into it you’ve got!

Goddamn it, nothing’s working! It’s trapped us in our own unsubstantiated claims! We need to switch fundamentally unsound tactics. Hurry, throw up the straw man! Look, I think it’s going for it. C’mon…c’mon…yes, it’s going for it! Now hit it with the thing that one guy told us once while it’s distracted by our ludicrous rationalizations!

Milan June 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

In relation to comments, I discourage the use of TinyURL for several reasons:

1) It makes it impossible for people following the link to know where they are going in advance.

2) If TinyURL shuts down, the links will be useless.

3) Such services disrupt attempts to map the connections that exist on the web.

Please either paste in complete URLs (which WordPress will turn into links) or, even better, write actual HTML links, like so:

<a href="http://www.sindark.com">Text for the link</a>

This will render as:

Text for the link

. June 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm

illusion of superiority

The Dunning-Kruger effect.

Justin Kruger & David Dunning.
Unskilled and unaware of It: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

Journal of personality and social psychology
1999, vol.77, no.6, pp1121-1134
©1999 by American Psychological Association, Inc.

. June 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Perishable Press Comment Policy

Before you comment here at Perishable Press, please take a moment to review the official comment policy. Here is a simplified overview of the complete policy:

"Comments are open to everyone. Name and email are required. Email kept private, never shared. Website URL optional. The form accepts basic XHTML. Line and paragraph breaks automatic. Please wrap each segment or line of code in <code> tags (no <pre> tags). I reserve the right to edit/delete any comment. Spam will be deleted. Pointless and otherwise lame comments may be deleted. Please stay on topic and comment intelligently."

. July 16, 2009 at 10:57 am

On the Guardian’s environment site in particular, and to a lesser extent on threads across the Guardian’s output, considered discussion is being drowned in a tide of vituperative gibberish. A few hundred commenters appear to be engaged in a competition to reach the outer limits of stupidity. They post so often and shout so loudly that intelligent debate appears to have fled from many threads, as other posters have simply given up in disgust. I’ve now reached the point at which I can’t be bothered to read beyond the first page or so of comments. It is simply too depressing.

The pattern, where environmental issues are concerned, is always the same. You can raise any issue you like, introduce a dossier of new information, deploy a novel argument, drop a shocking revelation. The comments which follow appear almost to have been pre-written. Whether or not you mentioned it, large numbers will concentrate on climate change – or rather on denying its existence. Another tranche will concentrate on attacking the parentage and lifestyle of the author. Very few address the substance of the article.

I believe that much of this is native idiocy: the infantile blathering of people who have no idea how to engage in debate. Many of the posters appear to have fallen for the nonsense produced by professional climate change deniers, and to have adopted their rhetoric and methods. But it is implausible to suppose that this is all that’s going on. As I documented extensively in my book Heat, and as sites like DeSmogBlog and Exxonsecrets show, there is a large and well-funded campaign by oil, coal and electricity companies to insert their views into the media.

. October 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm
. November 16, 2009 at 9:37 pm

“Challenging the Core Science” Comment Thread

Your comment will be ignored without mercy &/or have one of the following texts appended, or even substituted for it IF:

1. It does not fully reference and link science based sources; not necessarily peer reviewed literature, but sources which are ultimately based on peer reviewed science in a manner that can be verified.
2. The argument is based on a logical fallacy such as cherry picking or an ad hominem Check First!
3. It merely repeats one of the Denier memes well known to be idiotic nonsense Check First!
4. It merely propagates some Denier spam post that has already been debunked as nonsense Check First!

It is simple courtesy and your responsibility to do your home work. If your comment does not meet ALL of the above criteria then it does not belong here (or anywhere else for that matter).

Comments will be deleted without mercy &/or have one of the following texts appended, or substituted for it IF:

1. It attacks individuals;
2. It replicates at length arguments that could simply have been linked;
3. It duplicates other comments you have made in this thread or elsewhere on this site;
4. It is a copy of a comment that you spam climate sites with.

