Comment Policy

Please, do not feed the trolls!
Please, do not feed the trolls! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The presence of Christian trolls on this blog prompted me to develop the first draft of this comment policy in May of 2007. It was revised in July of 2009 to provide additional guidance to visitors unfamiliar with how blogs work. This was followed by minor revisions completed in April of 2013 and January of 2015.

Introduction

Atheist Revolution is an atheist blog. The author is an atheist, and the intended audience is made up of atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, skeptics, and other freethinkers who question the existence of gods. If you are an atheist, you are in good company. Approximately 88% of those who read this blog are atheists.

Believers in various gods who are genuinely interested in learning about atheism are welcome here. However, those primarily interested in argument, antagonism, or proselytizing should go elsewhere. Most blogs are not designed as places for prolonged debates between visitors, and Atheist Revolution is no exception. If arguing with others is what you are seeking, you want a forum instead of a blog. Some forums have entire areas devoted to debate.

What is a Troll?

You can find a definition and tips on how to accurately identify trolls here. There are several forms of trolls encountered on blogs. Some engage in "drive-by link sharing" as a form of self-promotion (e.g., leaving a comment that is little more than a transparent excuse to leave a link to one's blog or website). Others hurl insults, make threats, or otherwise try to disrupt the blog. Many trolls do not seem to understand how blogs work and are not interested in learning; others are religious believers bent on converting atheists to their particular brand of superstition.

The best way for rational readers to deal with trolls is to ignore them. This deprives them of what they want most: attention. But since many readers cannot resist engaging them and some trolls can be quite persistent, a comment policy is necessary.

Comment Policy

The following comment policy was adapted from Lifehacker, Making Light, and God is for Suckers (blog no longer active), with modifications over time to increase applicability to this blog and better reflect the changing nature of the problems encountered.
  1. Stay on topic (i.e., the post topic) and try not to derail the conversation.
  2. Try to contribute new information to the discussion (i.e., comment because you have something to say and not just for the sake of commenting).
  3. Be respectful of others. We all have different life experiences, and we are not all at the same place in our respective journeys.
  4. Recognize that brief comments are more likely to be read in full.
  5. Avoid personal insults and name calling (see How to Disagree in the Atheist Community).
  6. Avoid Christianspeak. It makes you look stupid and contributes nothing of value.
  7. Absolutely no religious proselytizing will be permitted here.
  8. Do not feed the trolls. Many thrive on argument (the less rational, the better) and will keep returning as long as they find folks willing to engage them. If you find yourself tempted to argue with a troll, please read this first.
Violations may result in selective moderation of the violator and/or the deletion of offending comments. Serious or repeat offenders may be banned if necessary. Obvious spam will be deleted.

I'd prefer not to have to do any moderation at all, but this is not realistic. I have seen far too many cases where the comments sections of various blogs become so toxic that people are no longer willing to comment there and may even abandon the blog. I'm interested in promoting reason, skepticism, critical thinking, and freethought here. I am not interested in creating a Thunderdome sort of environment where commenters duel for my entertainment or are unleashed on unsuspecting visitors.

An Important Note on Comment Moderation

If your comments are going into moderation (i.e., not appearing immediately), the most likely explanation is not that I have sent you to moderation for something you did. The most likely explanation is that this happened due to a bug with the Intense Debate commenting system used here. If you are commenting with either an Intense Debate or a Wordpress account, let me know. I may be able to add you to the whitelist to prevent this from recurring.

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