Comment Policies

  • The comments are a substantial asset to Ethics Alarms, and I am grateful for them. Thanks, and welcome. There are a few things you need to keep in mind, however.
  • I prefer full names attached to comments.. If you want to use a screen name, I have to know who you are. You can e-mail me your name at jamproethics@verizon.net, and it will not be divulged.
  • You must enter an e-mail address, and it must be real. If you use a fake e-mail address, your comment will be deleted.
  • No comment signed “anonymous” will be posted. Ever. (Well, hardly ever)
  • If you use a URL as your screen name, I will treat the comment as spam no matter how trenchant your observations are.
  • All on-topic, thoughtful comments, even facetious ones, are welcome.
  • Regular commenters can engage in tough rhetoric bordering on insult, but be warned: if your initial forays here are gratuitously disrespectful, nasty, snotty, disparaging or obnoxious, I am not likely to take kindly to it, and you will be warned. You are a guest here, and guests are obligated to prove their trustworthiness and good will before they are extended special privileges.
  • Political rants are not welcome.  In addition, efforts to muddle genuine objective ethical analysis by pressing ideological talking points and bombarding me with links are not appreciated, and won’t be tolerated for long. I’m sure you can find somebody on the web that will support any position. Don’t waste my time.
  • Keep comments civil. Ethics Alarms will permit limited vulgarity and profanity for style and emphasis, but gratuitous uses of either may cause me to reject the whole comment. I will show limited tolerance for rude and abusive comments and commenters, but will extend special dispensation for regular, substantive commenters here who have accumulated good will and trust, even when they cross lines that I would not permit to be crossed by a less-credentialed visitor.
  • While a verdict of “you are an idiot,” may occasionally be justified, I will delete comments that include gross personal attacks, subject to the exceptions noted above. In the heat of debate, an occasional insult is tolerable. Initiating a relationship on Ethics Alarms with snark, sarcasm, nastiness or ridicule is a bad strategy–as I noted above, you have to earn the privilege of talking to me like that. Vivid language in support of a thoughtful position, however, will get a wide berth.
  • I admit to a strong bias against text jargon and abbreviations, and if your first comment here begins with “LOL,” we may not get along.
  • Be warned: I’ll respond to most comments. Don’t use hit-and-run tactics here, and don’t think you can get away with an unsupported, badly-reasoned or purely emotional argument and not get called on it. On the other hand, if I don’t respond, don’t take it personally.
  • Relevant links are appreciated. Irrelevant links will cause a comment to be deleted as spam. Links to your related blog posts must be supported by a substantive comment on the topic as well: this isn’t your bulletin board. Similarly, the URL of your blog is not going to make it into the comment, and if you persist in trying to slip it through, I will start marking the comments as spam. I am happy to plug, include a link to or otherwise check out your blog, if you write me first and explain why it is relevant and useful to Ethics Alarms readers, if I concur. Your comment, however, is not a vehicle for spreading your blog information around the web…not here, anyway. Sorry.
  • Please proof your comment. I will endeavor to fix obvious typos, and if you e-mail me a request to delete or otherwise repair a mistyped section of a legitimate comment, I will try to reply. I will respect style choices like eccentric punctuation, capitalization, syntax or spelling, but comments that are careless and difficult to read or understand risk being rejected.
  • I reserve the right to sharply express my annoyance with comments that indicate that the commenter did not read the original post, repeat  arguments that are dealt with elsewhere without adding anything new, or which make unfair assumptions or accusations about my presumed biases rather than addressing my positions respectfully. That is, if I criticize a conservative, it does not make me a liberal, and vice-versa. I also reserve the right to note the apparent biases of a commenter, not based on the opinion expressed, but based on how it is supported.
  • I am trying to reform, but I am still prone to be testy at comments that fall into any of the following categories: 1) Those that say I should be writing about “more important things.” I do. But I don’t have to write every post about the earth-shattering, and trivial incidents can still teach important lessons. 2) Comments that include “lighten up,” “calm down,” “get a life,”or anything similar. Please don’t presume to gauge my emotional state or dictate it. 3) Comments that accuse me of ignoring topics or not making arguments when in fact other posts on the site covered those topics and did make those arguments. I don’t require that you read everything, but do not make allegations when a simple key word search on the site would disprove them. 4) Putting words in my mouth, or ascribe opinions to me that I have not stated. I hate that. 5) Being snotty about typos. I make mistakes, and appreciate being told about them. Nicely.
  • On occasion my annoyance may cause my reply to be excessively severe. In such cases, please point this out, and I may well apologize. If a comment is especially ignorant or dumb, I have been known to bluntly describe it as such. Usually this occurs when someone writes, “Alcohol and tobacco are legal, so we should legalize pot,” or  “we don’t know all the players who used steroids, so its unfair to keep Barry Bonds out of the Hall of Fame,”  or starts spouting Truther or Birther theories. I apologize in advance, but you have been warned.
  • Ethics is about constant re-evaluation and analysis, not about winning rhetorical battles. The blog format is designed to foster discussion and to open minds, not to close them. As long as your comments reflect this objective, we will all get along fine.
  • If and when I break my own rules, please call me on it. Politely.
  • If you make grand and indignant exit after a throttling, and announce your permanent withdrawal from the blog, you are gone. An e-mail to me with an appropriate apology and a request to be reinstated will usually work if you change your mind. Maybe.

Finally, PLEASE don’t write comments here. Nobody will see them. If you have a comment on the comment policies, e-mail me directly at jamproethics@verizon.net, or make them on a current post, where I will see them.

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