ALL posters, please do not engage or reply to policy violators. I will be dealing with their comments as soon as possible which will leave your comment contextless.

. November 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

Competitive Enterprise Institute intends to sue blogger over moderation policy

Yes they’re planning to sue Schmidt for the “inappropriate behavior” of moderating comments at RealClimate. Of course, the point of this vexatious suit isn’t to win — it’s to harass and distract Schmidt because he is being effective.

. February 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Commenting on Engadget: a human’s guide
By Joshua Topolsky

Some basic ideas on commenting here. We think that comments should always be on topic. We encourage and welcome debate, even if it’s fervent, because we know how much you care about this stuff — we care about it, too! However, your comments should be reasonably polite and wherever possible, lighthearted. Making personal attacks against other commenters, publications, or our own editors seriously degrades the community and quality of the discussion, and it won’t be tolerated.

While we’re fine with disagreements, we’re not that crazy about being the battleground for epic fanboy wars. We want you to debate, but when that debate devolves into name calling and / or cyclical fanaticism (especially when you’ve moved way off topic), it’s not a good use of anyone’s brainpower. Also, if you’ve come to Engadget for the express purpose of whipping people into a frenzy (or whipping yourself into a frenzy), don’t expect to stick around very long. It’s easy to spot the folks who want to have a healthy debate and the folks who just want to troll. On that note, we encourage our readers and commenters to reach out to us personally and report other commenters who seem to be acting inhuman… or inhumane. Together, we believe we can improve the quality of comments on the site. We are aware of the fact that any system like ours can be gamed — and we’re aware of the fact that people actually do things like make multiple profiles and argue with themselves simply to cause problems. Just be aware we’ll delete and ban you for that, too!

Milan March 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

The conversations that occur on this site are one of the most important and rewarding things about it. That is true both for participants in the discussions and for visitors looking for information.

For the benefit of those visitors, I try to keep discussions more-or-less related to the content of the post that appears above them. This improves the odds that someone who finds a post through Google will read information that is of interest to them. It also helps keep discussions focused on the issues at hand.

One example of a migration is here. One example of what can go wrong is here, where a technical post about HFCs spawned an endless disagreement about the role of the sun in climate change.

. June 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

“Our minds are not modern, and many of our woes have to do with this mismatch between our Stone Age psychologies and the world in which we now live.”

Bloom, Paul. How Pleasure Works. The New Science of Why We Like What We Like. (p. 203 hardcover)

“As another example, it would be smart to treat the insults and provocations of strangers – rude behavior on the highway, nasty remarks on the Internet – as irrelevant. There’s no payoff to getting mad. But our minds are not evolved to think about strangers, and we obsess, needlessly, about what people think of us and how these insults will diminish us in the eyes of others. That is why we have road rage and blog wars.”

(p. 204 hardcover)

. July 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

“In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word “troll” to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities. Early trolling was relatively innocuous, taking place inside of small, single-topic Usenet groups. The trolls employed what the M.I.T. professor Judith Donath calls a “pseudo-naïve” tactic, asking stupid questions and seeing who would rise to the bait. The game was to find out who would see through this stereotypical newbie behavior, and who would fall for it. As one guide to trolldom puts it, “If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.”

Today the Internet is much more than esoteric discussion forums. It is a mass medium for defining who we are to ourselves and to others. Teenagers groom their MySpace profiles as intensely as their hair; escapists clock 50-hour weeks in virtual worlds, accumulating gold for their online avatars. Anyone seeking work or love can expect to be Googled. As our emotional investment in the Internet has grown, the stakes for trolling — for provoking strangers online — have risen. Trolling has evolved from ironic solo skit to vicious group hunt.

