I’d really prefer not to have a comments policy at all. I’d really prefer not to moderate comments at all. But this is not a perfect world, alas.
So here, in a nutshell, is the policy for comments on this blog: politeness. If you don’t make it polite, it probably won’t get published. Period. It’s not “censorship”. This is not a government agency telling you what you can’t say. It’s a free country, and you can say whatever you want, somewhere. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can say it here. It’s editorial discretion, as any other site or publication has. It has nothing to do with whether or not you “agree” with me.
That’s the only absolute requirement, but there is one additional guideline that is strongly encouraged: relevance. Your comments should have something interesting to say. Opinion is vastly overrated; ideas and information are what make opinions and discussions interesting.
Do your homework; I certainly do mine. If you’re going to say I’m wrong about something, you’d better be able to back it up. I’ve certainly made a few mistakes in these posts, and I’m always grateful to people who point them out — although I’d probably spot them myself sooner or later, as I do retroactive quality checks. But I’ve never been wrong about the main thrust of an article, because I research exhaustively before hitting the Publish button. So don’t waste your time arguing that guns really do prevent millions of crimes a year, or that the moon landing really was faked.
Finally, don’t bother making comments about me personally. You don’t know me, and I’m not here to discuss myself. I’m just not that interesting, compared to the topics I write about.
It’s possible that some comments will violate all of these principles and still be published; sometimes they offer something of value despite the intentions of the writer. But you’ll certainly improve your chances of seeing your comments posted here if you follow these commonsense recommendations.