I’ve had to delete a number of posts recently, and I hate doing that. I had rules up on my weblog for years explaining what I would let stay and what I would delete, and why, and the regulars here apparently memorized them, and by following them created something of a culture of “this is how things are here.”

But many new folks have arrived, don’t know the rules, and have overlooked the culture. (Which I confess can be a bit hard to get without guidelines.) And I find myself back to deleting posts, which I DON’T WANT TO DO.

So.

This is how things are here.

My website and my weblog are an extension of my living room. You are an invited guest. Have a seat, settle in, and enjoy talking to the amazing group of guests who are already here.

If you cease to act like an invited guest, which I define as someone who is here to enjoy the give and take of intelligent conversation, I’ll mark your post as spam, delete it, and block you from posting again. I am under no obligation to leave garbage on my site. The First Amendment mandate for Freedom of Speech protects your right to say what you want without government intervention. Private speech, which is what you have here, is not a right, but a privilege, and you earn it with every coherent, intelligent, reasoned post you write.

How to keep your posts from being deleted

  • Know the difference between “think” and “feel.”

    The words THINK and FEEL are not synonyms, they are not even remotely related to the same processes, and they do not carry equal weight here.

    Feelings—that is, emotions, are as follows:

    happy,
    sad,
    scared,
    worried,
    nervous,
    elated,
    excited,
    frustrated…
    and so on.

    Feelings arise from thoughts.

    Thoughts are:

    I think the right of the individual to self-determination is inborn and my rights exist by virtue of ME existing, without any external validation whatsoever. I think your rights are the same.

    I think my inborn right to self-determination remains valid as long as I uphold the individual rights of others to the same, and I do not attempt to acquire that which I value by force, but only by mutually-agreed-upon exchange of value for value.

    I think that what I choose to make of my life is determined by my own will, by my choices, by my actions, and by my values.

    I think “destiny” is a crock of horseshit handed out by people who want to use the concept, and emotions that can be linked to it, to force other people to do things they don’t want to do.

    I think the global warming theory is a created “crisis” being used to transfer power and money from the individual to a whole bunch of crooks who are profiting wildly from their ‘papal indulgences for carbon sin’ schemes.

    You might feel worried because you think the global warmists are right, but you do not feel the global warmists are right.

    If you find yourself writing the words “I FEEL” followed by ANYTHING but “happy,” “sad,” “nervous,” etc., STOP!

    I very much want to know what you think about whatever issue I’ve brought up in a post. Bluntly, how you feel about that same issue doesn’t interest me in the least. I care about your feelings inasmuch as I hope in your personal life you feel warm and happy and safe and that you are enjoying your life.

    But you are a product of your thoughts, and that’s the you I want to know.

    If you use the word “feel” when you mean the word “think” in any sort of debate or discussion, I’ll delete your post.

    A six-year-old can learn the difference between “think” and “feel.” A rational adult MUST know the difference.

  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation matter.

    You’ll note that there aren’t any posts on this site that use L33t-speak, and damn few that are all lower-case, lack punctuation, or otherwise violate the rules of good writing.

    There is a simple reason for this. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are the rules we have created to remove barriers to understanding. Written language is the only way we have to know what other people we can neither see, nor hear, nor smell, nor touch, are thinking.

    By upholding a standard in which all people communicate their thoughts using the same agreed-upon rules of punctuation, spelling, and grammar, we eliminate the barrier of having to decode what another person is trying to communicate before we can even consider the value of what’s being said.

    If you value your own communication, take the time to make it clearly readable to everyone else. If you don’t, I’ll delete the post.

  • If you are going to engage in debate on an issue I’ve raised in a post, know and avoid Fallacies of Logic

    If you’re posting a response to “I have a new book coming out” or “Today’s my birthday” or “Watch this cool Muppet video I just found on YouTube,” you are basically safe. Where there is no debate, you are unlikely to run afoul of the site rules.

    However, if you’re offering your opinion on something for which multiple opinions are expressed or will be expressed, you MUST know and avoid the Fallacies of Logic.