“Lulz” is how trolls keep score. A corruption of “LOL” or “laugh out loud,” “lulz” means the joy of disrupting another’s emotional equilibrium. “Lulz is watching someone lose their mind at their computer 2,000 miles away while you chat with friends and laugh,” said one ex-troll who, like many people I contacted, refused to disclose his legal identity.

Another troll explained the lulz as a quasi-thermodynamic exchange between the sensitive and the cruel: “You look for someone who is full of it, a real blowhard. Then you exploit their insecurities to get an insane amount of drama, laughs and lulz. Rules would be simple: 1. Do whatever it takes to get lulz. 2. Make sure the lulz is widely distributed. This will allow for more lulz to be made. 3. The game is never over until all the lulz have been had.””

. October 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Still, even if bipartisanship doesn’t always work, even if “moderate” legislation is often weak, even if centrists sometimes fail completely, it doesn’t matter. We are condemned to cross-party compromise. Without it, our system doesn’t work. That’s what checks and balances means. In American politics, if you don’t want to cooperate with your political opponents—if you prefer to scorn them, or shun them, or call them names—that means that you don’t, in fact, want to get anything done. Moderates often achieve less than they could. But extremists achieve nothing at all.

Milan December 11, 2010 at 7:34 pm

In the acknowledgements section of The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, Sam Harris thanks a group of people who contributed criticism while he was writing the book and says: “[W]ith friends like these, it has become increasingly difficult to say something stupid.”

At best, this blog should serve a similar purpose for me. It is a place to field-test ideas, and see the weak ones picked apart in a courteous and effective way.

Milan February 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm

One question I have fore readers:

Do you find an excessive number of links distracting? I use links to identify sources of information, for people’s convenience and to help people gauge how credible claims are. At the same time, I realize that a paragraph all broken up with links is a bit of a pain to read.

So, what do people think? Do you prefer posts with few links or those with many?

. April 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Introduction to Data Communications since Revision 2.0 has the following licensing agreement. You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard, provided that you agree to the following:

* That you will try to be a better person today than yesterday.
* That you will exercise your body as well as your mind.
* That you will tell the persons dear to you that you love them.
* That you will defend the rights of those who are unable to defend themselves.
* That you will not hurt your family members emotionally or physically.
* That you will respect your elders and care for them in time of need.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their religious beliefs.
* That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation.
* That every man, woman and child has the right to be here and is equal regardless of race, creed or color.
* That you will act honorably in all aspects of your personal and business life.
* That your family is first and foremost the most important thing in your life.
* That when you make a mistake, that you admit it and make amends.

This book is available online in the hope it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

. January 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

In the interest of not having every thread on every subject turn into a hissfest about whether Obama or Romney/Santorum/etc. is a bigger doody-head, Boing Boing’s election year rules are back on. These rules will remain in force for the rest of 2012.

• Please do not refer to candidates or parties unless they are mentioned in the post or clearly relevant to the subject. Example: In a post about radioactive scorpions who eat puppies, “They must be Republicans” is not a valid comment.

• In political discussions, please limit citations to credible news sources, credible statistic sites, etc. Links to candidate propaganda should only be used to demonstrate that candidate’s stated position. Links to partisan websites will be treated as astroturf.

• Copy-pasted opinions and talking points will be treated as astroturf.

• Please do not stump for your candidate by shouting slogans. Content or GTFO.

• Please observe all the other niceties such as not repeating yourself and remaining civil.

. March 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Yet despite the low barriers to entry, blogs do impose some intellectual standards. Errors of fact or logic are spotted, ridiculed and corrected. Areas of disagreement are highlighted and sometimes even narrowed. Some of the best contributors do not even have blogs of their own, serving instead as referees, leaving thoughtful comments on other people’s sites and often criss-crossing party lines.

. April 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/06/and-thensilence.html

Dear All,

In a move which thankfully won’t affect the vast majority of you, I have today disabled comments on Letters of Note. Permanently.

