A recent burst of comment activity in trolling, flaming, and off-topic'ing (new word!) leads me to once again remind visitors to this blog of its commenting policies.
That link, which is echoed in the Commenting section of the Navigation bar at the top of the page, replaces another post that said the same thing, but in a less detailed fashion.
I've copied in the commenting policies below. If you submit a comment and want it to be approved, be sure to read what follows closely and follow the policies.
Regarding irrelevant off-topic comments, it will be obvious from the title of a post and what is said in the post what a relevant on-topic comment is.
Here's an example of what it is not: in a previous post about changing one's mind I mentioned Donald Trump in passing as an example of how I came to accept the reality of his election after a few days.
A commenter then left a lengthy comment about how wonderful Trump is. I didn't approve it, because the comment was wildly off-topic, since it had nothing to do with changing one's mind.
So Ii you're religious, view this as the Six Commenting Commandments. Otherwise, the Six Commenting Rules.
You're welcome -- even more, encouraged -- to leave comments on Church of the Churchless posts. Some of the most interesting writing on this blog comes from other people, not me, Brian the Blogger.
All I ask is that comments be in accord with the following policies. Otherwise a comment probably will be deleted or edited.
(1) No personal attacks on me or other commenters. Challenge the message, not the messenger. Best: You're wrong, because... Semi-OK: You're a fool, because... Not-OK: You're a fool.
(2) No extreme obscenity. Write as if you were in a congenial coffeehouse discussion group, not a high school locker room after your team lost the game in the final seconds. Mild swear words are fine. But goddamn it, don't go over the top.
(3) No rants about the uselessness of this blog. If you're a religious believer, I can understand why this blog could make you angry. Solution: don't read it. If you need to vent, leave a comment on my "I Hate Church of the Churchless" anti-site, not here.
(4) No commercial or religious spam. Advertising, in a comment or a URL, obviously isn't acceptable. Neither are lengthy quotations from a religious scripture, or preachiness. See #5 below.
(5) No irrelevant comments. Please stick to the subject matter of a post in your comment. If you want to talk about something else, leave your comment in an Open Thread, email me with a blog post suggestion, or use the Google search box in the right sidebar to find a previous post on this blog concerning your "something else." (Note: Open Thread comments also should adhere to the policies above.)
(6) No trolling. On the Internet a "troll" is someone who tries to disrupt normal discussions through various annoying behaviors. Here's some ways to recognize a troll. Best response to them: no response. Their sad lives thrive on attention, so ignore them.
Lastly, one of my pet peeves is how uncourteously many people behave on the Internet. "Flame wars" aren't productive, so try to keep your cool if you disagree with what somebody has said.
I agree with Wikipedia's take on Flaming:
An Internet user typically generates a flame response to other posts or users posting on a site, and such a response is usually not constructive, does not clarify a discussion, and does not persuade others. Sometimes, flamers attempt to assert their authority, or establish a position of superiority over other users. Other times, a flamer is simply an individual who believes he or she carries the only valid opinion. This leads him or her to personally attack those who disagree. In some cases, flamers wish to upset and offend other members of the forum, in which case they can be called "trolls".
Noted. And thank you for not publishing a few of the insane things I’ve written. 😬 I’m very thankful these posts are moderated.
Posted by: Sonia | December 14, 2019 at 08:47 PM
Thanks for the reminder, Brian. I felt so incensed when Time To Leave was attacked for no reason I responded in the heat of the moment, but as the saying goes, 'Revenge is a dish best served cold!' The punch line should have been:
"A well-balanced person has a drink in each hand." Billy Connolly
Although I never feel anger towards my cats and never shout at them, no matter where they poo, vomit, decide to sleep or use as a scratch post, if anyone were to hurt them I would attack like a tigress.
Humans are far more challenging though and require far greater patience!
Posted by: Maria de La Torre | December 15, 2019 at 01:59 AM
[NOTE FROM BLOGGER BRIAN: "j" is mistaken here, so I'm using his inaccurate comment to educate him and other commenters. If a blog post I write is political, or focuses on a political figure like Trump, then naturally it is fine to leave a comment that relates to the topic of the post.