    Fallacies of Logic create arguments that are worthless. If you include a Fallacy of Logic in your argument, you’re wasting your time putting the words on the page, and you’ll waste the time of the people who read it.

    It takes some effort to learn the Fallacies of Logic, but less effort than spending hours putting together a massive rebuttal to something I or someone else says here that I may then delete because you based your argument on one or more Fallacies of Logic. And it’s a lot less embarrassing than having half a dozen careful posters who DO know the Fallacies of Logic rip your post to pieces because it’s stupid.

    I reserve the right to delete or let stand any post that contains Fallacies of Logic. Trust me, deletion is what I do when I’m being generous.

    What ARE the Fallacies of Logic?

     

    To debate issues here, you need to understand both deductive and inductive arguments, and the entire list of Fallacies presented in either of the lists above

    Debates here are almost exclusively going to be inductive arguments. (I cannot offhand think of anything anyone has ever argued here that has been deductive in nature).

    Understanding the nature of the question under discussion is important—not running afoul of the Fallacies when presenting your rebuttal is CRITICAL.

    If you are reading this thinking, “Why would I bother to post here? I don’t want to have to learn something new in order to post my argument on a blog!” then don’t post, and save us all some time.

    Understand that I’ve been here a long time, and most folks who post on my weblog have also been here a long time, and DO know the Fallacies of Logic… and if I’m absent for a few days and you post something stupid (and if you have a Logical Fallacy in your post, your post is by definition stupid), they will eat your argument for lunch before I have the time to get back to delete it.

    Then you’ll get your feelings hurt, and when I come back and either rip apart your argument myself, or simply delete your post, you’ll get your feelings hurt again.

  • If you have a point, prove it.

    There are a few old debate responses on this site that I’ve let lie. People who said, “You’re wrong and I disagree,” but who didn’t follow that up with anything. They’re old posts, and I don’t want to bother going back and digging them out.

    But in order to keep my living room someplace where I like to spend time, I keep close watch on new posts. If you disagree with me, that’s fine. EVERYONE on the planet disagrees with me about something, and sooner or later I’ll probably land on your thing, and you’ll want to tell me I’m wrong.

    Again, you’re welcome to do that. BUT PROVE IT. Show me WHY I’m wrong. In my life, I have changed my mind about a multitude of things I thought I knew.

    I hold NO beliefs.

    I hold thoughts, and as with anyone who values the process of genuine science, which will maintain a theory until one that fits the facts better comes along, I am capable of changing my mind. Well-reasoned arguments backed by solid facts have convinced me that I was wrong before, and have convinced me to change sides on an issue, or to adopt a new perspective.

  • Please understand that statistics are not facts.

    Statistics are by their nature incomplete and fallible representations of a larger and incompletely examined whole.

    The same set of statistics can be, and usually is, manipulated by different sides of an argument to argue diametrically opposing views.

    I don’t respect statistics, and will not count yours as a valid part of a fact-based argument.

  • I value personal experience.

    Use what you have done, how you did it, and the results you got in your argument and I will listen.

    Personal experience is how I have arrived at the majority of my values and the rules around which I operate my life. It’s what I use to support my own posts.

  • I WILL BAN YOU FROM THE BLOG FOR PERSONAL ATTACKS

    Discussions here can get heated. Keep your posts on topic, discuss the issues, and under NO circumstances call me or one of my guests names, or attack someone personally. Personal attacks are THE ONLY unforgivable sin on this blog, and you don’t get to come back from them.

  • Finally, inĀ general conversation, I cite Wheaton’s Law

    Don’t be a dick. If you’re a dick, I’ll delete your post.

I value ideas and thinking, and my website and blog reflect that.

If you value ideas, you’ll love it here, even if you may disagree with many of the ideas presented. You’ll be able to offer your ideas intelligently to people who will respond to them intelligently.

If intelligent conversation moderated by personal restraint and the rules of logic are not your idea of fun, there are now billions of other places on the internet where you can go and find the folks who like what YOU like.

If you have questions about the rules, please ask them here.

 

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