Comment Guidelines

Reasoned discussion is welcomed on this blog, but in commenting, there are several rules we expect you to abide by. Failing to do so will result in your comments not being approved, and possibly being blocked. This is your warning.

1: Comments will always be under moderation. In the past, comments used to be completely open, but the number of comments which qualified as spam/harassment warranted a change. Do not try to petition us to end "censorship."

2: Commenting on this blog is not a right, but a privilege granted to you by the authors. We may delete or deny approval to any comment we choose for any reason, but provided you follow our rules, that shouldn't happen.

3: Remain relevant to the post.

4: Your political convictions are not of our concern. We're interested in legitimate, objective discussion. Invoking propaganda, emotional appeal or political/ideological polarization will not be accepted.

5: If prompted, you must provide evidence and sources for your claims. This is almost always primary, peer-reviewed sources. Failing to participate equally and fairly in the discussion in this manner will result in the loss of your commenting privileges.

6: Do not use other links/articles in place of argument. Make your own arguments, then cite other works as evidence for your specific claims.

7: Repeating the same points repeatedly, even after having been refuted, will not be accepted.

8: Read the thread before you post. Comments with arguments that have already been addressed in the blog content will not be published.

9: Spamming is not permitted. This includes name dropping articles or links without explaining, in detail, the relevance to the subject. This also includes leaving superficial comments just to link to your website either in your username or in the bottom of your comment.

10: You will be treated as you treat others. Rudeness is not particularly a bannable offense here, but if you focus on insults and ad hominems above reasoned discussion, we will respond in suit.

11: Harassment, of any kind, is not permitted. This includes targeted insults (this may be decided by the authors' discretion), excessive swearing, telling people to harm themselves, group discrimination, and things of that nature.

12: The terms of these rules are subject to change at any time without warning.

13: Ambiguity is left up to the authors' discretion.

We welcome proper critique of these rules; however, please be aware of the following arguments that we have already received numerous times, and will here be responded to permanently:

You're censoring free speech.

Not all of the authors are currently living in America. One is in an undisclosed location (but is not in America). The concept of freedom of speech does not apply to much of the rest of the world, and is not an objective value. That being said, this is our blog. You don't go to someone else's home and petition them to change the rules of their household just because you don't like them. We decide the rules, not you. We want reasoned discussion, not incessant diatribe. Free commenting has brought more of the latter, so we will not remove comments from moderation or remove these guidelines, though we may modify them if we feel it is reasonable to do so.

You're only accepting comments which agree with you.

Not true; in fact, the vast majority of comments (that aren't ours) on visible posts have been detractors, as seen here, here and here. Using this argument is incredibly flawed and is likely the publication of someone who has lost their commenting privileges.

The rules aren't clear, so you can just make an arbitrary decision of who to allow to comment.

The rules need to be somewhat ambiguous because there are exceptions to rules, and historically well-behaved commenters will likely find more leniency with the rules than with historically ill-behaved commenters or new commenters. Yes, it's arbitrary. That is the risk you deal with while commenting. It should be noted, however, that of the over 700 comments published on this blog, only less than 30 of them have been censored, and 20+ of those were spam bots. Being informed of these rules before commenting increases your chances of being published to 100%, assuming you heed said rules.

I don't have to explain my links; if you want to know if they're relevant, just read them.

If we were forced to read every single link that someone suggested to us, we'd have absolutely no spare time. The amount of pages recommended to us overall, now, numbers in the thousands, or perhaps higher, and the majority of those pages are either irrelevant or are unreliable, as they have no standard of evidence. The fact is that anyone can post any link and say "this is relevant, read it," even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand. We don't have the time or desire to go on a wild goose chase just to meet your burden of proof. It is not our obligation to do your homework for you; if you cite it, you summarize it so that we know you've actually read and understood the source you're citing. That's all there is to it.

You're liberals and therefore everything you publish has a liberal bias.

Nick self-describes as independent, but you may find an in-depth review of his political views here. Liberal does not accurately describe him. As for myself, I am not politically affiliated, but can have some fairly non-liberal moments, including several posts opposing ideas sprouting from the feminist movement. My personal interest is not in politics but in science. If the scientific evidence seems to more often than not lean in a direction that is traditionally considered "liberal," then so be it, but it is not heavily influenced by any such bias, as we are not strong in our political convictions.

Additional Notes:

- We used to make it a habit of responding to every person who comments on our blog, but this can be tedious at times, and all of us have our own work and studies to attend to. If we don't reply to your comment, don't take it personally, especially if we replied to another one of yours elsewhere. It just means that we're working on other things and saw your comment late, and thus thought it odd to respond (who's going to wait a week to hear a reply from us? I mean, who are we?). We read every comment on our blog through and through, so know that whatever you had to say, we're aware of it!

- If you have questions about the authors or the blog in general, do not put those in a comment. Send an email and we will respond to your questions/comments there. You can find contact information on the "Contact the Authors" page.

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