Ground Rules

Having had some time to browse a few of the other blogs on, I think it only appropriate to be clear and up-front about a few things.

The first is that this weblog is mine. If you click on the "Home" link in the upper left-hand corner of this web page and scroll all the way to the bottom, the last thing you'll see is "Copyright (c) Rick Schaut". That means I’m responsible for the contents of this weblog. General First Amendment issues simply don’t apply.

Since this is my blog space, I rule it. This isn’t a democracy. It’s a pure, unabashed dictatorship. Fortunately, I’m mostly a benevolent dictator.

Secondly, while the primary purpose of this weblog is to provide a space where I can discuss topics I find interesting, I’m also interested in fostering at least some dialog on these topics. So, I’ve enabled comments. Nevertheless, there are some ground rules:

  1. Be nice. The shrill voice that passes for public discourse these days is, to my sensitive ears, far more offensive than the content. I believe it’s possible to say anything you want to say, including providing critical feedback, without being a jerk. Name-calling, personal attacks and obscenities aren’t necessary for well-reasoned public discourse.
  2. Stay on topic. Comments are not a forum by which you can express your opinions independent of the issues being discussed relative to a particular post. If you want a forum for expressing your own opinions, then start your own weblog.
  3. Be concise. Comments are not the place for lengthy treatises. If you want to respond to a number of points that I raise in a particular article or post, then the right thing to do is set up your own weblog, and compose a response with the appropriate links.
  4. Have fun. If reading my weblog leaves your blood boiling, if you don’t learn anything, if what I have to say doesn’t get you to think at all, then you should probably unsubscribe. Life is too short to not spend our time toward constructively positive ends.

Any comments that violate these rules are subject to deletion. It almost goes without saying that sexist, racist and/or homophobic remarks, indeed anything that smacks of any form of derision toward any class of human being, violates at least rule 1 and quite likely rule 2 as well. Save us both the time, and just don’t go there.

Individuals who consistently violate these rules may well find themselves unable to post comments. If a particular post spawns a number of comments that violate these rules, not only will the comments be deleted, but I’ll also turn off comments with respect to that post.

Lastly, if managing comments gets to be too much work, I’ll simply do the Dave Winer thing and disallow comments altogether. I’m hoping I don’t have to be that drastic, but I do have more important things to do than police other people’s behavior.