How Not To Get Banned

This is the code of conduct for my commenters on this blog and on this blog’s social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon.

What I Welcome

I look forward to substantive disagreement that leads to me learning things. I look forward to addenda and asides that spawn interesting conversations and, especially, additional essays. I look forward to people offering their own experiences, whether as examples of or as counterpoints to something I describe. I look forward to learning that my work made a positive impression on other people or groups. I look forward to seeing my work made into analogies that help others understand themselves. I look forward to being alerted of related topics that I can then research on my own. I look forward to kind words when I write about something emotionally draining. I look forward to book and blog recommendations. I look forward to offers of assistance. I look forward to requests for clarification. I look forward to correcting my errors.

My Platform, Not Yours

My spaces are not public squares. My digital living room may be hosting an open-door party, but that does not mean that the host of that party has waived discretion over who is welcome to linger. I am not here to permit unrestrained “debate” on issues on which debate settles nothing. I am not here to host others’ long-winded screeds that belong on their own blogs. I am not here to host my own challengers and detractors, particularly those I know to be acting in bad faith. Only one person’s discretion on who gets to say even a single word in the comment sections of my posts is decisive, and that is mine.

People who think it is a violation of “free speech” that I curate my space in this way are not welcome in my space, and I will leave it to others to educate them on what “free speech” actually means and how it does not mean the right to a specific audience.

People who aim to use my platforms as an audience for their own rants and musings rather than for discussing the posted content will be instructed to get their own platforms and post there instead. They will be removed if they do not thereafter remove themselves.

You Do Not Choose the Venue

If you do embarrass yourself on a blog post or public facebook post, at my discretion, I will save photo evidence of your iniquity and make fun of you in a blog post. I’ve done it before and I will do it again. This is particularly for the kinds of fools who show up when I specifically criticize famous Internet evildoers. These discussions will be as anonymized as the source material, because I am done protecting people who do not deserve protection.

Bigotry is Not Allowed

The hulking, heavily armored character Reinhardt, from the video game Overwatch, who wields a gigantic hammer.
Artist’s depiction of the banhammer.

CN miscellaneous slurs

Racial (including anti-Semitic, antiziganist, anti-indigenous, and anti-Hispanic), xenophobic, classist, misogynist, anti-queer (including anti-trans), fatphobic, and ableist slurs will not be tolerated. For maximum clarity:

  • Racism does not include criticism of the contents of minority religions, support for ex-Muslim speakers who are critical of the religion they left and its effect on their cultures, or discussion of the harms associated with religions whose adherents happen to be racialized.
  • Racism does include broad-brush characterizations of members of minority faiths that would be transparently ridiculous if analogized to corresponding majorities, and to politicized targeting of members of minority faiths for scrutiny they demonstrably do not deserve.
  • Racism does include facetious or inaccurate invocation of minority religious concepts and paraphernalia, such as Sioux headdresses, Algonquin doodems / spirit animals, Jewish mezuzahs, etc., by people not in a position to make a social point about the status of these things in their home communities. It is exceedingly difficult for outsiders to render coherent critique of these concepts without riding the more obvious forms of racism to which these communities are subject, and in this space, that will be left to insiders.
  • Antiziganism refers to bigotry against the Romani people, most of whom consider the term “gypsy” and its derivative “to gyp” offensive.
  • Classism refers to bigotry against people of lower socioeconomic status and, in places with overt, stratified social classes, members of lower strata. This includes invoking stereotypes of people from lower classes as shiftless, drug-addled, inbred, deformed, dirty, or unintelligent as way to insult. This also includes denigrating the practice of cohabitating with one’s relatives, particularly in said relatives’ basements. Anti-Southern-US (and especially anti-Appalachian) sentiments are frequently classist. Note that classism and ableism overlap extensively, as do classism and racism.
  • Misogyny includes anti-choice / pro-forced-birth / “pro-life” advocacy, claiming that the primary responsibility for sexual assault rests on the victims of sexual assault, anti-sex-work sentiments, use of sexual assault as a threat or punchline, and the phrase “boys will be boys.”
  • Transantagonism includes thinking the terms “biological gender” and “chromosomal gender” are useful, claiming trans people are a different gender than they say they are, and reacting badly to the term “TERF.”
  • Fatphobia includes using a person’s status as being fat, by any standard, as an insult, claiming that being fat is a bad thing, or associating fatness with perceived negative traits such as lack of responsibility, lack of impulse control, or laziness. Fatphobia and ableism frequently overlap.
  • Ableism refers to bigotry against disabled people, and ableist slurs include common words such as stupid, idiot, moron, cretin, and retard. It is easier to describe the definitions and sentiments that make a word ableist than to list the many, many, many terms that can be used in ableist ways (or have no non-ableist uses). If one’s argument or word choice comes down to a person having an innate, biological deficiency and using this idea to designated them as inferior, or insulting a person by likening them to people who have these impairments, it is ableist, and it is not permitted here. The easiest way to avoid unintentional ableism is to say what you actually mean.
  • All of these include, in addition to their less contentious acts, advocacy in favor of policies, parties, and politicians who target marginalized people for legal harm. This includes the US Republican Party, the US Libertarian Party, the Canadian Conservative Party, the British Conservative Party, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the English Defense League (EDF), the Hindutva nationalist movement in India, the Roman Catholic Church, Haredi Jewish organizations, the various Orthodox Catholic churches, most other forms of Christianity and Islam, Hasidic Judaism, and similar outfits.

