Current “Rules of this Site”

One Agonist tradition is that Agonists seldom know where the rules of the site are written, but often refer to them in the heat of battle.

Recently, in our last pre-SP-redux incarnation, Steeleweed published a set of Rules (click “Rules” on the top header row). So you know they exist and where to find them, at least for now – including “ad hominem” -brought up just today.

At this point. we welcome your comments and suggestions for changes to these Rules.

Rules of the site

We don’t have a lot of rules around here but we will enforce the few rules we do have.

We are generally Left of center on most issues and posts reflect that.
We do not require or expect others to always agree with our views or positions but we do expect civility.
If you’re not happy with that, it’s your problem, not ours.

Everyone has an opinion, but some are better supported by facts and logic than others. We have no objection to commentary from those who disagree with our position, but such commentary should focus on the issues rather than on personalities.
Make sure your opinions are based on more than hearsay, blind acceptance of MSM propaganda and emotional prejudices. You have a mind. Use it.

The only way to prove you have a mind is to change it when presented with new information.
That applies to you as well as to us, and we welcome enlightenment and hope you do also.

1) There will be no ad hominem attacks. See definition.

2) Try your best to stay on topic. Don’t muddle the discussion with comments on unrelated issues.

3) No obscenity. That does not necessarily ban the F-Bomb and it’s friends – we’re all presumably grownups here – but we all know exactly what this statement means. And if there are differences of opinion, it is worth remembering that the 1st Amendment prohibits the government from shutting you up. It does not prohibit your wife, husband, boss, The Agonist or that big burly guy on the next bar stool from doing so.

4) Be careful about the links you include in a comment. More than one link per comment will cause the comment to be held for moderation.
Links within a post should be pertinent to the subject.
(This is to prevent spamming. Spam will be removed – with prejudice).

5) Format: Insert the ‘MORE’ tag after the first few lines or first paragraph. This gives a preview of the post without taking up too much space on the Front Page. Keep your titles reasonably short. This reduces the length of the Recent Posts & Recent Comments’ lists, making them viewable without scrolling.

6) If you are granted the right to post here, any use of copyrighted material must fall within Fair Use principles. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Better a link to an article elsewhere than a wholesale copy of its contents.
Any posted images should be personally owned or free to use under Creative Commons license.

7) Adding Tags and an image to a post helps increase our visibility on the ‘Net and is encouraged, as is paying attention to the SEO fields below your post. Selecting one or more categories for a post lets viewers locate subjects which interest them.

8) Some bloggers may start out writing posts which are limited to the Diaries category and these posts will not appear on the Front Page but can be accessed via a Category display. This category is intended for posts which are general observations and discussion rather than current events and news items. It’s a win-win – more people can blog and thus more posts are available while we still maintain reasonable control over what appears on the Front Page we present to the world. If a Diaries post is considered sufficiently interesting for a wider audience, management will remove the Diaries category and promote the post to the Front Page.

6 Replies to “Current “Rules of this Site””

  1. My recollection of the tradition is that it was less that we didn’t know where the rules were written, than there were no written rules (i.e., they were rules of customary behaviour). My view would be that if we have to refer to written rules, we’re already on the way to losing something.

    1. The Rules page was intended to let new members know what to expect from the site and what the site expects from them.

      I assumed that those who had been members for any significant time would know how to behave appropriately.
      There’s always someone pushing the envelope and while that can sometimes be irksome, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if kept within reasonable bounds.

  2. Actually there were rules, but very few and not well highlighted. The board was pretty well self patrolled by members, which is much better than a ban hammer.

  3. If you look at the “wayback machine”:

    From the beginning, there were attempts to establish written rules- heavily dependent on the package we were using, and the presence of moderators or trusted users to ok comments (that ship has sailed!)

    As old Agonists moved on or new registered, specifics were forgotten, and the others sought to codify again. I think it’s useful to have something to point to that works for a while for new users, rather than rely on common law and the kindness of strangers.

    It’s not very useful if no one knows where it is. Steeleweed has placed it in a pretty prominent location.

    Some rules have changed with common acceptable usage in similar blogs:
    In the beginning, for example, no four letter words in the title-

    Here’s one snip, from Graham in 2004 when we were discussing how a new package could enforce standards:-)

    Wed Jul 7th, 2004 at 04:07:54 AM PDT (5.00 / 1) #26
    Graham72 (User Info)
    The ratings as far as I am aware apply to

    the comment. Trusted users will give high scores for good comments.

    from the guidelines: This site uses a system called “Mojo” to try to keep the comments as high-signal as possible. All users can rate all comments, except their own, between 1 and 5. When your comments are rated by others, those ratings are combined into a weighted average (newer comments count more than older ones) called your “Mojo”. This, roughly, represents the rating we could expect your next comment to receive based on your past comments.

    Users who have a mojo greater than a certain minimum, and who have posted a sufficient number of comments, for example, are considered “trusted” users


    comments that are trollish, abusive, pathetically ignorant, rude, ie. discourteous, abusing or vilifying other agonist members;

    comments where there is profanity in the title of the comment; or excessive and constant use of profanity in the body text;

    comments that include racist remarks (including sour overgeneralizations);

    or comments that include sexual content deemed as excessive and degrading;

    comments that are threats; posting of illegal material; posting of personal identifying information or personal details about another member (e.g.: real names, IP addresses, etc)

    will be rated poorly by trusted users.

    A rating of 0 means that untrusted users do not see the comment… Thus the site remains ‘clean ‘ and tidy.


    plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose or not.

    1. Wow, I had forgotten that old mojo system. I do not remember it as a resounding success (tongue firmly in cheek). The Internet would, I think, be better if it had worked, but it doesn’t seem to have.

      In any case, what I would point out is that these aren’t prescriptive rules – they’re descriptions of how trusted users would likely tend to rate comments. In my view, that’s a lot more akin to customary behaviour than rules. IIRC, there’s been a grand total of two? three? bannings over the years.

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