All complaints should be directed towards a section of society to whom the concept of even vaguely civil discussion means nothing. This collective waste of flesh, bone, and dangerously limited brain function have caused me to dread opening each and every “New Comment” notification I’ve received over the past twelve months or so, to the point where I now cannot continue justifying the moderation of these imbecilic, repugnant grunts when it takes up such an inordinate amount of my willpower and, more importantly, time. I’d rather spend my hours happily expanding the archives of Letters of Note than clean up after a keyboard-wielding gaggle of cowardly, dim-witted, knuckle-dragging reprobates who have nothing better to do than gleefully splash their fetid saliva all over my efforts and then roll around in the puddle until I’m able to press “Delete Comment.” I refuse to waste another minute.

As is always the case, this was a small (but fast growing) percentage of readers, and I’d like to thank those of you who have been nothing but polite, constructive, and often insightful when joining in with on-site discussions in the past; because of you there were (and still are — I will decide how best to archive them in the near future) some genuinely valuable comment threads to be found in these parts. Even so, I simply cannot afford to continue mopping up after the trolls who crawl among us, itching to bring down the tone at every available opportunity.

This certainly doesn’t signal the end of discussion. In future, should you wish to talk to me about anything relating to either a particular letter or the website as a whole, by all means email me and hang on for a reply. Alternatively, join in the discussion on Twitter where I can be found most days and am much more likely to respond in a quicker fashion, albeit in shorter bursts. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Now, back to those letters.

Thanks,

Shaun

Email: shaun@lettersofnote.com
Twitter: @LettersOfNote

. April 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

My Official Statement

Disclaimers

Who is spoken for: Opinions expressed in postings and comments on this blog are those of nobody but their authors, and given the frequent use of sarcasm, are often not even the authors’ opinions.

Accuracy: I actually do try to check some of the facts on this blog. But if I don’t give you a reference, I probably didn’t check it and am just spouting off. If I did check, I probably didn’t go further than Wikipedia.

Privacy? If you tell me something and don’t say “don’t blog that”, I’ll deny responsibility for any problems it causes you.

Tone: If what I’m saying would be crazy or offensive to you if I really meant it, it could be I’m using some of that sarcasm I mentioned earlier.

Legal Advice: While David is an Ontario lawyer, his comments about law on this blog should not be taken as legal advice.

. May 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

This blog is a work in progress. The information contained in this blog is subject to change without notice, and may become outdated and may or may not be updated. The information may not be complete or correct; it is provided in good faith but without any legal responsibility or obligation to provide future updates. Users of this blog should exercise due diligence to ensure the accuracy and currency of all information.

While the information presented here is believed to be accurate and reliable, it is not guaranteed to be so. The author of this blog makes the information here available without warranty of any kind and accepts no responsibility for any consequences of its use.

Vivian Krause reserves the right to amend any part of this blog and the attached items on the basis of information received after it was initially presented.

http://fairquestions.typepad.com/rethink_campaigns/copyright-notice-and-disclaimer.html

. September 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Posting Guidelines

We hope the conversations that take place on HBR.org will be energetic, constructive, and thought-provoking. To ensure the quality of the discussion, our moderating team will review all comments and may edit them for clarity, length, and relevance. Comments that are overly promotional, mean-spirited, or off-topic may be deleted per the moderators’ judgment.

http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/01/to-do-lists-dont-work/

. November 28, 2013 at 6:58 pm
. February 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Last year, for instance, we learned that by hurling insults and inciting discord in online comment sections, so-called internet “trolls” (who are frequently anonymous) have a polarizing effect on audiences, leading to politicization, rather than deeper understanding of scientific topics.

That’s bad, but it’s nothing compared with what a new psychology paper has to say about the personalities of so-called trolls themselves. The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called “Dark Tetrad”: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).

It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior. What’s more, it also found a relationship between all Dark Tetrad traits (except for narcissism) and the overall time that an individual spent, per day, commenting on the internet.

—-

Trolls just want to have fun

In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.

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