Comments policy

Just to shut Allan up and inform everyone else, here is a further elucidation of the new comments policy. Perhaps it should be called a “guideline,” for, pace MetaFilter, when you label something a rule you’ll inevitably find a reasonable exception.

The deal is you can be as nasty as you want in the comments section – or as nice. You just can’t pick on identifiable people personally. That applies to all identifiable persons, including Tod Maffin. Take this as assurance that he isn’t getting special treatment.

A personal attack stings the victim and makes them ruminate over it in the back of their mind all day. It makes the victim afraid to rejoin the online community, but also compelled to frequently check back in the hope that somehow the damage might have been undone. The attack is permanently archived, but even if it weren’t, it was there once and the victim read it and was hurt by it. That’s what personal attacks do: They hurt. They aren’t allowed in the comments.

I absolutely am not going to write an example of an allowable criticism and a forbidden one. I’ll know it when I see it. It really is up to me to decide what is or is not a personal attack. It isn’t up to you. There is no court of appeal, and my decision is final. You can try accusing me of hypocrisy, but that horse won’t hunt, since the household of a straightedge vegan is hardly a repository of hypocrisy. These are judgement calls and I refuse to apologize for erring on the side of protecting people if that’s what I end up doing.

I have been delegated authority to write and edit this blog, and by G-d I’m going to wield that authority. Quit acting all surprised. I’ve been at this longer than you have, and you should not be taken aback if I get ardently Shirkyist on your ass if need be. You have one stated limit on what you can write in the comments section. By any rational standard this is a minor infringement on your Charter rights to freedom of expression. You have ample outside opportunity to harass, humiliate, and defame people. Allan especially is replete with such opportunities.

Additionally, Ouimet’s existing comments policy (viz “I reserve the right to remove anything that really bothers someone”) remains in force. The new policy is a subset of that one.