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Commenting Policy

I want you to feel at home when you post a comment on michaelyoung.us. I don’t know what your home is like, but I know how I expect people to behave when they visit mine. That’s why I reserve the right to delete comments and ban users as needed to keep the comment threads here civil and substantive. It’s my site, I get to make the rules. I’m not taking away your freedom of speech by deleting/banning you. You can take your anger elsewhere, I don’t want it.

My # 1 house rule is simple: Don’t be a jerk.

I try to treat our comment section like a series of dinner parties, where my job as a host is to foster interesting, free discussion for all my guests, not just the loudest, most assertive, scariest ones. You can be a poor conversationalist, present a different viewpoint, or talk loudly and brashly. But if you threaten, annoy, derail, or in other ways spoil the atmosphere of discussion for others, I reserve the right to not invite you back next time.

I ask everybody who comes here to remember that conversations require listening as well as speaking. And I am firm believer in the fact that banning a commenter only prevents them from speaking, not from listening.

For those who agree with these rules, please keep in mind that I am only human. I am not sleepless writer up at all hours to get the next post out before sunlight… well, usually anyway. If you see a comment which violates these rules, the most helpful thing you can do is to flag it, rather than commenting about how poorly moderated the thread or post is or contacting me through social media or email to that effect.

Here’s more you should know whether you’re a regular commenter or new to the site.

If your comment does not immediately appear on the site after posting, it may have been flagged for review. There are a number of things which will get your comment flagged for review, I ask that you please keep that in mind before resubmitting the comment multiple times or contacting me about it.

  • Use of any of the curse words and/or slurs we have on our blacklist will automatically flag a comment so it won’t appear on our site. Sometimes these words are used as part of a good discussion, these comments will be approved by a moderator when appropriate.
  • Using a Disqus account without a verified email address will automatically flag a comment.
  • Sometimes things just get auto-flagged and I don’t know why. It’s a computer, Ok! But I will try to catch them.
  • Comments can also be flagged for review by our readership (please do not abuse this option for other users you simply disagree with, it makes the moderation jobs a lot harder).

Here’s what I like to see in comments:

  • Weigh in with smart, informed ideas that contribute further to the story.
  • Give useful, constructive criticism. Spot a typo or an error? Let me know and I will correct it.
  • Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom, humor and grace I know you possess.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. You wouldn’t dive into a debate with my crazy, strange neighbor Melvin just for the heck of it. And you definitely wouldn’t feed him. (I told you he was strange.) Down vote and flag comments instead.

Although I can’t be everywhere at once, here are some things which will get your comment deleted.

  • Personal attacks against another commenter or the writer of the post/website. This can run from name calling to sentences which include the words “people like you” or statements which begin “I bet you” or “you must/probably” etc. This is regardless of what “side” you’re on.
  • Jokes or aggressive negative comments of a personal nature (commenters, writers, and folks mentioned in an article alike).
  • Promoting your own brand, product, or blog. So you’ve got a perpetual energy solution that will simultaneously feed the world. Great. Send it through our contact form, I will get back to you… yeah right.
  • Impersonating authors or other commenters. I can’t believe I have to say this, but: Don’t do that. It’s weird.
  • Comments that make it clear you didn’t read the post or page or link. Enraged that I didn’t mention X in a story about Y? Slow down, Mr. Andretti. If you’d made it past paragraph two, you’d see a very well thought-out discussion of that X you hold so dear.
  • Comments that are completely out of left field. Sometimes discussions veer off a bit, but are still related to the original subject. That is fine. Hijacking the conversation to promote off-topic commentary is not.
  • Hate speech or other clearly intentional jerk behavior. That is race, age, creed, sex, or color, you get the drift. Do unto others…. better yet… Do as Christ would do for others.
  • Trolling. If you’re an mean-spirited individual just out for a good trolling and are not contributing meaningfully to the conversation, we’ll be pushing you back under the bridge.

Here are some things which will get your account banned.

  • Engaging in any of the previously mentioned delete-worthy behaviors consistently and as part of a clear pattern OR presenting a particularly egregious example of one of those behaviors as a first comment (New to the site? Stopped by just to say something horrible? I don’t need you here.) I normally give one warning to a user before banning unless a pattern of behavior is clear. However, if a user commits one of these behaviors as their very first comment, I’ll skip that step. Disqus grants me the ability to see a commenter’s patterns of behavior on other Disqus-enabled sites as well, and I do not hesitate to consider behavior on other sites when determining whether to ban.
  • Hate reading. If your history of commenting here makes it seem like you only visit the site to start fights or specifically to disagree with me whenever I publish a post involving our core themes and for no other reason, I will ban you. Conversely, if you feel the site has changed in a drastic way and no longer appreciate or respect my content but stick around to tell me that every day, I’ll also take that as hate reading. Feel free to keep hate reading, but you’ll not be able to hate comment any longer.
  • Threats — no matter how vague — against the author or other commenters. Things can get heated. Before you casually mention your foe’s home address, think of your Mother. (Bonus points if you ever stop and think what  your mother would think!)
  • It is at the editors’ discretion to ban anyone whom they determine to be a detriment to the atmosphere of the comments section, the site in general, and our regular readers.

A note to our regular readers:

I love you, guys! This site wouldn’t be what it is without your awesome support. As I mentioned above, flagging comments which violate our policy is a great help but please take this responsibility seriously. Flagging a user who isn’t really causing trouble but who you personally feel is just being obtuse is not a good use of this power. Also, engaging with users who are clearly trolls may be fun for some but causes larger headaches (especially with overly large threads). Flag and move on, please.

If you’re having a disagreement with another user and your replies have gone into the double digits, consider stepping back from the computer for a while. I love discussion but we don’t want users running themselves ragged trying to convince someone else online they’re wrong.

Above all else, may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ fill you and encourage you! Enjoy!