Just felt like doing a bit of consolidation for this sort of thing. Some new rules here, and some old rules being removed. If you don't see one of the old rules here, consider it discarded. These rules do not apply to WILD THREADs.
1. Anonymous comments will be deleted. The warning period is over. Choose the "Name/URL," "Open ID," or whatever else may be available if you don't have a blogger account. Use a name of some kind so that I don't have to deal with confusing multiple anonnies.
2. Be consistent with your pseudonyms. Don't use a snide remark for your "name" or post as [Somebody]'s Mom. It's rarely funny, and it's annoying to deal with a troll who ends up riding another's name or expect us to not notice an attempt to bypass his earned reputation by assuming a new name. This rule also goes for friendly readers, too: It's not that funny, and if you've got a funny, it should be attached to your reputation.
3. Commercial spam: If all you're doing is posting a link to your naughty pills, say goodbye to your comment. If you're posting a relevant comment but include a commercial link to something irrelevant, you're at risk. If you're posting a link to a funny product that echoes a point being made, you're safe.
4. Flooding/hacking: I've had a number of trolls copy/paste an insult over and over to the point that Firefox thought there was an infinitely looping script. Don't post big blocks of quotes when a hyperlink will do. Especially if you plan on plagiarizing by not attributing the source. Doing this is the fast track to getting your comment deleted and bannination.
5. Off-topic stuff: Please stay on topic. If you're a detractor, please remain relevant. Psychoanalysis of me to the point of hypothesizing that I wasn't petted enough as a pup because I doubt astrology is quite irrelevant, not to mention fallacious. I confess I do my own bit of psychobabble on occasion, mostly to show the counterpoint: Most of the things I see woos accusing skeptics of are, more often than not, properties the accusing woo possesses. You likely won't end up getting a comment deleted for this, but expect retributive ridicule because I find it funny when I don't find it frustrating.
6. Using all caps or more than three exclamation points on a sentence automatically takes away any chance you had at being taken seriously. To get back there, you need to go back to your indoor voice, and use proper grammar for an extended duration.
7. Banning: If you get banned, I'll delete your comments UNLESS I find them sufficiently ridiculous to leave up for others to mock. In practice, this means very little. The one troll I "banned" was sufficiently high-larious that I pretty much let all his non-floods through. The ban list is now empty, since I won't be turning down another appearance of his. I could use the fun.
March 2010: Gabriel. Reason: Repetitive and evasive to the point it got boring for most of my readers. He knows what he has to do to get unbanned.
1. If it's not related to the usual science/skepticism/atheism thing, I won't post your email unless you want me to.
2. If it's hate mail, it will be posted, dissected, and mocked. I don't get much at this point. This policy may change if I get a sudden influx. This is subject to some upcoming restrictions. If it's a death threat, don't be surprised if you end up getting investigated for committing the crime. Not that I think I'm notorious enough to merit such things, yet, or that those unhinged enough to send them will bother reading this. Unprepared criminals should get what's coming to them.
3. I won't post people's real names and locations unless they already use them online at a blog or something. If, for example, I get some invective from a Disco Institute top member with his name, photograph, and address on the Disco Institute website, I won't shy away from calling him by name. If I get an email labeled "Bob Smith" and he signs the email itself with "ScientologyLuvums317" or something that's obviously supposed to be an alias, I won't expose the name.
4. If you provide a link to your blog, don't be the least bit surprised if I end up dissecting and mocking pseudoscience I might find there. Your best defense is to not be silly in your email.
5. I won't out atheists without permission. I live in a chunk of the Bible Belt, and I know how hard things can be for someone not ready to expose that part of their identity. There are a lot of amoral, nihilistic bigots who seemingly live for the purpose of making life hard for atheists. For the people who can safely and comfortably live as an outed atheist in meatspace, kudos. Not all of us have the necessary bravery and/or safe locations.
So, all that said, here's my email address: