Skeptical Science housekeeping: Comments Policy
Posted on 10 November 2009 by John Cook
The development of Skeptical Science is an ongoing process so here is an accounting of some of the latest developments. Nothing particularly major but I should explain changes to how I handle comments. In the past, I've been fairly tolerant with comments. Now, I delete comments if I feel they add nothing to the scientific discussion. I have no problems with comments expressing a skeptic view on global warming. In fact, I welcome them - the discussion that ensues is often educational for myself and other readers. However, I now delete any comments containing the following:
- Rants about politics, ideology or one world governments. Keep it to the science.
- Use of ALL CAPS. You can't have a civil, constructive discussion if you're shouting.
- Off topic comments. Stick to the subject at hand. If you have something to say about some other topic, use the Search form in the left margin to find the appropriate page then have your say there.
- Personal insults of other commenters.
- Ad hominem attacks of any sort.
- Copying and pasting content from your own earlier comments. If you wish to refer to earlier comments, you can hyperlink directly to them. To make this easier, note that with each comment, the date/time is a hyperlink. If you link to this URL, clicking on the link will take you directly to that part of the page.
- And yes, I am aware that there are past comments that break these rules. As time permits, I will be going through old comments deleting inappropriate comments - from both sides of the debate.
The general point of all these rules is to keep discussion about science. Hopefully we can treat each other with respect and learn from each other. That won't occur if we're shouting, insulting or trying to score debate points.
What else has changed? Occasionally, I post direct responses to comments. Previously, they were differentiated from the original comment by text colour. But after one commenter mistook my response as part of the original comment, I thought I should make it more obvious that my response was not part of the comment. So now my responses appear in green boxes. Of course, now the web design is becoming a bit of a box-fest which my graphic designer wife would probably disapprove of.
Lastly, the skeptic arguments are now also sorted by taxonomy. I've divided all skeptic arguments into three main categories: "It's Not Happening", "It's Not Us" and "It's Not Bad". The arguments are then subdivided into various categories. Yes, it's a nerdy thing to do. But I'm a nerd. It's in my nature.