A policy I may have to steal

I may have to steal ahistoricality's comment policy.

Truth be told, I almost never delete comments, and then usually only when they're comment spam or someone reposting an entire copyrighted article, rather than a link to the article with excerpts. But it is perhaps worth reminding my readers (in somewhat less blunt language than ahistoricality chose to use) that, given recent blog pissing matches degenerating into blustering threats of legal action, I do reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason. (This blog is what I like to think of as a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy.) It's just that I very rarely choose to exercise that right. I could if I so chose, but almost never do. I like to think that's part of my charm.

I hope you agree.


  1. Orac -- This is off topic, but didn't know how else to pass this on. Your template seems to be out of whack with your latest post. The left column is bleeding over the main column. Of course, the problem could just be my browser . . . in which case, never mind!

  2. I'm glad you like it!

    I do a lot of deletion, but only of comment spam (I won't use the text recognition tool until they have a blind-friendly alternative in place). I have yet to delete a substantive comment (and I've been known to leave really relevant comment spam in place), but I wanted to make sure that I had an appropriate policy in place just in case.

    Given the ease with which anyone can establish their own self-publishing platform and spew to their heart's content (and even get my attention by linking), I really don't feel that I have a terribly high responsibility to totally free speech on my own soapbox.

  3. I've decided to add my own little disclaimer after reading the whole storm. Although it seems kind of silly to me, it's probably for the best and it will only save trouble in the future if required.

  4. catherine,

    I don't know what to tell you. My template looks fine on Safari and Firefox right now.

    I am, however, working on a new, better template with the appropriate Blakes 7 theme (Orac and all); so hopefully within a month or so it will be a moot point.

  5. You could introduce something like a 'comments bin' - instead of actually deleting comments that are, say, off-topic or offensive (and thus opening up the censorship question) have a place to dump such comments where they can still be accessed by anone who's that interested. Then in a comments thread where such deletions were necessary instead of saying 'removed by the moderator' or whatever it would say 'moved to the OT dump' (for example). Just a thought...

  6. You'd have my support, even despite my own habit of occasionally rambling off the subject.

    As I commented on Pharyngula, my own prior experience (3+ years, several years ago) running a mailing list indicates that leadership really does affect the tone of a forum, and sometimes said leader has just gotta be a hardass.

    The OT bin is a nice idea, too.

  7. Running a mailing list is a little different. A mailing list is nothing but instruction, but blogs can run from the blatherings of the blogger with minimal comment to lots of comments. I don't really feel the need to be heavy-handed.

    Mailing lists also tend to have a lot more messages than I have comments. usually don't get more than 10-15 comments a day, except when i occasionally post something controversial...

  8. Ooops. That's "a mailing list is nothing but comments."

  9. Is Autism Diva allowed to say the folowing about the PhD and the PhD candidate arguing about abortion and politics and getting in a snit and hiring lawyers...? :

    Bunch of sissies! they should see what we deal with in the autism/mercury/antivax world!


    Man! We have people who get death threats!

    Autism Diva has been harassed by phone at her home for stuff on the blog, so have others opposing the mercury parents. Gee whiz!

    Let B**ch PhD and the PhD candidate blog a mile in Autism Diva's Birkenstocks! (Or Orac's or Kevin Leitch's)
    Autism Diva doesn't think it's necessary to host rude comments by people who hate the host.

  10. Just a note on the template... with IE Explorer (okay, so sue me, I live in M$ country!), it works just fine if you can widen the page.

    If you are on a small screen, it will be a bit strange. The list of links on the left will be at the bottom.

    Many webpages seem to be designed for lots of pixels in width. I noticed it with some pages in www.eweek.com and www.computerworld.com (where I was researching spyware).

    This I noticed when I was forced to use a six year old laptop this past week (power cord failure on newer laptop... and child downloading very bad virus on desktop, the infamous Direct Revenue Vundo trojen spyware). But despite my complaints, this very old Windows 98 laptop still works (it is now used as a "cookbook" in the kitchen, with a copy of Mastercook on it)... though it may be a bit slow. It takes ten minutes to turn on, and while I typed a comment in a forum... the typing took several seconds to appear (back to a type-ahead buffer).

    Also, since I decided to blow-away an old version of Java on my newer laptop... I can no longer access my hotmail account from it. So I am using the old laptop to get to my hotmail account (which is what I use to communicate to the Healthfraud listserv).


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