But as I said in these commenting rules, it isn't fine to leave a comment about Trump on a post that is about something else -- like changing one's mind. If someone wants to comment about Trump, use the Google search box in the right sidebar to find a post that is about Trump. I said that in this post, but I guess I need to repeat it. Or leave the comment in an Open Thread.]
You won't even publish my comment? I tried to be tactful but now I'll be plainer:
You're the one here who has insisted on making political comments. If you don't like feedback on your political comments on this forum, then take the initiative to stop making them altogether.
Posted by: j | December 15, 2019 at 09:37 AM
Fair points Brian
Posted by: Mike England | December 15, 2019 at 11:36 AM
We are all guests on this blog and should respect the guidelines set by our host, I don't know if the English have a thing about good manners but I find people incredibly rude to each other on here at times and also to Brian. It gets to be like target practise on occasions instead of a mutual sharing of information and personal experiences.
It's the unprovoked personal attacks that create a defense reaction.
Time To Leave was given a virtual punch on the nose by someone for no reason at all, other than his empathic defence of the poor farmers who are being intimidated. It was horrible. I felt it. Then I felt angry.
Poor Brian having to edit all the comments first thing in the morning. Yikes!
One venomous attack can poison the whole day and one positive affirmation can lift the spirit into joy.
'THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.' Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Posted by: Maria de La Torre | December 16, 2019 at 07:29 AM
Kudos to Brian Hines for taking a stand against the disingenuous trolling and flaming that always seems to permeate the comments sections of so many sites online these days.
Posted by: Go Jolly | December 17, 2019 at 02:38 PM
Trolling and flame wars are the heart and soul of the internet. Without them, the whole system will die.
Posted by: Jesse (abroad permanently?) | December 18, 2019 at 04:00 AM
Tend to agree with Jesse
It’s mostly just tedium. Do you think ppl would actually be interested if their viewpoint was not challenged.
Unless you basically so narrow-minded that you only want ppl that agree with you - what is actually even the point?
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | December 18, 2019 at 11:14 AM
Warrior Jesse: "Trolling and flame wars are the heart and soul of the internet. Without them, the whole system will die." Without moderation, message boards would become occupied by a small handful of trolls and all the sane people would go someplace else. Trolls are attempting to be the dictators and censors of others, subverting what might have been meaningful dialogue into pointless conflict. The trolling flaming mentality has never been about reason, making honest rational arguments. Just another form of road rage, selfishly getting off on preying upon others, another kind of entertainment or computer game. It's the neanderthal heartlessness and soullessness of the internet, and THAT should die. THAT should go extinct.
Posted by: Go Jolly | December 18, 2019 at 09:51 PM
"It's the neanderthal heartlessness and soullessness of the internet, and THAT should die. THAT should go extinct."
I think neanderthals had much larger cranial capacity aka bigger brains aka they were likely more intelligent than modern humans. What you wrote would be considered thoughtless/racist/soulless/bigoted/etc if we were using your Minnesota nice standards of passive aggressiveness.
I'm not sure how you get from starting a flame war to "preying upon" but it's a massive leap. Trolling is the most efficient and beautiful way to expose hypocrisy and make people analyze themselves, and if you don't embrace it, you are akin to someone who drives a car without a steering wheel.
Posted by: Jesse | December 19, 2019 at 06:29 AM
I just visited the ‘I Hate Churchless’ blogspot.
It was depressing. A real downer. A good reminder though... how insane insults are and I’ve been guilty of that. But, hey it’s Christmas! So, I’m making a vow to “not attack” in my comments going forward. And not just in the overt way, but in general. Like my dad always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say just whistle. :)
Posted by: Sonia | December 25, 2019 at 03:14 PM
BTW, that was my first time ever viewing the Hate Churchless blog and the last. 😟
Posted by: Sonia | December 25, 2019 at 03:15 PM