In this blog’s comments section, comments that consist mostly or wholly of bigoted rhetoric will not exit moderation, and their posters will not be notified. In comments where individual bigoted terms mar a point that is otherwise worth making, I will personally edit the comment to remove the slurs, replace them with non-bigoted alternatives, and add a note explaining the change. Commenters who take issue with this policy will be banned.

On my Facebook page, comments that consist mostly or wholly of bigoted rhetoric will almost always lead to their commenters being blocked without warning. At my discretion, such commenters will instead receive links to corrections of their misconceptions and the opportunity to be better than they have shown themselves to be. Also at my discretion, such commenters might instead be challenged via additional comments, though this will almost never be in good faith and will almost always consist of the commenter being treated with sarcastic, playful derision until they bore me, annoy me, harm one of my friends, or violate another rule.

Commenters on my Facebook page who use bigoted terms as part of a point that is otherwise worth making, will receive a request that they edit their comments to replace the bigoted terms with suitable alternatives. Those who refuse to make this correction will, if I am feeling generous, be warned that the next step in my enforcement process is being blocked. If I am feeling less generous, they will be blocked without warning. Where possible, I will leave an explanation to remind my commentariat what rule the offender violated. This conversation will take place prior to any consideration of their comment’s ostensible point, and the commenter’s amenability to this correction will be taken as a heuristic for whether they are worth engaging at all.

Do Not Bore Me

Related to but distinct from the previous rules is one basic dictum: do not bore me. My time is precious, and I spend as much time as I do on Facebook primarily in search of material and inspiration for future writing. When you bore me, that time is wasted. This is not a crime for which this lady grants forgiveness easily.

  • If you become tedious, repetitive, obviously less interested in reading replies than making them, or insistent on long-debunked falsehoods, I will send you on your way.
  • If I’ve already addressed your point in a blog post and directed you to read it, and your response thereto indicates that you did not read for comprehension, I will send you on your way.
  • If you respond to minor paraphrases of your point by stamping your feet and shouting the word “strawman!” over and over rather than by addressing what in the paraphrase you believe to be inaccurate or unfair, I will send you on your way while unfondly reminiscing of an asshole from a discussion group I used to frequent whose primary traits were this and ableism.
  • If your response to having your premises pulled out from under you by Snopes, WhatsTheHarm, quotes from primary sources, etc is to double down, I will probably keep you around long enough to prepare a blog post about your nonsense and then send you on your way.
  • If your contribution contains any of the following phrases or variations thereof, you have already bored me, and will be removed as soon as I decide I’m doing toying with you. An exception is if you’re making fun of people who say these things.
    • “Just my opinion.”
    • “I have a right to my opinion.”
    • “Don’t judge.”
    • “Agree to disagree”
    • “The two sides are the same.”
    • “Ad hominem” [used incorrectly]
    • “You’ll regret distancing yourself from your abusive family.”
    • “I’m sure your abusive family means well.”
    • “You should call your mother.”
    • “Fourth-edition Dungeons and Dragons is just like a video game.”
    • “You’re taking that Sam Harris quote out of context.”
    • “An armed society is a polite society.”
    • “The Holodomor didn’t happen.”
    • “The Armenian Genocide didn’t happen.”
    • “Joseph Stalin was not a mass murderer.”
    • “The people in the gulags deserved it.”
    • “Kulaks.”

The Short Version

This is my living room, not yours. Do not bore me. Do not anger me. Do not hurt my friends. Do not bore me. You don’t scare me, you can’t hurt me, and I will derive schadenfreude from your flailing. But if you are not flailing, and something substantive is happening, we will find much satisfaction with one another.

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